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Lloyd Haines

Lloyd Haines


Award winning drummer Lloyd Haines is fresh. The terms ‘rising star’, ‘name to watch out for’ and ‘new kid on the block’ would be equally appropriate, but are becoming well-worn. Lloyd is not.

Click here for video clips of Lloyd playing with the Kevin Figes Octet in March 2014 in Birmingham. An album by the Octet is due out later this year.

Lloyd is one half of the Haines twins, his brother Alex, a guitarist, is also a talented musician. Which makes one ask where does this two-fold gift come from? Inherently, their parents are not musicians, although their father did play a bit of rock guitar in his youth. Lloyd and Alex were born in Cwmcarn, a small village outside Cardiff, in June 1990. They were both given acoustic guitars when they were six, as happens with many children trying out musical instruments when they start school. Alex took to the guitar almost immediately, but Lloyd was not so enthralled and practice slipped.

By the time they were eight, Lloyd was aware that Alex was doing well with the guitar. He explains that it is something of a ‘twin Lloyd Hainesthing’ that he was feeling a little left behind. ‘I remember that one day I went round to a friend’s house,’ he says. ‘There was a pair of drumsticks on the side. No drums – just sticks. I picked them up and started playing with them and something just clicked. I needed something as Alex was playing, so asked if I could take drum lessons.’

At Dempsey's in Cardiff 2013 (photograph by Fieldgate)

His parents were supportive and as the house which his father had built had no immediate neighbours in the village, there was no problem with people banging on the walls. By now, Alex was taking private lessons locally, and Lloyd started taking drum lessons from a local drummer, Lee Nicholas, ‘He was really helpful and a great musician. He was more of a rock drummer which was great for me at the time, and helped me with jazz when I was just getting into it.’ says Lloyd. ‘I was with him for around nine years.’

The brothers went to Cwmcarn High School, but until the last year or two there they played very little with other people. ‘There was this kid, Ethan Redmore who played trumpet and wanted to start a jazz band,’ Lloyd recalls. ‘I think Ethan eventually went into Lloyd Hainesmedicine. Anyway, I didn’t really know anything about jazz. I had to listen to Herbie Hancock and other people whose music we wanted to play and I just got sucked in. As I listened more, I became intrigued by what the drums were doing in the music and I wanted to find out more.’ In November 2007, Alex and Lloyd were both winners in their respective categories of the Schools’ Young Contemporary Musician of the Year competition organised by Caerphilly Borough Council. Cwmcarn High School opened a New Performing Arts Centre the year the twins left.

It speaks of the progress that they had made musically that they both applied to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and were both accepted for places the following year.‘We took a year out,’ Lloyd explains. ‘We spent most of that time practising. We went into Cardiff all the time and hung out and played when we could. We had stopped taking lessons by that time, but we were listening a lot and became very involved in the Cardiff scene.’ This helped when Lloyd and Alex started at College as they already knew many of the people and were accepted as part of that circle.

Photograph courtesy of Hayley Madden

Click here to listen to Alex and Lloyd with Hannah Vivian-Byrne playing I’ve Got A Crush On You from a gig at Dempsey’s in Cardiff.

‘We both started College in September 2009,’ Lloyd says. ‘The first couple of years I worked pretty intensely during the day. I guess I was quite driven and practised a lot. In the evenings we would hang out, listening to and talking about music all night. The Royal Welsh College is a good environment musically and socially, surrounded by people who are committed to music.’

Lloyd describes how far the other musicians at college are influential. ‘You tend to appreciate the talent of people in the years ahead of you as well as those in your own year, and these people and their ideas tend to become your influences. You also Lloyd Haines Sienadevelop working contacts that continue after college. We had some great tutors too – Geoff Simkins, Iain Ballamy, Huw Warren, Martin France.’

During his time at Cardiff, Lloyd attended the Fondazione Siena Jazz school where he played and studied with Eric Harland, Miguel Zenon & Michael Blake and won a scholarship to return again the next year.

Siena workshop


College also brought him a working friendship with pianist Joe Webb and bassists Huw V. Williams and Chris Hyson. The Joe Webb Trio was first formed in 2009 when Joe and Lloyd teamed up with bass player Huw V. Williams – ‘Huw is a great writer,’ says Lloyd. ‘No-one else was doing what he was doing at college, and he brought everyone along with him…’ The trio recorded an album and played at the 2012 Brecon Jazz Festival. Lloyd continues, ‘…also Chris Hyson wrote and is still writing some of the most beautiful and honest music of anyone I know that age. Playing with these guys had a definitive impact on my taste, and made me aware of things that I wasn’t previously listening for - not just in jazz, but everything from Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell to Brazilian music to the downtown New York City scene. Also James Clark, another great up and coming creative musician with his own big band, exposed a lot of guys in college to some pretty crazy Brazilian and Bulgarian music. I was in a few bands that were all playing such different music… a great position that all the creative outlets I desired were available to me. It really was all the guys I was with at college, not so much the teachers, that shaped my musical tastes.’

Lloyd describes his main influences as the people he is surrounded by in London. 'There is something about watching a great musician play from inches away that listening to records cannot replicate. As a result, I feel like my biggest influences are the guys who are in London today, my age or a few years older, that I get to watch up close on a regular basis. James Maddren has been very important in my development, and I have gained a lot of inspiration watching and speaking with other great young drummers, Lloyd Hainessuch as Dave Hamblett, Josh Blackmore, Dave Smith, Tim Giles and Jon Scott'. Lloyd also describes New York City based musicians Jochen Rueckert and Nasheet Waits as big influences, as well as Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette and Roy Haynes. 'I feel like the general sound you make on the drums is really important, so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the overall balance of instruments on the kit, and my touch. Also time and feel. When I’m practicing… the basic fundamental stuff is the biggest thing for me.'

Yamaha Jazz Award gig (Photograph courtesy of Hayley Madden)

In 2013 Lloyd graduated with a 1st Class degree and the BMus 4 Award for academic results. He was nominated by the College for a Yamaha Scholarship and received his Yamaha award at Westminster. The award included £1,000 which helped him to move to London and with the other Scholarship winners, he recorded a CD that was given away with Jazzwise magazine and launched at London’s 606 Club. Lloyd says that, like many recordings, the CD provided a ‘marker’ of his Lloyd Haines at Cafe Jazzplaying at the time. The award also introduced him to other winners and since then he has worked with another Yamaha Scholar, pianist Elliot Galvin.

At CafeJazz in 2014 with Greg Sterland (tenor sax) Tom Ollendorff (guitar) Peter Komor (double bass) Lloyd Haines (drums).

Now based in London, Lloyd is regularly working with a number of bands. He has recently toured with John Law and has worked with Kevin Figes, Rick Simpson, Geoff Simkins, Michael Blake, Pete Hurt and Ant Law, as well as Young Poet Laurette for Wales, Martin Daws. He is involved in the CEC (Creative Ensemble Collective), which includes great international musicians Mick Coady, Vibraphonist Jeff Davis (Portugal), Trumpeter Voro Garcia (Spain) and Vocalist Fini Bearman.

Lloyd has a lot going on at the moment, and is still very much dedicated to developing his drumming, but given time he wants to make space for writing and producing. In the meanwhiel, to return to those well-worn clichés, Lloyd Haines is a ‘name to look out for’ in bands that might be playing near you.

© Lloyd Haines and Sandy Brown Jazz 2014-2015

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