Interview: Rubix Drums

Rubix Drums' Nuno Oliveira and Bence Bolygo give us their top tips for musicians... 


Rubix Drums are not only ICMP partners but have ICMP alumnus Nuno Oliveira working with them. 

Located in Northolt, the company offers a full one-stop-shop for drummers, with a retail outlet, studio and much more on offer for musicians.

We quizzed Nuno alongside Rubix Drums' Bence Bolygo on the business and their essential advice for aspiring drummers and players... 

How did Rubix start out? 

Nuno Oliveira (NO): I’ve only just joined the team at Rubix a few months ago, so I will let Bence answer that one!

Bence Bolygo (BB): As a professional jazz drummer, I saw lots of shortcomings in the industry, e.g dedicated drum recording, management, education, bookings, industry collaborations, retail, and more. Very few companies have all of these things under one roof, and it was my dream to build a company that would encompass all aspects of the music industry.

The drum store is only part of what the Rubix team does to serve the drumming community. In a world where drum stores and drum manufacturers are going out of business, Rubix thrives by not trying to compete with major brands, retailers or established business models.

Rubix is essentially a unique, boutique one-stop-shop to brings drummers and drum services together under one roof by meeting the needs of the community, one drummer at a time.

At Rubix, you have many legendary drum kits from a 1971 Slingerland Kit to a 1950s Edgware Kit. Do you have your personal favourites?

NO: The ones I currently have my eyes on are one of the few Yamaha Recording Customs we have in or one of the many Rogers Big Rs.

BB: We have one of the largest collections of pristine percussion instruments for hire from the 1930s to the present day, over 500 very unique-sounding cymbals, giving an infinite possibility of different tonal palettes to create any soundscape desired.

Choosing a favourite instrument is very difficult, but one of the rarest kits we have is the lovely Meazzi Hollywood drum kit used by Max Roach on the Miles Davis Tour." 

What are your top tips when it comes to tuning drums?

NO: While there are some cool gadgets out there to help you tune your drums, I am a firm believer in using your ears! Not only will it benefit you as a musician in general, but you can also explore your musicality in a very interesting way. Get all of the rods at an even tension, so that the head rings out the same note while you tap it around the edge, and there’s your drum in tune! From there on, experiment with loosening one lug all the way to achieve that great thuddy sound.

BB: Tuning is an art in itself. Having worked with a host of legendary drummers over the years, such as Derick Mckenzie, Harvey Mason, and Cindy Blackman, to name a few, learning to tune kits to suit all genres of music is a must. It takes years of practice to perfect, but one tip I have for the students is to learn all of the major and minor chords in various inversions. There is a great YouTube video we have done with the incredible Jonathan Joseph about jazz drum tuning, so I highly recommend this video. 

Taking care of your equipment is important for every drummer. Do you have any insider advice on how to service your drums and ensure that sound and quality stay stable throughout the years?

NO: I believe that if you take good care of your gear, and don’t abuse it, store it under reasonable temperature and humidity conditions, your equipment will last. A quick clean around the bearing edges and the kit’s hardware every time you change heads, for example, will prevent these from going rough, uneven or getting stuck. If there’s ever anything that you are not happy about and would like to change, I would recommend getting professional advice on it!

BB: I could write a book on this! The main advice I have is to use a lubricant for all of the moving parts, to prevent galling of the threads. Temperature and humidity are very important, e.g. use good quality cases, never leave the drums in the car, under direct sunlight or next to a radiator.  

You are both active session drummers. Who have you enjoyed playing with the most? 

NO: That’s a very tough choice! It’s always fun getting together with Anthony James and his live band, the musicality present there is off the scale.

BB: Being asked to replace Adam Nussbaum (Chick Corea’s drummer), to go on tour in Russia and Tokyo with the Linley Hamilton Quartet in 2019, was one of my greatest experiences. It was the most creative and tasking environment that pushed my inner abilities to the max!

And what is your favourite piece of equipment that you don't want to miss anymore from any session?


I personally love taking a full stick bag to any session. You never know if you will need to record overdubs and extra hits, and having brushes (metal and nylon), mallets, rods, and a few different stick models should cover any situation that may arise."

Plus, your drum key, dampening tools, cymbal sizzlers and felts should all fit in there, and these will always come in handy.

BB: Snareweights, the ultimate dampening tool. A must-have for all drummers. 

Nuno, you are also an ICMP alumnus, what are your tips for drum students to make the most out of their time while studying at ICMP?

NO: The thing I wish I had done more during my time in ICMP is socialising, having the time to hang out with colleagues, build relationships and having the opportunity to play with more people. I feel that the music industry still relies heavily on word of mouth, recommendations, and essentially, who you know might be the difference between getting that gig or not. So I would recommend getting to know the people that are also studying at ICMP, saying yes to playing opportunities, and under normal circumstances, I would also recommend catching as many gigs and jams as possible, as building relationships outside of ICMP is also very important. And when you do get those playing opportunities, make sure to be as well prepared as possible, show up on time, be a great person to work with, and you will be asked back!

As a drummer, you need to market yourself these days, especially in an online environment. What are the best ways or strategies for doing this? What is the role of drum videos for this?

NO: I completely agree that having a strong online presence is a great way of getting to know people you wouldn’t normally meet, and especially in these times, it is a brilliant way to get yourself out there. Drum videos of any kind are definitely a part of this, and I think that due to the huge amount of drummers who are so popular online already, the best way is to be yourself, find your sound, your style, what makes you you, and explore this, as no one else sounds like you.


BB: One needs to diversify and monetise their assets. Therefore, social media is a key tool in attracting audiences that might be part of your business. Building a marketing strategy that is based on a 12-week block is a good idea. If you, for example, post two videos a week for two years, statistically you could be able to gain 20K of subscribers, from which you can then build a business model that can rely on selling services or products.

For anyone looking to start out as a drummer, what would you advise them? 

NO: Follow and learn from the drummers you love, but also search for the drummers they love. Check out bands you don’t know of to learn of drummers and styles you haven’t explored before. We are very fortunate to have a massive amount of variety in the music that came before us, and trends have come and gone, drums and cymbals have gotten smaller, then bigger, and then smaller again, and I feel that the more you explore and absorb into your own playing, the closer you get to finding what resonates with you, what excites you about drums and music, and what it is that makes up who you are a musician.

BB: With the current work climate as it stands, my strongest advice is to build several sustainable income streams, and always look ahead.

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Drums make the world move

Drumming requires incredible coordination, a solid sense of time, and plenty of precision and finesse. Here at ICMP, we’ll pass on all the technical skills and performance, theory, business, production, marketing, and additional know-how you’ll need to fly ahead of the pack. Throughout your ICMP Drums course, you’ll also gain access to everything from rehearsal rooms, top-brand gear, and recording studios to industry events, masterclasses, and a one-of-a-kind community of contacts and collaborators.

Call our friendly Admissions Team on 020 7328 0222 or email and get your music career started today.

Drums Courses
by ICMP staff writer
November 24, 2020
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