It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Not one to frequent The Avenues, I am glad I went that day. As it happens, I was shopping, when a man wearing a black cap and Tee, placed ‘buckets, pots and pans’ outside the store and began to play with drumsticks! As soon as the rhythms floated through the open area, out came curious shoppers, and lunch-timers and passer-bys paused. By the time the music gathered momentum, there was a crowd of bemused spectators. Out came Smart Phones to capture ‘the drummer’ on video or snap pictures, while others simply stood and enjoyed the rare public rendition of music in Kuwait.
Meet Miguel Martin, a.k.a. Doctor Bucketman, the man behind the much-deserved-attention at The Avenues. A multitalented man, Miguel, is a musician, drummer, composer, artist and creative, who makes percussion musical very original and intelligent. Doctor Bucketman’s ‘drum-set’ comprises of paint buckets, pots, pans, tuppers and everyday items that people recognize instantly. If you had the opportunity to see him play, you will readily agree that he is not only talented, but also has the ability to create quality, peppy and energetic compositions –all developed with excellent technical execution.
As a creative, Doctor Bucketman prefers to develop his own language. He is unique in composing coherent rhythmic ideas, which are pleasant to hear and easily understood. All music is his original composition and played solo to create a show that evokes awe, admiration and smiles amongst his audiences.
To appease your curiosity, bazaar caught up with the globe-trotting drummer, while he was recently entertaining in Kuwait.
Last month, I had the privilege to watch you play at The Avenues mall and it was super-fantastic. I saw you smiling as you played, and wondered how you feel playing in public areas in foreign places?
Every time I play my music in public places, I feel 100% myself. This is my job and I enjoy it. I spend a lot of my time to give 200% of me in every performance, and always feel good when I perform regardless, whether it’s my country or abroad.
From Madrid to Kuwait –how did that happen?
This year, a company from UAE called Dolphine Creative has engaged me to place at different places in the Middle East. Dolphine Creative (www.dolphincreative.ae) works with the best street artists in the world, and that’s how they found me and I came to Kuwait.
As a musician/drummer/creative, how do you incorporate the many facets of your talent?
Normally, when not playing in front of an audience, I’m in my lab looking for ideas and new rhythms. Each new composition involves a lot of effort and months of hard work. My objective is to compose, so that the audience can keep their eyes on my performance, and this is very difficult to accomplish with four paint buckets and some old pans! It’s like composing for three drummers, but I play alone.
How does the creative process work for you?
For me, the essence of creativity is to do everything with nothing. My process begins when I’m ordering my lab. Suddenly, an idea pops into my head and start playing with that idea. After several days of obsessing with it, my lab is more cluttered than before, but my ideas have been written on paper. Then, my work is to turn ideas into coherent compositions, practice them, play in the street, and give a thousand rounds until every note is in place.
Sounds like work. Yet, you seem to do it so effortlessly.
It’s really hard work, but when I go to the street with a new composition and people receive it with applause, I feel rewarded.
Tell us about street drumming and how you started?
For me, there are two basic types of Street Drumming: Bucket Drumming is played only with paint buckets. Pots and Pans Drumming is played combining paint buckets, pots, pans and other elements. This latter kind of street drumming is the style I play. There are other styles, for example, in London there was a guy playing on a battery mounted on a bicycle. It is necessary to differentiated from other drummers, and play the music that each one feels inside.
I started street drumming when the economic crisis hit my country in 2010. Back then, there was little work to play music, and very little money. After ten months of work and preparation, I went out to play in the street for the first time and it was an incredible experience. Since then I’m addicted to playing in public spaces, and nicknamed my project ‘Doctor Bucketman’.
I am curious to know why did you choose to call yourself ‘Doctor Bucketman’?
That story is long and uninteresting, but I can tell you I like the sound of it, like music!
A short documentary about you, shot by Carlos Carcas, recently won the first prize at CIMM Fest.
Yes, the film won the first prize for ‘Best Short Documentary’ at The Chicago International Music and Movies Festival (CIMM) and you can download it online for free. The documentary is directed by Carlos Carcas, who apart from being an ace documentary-filmmaker is also my cosmic brother. Besides CIMM, we have screened at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam), BIFF (Bradford International Film Festival, UK), JIMFF (Jecheon International Music & Film Festival, South Korea), and a few others.
How has your Middle East experience been, in general, and Kuwait, in particular?
My Middle East experience was great, and it’s a very different place from where I come. In Kuwait, I had very little free time, but I met some wonderful people. The Avenues, it seems, is a place where everything can be done and that’s good. I believe it will be good for Kuwait to have greater cultural offerings with more music, theatre, creative arts, etc. and I hope to return again soon.
Now that you have played your ‘buckets’ around the world, how has the experience been for you?
When I play in different cities of the world, I have a wonderful experience. There’s a picture in my head with all these places, all the people I’ve met, and my experiences. I feel like a privileged man.
Do you feel welcomed by people in foreign lands?
Wherever I’ve played, people are very surprised with my work. Everyone understands that my ‘instruments’ are paint buckets, some old pans and two drumsticks. They enjoy the music, and leave for their homes with something to tell their friends, some videos to share on social networks, or a fun photograph with me. People have undoubtedly treated me with love and respect.
‘Music Makes the World a Better Place’, is your slogan. Is this your message to the world?
I have no intention to convey any message, it is simply a phrase that I like and agree with. Music itself is universal. In Kuwait, I had a driver, who was driving me every day to The Avenues, and listened to Indian music, which seems similar to flamenco music of my country. It is the same with Arabic music. I went to buy folkloric music in Souk Al-Mubarakiya, and found some parts similar to flamenco! If you speak with a Mississippi bluesman, he will tell you the same. This is the wonderful power of music, and that makes the world a better place….
Where are you likely to be seen playing your drums in the near future?
I will be playing in the Middle East, again before the year ends. In October I am scheduled to be in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and this winter, I travel to Okinawa in Japan.
Doctor Bucketman lives in Madrid, Spain and can be reached via email: [email protected]
For the official movie page, log on to Facebook:
DoctorBucketmanTheMovie or download on: https://vimeo.com//40655903
Images courtesy of Dr. Bucketman