Dear Friends: A Letter From The Drummer

Derek, Drummer with Oli K

That moment when you realize that Keanu Reeves and Pharrell are immortal.

Hello, friends.

My name is Derek.

And I like to party.

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Actual footage of me partying with my bros.

I must say, it is an absolute honor to be speaking to you through the interwebs at  this time, and I’m truly grateful for your support and love for the band! So let’s get down to business.

I grew up in Southern California and at an early age I developed a love for music thanks to my parents. As a youth, I dabbled with various instruments including violin, viola, clarinet, trumpet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, jazz flute (just kidding about that one), and piano until I finally came across the percussion section in the middle school band. There, I FINALLY had found an instrument that I genuinely loved to practice.

In high school, I joined the drumline, sold my clarinet to purchase a drum set, and began to develop as a percussionist mostly on my own. I learned most of what I know from listening to and analyzing the recorded works of artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, Incubus, Emery, Thrice, Rush, Coldplay, Muse, Flobots, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, The Roots, Rage Against The Machine and so much more. I would say my style is heavily influenced by Funk, Blues, Disco, and Hip-Hop. No country, EVER. Sorry folks.

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“Did he just say that he doesn’t listen to country? I’m out.”

In 2010, I had the amazing opportunity and blessing to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints for two years in St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas. I cherish those years of my life and the incredible people with whom I was able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon my return, I moved to Utah from SoCal to pursue my education. I graduated from the LDS Business College and finished my undergrad at Utah Valley University. During my schooling, I discovered this amazing tech known as Tinder, and after a few months, I met who is now my wife, Jamie. She is perfect, she is my best friend, and I love her more and more every day. We were married for time and all eternity in the Oakland California Temple in May of 2015. (I also have to give a plug for my awesome in-laws. Jamie’s family is incredible and I couldn’t have married into a better family. We will just ignore that they are San Francisco Giants fanatics. #ItsTimeForDodgerBaseball!!!)

The Smiths @ AT&T Park

My wife and I enjoying some baseball at AT&T Park.

Believe it or not, Ollie and Jed are not only cousins but are technically my family as well (and real family now as a band!). Both Jed and Ollie are actually my half nephews-in-law if you want to be super specific. Weird, I know. But we are good friends so, who cares. Speaking of family, mine is fantastic. I come from a special situation in that my Mom was 48 years young when I was born, and my Dad 58. Both of my parents were divorced before meeting each other and had children from those previous marriages. So I have three brothers and two sisters from my Dad, and two brothers and one sister from my Mom. I love that I had such wise parents and awesome examples of siblings to look up to as I grew up, and I love my family to death. Back to the band. As for Gabriel, we met when we worked as social media specialists for a small digital marketing firm in Provo, UT, and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s a really really good dude, you should get to know him! Oli invited me to join Oli K back in February of this year, and it’s been straight fire ever since.

In my career, I’m a digital advertiser…in my free time you’ll catch me watching movies, playing golf, eating In-N-Out, and cooling off with some Thrifty Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.

All in all, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity with these awesome guys. It is simply a dream come true. I sincerely hope that the music we create can have a positive and uplifting impact on your lives and inspire you to be your best selves. Thank you for believing in us, for being a part of our lives, and my life, in such a special way. As a wise woman once told me, “Remember who you are, and whose you are.” We are all God’s children, and we all have a Savior who loves us.

Stay classy my friends.

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– Derek

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