21-year old Remi Aguilella from France decided to study at music school in London in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional drummer
I arrived in London two years ago to study my passion, music. As a teenager, I was always fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon culture, particularly in emerging 'new' music. I grew up listening to bands such as Blur, The Rakes and The Libertines. There is no doubt that these bands were a big influence on my choice to emigrate to the UK.
I was born and raised in a small city in central France named Issoire and started playing drums when I was six. Even at this young age I knew that if I wanted to take it seriously and build a career, I would have to move to a bigger city.
I had a friend living in London and he recommended that I visit him as he knew that I was a musician, taking the pursuit of my career seriously, and he had already experienced the diverse and abundant music scene there, as well as the number of musicians studying and working in the City. I felt the 'buzz' and now, two years after moving there; I would personally recommend any musician to consider moving to, or at least visiting London. People from everywhere in Europe come here to play music. In fact, I have been involved in some projects that didn't even include any British players, but Scandinavians, South Americans and South Africans. It is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.
There are so many things you can do in London, so many different venues to play and so many opportunities for musicians. For example, in my relatively short time here I have had the chance to play at Matter in the O2 Arena with 'The New Devices' who are a band signed to RCA/Sony, Somerset House and the Lovebox Festival, sharing stages with acts such as N-Dubz, McLean, The Dub Pistols and The Average White Band to name just a few. There are a lot of places to see, opportunities to go out and have fun, soaking up the atmosphere and vibrancy of London. Camden Town is my favourite, you can always find something interesting in the market, there is a busy music scene and you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.
As much as I love my hometown, it would take me hours to visit everything I wanted to, and even then the options were few and far between. In London the opposite is true as it takes me just a few minutes to move from one scene to the other.
I moved to London to try to become a professional musician, and to achieve this I wanted more training and a place to meet other musicians. I figured that a music college would be a great place to combine the two. And I was right - I now get to play music, practice my technique and write songs and compositions all day long, as opposed to just taking academic classes. I could not have asked for a better combination.
I have been taking lessons since I was six years old, but now I am learning to become a musician at a professional standard. It's not impossible to learn things in the field, but my school really speeds the process up. I get to learn to become a more employable musician and build the skills that will be beneficial in the future (such as songwriting, production, arrangement, and composition for films).
A major benefit of being in a school such as the one I am studying at is that they use their links with the music industry to help me attend auditions and find work. I recently started playing for a young talented singer named Mike Dignam. He has been making his way in the industry as a solo artist, but he contacted me to play drums with him as he plans on putting a band together, I met Mike at the college!
What I particularly like is that I am learning from experienced, professional musicians who also happen to be great teachers. Due to their experience they can tell us more about the industry from the inside. Some of them are working for major acts that I always liked such as Muse, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Moby, whilst still remaining our teachers. It's an honour to be surrounded by such good musicians, all pursuing their career in London. Coming from a small town, I used to always end up playing with the same people, so I love the idea that you can choose who to play with depending on their style and their strengths.
I have one year left for my degree, but I already know that I will be staying in London after. I want to see how far the bands I play with can take me, and how I can help them!
Remi is currently doing a degree in Popular Music Performance at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in Kilburn, London