Samuel Oyeniyi is a Nigerian student currently studying Computer Science in the National College of Ireland. Originally from Lagos, he has been living in Ireland for the last eight years. But what makes Samuel just that little bit different? He just so happens to be one of the most talented young drummers in the country.
In the warm, subterranean rehearsal rooms beneath the famous Button Factory venue in Dublin City Centre, he told me about his drumming, how he finds the balance between music and college and his plans for the future. He is better known to most people as Sambo Drumz.
A bleak July day saw me meet Sam in the Button Factory where he works in the rehearsal space and where he, naturally, rehearses. From the moment we meet and shake hands he is very friendly and an easily approachable guy.
Sam began playing when he was about five years old, he tried other instruments such as keyboard and guitar, but the day he received his first drum he was hooked.
Taking strong influence from Afro-music in Nigeria, and from simply watching and learning from other drummers on television, Sam was self-taught from day one. This only serves to highlight his brilliant talent.
Musically he’s a busy man at the moment. If he isn’t gigging with his band Semi Crowns, playing with the Dublin VPA Gospel Choir or giving lessons, he’s promoting himself as an endorsed artist. He plays Natal brand drum kits with Zildjan cymbals.
His weapons of choice can pack one hell of a punch and I can vouch for that. Sam has also played alongside world renowned Gospel drummer and session artist, Chris Coleman at Coleman’s recent drum clinic in XMusic in Dublin.
I asked him what the best gig he’s ever played is, this leaves him a little stumped for an answer at first which is a measure of the massive number he’s played. After a few moments he says the Victory Centre in Fairyhouse, Dublin.
He played to over 4,000 people with renowned Nigerian musician Gabriel Eziachi. Eziachi is an immensely talented singer who has played all over the world including an appearance at the illustrious Royal Variety Show.
So how does Sam find time to pursue his musical dreams alongside his college workload? He finds that the best way is being strict with yourself and maintaining focus. During his first year in college he maintained a strict measure of using his weekdays for college and leaving weekends for practice and gigging.
However once he began playing bigger gigs and clinics in his second year of college he would practice weekdays until 10pm then take care of assignments and studying.
This is a difficult balance to get right, but it’s one that he has evidently made work quite well. Don’t think he hasn’t got a plan B either! Sam has also studied web design, programming and graphic design as part of his college work. While he loves drumming and music, he never forgets that education is equally important.
Throughout the time I spent with Sam one thing kept coming to mind, and that was simply how humble this talented man is. Through his personal faith and almost innumerable hours of practice, he is well on his was to spending the rest of his days playing drums.
One piece of advice he offers to me is that, “talent can open doors for you, but you decide how far you go.” It is evident his talent will take him far in the business and his humility will take him even further.
He’s been quite far down the musical rabbit hole already, with the aforementioned appearance at Chris Coleman’s clinic, gigs in Dublin, a slot supporting Young Fathers in Scotland with Semi Crowns and his experience teaching drums to adults and children of all skill levels, the road ahead is looking pretty smooth for Sambo Drumz.
If you want to catch Sam playing live in the future, he will be hosting a drum clinic in Dublin at the end of August. Keep an eye on his Facebook page for more details of that nearer the time.
On August 22nd he and XMusic will be hosting a Natal drums and Zildjan drums demonstration day in the XMusic store in Ballymount Industrial Estate from 1pm to 5:30pm.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sambooyeniyi?fref=ts
Youtube clinic clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyRAMrysTY4
Photo: @sambodrumz/ Instagram