Cover Photo by Diego Bardone

 

Sergio Napolitano (better known as SerDrumk) lives in Milan and everyday brings his music and beats to the streets of this multi-faceted city. We talked to him to find out a bit more about his passion for the didgeridoo, busking and his future dreams and projects.

SerDrumk playing his didgeridoo
Sergio a.k.a. SerDrumk

Camila: Please give us a short introduction about you and what kind of music you play

Sergio: My name is Sergio, a.k.a SerDrumk. I’m a busker from Italy and my show is a fusion between didgeridoo and percussion, with sounds that go from acoustic to electronic. My purpose is to create an acoustic DJ set with energetic beats that call upon ancients tribal rhythms, mixed with modern beats too, that way I don’t loose my rock and roll, rough background.

But lately I’m in love with electronic music too so I try to play like a DJ, imagining that I have a console in front of me. This leads me to play every instrument like a drum, preferring rhythm, as James Brown said. 

 

C: Could you tell us a bit more about your set?

S: My actual set consists of a handmade cajon with an internal pedal (prototype made for me by Italian artisan PFSound), several shakers, a small leg snare, one small cymbal, a foot tambourine, a foot rattle and, obviously, my dear didgeridoo.

 

C: How did you learn to play the didgeridoo? Was it a difficult instrument to learn?

S: The didgeridoo is a strange instrument, very intuitive but also very mysterious. Every sound comes from your mouth, so you can’t see what is really happening, you can only try to feel it.

I learnt to play the didgeridoo by myself, by asking friends for tips and looking up tutorials on YouTube. The first steps are not that difficult, creating the basilar sound is easy, difficulties come with circular breathing and other advanced techniques.

The only things you need to learn to play the didgeridoo are practice, love for this instrument and a lot of patience.  Maybe also to stop smoking, and I’m trying.

 

C: When did you start busking, and what made you want to become a busker?

S: My adventure with busking starts in may 2016. The busking world has always fascinated me but, as a drummer, it would have been too difficult to make a good show. For this reason I decided to play the didgeridoo, an instrument that can be played only with one’s mouth, leaving hands and feet free to play drums or percussion.

I actually have busked only in Milan, but I want to go all over Italy, Europe and everywhere I can!

 

SergiodrumK busking in Piazza Duomo (MI)

Busking in piazza Duomo.

Posted by SerDrumk on Monday, June 20, 2016

 

C: Did you have a previous musical background? Do you feel it has shaped your experience as a busker?

S: I was fortunate to live lots of different artistic experiences: I’ve played in several bands of various genres (folk, rock, metal, blues, funk, post hardcore, electro, etc.), samba orchestras, worked in theatre sound reinforcement, and in performances that combine rhythm and dancing.

What I want to do is bring all my background on the stage, to the street, every time I play.

 

SerDrumk in Milan

C: How do you find the busking scene in Milan?

S: The busking scene in Milan is good. There are lots of musicians from all around Europe and good spots to play. Tourist traffic makes this work really well in this city! I met people from all around the world, and this is one of the reasons why I love my work.

 

C: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced busking?

S: The biggest challenge for me has been going from drummer to one-man band. I’m a drummer so naturally I’m used to be hidden by my drum set, and wanted to have a frontman who talks to people. But now I have had to become that frontman who keeps the show going on.

 

C: And what has been the best thing?

S: Difficult question… busking has lots of positive aspects. Maybe, the best one is that you “jump” every wall, skip every obstacle (such as venues, bookings, promoters, etc.) that musicians usually face in order to play. In the streets, buskers appear directly in front of those who really are our bread-and-butter: people.

Other positive aspect is the real ratio between show and people who like it. I mean; when you play in a venue it is hard to know if people stay there because they really like your show or if they stay because in that venue beer is cheap, girls are beautiful or stuff like that 🙂 Instead, in the streets, buskers represent a surprise to people who walk by. They don’t have to stay or to pay, but when they do it means that they really like your performance, and this feeling is priceless. In those moments usually people don’t say “you are really good”, but they say “thank you”, and this means that the busker has made a good work: creating emotions.

 

C: Any crazy or memorable experiences that happened to you while busking?

S: My experience as busker is really short, so I don’t have that many interesting stories to tell you, but some episodes really touched me.

For example, a 78-year old man who stayed 40 minutes to listen to me and, when I took a break, he told me “your music is amazing! Can I have you CD? I would like to listen to it at home”. I couldn’t believe that a 78-year old man could like such lively music as mine, but it really happened to me, and not once but several times.

 

Posted by Ettore Còntini on Saturday, May 13, 2017

 

C: What do you want to express with your music?

S: I think that just one thing can save the world: beauty, the real one. People who can really see beauty, can see and recognize vulgarity, injustice, cruelty and infamy. If we had been educated to recognize real beauty, I think that this world could be a better place to live.

I hope my music can bring beauty to people. I know, it is a little bit conceited hahah but I try.

 

C: Do you have a musical hero, an inspiration?

S: My actual hero is Josh Dion, an amazing one-man band from the USA and part of the duo “Paris_Monster”. The way he thinks about music has something magical in my opinion.

 

C: What are your dreams for the future?

S: My dream is to dedicate my whole life to music without time and tool constraints, and to grow as a musician until my last breath in this world.

I’d also like to collaborate with as many artists as possible and to learn everything I can from them, to create an exchange vortex.

I want to be amazed by where my streets will bring me, as it has been until now. Some years ago I wouldn’t have believed I would ever have a solo project, after all drummers always need somebody else to play. But look at me now!

 

C: And your future projects?

S: Actually, The 12nd of April I started my first solo album recording with the Tuscan label Phonarchia Dischi and my amazing producer Nicola Baronti. The basis of this album will be the 4 hours of busking sessions that we recorded in the streets of Milan (in Cordusio Square and in front of Milan Cathedral, to be exact).

What’s interesting is that the recording includes not only my music, but the background noise of the streets where we recorded. Together with my producer, we decided that we wanted to give a taste of the street, a place where urban noises are mixed with rhythms, to the listeners.

We usually work in a recording studio where everything is controlled and closed to the external world. In the studio, sometimes stuff like this happens: “Good work man, but a bell sounded during your take, so we have to do it again to get a clean sound”.

It has been fun for us go against this mood and, on the contrary, keep it cool. During the recordings we were happy when somebody screamed in the street or when car drivers honked their horns 🙂

I can’t wait to listen what Nicola will create with my music. I hope you will enjoy it too!

 

C: Lastly, if you could describe the didgeridoo and what it means to you in one word, which word would you choose? Why?

S: The word is definitely “Motion”. The didgeridoo is an instrument that gives no breaks, it needs circular breathing to be played. You need to be always in motion to play it. Motion is life.

 

Find SerDrumk on…

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