JT Bates (Taylor Swift, Big Red Machine) - The Art Between Man And Machine

“You can never forget that a technique book is someone else’s ideas that they actually put on paper. Those aren’t your ideas.”

JT Bates is a drummer from the Twin Cities area, Saint Paul to be specific. He was recently informed that three tracks that Aaron Dessner from The National asked JT to perform on earlier in the year were actually for the new Taylor Swift record titled Folklore. That seems like an opportunity that could potentially heighten JT’s career. So, naturally, I had to feature him on the podcast to discuss this massive opportunity.

But this is just a small part of what JT is about. It is really JT’s skills and fortunate networking situations that made this opportunity possible. JT has the incredible ability to add the human touch of drum set playing to music featuring programmed drums. He is a very conscientious drummer who knows exactly how to fill that space. I also encourage people to check out the drum duets that he has performed with his long-time friend Dave King on YouTube.


You Will Hear About….

  • JT’s game-changing moment where he learned that his drumming was featured on Taylor Swift’s new record “Folklore”.
  • If he knew the gig was Taylor Swift, would he have performed differently?
  • JT’s passion projects and how these have been a great study to learn what he has applied on several projects for other artists.
  • Our mutual love for ambient music.
  • Rates and whether a big recording gig like Taylor Swift changes anything?
  • Embracing our true selves and experimenting regardless if it is right or wrong.
  • The relationship between sound and emotional response.
  • How day to day events affect our creative output.


Why Should You Listen?

The big takeaway in this episode, in my opinion, is the idea of creating full/complete music or drum parts with very few ingredients. This is one form of mastery that is often overlooked. We often look at adding rather than subtracting to create something that we believe feels finished. While this is a small portion of the episode, I think it is the most interesting concept for drummers to examine and apply in certain situations of playing. 


Music used in this podcast comes from JT Bates “Open Relationships”


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