He makes his money with something he didn’t learn at a school of music: SWAG-Drumming. Meet one of Germany’s most in demand hip-hop and pop drummers Jan “Stix” Pfennig.
Sometimes a new drum method book is out and you don’t know its author. It also happens that you don’t even know what the book is supposed to be about. Both things were true, when I found out that Jan “Stix” Pfennig published his first book with the title SWAG-Drumming*. Sure enough I got extremely curious. First things first: what does SWAG mean, please? Let me consult the big online brains … Here is the result:
Probably from Old Norsesveggja “to swing, to sway”
Swag from “to swagger” ‚to brag‚ to parade), casual cool charisma or charismatic positive vibes
Okay, good. I need more information. How about that drummer Jan “Stix” Pfennig? Isn’t he the one with the spider pedal technique? Yes. And will he perform somewhere soon? Yes, he will give a clinic soon! Great, I’ll set up a date and I’ll prepare some questions. And I did and we met last December at the Percussion Creativ Teachertage in Hammelburg, Germany.
Grooving and talking in-between
The Teachertage are a very busy event. Many drummers, students and teachers alike, get face to face with some renown drummers and drum educators: e.g. Jojo Mayer, Dom Famularo, Claus Hessler and Anika Nilles. One panel or workshop follows another and of course there’s also a teacher’s concert. Jan “Stix” Pfennig premiered at this event and gave his first workshop ever. At that time my blog wasn’t online yet and Jan and I had never met before. Therefore I was happy that he accepted my invitation anyhow.
I caught him while he set up his drums for his workshop. He was a bit nervous, which I can relate to. What’s worse than playing in front of a bunch of drummers? Anyway, mainly Jan was very open, spontaneous and ready to not take things too seriously.
When Jan was done with his drums, I explained to him what I had in mind: I would read some incomplete sentences to him and he would finish them. Jan agreed and I got my machines rolling. Curious about what happened? Wanna know who Jan’s big drum hero is? Which drummer is on his underpants and what he did after he drank his first currywurst? Well, just watch the video to see the result.
Live SWAG in Berlin
Unfortunately I didn’t make it back to Jan’s soundcheck and when I visited Jan’s hometown Berlin a few months ago, I also didn’t make it to the jam session of his band The SWAG. But thanks to the internet I at least got a vague idea of what it’s about. Next time I need to go to the Badehaus for sure. And if you dig his SWAG Drumming too, maybe we’ll meet there.
By now Jan also backs singers at this season’s The Voice of Germany. Furthermore he has some videos up on his YouTube channel, which will give you a better idea of what SWAG is really about. To dig deeper into HipHop grooves played in an in-between feel, check out his book SWAG-Drumming. In case you wanted even more and are thinking of taking a lesson with Jan, he does teach, such as at Drumtrainer Berlin. But for now just enjoy the video.
Stay on or by(e)
PS: Should you really be interested in some underpants with Cat with Hats on them, get in touch with me. I’ll be more than happy to create a product for my shop.
Get in touch with Jan “Stix” Pfennig
Jan “Stix” Pfennig’s educational material
Media and Drummers Jan mentions in the video
The Live (DVD | 1988)
Chris Daddy Dave (Website)
Up Hygh – The Venus Album (CD | 2006)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead (CD | 2014)
Simon Phillips – Protocol III (CD | 2015)
The Animal (Underpants)
The Cat In The Hat (Book | 1957)
Some Recordings with Jan on
Band ohne Namen – No. 1 (CD | 2000)
Jan “Stix” Pfennig’s Gear
Rohema Percussion Sticks