5 Jazz Artists Who’ve Influenced Us, by Michael Kadnar (The Number Twelve Looks Like You)

Photo: Karen Jerzyk

After going on hiatus in 2010, The Number 12 Looks Like You reformed earlier this year and have been on tour in support of the decade anniversary of their debut album, Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear. With a sound that alchemized prog, screamo, metal, and noise rock, the New Jersey outfit made quite the mark during their first run together, and now the refreshed lineup of the band includes original members Jesse Korman on vocals and Alexis Pareja on guitar, plus new additions Michael Kadnar on drums and DJ Scully on bass. 

With the group working on new material, and in the middle of a US tour with Rolo Tomassi and Cryptodira, The Number 12 Looks Like You drummer Michael Kadnar wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to a few jazz artists who help influence he and his band. Also known for his work in Downfall of Gaia and Black Table, Kadnar is a gifted musician who from the look of the list below, is always on the hunt for new inspiration behind the trap kit.

Mark Guiliana

Mark Guiliana is definitely one of my favorite drummers playing right now, and is a huge influence for Number 12. He recently won a Grammy for his work on David Bowie’s final record, Black Star, and published an award-winning drum method. However, his early drum work and composition style is what caught my attention. By mixing different subdivisions in the same groove or drum part, Guiliana is able to create tension and release in his music while simultaneously propelling the band with a solid back beat. This kind of time manipulation has always fascinated the Number 12, and continues to influence our live and recorded music.

Suggested listening: Beat Music EP and Locked in a Basement (Heernt)

John Coltrane

Coltrane’s concept of creating a “wall of sound” with his saxophone greatly inspired my playing and how I view composition on the drumset. Combining different limbs and sound sources to build a larger sounding drum performance has always been a goal of mine. Doubling cymbals or playing a floor tom and bass drum at the same time are two examples of this.

Suggested listening: Giant Steps and A Love Supreme

Tigran Hamasyan

I still remember the first time I heard Tigran Himasyan’s album, Mockroot. I was actually driving to Saint Vitus for a show with a few friends, and I was immediately transfixed on this album’s unique blend of jazz harmony and metal ideology. For example, the song “Double Faced” starts off with a complicated groove between the piano and drums, and then drops into a polyrhythmic breakdown where the drummer Arthur Hnatek plays a solid quarter note china while subdiving with the bass drum, ala Tomas Haake. This album is always on in the tour van with the Number 12 Looks Like You, and we are constantly trying to develop new ways to incorporate these themes into our songs.

Suggested listening:  Mockroot and An Ancient Observer

Miles Davis

Miles Davis evolved from cool jazz, to modal jazz, to bebop and all the way to jazz rock and hip hop. His seamless evolution and masterful incorporation of new technology will always be an inspiration to The Number 12 Looks Like You and me. One of my favorite eras in the MIles Davis catalogue is his second great quintet featuring Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter. Tony Williams is one of the most influential jazz drummers of all time, and some people even credit him with creating the blast beat (before it’s distorted metallic context.) Tony Williams pushed the tempos of Miles Davis’ music to blistering speeds, while maintaining a very musical approach to the drums, which still inspires The Number 12 in our writing process.

Suggested listening: Four Plus More Recorded Live in Concert and Seven Steps to Heaven

Avishai Cohen

After joining the Number 12 about two years ago, our guitarist Alexis Pareja sent me some music, including a few albums from Avishai Cohen. One record stood out particularly, and that was Gently Disturbed (also featuring Mark Guiliana on drums). The angular compositions and seamless interplay between the three instrumentalists is extremely inspiring. Alexis and I have been working on incorporating these concepts with our song writing for Number 12.

Suggested listening: Gently Disturbed


The Number Twelve Looks Like You, Rolo Tomassi, Cryptodira tour dates:
Dec 19 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
Dec 20 - Knoxville, TN @ Open Chord
Dec 21 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls
Dec 22 - Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
Dec 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bazaar

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