Youth Spotlight: Liam Bradford
“There are always people who appreciate what you do.”
I’ve always had music wherever I go. Music is really big in my family, and it’s always just there in the background. The type of music we listen to is also really fun to play on the drums. I listen to a lot of heavy music, but whatever music I listen to puts me in a very definite mood. I choose music that inspires me to get on the drums, so if I have a new project I want to record, I will listen to that song or artist a lot.
Drumming is always fun, but at the moment there isn’t much new music coming out. I sit down at the drums and play the same stuff all the time, but it does mean that I really enjoy my lessons because there are new grooves and fills coming through from my teachers. If people are struggling to get the motivation to do something, I would say to give yourself a goal to achieve. For example, I’ll choose a timeframe to learn a song by and try to do a really good job at it. I think it’s important to try and do well at whatever it is you enjoy. I haven’t done too much drumming recently, but I still enjoy it. I’ll sit down at the drums and have the best time! I just have to remember how much fun I have when I play and the feeling I get from nailing a really hard groove. It’s like ‘Let’s go! I got that!’ Remembering that helps keep me motivated.
I’ve set myself two songs to learn and record pretty soon. I don’t give myself too much of a timeframe, I just try to practice a lot. I won’t say ‘ok, I’m going to learn this song by next month’, I’ll just sit down and focus on practicing those songs. I might get off the drums if I get a bit sick of it, or I might play something else. I usually just try to get it done as quickly as possible.
During first lock-down I watched an online gig from one of my favourite artists, and that was really cool. The 18-and-over restriction on attending most gigs is frustrating; I’ve been to a few gigs but a lot of the time I’m only allowed into soundcheck. It’s hard, but the amount of access you have to musicians now is really good. I’ve had access to plenty of musicians, actually. I’ll do a cover of a song and I’ll send it to the artist, and I’ll say ‘Hey guys, my name’s Liam. I did a cover of your song, I hope you like it’. Most of the time they reply which is the best feeling. There’s a big band I listen to called Alter Bridge. I did some of the collaboration projects on their songs. I also did a separate one on my YouTube channel and I sent it to the band. The band replied, but the guitarist replied separately thanking me for sharing it and saying he really liked it. It was an amazing feeling having that recognition by the artist who wrote the song you love.
I see teenagers my age starting to do what they love more and more and really starting to contribute to the industries they’re passionate about. For me this year, with the accessibility I’ve had to artists, I’ve started playing the drums a lot better than I have before. I have definitely grown more as a drummer this year than any other year.
I guess the biggest take away from COVID is not to let things get you off track. If you really enjoy doing something, nothing should stop you from doing that. Just do what you want to do, regardless of what’s going on around you. There might be people who don’t like the sort of content you produce, but that doesn’t matter. There are always going to be people who appreciate what you do, so just keep doing what you’re doing.