Anika Nilles

German drummer and songwriter. Since 2013, I have been a freelance musician, releasing original compositions around the drums. Over the past few years, I have found music composition and writing to be an enjoyable process. The most exciting part of writing instrumental music is the combination of rhythmic and melodic ideas, bringing in emotions, feelings, and all while maintaining a balance between simplicity and complexity.
Over the past few years, writing music in this style has been a passion of mine. It is difficult to compose music from an “non-harmonic instrument.” Finding the groove and how it sounds in a musical context is possible by gathering ideas and creating a song structure. There have been times when I was more focused on the harmony parts, while others were more in a creative and playing mode with the drums.

My producer Joachim Schneiss, a good friend of mine, spent a lot time with me on my first album Pikalar. We let every detail shine. This record featured a lot of musicians, including a trumpet section, percussionists, and keyboard players, all built around the drum parts.

These tracks are performed live by Nevell, my band. I have always been very fortunate to find cats who share my passion for this music. It’s difficult to find musicians capable of playing this type of music, especially in my local area. My bandmates, who hail from Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, are much more international.

The new album is an 11 track record that we have been working on. It keeps the instrumental-fusion direction. This is our first album under this line-up, and it has been an exciting and enjoyable journey. With the release of the new album, the writing process evolved. It was a unique experience to work with a band atmosphere.

As leader, I kept the main ideas from the drums in mind and created the first layout. It has been an interesting ride for me to learn to let go of some of my ideas. It was refreshing and inspiring to see the other cats’ fingerprints on the record. We also have Nate Werth, Ghost Note’s percussionist, and Ghost Puppy’s drummer on this record. This adds an extra dimension to some tracks.

The Tama 5.5×14 hammered-steel snare was my favorite instrument for recording drums on the new album. I used it for six tracks. Meinl Byzance 16’’ Sand hats, and 15’’ Byzance Jazz Thin Hats are my other favorites.

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