Aaron Edgar has been a professional drummer for his entire adult life.
He’s played with such acts as The Waking Eyes, Imaginary Cities, Ridley Bent and Willie Mack, Jack Semple, Grand Analog and even the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
However, his passion for drums can be traced back to a simple choice.
“I had absolutely no interest in music, I had no bands I liked ... nothing,” the 29-year-old says. “However, come junior high you had the option between art and band. I figured hitting drums was cooler than drawing a bowl of fruit.
“It became the only thing I liked to do. I literally put all my effort into it. My life has been dedicated to drumming since that moment. There’s no back-up plan.”
It seems all the hard work has paid off, too. But Edgar also addresses his continual success to not limiting himself to any one genre, either.
“There are obviously exceptions to every rule. There’s always the possibility that you’ll get into a band and it’ll just explode and you can make a career off of doing that one thing - but it’s rare,” he explains.
“And if you’re the guy who can only do that one thing you’re only going to get called for that one thing. You need to be able to adapt to all these different styles, and many of the professionals I know teach as well.”
Teaching is something Edgar is very familiar with himself, and it’s his love of drums and sharing that has seen him publish his own instructional booklets, start his own YouTube channel and teach students abroad thanks to social media sites such as Skype.
It’s a strong web presence that he says is a must.
“Being off the grid on the Internet as a musician is writing your own death sentence. Think of it: when’s the last time you wanted to learn something or figure something out that you didn’t just Google it?” he asks with a laugh. “All these sites basically turn into one huge virtual business card. You need to be as accessible as possible.”
It’s this work ethic that’s landed him 11 endorsements including the likes of Sonor Drums and Hammerax Cymbals, and through these endorsements he’s continually had the opportunity to participate in the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade shows.
“It’s half the size of Disneyland and it’s four storeys of that and pretty much a who’s who of the music industry is there,” he says, excitedly.
Endorsements and NAMM aside, at the end of the day he feels blessed to be playing professionally and making a comfortable living doing so.
“To pursue your art form as a living, especially as a freelance musician, you’re going to have to play other people’s stuff that you may not like - but doing that is still better than all the other options. I’m still playing drums.”
Published in Volume 66, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 25, 2012)