Drummer's Magazine 2006/2 (Dobos Magazin - Hungary)

Julius Petrus (Slovakia)

I believe that all of you will be happy with the new serial, because I think, it could be very interesting to find who are those, who perform music on pre-Trianon Hungarian territories, the carrier they had achieved. Let us speak first of them, Gyuszi Petrus, who lives in Slovakia and can be proud to be the real international endorser of Sabian.

When I make an interview with a drummer always it is not possible to neglect those standard questions helping the “gentle and curious” reader to know the object of the interview. The same will be in our case and therefore allow me, dear Gyuszi, to ask you, what the hell did you push to be a drummer?

I was born in “an extraordinary free socialist country” and it was very hard to travel anywhere, especially to the western immoral world, even in 80’s it was possible to travel to Hungary only four times a year. For a humble boy, as I was, there were only two options how to get abroad: sport or music. And because I was bred in a musician’s environment – my father repaired all goods and chattels of local musicians, from amplifiers up to entire furnishing – I choose music.

After happy years of study, finally you got a professor on a real global level, of whom our little tiny country succeed to forget completely – of course, I don’t think on his students.

It was for me a very big step forward, that in Budapest I got first to Professor Gyula Kovács, who introduced me to the world of paraddidle, later I anchored at Janó Szanyi, who is an excellent teacher on a global level. I was very surprised in Los Angeles in the world famous Musicians Institute, because Janó had a collection of more materials as they had, as far on videos or music-books. I am very grateful to Janó and naturally to Gyula, as well. Janó got me to an absolute different level. Also by this way I would like to express my best thanks to both of my teachers.

How did you find your world of own sounding and rhythm, since without it you can’t be a personality, and that we state explicitly?

I think that it develops in course of time at anybody. I approached things, which I learned or heard, always on my own way. And after a while it carried me to my own world.

What materials did you learned and later by what methods did you educated yourself further? Because while we rise our hand, we couldn’t stop, since we get blocked and we are not able to renew ourselves! (As 62 years old man I can state this surely, because in my case the time of development came now – the dear reader ironically smiles – or not?)

One find every time something, what is possible to repair and he discover that he should the goal approach in a different way. At the beginning I practiced rudiment etudes of Gyula Kovács and tried to arrange my instruments so that they can sound nicely and I could find the music in them. Later at Janó we analyzed technique of Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Vinnie Colaluta, Peter Erskine and many other excellent drummers. After that Janó always surprised me with a new and very useful material, what I had to handle. Now I used to divide the exercising into three parts: I play along, read and play at sight and I try to compose music on drum instruments. Reading of notes is very important, especially overseas, where everything is in notes, and because I lived there I dare to state that the session musicians in majority read notes as the morning news.

A real musician is open, aiming to every form, for me in that connection my ideal is Steve Gadd. You have visited many places in the world as well. How it helped you to become an „all round” drummer, to stay on your own legs?

In my opinion the most important thing is that a drummer has to be good in more forms. I was all the time a cosmopolite. As much forms you can manage, as much jobs you can get.

In which groups did you achieve success, with whom do you play presently?

I can say that in Slovakia I played with almost everybody, who is in professional circles. Nowadays I co-operate with Adriana Bartošová, Stano Herko Band and with an excellent Slovak guitarist Juraj Burian, who finished his studies on Berklee.

Obvious question – who are your favorites – how they influence your professional growth?

…It is a hard question, because I am omnivorous and I love everything – beginning from mainstream to classics, world music up to heavy metal. At the beginning János Solti was my great ideal and the LGT-Loksi double album I literally deteriorated on record-player of my grandparents. Later Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaluta, Steve Smith, Dean Castronovo became my favorites and now Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Gary Novak, John Blackwell, Joe Heredia. From Hungarian musicians I like the play of Gergõ Borial and many other drummers….

Speaking about favorites, now they are coming instruments, because the question interests everybody and we, drummers, love to speak on them.

I play exclusively on SABIAN cymbals, since they are excellent. My drums is TAYE Studio Maple. It is a Canadian company, founded by Ray Ayotte and they produce drums with very good quality and sound. I use VIC FIRTH 85A, 5A, 5B drumsticks and Heritage brushes. The drumheads are made by REMO Clear Emperor and Coated Ambassador.

Sensitive subject come: every young drummer first of all would like to be very fast, what is really the least and less basic to cope his duties in an orchestra. What the experience do you have in this connection?

I concentrate mainly to music. The most important is that the played piece has to be in context with the composition. Independently on that whether it is fast or slow, essential is that it should not be autotelic.

You travel a lot, do you have time for exercising, do you have set goals, which you would like to achieve?

I am such a man, for whom the self-up-to-date is a whole-life task. Obviously when I have time I always drop to exercise and make experiments. Now I am in Tunesia and I bought from a local tribe a drum similar to djembe and I already have in my mind the design where I shall put it in my setup and where I can use it. I am very anxious to be at home and start the experiments in my studio.

Traveling. The musician gives very hard tasks to his family, because he always move and to provide a life of an average citizen he is unable. How do you survive this with your family?

I am happy because I have a very pretty an intelligent wife. She is a surgeon, but she is very close to arts and therefore she can understand me and what is the most important to me that she supports me in everything what I do. Often she comes to my studio and listens how I beat the drum and surprises me with interesting opinion. For instance that I should play more softly, in this is less sense, or I play too busy…

Finally: what are your present opportunities, with whom do you play, what the plans do you have for the future?…and advice or two for our readers!

Now I have my holidays, but coming home I have my calendar full every week from Tuesday to Saturday. In September I shall go to Greece with Stano Herko Band and after that I have some studio work in Prague. And to the readers I would like to say merely: love music, enjoy the drums and fulfill your everyday life positively.

Peace and Love.

Kind regards:
Julius Petrus

author : Martonosi György

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