Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Jared Falk and I am a Father, husband, drummer, and businessman (in that order).
I started playing drums when I was 15 years old after watching a kid in my class air drum with pencils. It just looked like so much fun. So I went home and asked my parents a question that many dread hearing, “Can I get a drum-set and play drums?” Good thing for me, my parents were ultra supportive, and not only got me a drum-set, but provided an entire separate room for me to practice on as much as I wanted to.
After playing for just over a year, I started to play in my local church, as well as playing in a few different original bands. I took lessons with a few different instructors throughout the first few years, all shared very unique perspectives and I tried to soak up as much as I could.
Playing in church regularly, I was exposed to many awesome musicians, as well as many terrible ones. I think this gave me the ability to adapt to many different types of musical situations. One Sunday morning after the service, I was asked to teach drums to a younger student and that is how my teaching practice started.
My first student, Jason Kliewer, was probably the best student a new teacher could have. He made me feel like I was an awesome teacher, but he was putting in the hard work and actually practicing everything I was assigning him. Jason is still a good friend and actually went on to start Casey Drums Steambent Drum Company. I’ll tell you more about those drums later…
Between the ages of 16 - 19 I was lucking enough to play in so many different musical situations. From concert bands, jazz bands, worship teams, original groups, and teaching. This help me develop an appreciation for all types of music and every style of drumming.
After touring and playing in bands until the age of 21, I came home and decided to get a “real job”. So I started to work at my family farm travelling into Vancouver’s Chinatown every day to wheel and deal duck at the market. This helped me develop my in-person sales experience and I actually really enjoyed it. But drumming was still my passion and in addition to my sales job I still taught up to 40 students every week, as well as played gigs around town with different bands.
In 2002, I was teaching a student named Rick Kettner. Rick was a good student and a savvy internet marketer and developer. He had been participating in the Pearl Drummers Forums and uploading videos of himself teaching the heel-toe bass drum technique. Back in the day, there was no YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Online video was a rarity and students were going crazy over his videos which had been downloaded more than 12,000 times in a very short while.
So I suggested we partner up and start working on video lessons together. I would teach in the videos and he would handle the web development and video editing.
From 2002 - 2005 we weren’t breaking any sales records, but we were using that time to test, study, and learn as much as we could about the internet and what it could do for drum education. In 2005, we launched our first DVD lesson package and it went great!
In 2007, after publishing many DVD / book lesson packages, we decided to do something different and took a risk by creating a massive online resource for drummers, absolutely free. This is when we launched FreeDrumLessons.com, with over 200 videos lessons uploaded to YouTube and organized on our website for absolutely free - no strings attached.
FreeDrumLessons.com exploded and was a quick success with more than 10,000 students using the site everyday. This helped us expose more drummers to our DVD lessons and it was great for drummers who didn’t have the funds to purchase one of the DVD packs as they had access to high quality drum lessons for free.
In 2012, we decided to re-focus our brand and that’s when we started Drumeo.com - The Ultimate Online Drum Lessons Experience. It’s been through many iterations over the years, but it’s grown into a massive online community of drum students who are passionate about learning the drums.
We now have more than 120,000 drummers using the Drumeo website. Many of those have purchased our online packages and many are signed up to the daily live lesson service called Drumeo Edge. There are over 60 instructors who teach on Drumeo, and I have an in-house team of 17 people that manage the customer support, video editing, web development, marketing, product design, programming, etc.
So I have really gone from being just a drummer to having to tackle more and more business related things lately. I love the business side of what I do, and it’s even sweeter that it’s all revolving around playing and teaching drums.
My day-to-day changes a lot, but lately I’ve been busy hosting so many amazing guest instructors. In 2015, we’ve hosted artists such as Benny Greb, Anika Nilles, Brian Frasier-Moore, Bernard Purdie, Jim Riley, Carmine Appice, and much more. They are all listed on our team page if you’re interested to check them out.
Now enough of the business talk, the most important thing in my life is my family. I’ve been extremely blessed to have a happy and healthy family, and get to live in a country where we are free to say and do what we want. Too many times we take these simple things for granted, but I am very grateful for each family member and friend that I have in my life.
What do you use?
For those that don’t know me, I love collecting drums. I’ll start with listing the gear that I play regularly and then I can get into some of the more obscure pieces.
The first kit is a Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple. Tom sizes are 10”, 12”, 14”, and 16”. Snare is a 14”, and bass drum is a 22”. The colour is Classic Walnut and the kit is made with outer plies of maple and a centre ply of African Wenge. This helps the drums resonate beautifully and it one of my favourite new kits on the market today.
Another kit that I love to play is my Yamaha 20th Anniversary Recording Custom. These drums have been on multiple albums throughout the years and are the industry standard for studio drummers. They sound extremely warm and very controlled, I’ve never had any issues tuning or keeping them in tune.
I mentioned earlier about a Casey Drums setup. The tom sizes are 12” and 14”, the snare is a 14”, and the bass drum is a 20”. This is another one of my favourites and fully built by my first drum student Jason Kliewer. Each shell is steam bent and only a single ply. The wood is Ash and harvested around 45 minutes from where I live. This set can be tuned low and has an incredible punch, or you can tune it up and use it to play jazz.
The last kit I will be sharing about from my collection is a 1964 Camco Oakland Lawn setup. The tom sizes are 12” and 14”, and the bass drum is a 20”. I normally only purchase kits that come with a matching snare, but I couldn’t pass up on this at the time (thanks Sean Lang!). The colour is blue sparkle and it sounds like nothing else you’ve heard before. The drums are maple shell with reinforcement rings on each one.
Now onto something else that really helps me personalize my sound more - drumheads. I have been endorsed by Evans Drumheads for 8 years now. Not only do they make a great drumhead, but they are awesome people to work with (Thanks Jim & Larry).
I generally stick to Evans G1 or G2 coated on the tom batter side, G1 clears on the resos, Genera HD Dry on the snare, and an Evans EQ3 clear or coated on the bass drum (depending on the application).
Another product that I love to use is our custom Drumeo Vic Firth drumsticks. These are modelled after the 55A which falls right in between a 5A and 5B size-wise. It is an acorn tip and is the perfect weight for playing all style of music.
In addition to having a large drum collection, I also love my Paiste Cymbals. I always joke to people that I have more stock of Paiste Cymbals then any of the local music stores, which is probably the truth! It would take too long to list all the cymbals, but my favourite lines are the Twenty Masters Custom, Signature Traditional, Formula 602 Modern Essentials, and the PST-X.
The final item that really allows me to play drums is my Whisper Room. I got this around one year back after being frustrated about only being able to practice on an electric kit at home due to noise constraints. I have two young boys and when they’re sleeping I don’t want to do anything to wake them up. This is a 6x6 room that is not 100% soundproof, but deadens the sound enough so I can play at any time of day and not bother anyone in the house.
What would be your dream set up?
Listing anything here is going to make me feel like a whining baby after listing all the awesome gear I do have. But I will share a few things on my wish-list since you’re asking.
The first item I would love is a Yamaha Phoenix setup. I am not even picky on the colour, but I’d love a kit like this with a matching snare drum.
I’d also love an original Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum. These are very hard to find and listed on eBay for upwards of $4000.
And finally, I’d love a DW Timeless Timber drum-set. I know that all DW kits sound amazing, but the story behind these drums, and the thought and time it takes to make them is impressive.
Thank you so much for allowing me to do this interview, and for anyone who has read this far - THANK YOU! If you’d like to check out Drumeo, you can do so here: Drumeo.com.