Hamza Kazi is known to many as a drummer with a great sense of humour. Although he’s inclined towards the lighter side of life, the one thing he doesn’t take lightly is his drumming.
Over the years, he has made quite a reputation for himself in various aspects of music. Be it gigging with his bands, filling in for other drummers, doing live and studio sessions, recording albums, programming, transcribing songs, writing songs, designing hardware, judging competitions, touring as drum tech, interviewing drummers, writing articles, teaching drums at various institutes or conducting clinics, Hamza has experienced it all.
Hamza’s obsession with Drums began at the age of 4, when his parents gifted him a toy drum kit. After banging away relentlessly for years, he happened to hear Tool’s “Lateralus” album and decided that he wanted to take up drumming seriously.
Despite the lack of a drum kit, he began taking formal lessons from renowned drummer Gino Banks. Not owning a kit did not hinder his progress and infact enhanced his drum programming skills and his knowledge of drum theory as he would program beats and air drum to them. All the years of air drumming finally paid off and he was rewarded with his first drum kit, coincidentally a Mapex, which he eventually came to endorse.
His love for Paiste became evident early on, when he’d carry his beloved cymbals to every performance and rehearsal. Ten years of loyalty towards the brand landed him with a cymbal endorsement deal in 2012, making him the first Indian to be on the same roster as his idols Danny Carey, Josh Freese and Pat Mastelotto.
Today, he is known not only for his ability to adapt to different musical settings but also for his in depth knowledge of drum theory, its advanced applications and technical prowess for flawless execution of the same. His efforts were officially recognized in 2014 when he won the Rolling Stone Jack Daniel’s Award for Best Drummer.
His major influences are Danny Carey, Gavin Harrison, Tomas Haake, Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Mike Mangini, Thomas Lang, Terry Bozzio, Josh Freese and Tim Alexander. Glimpses of their various styles are visible at times in his primary playing style which can be broadly described as “Prog Rock”.
He has studied odd time signatures, unconventional patterns and polyrhythms in great detail and subtly incorporates them in his playing.