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Brian Steele Medina
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Gemini Syndrome

I'm still using the same Gibraltar rack I've been using since I was a teenager. It's been everywhere I've been, from the smallest bar to festival stages. It's been hacksawed, beat up, spray-painted and thrown off stage. It won't die.  

With a background in drum corps and an equal love of ’90s alternative rock, contemporary classical music, and hip-hop, Brian Steele Medina approaches Gemini Syndrome’s pummeling rock with a unique brand of laser-like focus and execution. “From age four,” he says, “I was the quintessential kid that pulled out all the pots and pans, went to town, and drove my mom crazy. I’ve always been a student and always learned from teachers. I studied with Mel Zelnick [Benny Goodman] for about six years, and he got me reading music and into Syncopation. Later I got into marching band, and that was the first time school was fun for me. We were very aware who was coming from drum corps, like Chad Sexton and Vinnie Paul, and we’d take the time to learn all their stuff because we knew there would be cool drumming in there. “When you come out of drum corps,” Medina continues, “you have crazy hand chops but no feet chops, so I was in a constant practice mode of having my feet catch up to my hands, playing along to Pantera, Tool, and Primus and also working out of Gary Chester’s The New Breed.” The dark, urgent songs of Gemini Syndrome’s debut album, Lux, give Medina ample opportunity to exhibit his highly developed control at the kit—though wrenches do get thrown into the works. “Producer Kevin Churko, who’s also a drummer, would have me do a take that I liked,” Medina says, “then another where I went crazy. Then he’d ask if there was anything that I liked from those takes. He wanted that energy. It brought me out of my shell to the point where I wasn’t holding anything back. I didn’t want to overplay and be that guy, but I trusted him.” Watching Brian Steele Medina live, you immediately notice his interesting kit setup and visual flair. “Everything’s completely flat, and I’m a heavy tom-groove-oriented drummer,” he explains. “I have one tom to the left of my hi-hat, one above my snare, and two to my right. When I want to play my two lowest toms, I’m hitting on both sides, left and right. I’ll also work in alternate stickings, stick tosses, and cymbal stops to make the show look interesting without taking away from any of the parts. It’s my own personal challenge to take something that sounds basic on the recording and figure out a way to do it live so that the audience wonders, How is that even happening?” -Ilya Stemkovsky [Modern Drummer Magazine] May 2014

Gemini Syndrome - LUX

Danny Carey, Tim Alexander, Josh Freese, Samuel Barber, Béla Bartók, Doug Stanhope, Cameron Gray

When I was in drum corps my instructor taught us to practice as hard as we could and play with all we had so that when we looked back, we would never doubt that we gave it our all. I also read a Josh Freese interview where he said never turn down a gig, never say no... You never know what you might be turning down. Last, my producer Kevin Churko taught me to never give up. The last man standing wins and this world is overflowing with people that gave up.