Galveston East Ender has a music gig 6,000 miles from home
Hasim Camcioglu doesn’t have a lot of room in his home studio.
But that’s OK, because these days, it doesn’t take a lot of space to become an international rock drummer.
Camcioglu, 28, is originally from Turkey. The IT consultant lives in a historic East End Galveston home with his wife, Laura. And crammed in a small room in the top floor of his home is a make-shift recording studio and a professional drum set.
“I wanted to get a place here, but then I asked myself why should I waste money and rent,” he said about his choice to play in the cramped digs rather than lease studio space.
The full drum kit — cymbals, snares, bass drums — takes up nearly half the room. The kit is surrounded by microphones. Camcioglu installed black padding on the walls to dull the sounds of his percussive beats. Though houses are built close to each other in the East End, his neighbors have never complained, he said.
The tiny studio actually is an upgrade from where he started. Before he put up his sound proofing, he stuffed his drum set in an even-smaller closet.
To the left of his stool, Camcioglu sets up a computer that’s hooked up to microphones. From there, he can access music samples sent to him from a music producer friend back in Turkey. Camcioglu’s job is to add percussion tracks to the music, and send it back on the other side of the world.
Since moving to the United States in 2012, Camcioglu has recorded more than 150 professional tracks, he said. Some of them he nails on the first take, he said. Others he plays over and over again before getting it right.
He gets paid for the work, as much as $200 a track. But the job also scratches an itch he’s had since childhood, he said.
“Music is everything to me,” he said. “This is love.”
Camcioglu has laid down tracks for commercials, for up-and-coming artists making their first demos and for some of Turkey’s biggest music artists, he said. He can switch genres from rock to jazz to traditional Turkish beats.
“Some of them are famous, some of them I’ve never heard of before,” Camcioglu said. Either way, he plays.
Being a gig drummer means listening to some music he wouldn’t normally play or enjoy, he said. He proceeds to show how his system works by playing over a musical track he’d recently received.
“This guy, I’m sure he’s not like a famous person,” he said. “Nobody’s really going to start the introduction this way, with a lot of violins and stuff. It’s weird.”
Still, he plays his set and sends it back to Turkey, and waits on the next job. He has to resist the temptation of adding fills and his own flair to the jobs he’s given, he said.
Imagine you’re building a house and imagine that the customer said that they wanted a toilet in the middle of a living area, Camcioglu said. It’s not his job to say that a toilet doesn’t belong there, it’s his job to give customers what they want, he said.
“Whatever they want, I have to do,” he said.
Camcioglu is self-taught, and trained himself by imitating the drums of American metal bands such as Deftones and Iron Maiden.
“They’re easy,” he said. “Their time signature never changes.”
As he grew older, he trained himself on harder songs, with more exotic time signatures and techniques. He expanded his music library. Today, his favorite drummer is Dave Weckl, a jazz fusion drummer who has played with Paul Simon, Madonna and The Buddy Rich Band.
Today, his kit is made of top gear, including Zildjian cymbals. The company, which is more than 300 years old, also was born in Turkey and later moved to the United States. The quality of the cymbals is a credit to his home country, he said.
“Turkey knows how to do these things,” he said. “They’re the master of it.”
Camcioglu has bigger plans for his music career, including building a larger studio in a garage apartment behind his home, he said. When it’s complete and he has more room, he hopes to start teaching drumming lessons, he said. He used to give lessons in Turkey, and he still gives lessons on Skype to students back in his home country, he said.
“I want to teach,” he said. “Anybody can play, in the whole universe.”