BareBones Ent got the chance to sit down with talented drummer Eric Miko Findlay. This west coast drummer is a founding member of Seahaven, and also lends his talents to other projects. Find out what all Eric Miko had to say when we chatted with them.
BS: When did you first learn how to play the drums?
EMF: I believe around early high school I started putting the guitar down and picking up the sticks more. I’d played guitar since I was 10 years old, but jamming with the neighborhood kids I’d frequently end up on the kit just for fun. I always had a natural nag for it, but didn’t have a kit. I was 14 when I got my first and set of 2nd-hand Zildjians.
BS: What was the first song you chose to learn on your own?
EMF: I don’t recall there being a first “song”- but I had learned to play most of Nirvana’s Nevermind on guitar, so when I got a kit one of the first things I did was put on my headphones and just try to keep up with Dave as I knew that record better than any other. Playing along to my favorite records is still something I do when I’m craving a more light-hearted practice session.
BS: Who are some of your favorite drummers and why? How did they inspire your playing?
EMF: This is a forever changing and evolving list. Abe from Deftones has been a main one for a while, his creativity and simplicity is something I strive for. Stewart Copeland (Police) was introduced to me by Rickie from mewithoutyou years ago on tour. He blends rock, jazz and reggae in a way that’s really outside the box. The list goes on but these two are some main favorites I try to channel when in writing sessions.
BS: How did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?
EMF: Early as I can remember. I’d stay up late and watch MTV- any videos that came on of rock bands would have me completely enamored. I wanted that. My dad would play live albums of The Eagles and CCR around the house growing up a lot. Hearing the “live” sound of rock music with screaming crowds; I was hooked. I wanted to do that and be like them.
BS: As you started the journey what challenges did you face making that dream come true?
EMF: It’s a dream I’m still working on and I think the challenges are never ending. I’ve learned you really have to put this as a priority over everything. School, relationships, a “good job” etc etc. There’s a massive sacrifice you make when you choose this lifestyle- but when you’re obsessed there’s no other option. Of course in life there’s more than just music- I think the hardest part is keeping a well rounded balance of priorities. Drums had always come first though.
BS: What are some bands and projects you’ve worked on that fans may know you from?
EMF: I’ve been with Seahaven since the beginning in 2009. I’ve been playing with these guys since childhood- and was fortunate enough to have the right cards fall into place where the weekend hobby took us around the world and back. There’s so much work that goes into operating a musical group. I never felt I had time to play with anyone else until we took a break in 2016. I did a couple shows with Point North when they first started, and I was hired to drum for a Victory Records band that took me around Europe and on the final Vans Warped Tour. It was my first experience working with people other than Seahaven on a professional level. I was completely taken back by how rewarding it was. Seahaven is still my home and primary concern- but the more people I play with the more I learn about myself as a drummer and the better I get. Eager to do that more.
BS: How do you approach working studio gigs compared to music for your band Seahaven?
EMF: These are two very different things. With Seahaven I have a much louder voice and creative control. When someone hires me to play drums whether in-studio or on stage, I feel I’m at the hands of that artist. Clearly if I got the gig they like what I’m doing- but it’s their songs and their name on the marquee. Depending on the gig I’ll play whatever comes natural but I’m totally fine with taking orders and helping the artist achieve whatever it is they are going for.
BS: What do you enjoy about playing drums on various different projects?
EMF: Meeting new people. Every project has had me take a different approach to drumming and it simply broadens and improves my playing. It sounds selfish but the more people I play with, the better I get. And the better I get, the rewarding the instrument is.
BS: Can it be tough to juggle life, Seahaven, and other drum gigs?
EMF: I’ve yet to struggle really with juggling Seahaven and other projects. I push myself to stay busy but I won’t take on too much to where I can’t be fully involved and devoted. The life juggle is the hardest. Like I mentioned I try to keep a well rounded diet of life, but when music is the forefront of my focus other things can easily slip. Keeping up on all of that is true work, but that’s just life.
BS: What would you say is the most unique or challenging project you have worked on?
EMF: So far the most challenging aspect is working on projects my heart isn’t into. When you’re a hired gun, you sometimes need to put on a mask to execute what that artist has hired you to do. I’ve read enough interviews and met a lot of drummers who have mentioned a least-favored gig has led to something great. So whenever I’m in a situation that isn’t preferred creatively, I try and extract the best of that situation and simply learn. There’s always something to gain out of any gig or session. Glass half full mentality.
BS: We are currently going through a pandemic. How has covid impacted your studio and project work? How have you been able to maneuver around that?
EMF: I got lucky. I have a private studio I’ve always wished I could spend more time in (life juggle, remember?). When LA went into lock down, I got granted that time. It’s sad there’s no touring to be done- but with this new free time I was able to create a really cool regiment for myself. I was waking up to rudiments on the practice pad, studying new material by day, and as soon as night fell I’d enter my studio and get to work. I think I excelled more in those few months than I had in the past few years. Practice practice practice.
BS: What are you currently working on or most recently completed?
EMF: Seahaven’s first album in 6 years. Spent the last 18 months or so writing, recording and planning its release. ‘Halo of Hurt’ out Nov. 20th via Pure Noise Records.
BS: What are your goals for 2021?
EMF: Contribute to the wonderful online drum community. For years now I’ve sat in the bleachers watching people on YouTube and Instagram teach, demonstrate and inspire others. I have some ideas on how to pave my own path. I’m not huge on social media and it’s a tricky game to play- but I’m eager to put out some cool content that people can learn from and inspire others to pick up the sticks.
BS: What advice would you have for people looking to get into professional music or people just starting to learn the drums?
EMF: Practice. The better you are, the further you will go. Play with as many people as you can. If you’re just starting- hit the internet. There’s loads of lessons and free content to take away from. Poke around and see what fits you. Rudiments are truly the building blocks of drums- something I was told for years and regrettably ignored for a while. Singles, doubles, paradiddles on a pad for 10 minutes a day to a metronome. Find your happy tempo, and slowly push it. It wasn’t until my 20’s when I started taking that seriously, I really wish I did so at the beginning.
BS: What is the best way for fans to reach out to you, and see what you’re currently working on?