MikesChair – Interview With Nate Onstott – A Drummer’s Drummer!
Nate Onstott is a Drummer’s Drummer. When he sits behind the kit it’s almost like they become the same life force. The MIKESCHAIR drummer gives his all for the glory of God, and it shows when he takes the stage and provides the backbone for his band day in and day out. He takes his role as drummer extraordinaire very seriously—from the perfect tune of each drum in his set to the positioning of his cymbals for the perfect strike. And it resonates through his performance. Though slightly hidden in the back, Nate is giving his all to make the bandmates in front of him be the best they can be. MIKESCHAIR’s new single “All I Can Do” is riding the airwaves even as we speak. It’s a life changer—uplifting. It is a song that can truly change your mood no matter what is going on in your life. A recommended download to help you along with your journey with Jesus! Nate was generous enough to take time from his busy touring schedule to grant me an interview. I caught up with him and this is what he said:
Tell us about the new MIKESCHAIR album? When does it drop?
The album is really great. It’s easily my favorite record thus far. Musically it covers a lot of new ground but doesn’t stray too far from MIKESCHAIR’s style, and the message in the music is positive and uplifting. I think the goal was to make a fun record that also said something that people needed to hear. There isn’t an official release date yet, but it will mostly likely be in the fall sometime.
How does God influence the choices you make, being a great drummer in an awesome band?
In my daily life, I try to have God be a part of every decision I make. I’m a work in progress and fail miserably at times. But God has blessed me in some amazing ways. I’m blessed to be playing drums professionally and to serve and worship Him in the process.
As for how God has influenced my decisions as a great drummer… God put me on a path towards where I am over 16 years ago. I never wanted to play drums. I wanted to be a trumpet player or a saxophone player. My mom was a band director before I was born, so music was something I wanted to do. When it came time to try out all the instruments, I couldn’t make any of them work. As a last ditch effort the band director had me try drums. I wasn’t horrible so I got stuck with them. As the years went on it was kind of just a hobby. When I got to high school I auditioned for the jazz band and got in. Our school had an award winning jazz program and I kind of got sucked into it. I wouldn’t have been at that school, or in Chicago for that matter, if my dad hadn’t gotten a job there. Without the education and training I got there I wouldn’t have even thought that doing music in college was an option, and I would not have come to Nashville to attend Belmont University, where I met up with all the guys in MIKESCHAIR. God had a plan for me to be where I am now long before I even knew, and He helped me get here. So I would say that without Him I wouldn’t be here at all.
What advice would you give a fan on drumming?
If drumming is your passion, then pursue it. But know that doing it as a job is difficult. It takes hard work and practice, but also requires good people skills and the ability to network with other musicians, writers, producers etc. So don’t just lock yourself in a practice room and play along to Rush records all day. Get out there and play music with other people in front of other people. You aren’t fully utilizing your God-given talents if you don’t share them with the world. Play music. Have Fun. The End!
What is your favorite thing about being a touring drummer?
I love all aspects of drumming. Live. I love performing and entertaining the people who come to see our shows. I just kind of let loose and go crazy. I hit pretty hard and make crazy faces, which has earned me the nickname “Animal.”
In the last couple years I have really fallen in love with the art of studio drumming. It’s a whole different approach from live drumming and I’m still learning what it takes to be in that world. I’ve always loved to be creative with drum parts, to make songs feel good, and to compliment a song in a creative way. Also since I’m a drum gear nerd, I’ve been building up a collection of options (snares, cymbals, random percussion, etc.) for the studio. I think I have a problem…
What kind of kit do you use?
I am currently playing C&C Drums. I have 2 drum kits from them in various sizes and shell configurations.
My current touring kit is:
18 x 24 Kick
7 x 12 Rack Tom
5 x 10 Concert Tom
14 x 16 Floor Tom
14 x 18 Floor Tom
5 x 14 Tama Stewart Copeland signature snare
5.5 x 14 Yamaha Copper Snare
16″ Medium Byzance HiHats
21″ Medium Byzance Crash
22″ Byzance Dark Ride
20″ Mb20 Medium Heavy Crash
22″ Byzance Medium Ride