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Interview: Why Resident Drummer Bryan Curtis is a Barcelona Favorite You Can’t Miss!

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

To me, the mark of a good drummer is someone who plays with their whole body, their whole being, and really listens, picks out complex rhythms and drives the heartbeat. A guy who knows when to leave space so you hold in your breath for that one second before he gives you the downbeat to exhale. Someone who reimagines time without missing a beat.

Bryan Curtis ticks all those boxes...

Sometimes I think Bryan must clone himself to do the number of gigs he does. I first saw him play at a blues gig with some local journeymen and he kept everyone in line. A lot of blues players keep it traditional (and boring) all night, but not Bryan – he’d make subtle changes without missing a beat and keep it interesting.

You can also catch him playing with Liam Cloud, classic rockabilly with The Monkey Men and soul / RnB with Lion Eyes. He still guests with Larry Smith and Unfinished Business and is one of the house drummers for the Ocaña jam sessions.

In fact, Bryan's collaboration with Liam Cloud is one of the most interesting in Barcelona because the two have onstage chemistry that only comes from real talent and experience. The two have recently been recording together and pull out the stops every show (See my review of their last show together at FPN's first Concert Series HERE)

I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Bryan myself at one of Barcelona’s most open jam projects, the (now disbanded) Amber Valley collective, and Bryan is the kind of drummer every musician loves to play with.

Here we had an experimental group of musicians and singers, all improvising all the time, which led to real flashes of brilliance. As one of the anchors in the group, Bryan helped launch a lot of the acts you’ll see playing around town. Even with 12-hour jams and 10+ people playing together, and time and again Bryan proved more than capable of holding it together as styles moved from funk, R’N’B, jazz, rock / folk and a bit of Afrobeat and reggae. Bryan provided a backbone and way back into the groove, like a homing beacon.

Not only that, but he'd regularly sneak in some of the most fantastically adventurous fills and breaks which could make the most jaded critic smile...

So Bryan and I may have bonded over few good jams and a mutual admiration of drummers JoJo Mayer and Ari Hoenig, but it’s only fair to give readers a little more reason than that to get out to see Bryan at the next FPN Concert Series on June 1.

So here’s a few more interesting facts about Bryan:

Where did you grow up? Cork, Ireland

How long have you been in BCN? 4 years