Dan sits down with Mark Perrett, Co-Founder of Gridbook Percussion, a percussion education and content production company. They discuss growing through setbacks, how Mark learned new skills on the job, and why Gridbook Percussion is a necessary platform for all percussion students.
Read the transcript of the podcast below.
Dan Schack (00:00:09):
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Dan Schack (00:01:44):
And we are rolling another episode of that Dan band show, what a time it’s been a saga of learning of experimenting of going outside our comfort zone, what a great time. And today’s guest is a, a cultural figure. If I may say so myself, he’s someone I know, and I don’t know how, I don’t know if we’ve met in person. But we’ve had an ongoing relationship through social media. Our interests in marketing content creation, education percussion. I mean, it’s just so many layers to, but I wanna you know, everyone helped me introduce my friend and the founder of grid book, percussion, mark, Brett, mark. What is up?
Mark Perrett (00:02:34):
What is up my dude? I’m very excited to just be hanging out with you and kinda chill. What’s interesting is whenever I, I do interviews with people, usually there’s like topics and things we’re trying to talk about. And I was like, so what are we gonna talk about? And they’re like, dude, like we got way too much to talk about and it’ll just come organically. So I’m just excited to be here, hang out and talk shop.
Dan Schack (00:03:02):
And how, how did we come to kind of connect online? Because I know like you captured some of the groups that I’ve worked with. I think crown specifically, I know you all put out a lot of good videos of crown, but like when did we originally kind of, you know, connect with each other? Cause I can’t even pinpoint it just thinking of it right now.
Mark Perrett (00:03:23):
So in thousand 19 in the lot at DCI, ah, I was hanging out with Dari and that crew, they had flown me out there to do some marketing push for them. And you know, we always capture lot footage and I’m walking over and I’m seeing Carolina crowns. So I’m like, oh, let me, let me capture them. So I’m setting the cameras up and getting everything ready and you are in the lot. And I’m like, man, I don’t know the staff here like that. That’s weird. I don’t really know these guys. And then y’all started playing and it was a religious experience. I was like, yo, what is happening? Is it like, what, how are there not more people here? This is insanity. It was so good. It was so good. And I was like, how lucky am I that I’m like, I was like the only camera crew there, there might have been like one other, but somehow I got the magic on camera for that lot.
Mark Perrett (00:04:31):
So a afterwards I was just like, I have to know more about who’s running this cuz this is probably my favorite drum line to date. Is this line that I’ve just seen right now? This is crazy. So I went on the website and looked up and Travis Peterman, Dan shack, and I was just like, okay, I gotta follow these guys on social media. So I’m pretty sure I reached out to you in a DM was like, Hey, just letting you know, y’all are killing. And you were like, oh man, that’s cool. And you’re like, oh, Hey, you’re the grid book guy. Cuz you had seen grid book just in general. So I don’t know. I kind of like poured some love your way. And you were like, Hey man, the feeling is mutual. And so we connected, I think on our personal Instagrams, through the DMS like that. And then after that we kind of like share stuff with each
Dan Schack (00:05:22):
Other. Absolutely. And I still remember those videos cause we’re like mobbed up doing some of the warmups and playing some of the book. What did you like about crown in, in 19 or I guess in the last couple of years. Cause like, I definitely think we’re the best drum line and I definitely think everything about what we do is dope, but it’s it’s, you know, always helpful to hear like what, what qualities I guess, stood out to you that kind of made you go like, ah, this is like different.
Mark Perrett (00:05:47):
Yeah. So coming up, I marched in like the early two thousands, like 2003 to 2007 and I got interested in drum core in like literally 2000. So they, I, you know, it’s probably nostalgia talking, but the early two thousands were my favorite and especially the year 2000 cadets blues. I mean everyone literally Crossman, like everyone had awesome lines, but back then, yeah. And I feel like the way that they drummed and approached everything was with high velocity, there was a certain like style. I think it was a lot more strict back then, as far as like super wrist turn. I remember watching cavalier being like, are they been using their arms? Like what’s happening? They’re not, they were not. And so that was kind of how I came up. And then after a while I started getting more influenced by some of the newer like Mike Jacksons and how they had a different more, I guess, flow using less kind of strict height system and more of like a, almost a orchestral percussion ensemble approach to the drum.
Mark Perrett (00:07:07):
And I really got excited about that, but I didn’t really see those two coming together and my heart always lied and drums that like beat the crap out of the drum. Sure. And that that’s like where my heartstrings were. So what made me excited about 2019 with crown is I felt like there was such a perfect balance of hitting the drum, like getting a full resonance outta the drum high velocity, but still having an enough touch to the instrument that made it almost emotional. Like there were parts that were really soft and a lot of care of making was happening. And then there were other parts that was just like nail you to the wall sound coming at you and the performers as well. Like I love Santa Clara Vanguard, but the performers don’t really get into it. I feel as much as I saw these cats getting into it, like really going after it and the people, I don’t know, I guess like, not even the, the music side of it, the sort of character side of it seeing like Joseph Noah, who is a character in and of himself being in the line, it was just cool.
Mark Perrett (00:08:30):
Almost like when people watch basketball, you like LeBron James, like you have people that you enjoy. So I started falling in love with like individuals in the line as well and how they looked and how they performed. So musical visual, the mixture of both worlds of sort of this kind of old school hit the drum and the new school
Dan Schack (00:08:55):
Lighter, more emotional sign. Absolutely. Yeah. I, I mean, you, you freaking nailed it because I feel like we, as a staff are very much in line with what you just said. I mean, you know, 2000 cadets and cavalier and 2005 cadets and, you know, show on McLeroy, who’s one of our instructors, March, 2003, cadets, and you know, Travis marched under Tom longs at blue stars. And I marched under Brian tinkle who marched he was a center part of star 93 and Tim Maynard who was snare drummer, the cadets 97 through 2000. So, and I’m from Connecticut. So like there’s a east coast. I did quotes where people just listening, but there are roots roots on the east coast, which is very much about like the intensity and the precision and the uniformity. But I think you know, we’re, we’re looking to capture the range that’s possible through these instruments that we’re playing because the reality is it’s easy to make a marching snare drum pretty loud, you know, even a beginner drummer, they hold the stick and they hit the drum with no technique and the default is gonna be it’s pretty loud.
Dan Schack (00:10:05):
So we never really had problems with that. Like I guess the volume that sort of lives right here. Like if you’re talking like a Metso piano to forte, like it’s, it’s not like the biggest, biggest challenge to produce those volumes, but where our interests then lied, especially in the last few years was like, how do we capture piano PMO at that really low range that the instrument it’s hard to get it to, to speak. And it’s hard to technically go there to play certain rhythms and certain densities and speeds down at that level. The, but also that upper for T CMO three F range. And that the velocity thing that you’re talking about is such a hallmark of our technique, cuz it’s not that we hit the drums hard. Like we don’t T and I know that’s not necessarily what you mean. It’s like, you’re, you’re more talking about intensity and athleticism.
Dan Schack (00:10:54):
But all we talk about is speed into I’m like pitching a baseball or dribbling a basketball and, and our whole mantra is like slow up fast down. So we’ll always talk about prepping the stick as slow as you can in the upward motion and then throwing it at the last second. So you have all the speed behind it, but in that your hand is just totally like decompressed or just like totally relaxed. So the stick is just vibrating and resonating to its, you know, its heart’s content basically. So like I think one thing was like, here is like our dynamic range, you hear in most drum lines and like maybe they have piano forte, but we want like PMO, like I think like the high volume that we achieve, it was pretty substantial to man, it’s, it’s hard to get that range cuz as you know, those instruments don’t want to do that if you asked me. Right. And how about when you were playing
Mark Perrett (00:11:53):
At the Fortu Mo height but played piano?
Dan Schack (00:11:56):
Yeah. Oh like I know that was hot. That was hot. Yeah. That’s AIC feature and you know, the show was called beneath the surface and for that moment, all we wanted to do was trick the eye in the ear. So that was like that touch moment where we were playing dotted quarter notes, but we were basically like squeezing a stick and playing as quiet as possible and then playing them as shots, you know, at TMO. And it was kind of like, Hey, the height doesn’t really have anything to do with the volume. Actually. It’s all about touch and it’s all about the grip and it’s about the speed behind the stick. So yeah, that was a dope, especially that feature right there. I really enjoyed that. And then our opening licks that year, you know that that yeah, just like
Dan Schack (00:12:47):
Crazy. Yeah, it was crazy. It was a good year. You know, it was a good year. We ended up with seven snares, but overall that drum line sounded, sounded really good. And I have always appreciated you putting good drum lines on blasts, like through grid book. I mean, at this point you all have a very major following considering you’re not a company you’re more of a, a brand influencer. But I know you have like 50 K followers just on IG and you’re always posting like cadets 14, you know, all these drum mines that you were like, I really like these, I captured good content, but I wanna hear like, you know, not to, to get so far in the Anns, but like where, and when did grid book start? What was your intention starting that off? Was it all about capturing content? Was it all about the marketing? Was it about education? Cause I feel like you all have five or six legs of what you do. So like when you started, what was it like? This is what grid book’s gonna be.
Mark Perrett (00:13:41):
Yeah. so like rewind back John Lura, who is co-founder of grid book with me. Yes. Him and I marched in drum court together at keel sound drum. And, and after we aged out him and I stayed friends ironically he started dosing me and I was like trying to hit him up and hang out. And he like refused. I don’t know why. Like he never wrote me back. And I was like, may I screw this guy? Like he doesn’t wanna hang out. It’s all good, this whatever. And then like a year later he hits me up and he is like, Hey there’s a party in Orlando with some old teal cats you want to go? And I was like, okay. So we went and hung out in Orlando and on the drive back was basically, I was telling him I was in architecture school at the time, which is like a whole other story.
Mark Perrett (00:14:35):
But while I was in school for that, I wanted to start my own company and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was just like, I feel like I have a lot of skills and it’d be really cool to open a studio someday in the future. So he’s like, well, why don’t you do it now? I’m like, what? There’s no, like that’s not possible. Like what are you talking about? He’s like, I dunno, let’s do it. I’ll do it with you. So I’m like, well, what would we do? So then the whole ride back was like a two and a half hour drive with traffic. We were just talking about what could this be? And so we saying, we could teach drum lessons and we could like create cool videos. And I have a background now as an architecture school doing freelance, like design work.
Mark Perrett (00:15:23):
And I was like, let’s just do everything. So the name that I had come up with for my studio at the time was final designs studios. Like you come to us and we’ll help you create the final design. And he’s like, I love it. Let’s do it. Let’s go get business cards made right now today. So I’m like, don’t tow with my emotions. Like I’m, I’m about this. He’s like me too. Let’s go. So we literally drove straight to, Kinko’s got like free Google phone number and made business cards for final design studios at that moment. And so at the same time, he’s like, Hey, now that we’ve kind of rekindled, you should come teach with me at this local high school that I’m teaching at Jada w Mitchell high school, which is like a local high school here in Tampa bay, Florida area.
Mark Perrett (00:16:18):
So we actually, two things were happening at the same time. One, we were doing freelance furniture, design, web design logo, and branding, literally anything. It was like, you got brought I have a company let’s go I’m the guy. Yeah. But then I would show up and start teaching with him at this high school. We’re there, we’re teaching the kids. And I’m like, if you guys wanna really get better, you need to start gritting like gritting is the way yes, we have our fundamentals packet. Yes. Da, da, da. But the supplemental thing that every like marching drama needs to be doing a hundred percent to bring it to the next level is gritting. And they’re like, what’s that? I’ve never heard of that. I’m like, you guys haven’t heard of gritting, oh John, I’m so upset with you. How have you not taught them this?
Mark Perrett (00:17:12):
So I started writing out grids for them and giving it to them every week. And the kids who were practicing it got way better and the who are not were stale. So but like finally I was like, man, we should just take grids and, and put ’em in a book. And John’s like, there’s no way that doesn’t exist. There’s gotta be, I don’t know a grid book out there somewhere. So I told the kids, you know, I, I love writing these grits for you guys, but you should go find a book on griding. And there’s the bill Bachman rudimental logic series that has a little section on griding. Even in that book, it says like, this is a huge can of worms that like, could not possibly ever be opened or conquered. So they go online, they look, there’s no grid book. They’re like that doesn’t exist.
Mark Perrett (00:18:05):
So light bulb, John and I are like, we have to make a book of grids. So we took a year. This was in 2011. So 2011, we took the year to really think about how we wanted to put the grids in a book for it to make sense. And I’m talking, it was like mad scientists hanging out at 3:00 AM, like in living room. Like, well, what about this? What about that? And we finally took that year, wrote the book, the money that we had made from final design studios, making like beer pong tables for college kids. We bought our first set of grid books. And we said, let’s go to w G I finals. We were like, what’s the highest concentration of people who are interested in this. Let’s go to WGI finals. There’s a ton of people there. If we sell any of them, we’ll know that there’s something to this.
Mark Perrett (00:19:02):
And we could kind of turn this into a brand. And we went and sold out in the first day. Wow. It was insane. Like we showed up where the new kids on the block, I’m like in the merch tent looking around and it’s like, Pearl, Yamaha, like all these huge companies that I’ve idolized my whole life. And I’ve like, I’m sharing a booth with all star percussion which shout out to Don flu. He was, he was like, nice enough to let us share 10 by 10 with him. So we had this little tiny sliver in the WGI tent in 2013. So 2012, like the book came out and we were selling it to friends and stuff. 2013, we officially released it like debuted at WGI sold out in the first day and almost got kicked out because the amount of people that were trying to come in and see what this thing was, was so vast that they were like, this is a fire hazard.
Mark Perrett (00:20:09):
And they ended up giving us two 10 by 10 boots down by the Pearl booth at the end with all the, you know, the big companies. Wow. Cause it was, it was crazy. And that moment was really special for us because we knew that we could help people. And that’s kind of the main mantra of grid book. It started as I want to help my high school kids that I’m teaching, they got better. Then, you know, it’s like, we could definitely make this a bigger thing and teach more people and help more people with this. So after after we left there, we kind of came back home, didn’t sell another book for a year. It was like, what is happening? You know, like we had an online store and we had an Instagram, but we didn’t know how to really like use the platform and you know, it’s confusing.
Mark Perrett (00:21:08):
So then we went back the next year to WJ finals. And again, like chaos, we sold out of all the books. We’re like take backwards, like crazy. We’re like, how do we do this? Like, how do we do this all the time? Like this should be every day, you know, how can we get this experience at the booth to happen back home? And that is when it, like, it really took off. We found that in the booth that here’s the transaction, a student comes up, painted in makeup, you know, didn’t make finals is coming to the vendor tent to hang out and they come to the booth and I’m like, Hey, what’s up? How’s it going? They’re like, Hey, how’s it going? They see, we have drums that they can drum on. It’s like, you want a drum? Yeah. Let’s drum. All right, cool. Give them some sticks.
Mark Perrett (00:22:01):
Do you know what gritting is? No, I’ve never heard of that. Oh man. Gritting is really cool. You’re gonna like this. Check this out. Open the book. All right. So check this out. We’ve got this now. I’m now like teaching what it is. All right here. I’m gonna play it for you. Now you try. Oh, okay. See how you did this though. Like, you’re playing like this, like try to play a little like this. Let’s try to separate, you know, and I’m teaching and now they’re learning. And then they’re like, what book is this? This is amazing. I need to get this book. And then they, and then they buy the book. So that was how we were like, we gotta recreate that special moment of teaching and learning on this weird Instagram thing that at the time was very new. Like when we started doing the like grid book stuff, we weren’t able to look at anything.
Mark Perrett (00:22:53):
There was like obviously back in the day there was snare science.com. Oh my Lord. Not on Instagram though. That was like, you know, forum based like archaic AOL instant messenger style. And then there was grid univers, which was, do you, do you remember grid university? Yeah. I think his name is Kevin Chonos he’s from yeah. Yeah. He’s from Jersey. Yeah. Yeah. So those were like kind of the biggest things when we were now kind of at this climax of, we gotta start making content. So we started doing red book live every Monday. We would use like the livestream feature of, of Instagram. And I would just teach lessons, free lessons every Monday. Like, Hey, what’s up you guys today, we’re gonna talk about accent tap today. We’re gonna talk about this grid. You know, let us know what you want to learn and we’ll do that next Monday.
Mark Perrett (00:23:50):
Yeah. And people really love that. Like at times we would have thousands of people, like literally one time we had like 3000 people on our lives and I was like, this is insane. And so that was the, the whole mantra was how can we inspire people to just get excited about drumming in general? How can we teach people to just like elevate the culture? Cause you know, you’ve got the really good people and there’s a very, very, very small percentage of that. And then the majority of people are not very good in what we do as far as like the disparity between the highest elite players and then just everyone else. Yep. Which, you know, disclaimer, that’s totally cool. You know, not everyone’s supposed to be you this elite thing, but that’s the, that’s
Dan Schack (00:24:47):
The reality with any high level activity is you, like you said, you have your, you have the NBA players, couple hundred of ’em and then you have millions and millions of amateur basketball players who are not, not NBA players or, and are probably never gonna play in the NBA. So I think that’s baked into anything that is like at the highest
Mark Perrett (00:25:06):
Level. Right, right. Yeah. So my goal was like, how can we help the people who don’t have access to an instructor don’t have access to educational materials? Like how can we, what do they need and how can we help them become, you know, like the NBA player of this thing that we do, how can we help people make the line? You know, how can we help? How can we help? And that is where the basis of all of our content came from. So I would say one of the most like popular things that we did was can you play this challenges? So I would pick something and I would record myself and I would play it and then it would go can you play this with like a big explosion to me? And then I would just play something. And so, you know, you’re like laying on the couch, chilling, flipping through Instagram and then boo, can you play this?
Mark Perrett (00:26:06):
And then this dude is something. And you’re like, oh, let me see if I can play that. And then pick up the six. And now that it like got people to post and we were getting posted and tagged and stuff all the time. And that just sort of grew into us going out and recording groups, which I feel like I’m talking a lot, but I guess that’s the point of this. Of course it is. Yes. We were at a point now where we were selling products online. So we had written a couple books. The culture was like growing, like crazy people are tagging us in, can you play challenges? And I was writing etudes and putting Aude out and people were playing them and it was like this really cool culture that was building around grid book. And then I was, was like, dude, we should go to like DCI, Atlanta and record some drum lines and make some lot videos.
Mark Perrett (00:27:10):
Cuz I think that would be something people wanna see. And he was like, cool, well we know Colin, like John marched, Madison Scouts when Colin McNut was there. So John has a connection to, and, and he was like, I’m sure Colin would let us hang out with the cadets. You know? So let’s, let’s ask him so hit up Colin, like, Hey, we’re gonna come up to Atlanta for DCI Atlanta. Is it cool if we like, just come out and hang out, record you guys. And he’s like, oh yeah, come on down. So that was in 2012 and we went out and we recorded our first, like a day with the cadets and had no idea like we’re recording on our phones and our iPads, no equipment like literally shirts off on the field, just walking around. And then I pieced it together. I had to teach myself final cut pro cause I had no idea how to edit like video, put that video on YouTube and it blew up and people were like, please God, make more of this.
Mark Perrett (00:28:11):
This is the dopest thing. And I don’t know if you remember, like back in the day, lot videos that would come out from like Vic first were like 30 seconds. Yep. And so this was an hour and a half long and a lot of people told me, no, one’s gonna watch this. Like no one, like you should cut, do little cutdowns of like the snare features. I’m like, no, I want them to see walking drenched and sweat with the water bottle, broken, hanging off and trying to get your base drum harness and running into stuff. That’s what I want you to see. And so yeah, people really resonated with that and that kind of started our mini documentary series that we now do called a day with series. And yeah, we, we have tons of a day with, started doing it with WGI groups, started doing it with like, we went and did a day with Chino Hills high school. We, we captured a day with the cadets 2013. So like we got the 2013 season, which Fred Sanford. Yeah, another they’re one of my favorite years. Kind of for the same reason, like as the 2019 year with crown, like the way they were approaching the instrument was just really awesome. It just
Dan Schack (00:29:25):
Is like, I mean, in the last 10 years, you know, we’re talking about 2011 kind of being when you really activate on the brand and the approach. And it’s like in the last 10 years, it just feels like you all are a real staple. And I mean, I, what, what I come away with hearing that is the savviness of what you and John kind of what you had in your minds, looking at what was out there, looking at maybe gaps in the marketplace and filling it. And I feel like something I’ve spoken about on this show specifically is like marching arts. Are it education? This is an educational thing, education education, right. And, and you guys are definitely at the root of that. I mean, your, your, your mantra is to educate students on something that you feel is fundamental, but it’s a business you’ve turned this into a real business.
Dan Schack (00:30:18):
And I guess what has set apart from others in this way, it was it time and place. Was it a series of decisions is that you are more equipped to run a business than other, I feel like you as a person and John as well, but he’s, he’s not as much a spokesperson as you are. As you’ve divulged to me in private. But I, I feel like what has been different for you? Like you have all these skills, man, you can drum, you can edit video, you can speak and teach. You have business savvy you’ve self-published books. I mean, your technical skills are long and wide. So it’s like, how did you get yourself to this place? Was it just time? Like talk to me about the, the process behind that.
Mark Perrett (00:31:05):
Yeah. So I would say, well thank you by the way. That’s awesome. Very flattering. Of course. So I would say something about me personally, like mark per and I get it from my mama which if my mom’s birthday today, I was hoping I get to say this so happy birthday, mom, I love you. Oh, happy birthday. I know she’ll listen to this. So like it, I kind of get a lot of my vision and perspective and life skills and outlook on life from my mom who I love in the door and is an awesome human being. She always would, whenever I would have an issue, she would always be like, well, let’s find the solution. I’m like now with anxiety and you know, like depression and I’m upset, nah, I’m a great teenager. And I was like, okay, you know, it’s calm now.
Mark Perrett (00:32:02):
Let’s find the solution. It’s not you. Every problem has a solution. So over time kind in my upbringing, I am obsessed with solutions. I love it. I love solutions. If there’s a problem, I wanna figure out why, why is it a problem? Who is it a problem for? Where’s the problem coming from? How can we fix the problem? How is the been fixed in the past? What’s the solution, you know, and in doing this, if there’s ever a roadblock that we run into, I’m pumped. I’m like, okay, I’m about the new, I’m about to learn something new. And I’m genuine in that feeling where I, I feel sometimes. And, and it hasn’t always been that way. Like previous versions of myself has run into roadblocks and stopped and been upset and not, you know, gone in that direction. But I, I guess when I was in drum core, I got a little more of that tenacity.
Mark Perrett (00:33:02):
I was surrounded by a lot of old school cats. So they were like, what’s a, what is a problem? Like we got, yes. Yeah, exactly. There are no problems we gonna keep going. So I kind, you know, I got some of that influence of like, like I’m just gonna barrel through whatever is happening. But then when I got into architecture school, I was surrounded by a lot of professors who I would sit with and I would pick their brain. And the way that they thought about stuff was really outside of the box for how I would think about it. So the mix of my drumming culture and the mixture of my architecture culture, when I got out, I felt like I just knew how to use the internet. I knew how to leverage other people. I knew how to ask questions. I’m the kind of guy that will look on the like 27th page of Google server.
Mark Perrett (00:34:00):
Like I’m going through all the, all the pages to figure it out. And that is a rule of life that I have which some people listening to this might know this rule rule, number nine, figure it out. So rule number nine is figure it out and you are able to figure something out. You become the leader of that thing where other people might not try to figure something out and let it be a roadblock, or try to rely on getting answers from other people who have figured it out. The leaders of the world are the ones who rule number nine, figure it out. I guess like the final part on this is persistence. So I watched a video of will Smith, who I had no idea will Smith was such an awesome philosopher, but will Smith is the man. Like he has some amazing inspirational thing and it changed my life.
Mark Perrett (00:35:04):
And I don’t really talk about this often. So I’m glad that I’m able to talk about this now, but I know the moment where I switched into this person that could do anything. And it was when I watched this video and in the video, he was saying that no one will ever outwork him. Like other people might be more talented. There’s a difference between talent and skill. And he has all these different things, but he was like I’m ready to die for what I believe in. And I’m, I’m genuinely like I’m ready to die for real, for what I believe in. And the metaphor he used was if I get on a treadmill and you get on a treadmill and the goal is to see who can go the longest either I’m going to die or you’re getting off the treadmill first. And that struck me so hard. I was like, it doesn’t matter who or what is on the treadmill.
Mark Perrett (00:36:08):
I’m gonna walk farther. And so this persistence I feel is what has kept grid book through all the craziness, cuz it is definitely not like awesome all the time through everything, whether we’re not selling books anymore, you know, not making money, not paying bills. The lights have gotten shut off at the studio multiple times. I haven’t made payments on my car and almost got repo. There’s been real, crazy moments here, but I’m not dead, which is kind of morbid to say, but like, you know, I’m just like, I’m okay. So I’m just gonna keep going. And eventually as long as I’m doing it in a methodical and meaningful and thoughtful way, I’m gonna make it out of any situ
Dan Schack (00:36:59):
That’s dope. That’s super dope. I mean, I think that’s huge because it’s like, what do you have control over your effort, your network, your open mindedness, your problem solving things that you can actually attend to and improve. There is a set talent we’re all born with. There’s a, a set version of us that we can only get so far with, but there’s also those things that you can intervene on to ensure that you are rising beyond maybe your means or your inborn talent or what you were given. I wanna ask you about the highs and lows because well, first of all, is this your full-time job?
Mark Perrett (00:37:45):
Yes. when I got out of architecture school, well, architecture school was a crazy time because I was in architecture school getting a master’s degree. I was running grid book. I started another company called the urban conga, which was like the design firm in Tampa bay. I was working at sprint part-time like selling cell phones and then I was doing freelance work on the side. So I like did not sleep. I was working, take, taking advantage of, of my youth and was just like working super hard at all these things. And then when I realized that nothing was taking off, I had to eliminate all other things. So I I made the decision after I graduated to not pursue architecture. Like I had a firm that I was gonna go and make a cushy job and do that whole thing. Yeah. And I was really good at that.
Mark Perrett (00:38:48):
Like I loved architecture and I was one of the top people in my class at the alpha high honors medal. Like, you know, I did, I did the architecture thing, but I just loved band more. And so when I got out of school, I graduated with my degree in 2013, that’s when we like, were like, all right, we need to be taking this book and making it real serious. And then I ended up kind of like stopping everything and going all in on grid book. And I actually quit everything and was like, if I don’t make money with grid book, then I’m just gonna not eat. Like I’m gonna make this happen. So took the, and a very humbling thing happened. We didn’t make enough money to sustain life. And I was like, what am I going to do? Like, I refused to get a side job, but it got so bad that I was like, okay, like I have to get a job.
Mark Perrett (00:39:50):
So I got a job at target and it was awesome. Like I in and I applied for target and they’re like, it says, here you have a master’s degree in architecture. Like, what hell are you doing here? There’s like, you know, high school kids here, like, this is crazy. I was like, Hey, I’m just trying to make a book. Like I’m gonna come in and I’m gonna do, do my best job. And it was awesome. Like I went in there and got like promoted 14 times and was happy and doing my thing. And that, that job helped me pay my bills and do everything while we tried to figure out the money side of grid book. But I would say from 2016 to today, this has been my full-time gig.
Dan Schack (00:40:38):
Wow. So talk to me about the highs and lows now. You know, what, what was the low point with this? Was it not having the money to pay four grid books and now it’s kind of hemorrhaging and it’s costing you money. Was it a roadblock with teaching? What was that, that, that low point and then vice versa. When you think back on your experience, what, what is something that made you kind of realize that you had, you know, whether you say made it, or at least created something that was gonna not only sustain you financially, but had longevity and was rewarding to you. So let’s, I always like to do negative first so that we end with a positive. Yeah,
Mark Perrett (00:41:21):
Absolutely. So, I mean, we don’t have enough time to talk about all the bad, cause there’s definitely a lot of bad and, and you know, like bad is the crazy word. Cause all failure is really just opportunity and disguise. Like my mindset is anything that happens. That’s not great. It’s a learning experience. I’m gonna work on it. I’ll make it through it. It’ll go one way or the other and we’ll keep going. But things that like definitely were kind of apocalyptic, two grid book one is actually not what you would think. So there has always been money struggle with selling stuff. Which I guess I’ll give you two big ones. One, I’m gonna talk about the architect of social media and how, when that changed from the chronological order, how that demolished our reach. But the other thing was we call it the great fire of 2018 and the great fire was our hard drive.
Mark Perrett (00:42:31):
Our grid book, hard drive that had literally everything we had ever made. Our business documents, our lot videos, our project files, which, you know, like, I’m not sure how much video editing you do, but having the project file with all the assets and folders losing that is devastate. And we lost everything. The hard drive died and everything we had done. Like we were like, well, let’s just put it all on one hard drive and that’ll be easy, cuz then we can just get whatever we want that hard drive died and everything we had ever made since the beginning of the company. So from 2011 to 2018 was gone and we were like what it happened on black Friday. So it was like black Friday, this like biggest time of the year let’s make some sales. I got all my stuff ready to go, hard drive died.
Mark Perrett (00:43:27):
So like all the prep work that I made for social media to go out over the next couple months through the season gone, like, like everything gone. And so we sent it out to a like, you know, digital ninjas restore restoration, and they only got back like 0.7% of it. It was like a couple pictures from Instagram kind of thing. And we were just like, dude, I’m know how to bounce back from this. Like there were projects that were not edited that we wanted to make. We had just recently like kind of got a huge momentum on YouTube and was making money from YouTube. So all these projects that we were putting now that we’re gonna make money from YouTube gone. And so all of our marketing stuff that we use to put out and sell the books, like all the PSS illustrator files just that was gone.
Mark Perrett (00:44:29):
So it was kind of shock and awe, like, I don’t know how I’m gonna bounce back from this. I went to Instagram. Luckily they have a feature that allows you to download all of your content at one time. So like you go in, Hey, I want all my content. You tell, ’em give a, your email and they send you your whole archive and it gives you all the videos and all the pictures in raw format or, you know, compressed format that they have. So I just took that stuff and started remaking content as best I could. And we had to completely reconfigure our, our, of how we were gonna continue. Cuz at that time, everything we were doing was media based. We were putting out etudes for people to learn and that got eyeballs on us then that would direct traffic to our Shopify store.
Mark Perrett (00:45:28):
But then we were like, you know what, let’s actually pivot from doing this. We’ve got a really nice studio that we’re in. So let’s try to stop relying so much on content creation and let’s try to do live in person events. And so we tested it out in 2018. Well I guess it was 2019. So this black Friday 2018, then we had just a crazy back half of the year 2019 started. And when did coronavirus start? Was that was Feb February, March, 2020. Yeah. Okay. So 2019 happened and that was when we were like, let’s start trying to get people to come here to the studio and do like camps and we’ll make money that way. Cuz people will pay to come learn here. So we did a couple camps and it was wildly successful. P people came out, they you know, paying like $150 each to come to this camp.
Mark Perrett (00:46:40):
It was a multi-day camp. So we made we marketed to the parents saying how beautiful Clearwater was and come out and drop your kid off. We’ll take care of and teach ’em some drums. And then you can go jet ski and like, you know, very thoughtful in the way that we marketed that. So then we were like, all right, cool. We’re going all in on the in person thing in 20 20, 20, 20 hits all in person, things are canceled where it’s like, no, like we, we had literally set dates the whole way through the year and we, we, you know, we were calculating like, cool, if we do this, if we do that, like we’re gonna, we’re gonna pass six figures in growth this year. Like this is, this is our year. We got it up on the board. We’re gonna push market this way.
Mark Perrett (00:47:33):
Da, da, da have the whole thing planned and then yeah, everything was canceled. So that was another devastating blow, but also a blessing in disguise cuz we finally launched grid book, percussion and academy, which is now like I would say 90% of the revenue that we have is from our online membership service, I guess like going back to the second thing when the second like bad thing is when Instagram and Facebook switched from a chronological order and having access to all your people, to throttling you and your connection to your followers and not having you go in the order of posting that changed everything for us. And I didn’t think that that would affect us. Like I saw the changes coming. I’m like, oh, okay cool. But the way that we made money was I would make a post. And a lot of people, it, it would go out to all of our followers.
Mark Perrett (00:48:49):
So, you know, we got 30,000 people now it’s going out to 30,000 people. Boom. They see it. They come to our channel, they make their way to our website and traffic is just flowing and we were selling books like hot cakes. It was awesome. Then when they switched that it was like the F got turned off, right. Nobody was going to the site in the more nobody was buying stuff cuz they didn’t know about it. Like the awareness had gone away completely. And if you wanted to get in front of people, you had to pay. So we had to start doing like paid ads to get our stuff out to our own people. And that was really for frustrating. So the, the hardest part about that is I’m not a business person. Like I, I would say if there’s one thing I suck out the most it’s knowing business, like I’m an educator and I need to eat food.
Mark Perrett (00:49:49):
So I, by nature, I need to figure out how people give me money for teaching. Yeah. And that pushed me into learning more about business. So when the change happened, there were a couple months where we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t know that the algorithm and that changes why people opt buying stuff. So after we figured that out and started running paid ads and tried to get back out to people also we upped our post our posting schedule from like three times a day to 12 times a day. So at one point grid book was hosting 12 pieces of content every day we were doing paid ads and then we started getting sales again. So that was a, a crazy time.
Dan Schack (00:50:45):
I can’t wait to get about grid book in the metaverse that’s gonna be so dope. I’m sure you’ve got a plan.
Mark Perrett (00:50:51):
We’re always trying to look at the new stuff that’s going out. But it’s pretty, it’s pretty exhausting. Like all my focus and energy I’m, I’m super tunnel visioned, but I’m building the online school right now.
Dan Schack (00:51:03):
So you’d never think the Instagram thing would be such big impact, but that totally makes sense as to why and, and how you have to wedge yourself into the, the attention economy after the chronological algorithm got changed. So in terms of a high, when you were like, I am there or we have crossed the threshold into success, was it a pay? Was it the YouTube monetization? Was it your bank account? Was it feedback from a kid? What, like what was like the moment when you were like, this is real, this is legitimate and this is going to last,
Mark Perrett (00:51:42):
Man. What a good question. This is awesome. By the way, just to kinda step, step out, third person, look at the camera. This is great. So the, the thing about, I don’t know, like just so there’s no confusion. I would say as of today we still don’t have the money thing figured out, like we’re making it by and we’re paying our bills, but there’s no, there definitely no surplus. Like we have visions to get a facility and like I want a grid book facility where it’s like a warehouse with housing and people can come in rehearse. And I want to have a, like an indoor field house where anyone who wants to come in March, like we’re gonna make videos in there. Like I have definitely like the grandiose idea of what I want this to be. So we are so super far away from that.
Mark Perrett (00:52:41):
And that is what I’m really working towards right now is figuring out how we can in the most respectful way. Cuz as you know, these people, our customers are broke, like trying to figure out to how to make money and continue the growth of what we do while still keeping what we do affordable and sensical to our clientele. But the height of what we do, I would say has come in the form of respect from other people like and I’ll give you a couple moments. One moment was being at WGI finals and I’m not it’s sometimes I see myself as like mark Perret from the gr series as that guy over there, like I’m just in this room by myself all the time, like being a geek and making videos like, and then I turn it on. When I get on the camera to be like, what’s up, you guys mark Perret today.
Mark Perrett (00:53:43):
We’re learning about this. So I, I don’t really think of it sometimes as like me being, I guess like a celebrity or even that people know me. Like I forget. And then I went to w G I finals and I got out of my car and I’m like, cool. You know, we’re here, man. I’m excited to see some drum lines. And I walked maybe two feet from my, my car and someone’s like, oh you’re Marre you are Marret oh my God, can I have a picture with you? And I’m like, yeah, yes you can. This is cool. And I take a picture and then someone else comes over and they’re like, yo, can I get a picture with you too? And I’m like, yeah, absolutely. And then the next person then the next and then like got out that I was in the parking lot.
Mark Perrett (00:54:28):
I’m I’m like, not even in the lot. I’m like in my car, two feet away from my car in like the back parking lot behind the tent and people are swarming me. And for an hour, I’m taking selfies with people and they’re telling me how I’ve changed their lives. And like when you set this, like, cuz we do a lot of motivational mentorship stuff on top of the, like the drumming. So people are like, man, when you said this, that changed my life. And I became a leader because of you. Like I made the drum line, I tried out because of you and I, this and just my heart grew and grew and grew. And I was like, okay, this is so much bigger than us. And this has become bigger than like what we could have even imagined. Like this is insane. I’m telling you for like an hour.
Mark Perrett (00:55:15):
It, it was like, it felt like 10 hours. I was like, are, is this even allowed? This is crazy right now. And, and then the respect from the other people that I look up to. So like the bio guys Ralph and Harve, mad respect for them and what they do. And they love grid book and we’ve, you know, collaborated with them and worked with them. The companies who would reach out to us, like all the Promark Evans crew, shout out to Kyle Keely they were just like, anything you need, we’ll send it to you. Just like, it’s all good. Like we just want you to have what you need to do, what you do. Cuz we love it. I’m like what? This is crazy. Brian soccer at Vic at Vic birth, Brian like literally has in the DM spin, like y’all are changing the like, thank you so much for what you do.
Mark Perrett (00:56:10):
And I’m like, Brian, I love you, man. This is awesome. Even recently, like in the lot I’m hanging out in the lot, I, I would say one of my favorite drum lines is the 2000 cavalier drum line. So like in my head, the cavalier have always been like the pedestal drum line, like, oh the cavalier. And I’m hanging out in the lot. Well I think last year, this past, this year, this like we just had a season. So 20, 21, I’m literally just standing in the lot for the cavalier. And I mean, they look badass in the uniforms. Like they still have kind of more of the traditional uniform going on. I was like, man, this is freaking cavalier. Like this is so cool. And the staff cuts them and give ’em a water break and they turn around. They’re like, you’re mark. Perret like the cavalier. So like, dude, you’re mark per I’m like you’re in a Cav here.
Mark Perrett (00:57:12):
So, and I can go on and on like the respect, the respect I’m talking to you right now. Like what, that’s crazy, you know what I mean? Like it’s just cool. People really love what we do. And I think that is the height. Like we can help so many people and that we do it in a way that is respected. Cause I could definitely be out there making tens of thousands of videos a year and being like, Hey guys, and people being like, you know, that guy’s a fraud or where ever which we do get, so we got the haters. Like we got the grid book haters out there, but I would say the mass majority is all love. And, and I do have one more. So one more is when we went to Hawaii. So John and I got hit it up from the university of Hawaii.
Mark Perrett (00:58:08):
Shout out to Gwen, loved Gwen. She like reached out, was like, Hey, we love grid book. And every year we have a clinician that comes out and we want you and John to come be clinicians here in Hawaii and we’re gonna fly you out. And then you’ll get to the like 39th annual rainbow invitational marching band festival as percussion judges. Is that cool with you? And we’re gonna pay you. I’m like, lemme think about that. Yeah, I’m gonna do that. So we got flown out to Hawaii, put up hotel, paid to do it and got to do a clinic, had like 150 students from all kinds of different high schools in the area come to the university of Hawaii band room, got to teach the clinic. That was super dope. Again, the respect, the respect people were like, yeah, the respect sucks.
Mark Perrett (00:59:10):
Oh man. It was just so cool. And then the culture of Hawaii is dope. Like everyone’s super nice. And they took us to all the cool spots and all the instructors there, like really dope people. And I’m at the top of one of the mountains. Like we had a free day and we went and like climbed a mountain, which was definitely a bad idea for me being outta shape. But I was at the top of the mountain covered sweat and I was there and I’m looking out into the ocean and I’m like, I’m here. Like if there’s ever like a made it moment, I’m like, I have been paid to be at the top of a mountain in Hawaii and I’m going to teach a clinic tomorrow and I’m going to, you know, be able to spread the happiness and the value of percussion as a lifestyle to other people. And then I’m gonna get to go home and keep doing it. And that’s just a real special thing. I, I wake up every day of my life, ecstatic to do what I do. And that was always the goal. And I’m, I’m here. Like I do that every day. Dude.
Dan Schack (01:00:26):
That’s so freaking dope, man. I mean, it, it definitely, you know, it resonates with me, like my, my process, my, I guess, career with this stuff, cuz like you know, I was trying now I’m from Connecticut, you know, I did five years, the Connecticut hurricanes and it was all about the cadets. I was going out to the cadets and I got cut from the cadets four years in a row straight, straight, no. Yeah, I was there 7, 8, 9, 10. And they were just like, I don’t and I, I honestly don’t know why it’s all good. I’m I’m very, I’m very cool with those who have cut me now, which is hilarious to go back to, to go back to your stories, like, you know, call McNut, Tom monks, Jake gull, Sean McElroy, Chris BA all these people that were like gods and I was totally scared, you know, like trying out for those groups.
Dan Schack (01:01:13):
I was just trying to emulate like the vibe, but not like actually the mechanics of it all. So it was like, I don’t know. I had people when I was trying out and getting cut, they were like, so you’re a vet, what do I do? I was like, I’m not a vet of this group because I just had to look about me cause I was like very into it. But I was just getting jacks like straight up just year after year going back. And then, you know, I basically slid into the cavalier spot. I marched there 10 and 11. Yeah. I don’t know if you know, but I, you know, marched the two years there, I basically slid in actually Brian stocker was teaching me United, had the connection with Tim Maynard from 2000 cadets to go back to the beginning of our conversation and was like, this dude is a badass and he’s gonna serve you like that.
Dan Schack (01:01:51):
And I, I did honestly came in super heavy, came in super, just, just ready to kick. And that was not the vibe of the Midwest drum core. And you know, yeah. I mean, you know, it was just did different and I brought a different energy to them and luckily, you know, got the section leader spot in 11 and then all of a sudden, like that whole experience was just like, oh, you won over. Like, it was so, so quick. And so not like about that, like we didn’t really like try to win. We were just like trying to be the best ever basically. And like that drum mine was, you know, fantastic. And I was like, I just caught the wave basically at the beginning of Mike Macintosh’s career there. But like again, you know, Mike Macintosh dude, it was so sick and like the blue blue coats, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 are like some of my favorite drum lines.
Dan Schack (01:02:41):
And to be able to carry on that lineage of, of talent and style was like such an honor. But like what I was thinking of when you were talking was like, we went to Japan between the 10 and 11 season, Yamaha flew us out to Japan. And it was like, you know, I had just like been in this like DCA Corps for five years, you know? And I don’t mean in a negative way, but like DCA, DCA is not marks te sound. So we’re not, it’s not high profile, like the blue devils or whatever. So yeah. You know, we’re in, we’re in Japan and all of a sudden we, we like drove from a city. We’re like, OK. Yamo, which is a main city. We drove about six hours into the mountains. And these like had little kids in a middle school, had the Cavalier’s uniform and they did this whole like percussion thing with like knives and like a kitchen.
Dan Schack (01:03:28):
It was like, I seen something like that. Maybe you probably have the Japan loves drum porn and they especially love the cavalier for, you know, whatever reason. But dude, it was like crazy. Like seeing the groups I was in being played on video in Japan, literally across the world and then like signing autographs and getting mobbed, like a celebrity, like you were saying at w J was just like, okay, like I have a platform. And then like the 2011 video in the middle of the summer went viral and has like 1.5 million views now. And like 1.5 million people have like seen my left hand turning or not turning. It was just like, okay. You know, like it’s just a lot of like things that we are doing that we, we can’t understand the impact of it, but I think what resonates is I really enjoy.
Mark Perrett (01:04:22):
I’ve obviously I’ve done my homework. So I’ve seen your videos and like watch you in the lot and yeah, you’re exactly what you said. Like the intensity that you bring behind, what like into the instrument is really
Dan Schack (01:04:35):
Dope. Thank you, dude. I mean, it’s just how I know how to do it. It was not, it was not something I really thought too much about other than like the drum lines I love are one and I, I’m not a musician. I mean, I am, but I’m not like I have two English degrees. I don’t read music like that. I mean, I read, I can, I can site read battery music, like a Savage, but like key signatures in theory. And no, I like have an English degree, you know? So it’s like, I don’t know, like the drum lines, I loved were ones that had an aesthetic and a vibe like that. And I think you’re talking about it too, is like, I am interested in the physical and visual part of what we do. I really put that as a high part of what I, and I’m like, I’m a choreographer now.
Dan Schack (01:05:20):
You know, like all the movement at crown is what I do. And at George Mason, I mean, obviously I’m the creative director, but also I’m the choreographer. And like, I just always wanted to look right. Like I really care about the look. So like, that was a big part of it. But like, I, I buy no means was like the best player, like the most mu best musician or like the most Finese like, it’s come more with age realizing like what I want outta the groups I teach that I personally have invested in. But man, like having a, having a video with a, a million and a half views, it’s just like, okay, like what is this? What is this all about? Or like people strangers commenting even to this day, my name or this and reading yourself in the comments. You’re like, okay, I gotta work with this a little bit.
Dan Schack (01:06:03):
And I have to take, I think, you know, for, for something that resonates with me, you’re saying it’s like taking that as a responsibility. You must take seriously because you, your words hold weight and the impact people. And like I’ve had students tell me, like I have students that are in the old guard which is the army of life and drum core. Tell me like the way that I taught them, gave them self confidence to, to make that group in audition for that group. They’re like, I didn’t have the self confidence to do that, but, and then I did and I made it, I was like, oh man, like this is someone who’s in the military. You know, there’s someone in, I highly revered drum line, you know, or like to have my students like Phil Andrews, who now teaches at the world class level or like a handful of students I’ve had.
Dan Schack (01:06:47):
Yeah. Phil is like Phil Savage, Savage player, Phil. He’s so awesome. So good. Yeah. He’s really good. And he’s such a unique person, like is himself. He is dude. And honestly man, like I’m, I’m so proud of him because like I start teaching him in 2013. He was, I think he was 15 years old. And like, he, he didn’t have the social skills he has now. You know, like we, we were like, dude, look up, you know, look into my eyes when I’m giving you information. It was like personnel and he was really young and like from a different background and we really had to drill that into him. And now he just moves with confidence. He’s very authentic to himself. He’s very much like able to that’s the that I like care about as a teacher, to be honest is like, I, I hate dirty drum lines and I hate whack looking drum lines.
Dan Schack (01:07:39):
Don’t get on. But like to have students come out of programs, I teach and do something with it or have like adopted or strengthened their personality or their self confidence is like like that’s, that’s a lot more important to me than, and that’s why I feel like a coach. I don’t necessarily see myself as a technician, even when I am. All I’m trying to do with is get the most outta you. The things you don’t know that you have, it’s like, you think you can only go to here because when you’re in your practice sessions by yourself, your brain is like I’m done. But when I’m in front of you like flexing on you and kind of drilling you, you have to elevate yourself to a higher level than you are really capable of. And that is not drum line stuff. That’s coaching. And that is like interaction.
Dan Schack (01:08:26):
And that’s like pedagogy and approach. And I feel like that can be taken to any area where there’s that interaction happening between someone with experience and someone who doesn’t. And I feel like that to go back to the grid book thing is like the average student doesn’t know what they don’t know. They don’t have a perception on what it’s gonna take to make a drum line that Cade like the cadets to make a drum line like Carolina, crown, and you’re peeling back the curtain and going here are the things that are gonna be expected of you if you expect to make it. And as much as to me griding is like, duh, like of course griding, cuz I, someone at some point was like, here’s the 16 oh grid and the five in the triple grid. And you need to know all this, the average student who’s in, you know, a corner of Mississippi, man. They don’t even know where to look necessarily. And they don’t. Yeah. So they need to be looked at like, you you’ve become this resource. And I, I guess I wonder like, you know, what kinda reach do you guys have? Is this an international reach? Is it mostly America? Like how, what, how have you spread yourself out to the marching arts on a global scale?
Mark Perrett (01:09:30):
So we have students from China, Japan, Australia Germany, the Netherlands the Philippines dude. We’re like huge in the Philippines. Yeah. It’s really weird. Like I look at my analytics and it’s like, the Philippines is like above the United States sometimes in just masses of people coming to our website. I need to go the there, I guess like cause yes. Yeah, but just the drumming culture out there has definitely been growing a lot. But yeah, it, we are international. Like we’re fricking everywhere. It’s insane to me still that the reach is that wide. But thank God for the internet because people are able to consume our content from anywhere.
Dan Schack (01:10:23):
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Dan Schack (01:12:07):
So dude, when I look at your stuff, like, you know, I, I’m mostly like I’ve, I’ve gotten down to just Instagram in terms of social media, just for my own, you know, health or whatever. And I, I delete, I
Mark Perrett (01:12:17):
Deleted all social media for like six months and it was one of the best things I ever did.
Dan Schack (01:12:23):
Yeah. I, I would like to even get rid of my personal Instagram. I, I wiped it pretty much clean and it’s just like a way I portal to the, the world. And I, you know, I do, I do some marketing stuff, you know, with the groups I work with. So it’s it’s necessary. But when I look at your guys’ stuff, man, it, it feels like you just have an expertise that people don’t have. So like how did you adopt to this current method of marketing and branding yourself of content creation, finding your voice? Cause I just feel like it’s so natural seeming and it feels like, you know, exact to do to get the reach that you currently have. How did you get here? Because it’s not inherent, especially in the marching world, man, the top people in our activity don’t have followings the way you have Paul Renick, Scott Johnson Tom Hanham like these older guys, like obviously Instagram’s not gonna be their portal of the world, but like you have amassed this huge following. And I just like wonder, like what were the steps that you went through to, to become an expert in social media marketing specifically, dude?
Mark Perrett (01:13:26):
Oh, I’m so excited to talk about this. Cause this is a, a big geeky part of my life is the, the reach, I guess. So I think of social media as a tool for like, I don’t ever try to think what can I do on social media to get more followers? I think what are issues that my people might are having? And if they were here with me, one on one in the room with me, how could I help them? And I forget about social media completely for a second. And I just go, you know, if I’ve got Timmy and he’s here and he has bad left hand, what content would I make or not even like, what would I say? What kinda thing would I teach for that? And then I write that down and then I go, what other issues are we having?
Mark Perrett (01:14:25):
And then I’m like, you know, what would be really great is if I could just put out an all call to the world and somehow connect with people and let them tell me what they need help with. So then I’m like, look at this great screwdriver, perfect for this screw that needs to go in the wall and the screwdriver being social media platforms. So then I’m like, cool. Social media is now a tool that allows me to get my voice out there. So I’m going to ask the people what they need. And then boom, PE like hundreds of entries would come in and people are like, I have self-doubt and I crack, and I’m really awesome in my bedroom. But the second I get in uniform and try to play in front of people. I freeze, how do I get past that? So I write that down.
Mark Perrett (01:15:21):
Actually I screenshot it. So I screenshot every single thing people say they want. And I put it in a folder. And then I think about how can two, I think two things. One is how I can help people. And then the other is how can this help us grow as a business? So the first thing I do is I say, okay this person needs help with confidence. That is mindset. So I’m gonna put that in my mindset folder. This person needs help with left hand that’s technique. I’m gonna put this in my technique folder. And I go through hundreds, hundreds, hundreds, hundreds of things. Now I have folders of mindset, technique, marching audition, prep, da da, da, da, da. Then I make products that answer those questions. And so then I put out free content that is short form. That is like, Hey, if you need help with confidence, here’s a video.
Mark Perrett (01:16:22):
And then the video is me being like, you know, I used to be unconfident back in the day, but now I’m a lot more confident because of this thing that I’ve learned. And now people are like, wow, that’s so cool. I’m gonna try that for myself. They try it. It works. And now they’ve gained trust in what we’re doing. So the free content that’s going out on social is helping. Then when I come out with the call to action, I’m like, Hey, so if you really like this mindset stuff, I actually have a book over here called drumline mindset. And it talks about all kinds of confidence building and blah, blah, blah, how to think about life and talent versus skill. And you know, if you’re interested in that kind of thing, check it out and then people go and purchase it. So I have rules.
Mark Perrett (01:17:04):
Like I have graphed out, I have a whole binder. And in that binder every year, I always think what kind of content creation am I gonna make? And I strategize for YouTube. I strategize at the time when we were doing it for Snapchat, I’ll strategize for Facebook. I strategize for Instagram and really make it tailored for each thing. So on that’s the old school cats. So I’m posting lot videos of like the older stuff and talking about, you know, playing the Heights and then over here on Instagram, that’s the more younger crowd. And I’m like, can you play this? You know, if you have confidence issues, you’re in high school, maybe you should try these things. Then on Snapchat, we started doing takeovers. So exclusively, if you followed us on Snapchat, you got to see the highest coolest prolific people just taken over every week.
Mark Perrett (01:18:01):
And we had a sign up for ’em and we, I would hit people up and be like, Hey, you know, Carolina, crown broken city, you know, duh, like hitting people up like those social media teams. Do you want to take over our Snapchat? It would be great exposure for you. We have like 5,000 followers on there right now. You’re gonna get really good exposure. Now takeovers are happening on Snapchat. So there’s this whole ecosystem that’s happening with social, using it as a amplification and a communication tool for growth, genuinely providing value as if they’re in the room with me and I hear your problem and I give you the answer. But then on the back end, everything kind of leading to the call to action, which is a product that been designed from the issue, not the other way around.
Dan Schack (01:18:55):
Right. Solution oriented. Yet again, to go back to your your, your sweet mother on her birthday. Shout out. Yeah.
Mark Perrett (01:19:03):
Birthday mom. Yeah.
Dan Schack (01:19:05):
That’s dope. That’s super cool, man. You’re, you’re very savvy with that. I mean like that’s, that’s so targeted knowing the demographic, knowing who’s viewing it, you’re not being lazy. You’re not just reposting. You’re not just syncing everything. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, the what, you know, this that’s a marching arts kind of marketing 1 0 1 is sort of like the least effort the best. And I feel like you’re totally realizing the way that marketing, not only, but generates income kind of related to that, like what was the process like starting your own business? Cause that’s like, I’m so envious and you know, in awe of people like yourself spoke recently to Matt, Verberg, who’s a good friend of mine over at lot riot. Matt is a good friend and you’re both Florida, Matt, which is dope. He’s in Mississippi now, but he Florida. Yeah. Team Florida. So I actually called this dude who was in the crowns airline. You probably know him. His name is Zach. And I called him Gator chops all summer. Yeah. Zach Martins, Zach Martins from infinity. Shout out Zach. That’s my boy. He’s so good. By the way. He’s amazing. So
Mark Perrett (01:20:10):
Zach, such a good drummer.
Dan Schack (01:20:13):
He is, he really is. And you know, the Gator chops thing was a complete compliment. So cause he, he can, he can play. So but I want to ask you like, dude, like how does someone just start a business? Like, I mean, you have this idea, but all of a sudden you you’re like self-publishing books, you have this like mechanism of social media, you have a team, you have these strategies, but it’s like, what was like the logistical hoops you had to jump through to start a business? Like what were some setbacks there? Because like, man, I, I would love to be, self-employed like, I want to, I wanna just do I want every single second of the day and just kind of think about big picture solutions to problems in a community that I have been embedded in for more than 50% of my life at this point 16 years. So it’s like, that sounds great. But also like our, our community is so niche, starting a business for March percussion is a failing endeavor. So like just talk to me a little bit about like what that took other than obviously like some bravery.
Mark Perrett (01:21:15):
Yeah. So it’s hard. Like the hardest part about what we do is definitely the business side of this thing. Cause we have points where we feel like we’re doing good and we’re selling things and it’s cool. And then it just stops. And then there’s always the scramble and the bills don’t care at all about you or how you feel or what day of the week it is the first exists and where’s the money. And so with starting the business at was kind of like a secondary thought, really? Like we had no idea what we were doing. Obviously I told you, we made final design studios that wasn’t legal in any way. We like literally just made business cards at Kinkos. And you know, that was like a thing then black Friday happened, man. I forget what year, but one of the black Fridays, we sold like $30,000 in one day of product.
Mark Perrett (01:22:24):
And we were like, what the is happening? Like yeah. Why like, yeah, how do we do this every day? Like this is insane. And when that happened, it was like, okay, this is like more than just the chunk change that we usually make. This is real. Like we need to get incorporated like how, exactly the same question. Like how do you actually become a business? I’m sure we’re gonna have to pay taxes on this. Like what is happening? So one of the first things we did was, but literally all self research John actually did hire, not hire. John did like a session with a CPA and they were like, you know, if you want me to come on board, then it’s gonna cost this much. But the peers, the places you need to go and kind of research yourself and like we did all of our own research.
Mark Perrett (01:23:28):
So one of the first things that we did is we decided to make, what’s called a fictitious name which is like your business, whatever you call your business is a fictitious name. And so we read, stirred our fictitious name with the state of Florida which was final designs studios. So officially with the state of Florida, final design studios was known as a we started as LLC cuz all the research that we did like becoming incorporated LLC partnership. I forget what the other one is. And so we became an LLC, we got a little sheet of paper that was like, you have to print this and put it up in your place of business. And that’s really all we knew. We didn’t know anything about like paying tax or what, how that even worked. And basically it legally stated that we could make money legally and sell products.
Mark Perrett (01:24:37):
So that was great. If someone wanted to go to the better business bureau and like look up our company, if would show that we were an accredited state, licensed entity in the state of Florida now it’s different in different states. And that’s like a whole other conversation cuz we started hiring people in other states and that’s a whole other conversation, which was crazy time for us. I but at one point we had like 12 employees at grid book and it went up, hit a glass ceiling and it all came crashing down. And now it’s back to just John and myself, but the get registered fictitious name. I that’s what we in Florida. I’m not sure in other places, but you have to like get your business registered. Then you have to know when the taxes are due. We do them quarterly.
Mark Perrett (01:25:39):
So every quarter we have to look at how much income we’ve made and then sort of determine how much from that we need to pay. And then we go, literally there’s a building that we go to and pay it. And we set up a Shopify store. So kind of the architecture of owning the business is you have to be legally certified to sell things. So take care of that. You have to have a way to get money from people so people can pay you through PayPal. They can pay you through Shopify. They could give you cash, you know, send you a check, whatever. We opened up a business checking account, which we make sure every single thing that comes in and out is through our checking account. So you have a PayPal money comes in from the PayPal and then goes into our bank.
Mark Perrett (01:26:36):
So like our business bank is like the holy grail of what we do. We have D front sources of revenue, so we will sell physical products. So we have a online Shopify store. We make a cool t-shirt shout out to grid, book apparel. And people will be like, Hey, that’s a cool shirt. Where do I get that? And we’re like, right over here, you go to our Shopify store, they purchase the shirt. We actually make the equipment here, ourselves. Everything’s all in house. So literally John comes to work, goes in, prints the shirt, dries, it folds it, ships it. And then that money goes to our business checking account. Then from there we have expenses and income and we have to like balance our checkbook every month to make sure that the money that’s coming in is able to cover the cost that we have up on the wall.
Mark Perrett (01:27:43):
We have like how much we need to make based on the things that we have so covered under the business is literally everything like all of the equipment that we have. There is a business loan that we got, which helped a lot, which was really cool. That was through PayPal. So if you need capital right up front to like PayPal is dope because PayPal will give you like a certain amount of money. You can use that now to kind of start up and get all your stuff off the ground. And maybe even that’s just what keeps your income so you can quit your job and spend and more time it like that’s the money that pays the bills while you’re building the business. But as people pay you for whatever service they pay you through PayPal, they take a percentage off of each transaction to pay off the loan.
Mark Perrett (01:28:43):
So if you have a good sales and it pays off the loan in the time that they say, then they offer you another loan and it’s more. And so if that’s been something that we’ve done, that’s kind of helped with the, the moving of capital within what we do is the, the business loans through PayPal. And then other than that is just, you have to have consistent funnels to bring the people who are out there needing a service into your store payment capture. And you’re legally able to take money. You’re paying your taxes. You are providing a service that people are paying for. You have a way for the payment capture to happen. And a final detail is if you like the detail of what you all offer will also dictate the kind of business entity stuff that you need to do.
Mark Perrett (01:29:47):
So if you’re teaching private lessons, what’s really cool is if you’re offering private lessons online, then now I am not a, what is it like, disclaimer, this is not professional advice. But it we found that if something is digital, like a digital product, you don’t have to pay taxes on it. You didn’t pay taxes on physical products. And so we were like, oh, okay, okay. We need to ramp up our digital sales. Now talking about publishing the books. So you have an idea, you put in a book, you want to sell it. We published all of our own books. We didn’t go to, you know, tap space or whatever. We just decided to like, literally a this book is published now. And then we went and purchased a detail too. At first, when we made the first grid book we purchased ISBNs.
Mark Perrett (01:30:56):
And so we went to the state registry of like book making and purchased ISBNs and we bought like 10 of them. And every time we published a book, we attached the ISBN and in the I forget what it’s called, but there’s like literally a book registry of the United States, like a library Congress type deal. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it literally has the grid book volume, one book one by mark pre and John Lavera official legal, you know, stated by the state that that book is a book that exists with the ISBN number after years of doing that, we realize that nobody care about that at all. So we stopped using ISBNs and we literally just were like, here’s a book it’s spiral bound. Yeah. You know, if you want to buy it, buy it. Right. And the thing that we used for digital products was called send owl.com send owl is like one of the greatest things that ever happened to us. We had like three years where digital sales were the majority of our sales. And the cool thing about send owl is it integrates with Shopify. So you have a Shopify store, you have send owl, integrated, someone comes on and purchases a digital download. The money, comes to you. It goes to our bank. And then the customer gets sent an email with all the instructions, the download file. And it’s all hosted by Sendal and we don’t have to do anything other than push the concept of the product is great.
Dan Schack (01:32:43):
And then you were talking about YouTube monetization too, in terms of a revenue funnel. I mean, is that still going on? How about social media? I know you have a big following across a few of those channels. Like, do you get money through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, any of those sources as well?
Mark Perrett (01:32:58):
So at one, one point in time, we were making like between 500 and a thousand dollars a month from YouTube. And that was literally just putting standard ads on our videos that we were uploading. And that was a great just sort of extra income that was coming in from the side. We weren’t going all in. I’m sure if we ramped that up, the money would’ve went up. I know that EMC productions do you know what I’m talking about? I’m marched with Eric at United. Oh yeah. So dude, Eric is like the YouTube God of yes. Our thing. And he’s making like legit money from YouTube, but he also does that for a living. So like his whole core existence is putting out YouTube content. Yep. I’m sure if we decided to do that, we would make that same kind of revenue definitely in a different regard.
Mark Perrett (01:33:59):
Like, you know, we’re not gonna be slapping chicken, but like I think that what we would come up with would be really cool and engaging, but yeah, with YouTube, basically we had to set up a Google account. We had to let them know our fictitious registry. We had to like set. We had to give them our business. I IBM, oh my God, what’s the name of it. There’s like a business number that we have that we had to give them. And when we signed up for the Google analytics service, we connected that to YouTube and then put ads on our videos when people watch the ads, you know, there’s view counts, there’s clicks. Like it depends. That goes to our Google analytics account. And then we hit, we say a $500 threshold. So I don’t even think about it. People watch our videos, it happens.
Mark Perrett (01:35:08):
And then when it hits $500, we just get a random check or a random direct deposit into our business. Yeah. Checking account. The thing that has happened, this is very recent. John and I switched our entire business model. And this might actually be interesting to you considering how you’re into sort of the ecosystem of social media. After coronavirus, we were like, we have to pivot, like we gotta do the online school. Like it’s time we’ve been talking about it for years. We gotta, we can’t do in-person events anymore. We gotta pivot to the online school, which is a membership service based thing. And what’s really great about that is whether people are using it every single day or just once a month or they use it for a month and then off for a month. And then they’re really heavy back in, like you pay 20 bucks and you just aren’t in the club.
Mark Perrett (01:36:11):
Like, so that’s a really cool part is we’re getting paid for what we’re doing, but then all so I don’t have to worry about the thing with the books. Like the physical products is you sell the book and now they could work on that book for two years. Yep. And now have no reason to pay for anything else. So it’s mutually beneficial. It’s, you know, a realistic amount for someone to pay for like a monthly service, but then you constantly have this amazing educational resource in your back pocket. New content is coming out. You literally get to work with me and John one on one, like I do sessions like this every Monday and Tuesday with people. But that happened at the expense of making social media content like we used to do. And something that we ran into was we became grid book, you know, grid book, nation became the free thing.
Mark Perrett (01:37:18):
And so all of our sales like almost stopped completely at one point because we were providing so much value and so much content that people literally said to me, why would I ever pay for anything that you put out? Because I’m already overwhelmed with the free content, right? It’s like, it’s so great and free. So no, I’m not gonna pay for a book. That’s stupid. So in the amount of time, which has been a year now of us starting the academy, we’ve lost 5,000 followers on Instagram. Our impressions have our impressions used to be in the millions. Like every day, it doesn’t even phase me anymore. Like, oh, million impressions at cool. Not in an arrogant way, but like, it, it just was, that is like just the, what it was like. Yes. Impressions every day. Yeah. And now we are like at 50,000 a day, like the impressions are way lower.
Mark Perrett (01:38:27):
You would think that that would be a bad thing, but the revenue has gone up considerably. So it’s really weird dynamic where at one point we were like the free thing, people, awesome content, millions of impressions, huge community reach everyone’s coming in and take, take, take, take, take. But we, when it came to being like, Hey guys, we’re gonna have to actually shut the business down cuz we’re not selling anything. Nobody really cared about that. And there was this isolation point where it was like, okay, we have to start taking ourselves a little more seriously as a business, maybe at the expense of not being so big in the community, but still offering and providing value and trying to be as awesome as possible. And that, that like hurt my heart real bad, cuz I want everything to be free all the time. Like I just want to help people that’s my Mo, but I had to cut it. I had to cut it off. I had to stop posting as much. I had to post more content with call to actions, to telling people about the products I had to kind of take my focus away from making YouTube content and Instagram content. When we went out and filmed, we didn’t film everybody. We just filmed the groups that our grid book academy students were in.
Mark Perrett (01:39:57):
And it has been this change that has allowed the last year to be the most successful year from a business side from grid book. I would say the, the crescendo of growth has been really awesome. Also confusing cause followers dropping engagement, dropping my sort of, I guess, feeling of connection to the individual has kind of faded away. Like I used to know people’s name, like everybody’s names who were commenting on our posts, but yeah, I don’t know. It was like, we almost had to shut the business down. So a change had to be made. We made the change and now I’m really hoping that on the other side of being more financially secure, we can get back to the giving back stage, which is kind of where I feel Dick Furth is at. So have you considered any like, you know, other subscriber based platforms, like a
Dan Schack (01:40:52):
Patreon, like a sub stack, like a fiber, whatever. Like, I mean, I feel like there is a, a middle grounds between giving everything away and throwing the baby out with the bath water, cuz it’s like the, the free stuff you guys do on IG is important because there’s like the outreach, there’s a community. There’s the, this is what we actually do and hear the personalities behind it, which I think is important. But I think what you’re doing is real work. I don’t think it’s weird to have to generate revenue so you can pay yourself for the job you’re doing. I feel like that’s just adult. But I also know like having, having worked for flow marching for a long time, you know, better than anybody, the second that there’s a paywall people are like, let’s tear it down. Like flow marching is doing all this great work.
Dan Schack (01:41:44):
They’re the only media company in the marching arts and man they’ve been villainized like whoa, online. And it’s tough cuz like, you know, the first podcast I had through flow and with all the positives there were of that in terms of exposure and reach, I certainly didn’t know anything about my listeners. I had no say in terms of how it was marketed and ultimately people were like, I’m not listening because the only way to, to listen is to watch it through the flow marching.com website. Whereas the a, this podcast is a hundred percent free. Spotify, apple it’s everywhere. You can get this for free anywhere. And for me that is big that I don’t know that there are individuals in my station that are doing this like world class, independent world designers or teachers at the world class level or people that I’ve had the experience that I’ve had.
Dan Schack (01:42:35):
And I feel like I like to do this. I like to be the interviewer. So it’s not really about me. And I like to be transparent in like, here’s what I have done or what I do. And like, here’s what works for me. It’s not gonna work for everybody. But like this resource isn’t out there, there’s not necessarily a competitor for even what I’m doing. So it’s off cuz like, am I seeing like a one to one revenue from like this podcast? Well, not yet. Right. And that’s not the imperative, but I also feel like I love that there are, you know, when I look down the analytics of this podcast, there’s listeners in China, Germany, Columbia Canada, like around the world, like you’re saying, it’s like, that’s, that’s a little more important to me than, you know, getting a couple dollars for every time that I do one of these. So it’s like, man, it’s just like tough because you don’t wanna sell out. But also like we’re adults and we have like real bills, like I have student loans. So it’s like, I, I just don’t know how to, how to land the plane on that because of the type type of optics that flow deals with. It’s like really tough, you know? Well, so something that I’ve really been obsessed about is how there are, well, just like in the market
Mark Perrett (01:43:51):
Of sort of selling things, you have the free version of anything, then you have the cheap version and then you have the middle road kind of expensive. And then you have like the elite luxury thing and every single one of those price points has a person who emotionally connects to that thing. So with grid book, I try to allow all of those to happen. So, you know, not to be confused, like we’re still doing the free thing. Like it’s a not like we’ve shut that off completely. And it’s still one of the main drivers of traffic. And I, I’m not even for those people who can’t afford to pay $20 a month to be part of the academy. I, I love them just as much. Like it’s not like that. I, well, you didn’t pay me so you can’t interact here now. Right? I still really want to have this community that is free forever.
Mark Perrett (01:45:01):
And those everyone gets to be part of this really awesome thing. That’s bigger than ourselves and we’re still putting out Aude and we’re still putting out motivational content and that whole thing, and that is always happening. Then we have the $5 thing and it’s like, Hey, you know, if you like what we do, but you’re on a budget, but you do wanna support what we do. We got the $5 thing for you. It’s a digital downloads right here. Then we have have the $20 thing. And then we have, you know, the $50 thing. And as we are putting out content. So like for you, you’ve got this really dope podcast. The people who are listening to this are in a wide range of this spectrum and you’re gonna have people who listen to this, cuz it’s free. And if you were to monetize it, they wouldn’t listen to it anymore.
Mark Perrett (01:46:02):
But what’s nice is now you do have this communication platform where you can say like, Hey, what would be interesting is if you had somehow product that connected to the topics of each individual you had on the show. So if you, for me, if you had educational products that you could push at the end of this, like, you know mark and I talked a lot about like confidence in your playing, I have a digital download that deals with that and you could definitely blah, blah, blah. And then someone else comes on and they are talking about you know, like musical performance and getting into college. And you’re like, cool, I’ve got a a teachable course that you can purchase for 20 bucks and it’s years forever. And it will teach you how to get into a percussion studio and I’m just making stuff up.
Mark Perrett (01:47:00):
But having the price point, that makes sense for everyone available and then having just momentary funnels to those things. So when we have a $250 camp, I’m going all in on that. And I know that only 2% of people are gonna pay for that, but then I’ll switch after that and switch to all free and it’s free for a while and everyone’s feeling good. And then boom, I hit ’em again with, Hey guys, we just came out with this new t-shirt and it’s really dope. And it says, all I wanna do is drum. So if all you wanna do is drum, get the t-shirt baby, let’s go. And then the people who can afford it. And they like the thing go to my Shopify store and they buy it. So allow opportunities for every category of customer. Totally. That’s
Dan Schack (01:47:55):
That’s dope. I mean, that makes a lot of sense. And I think this, the solution orientation is there and just thinking about not just dollar signs, but how a user interfaces with the brand, so that it clear that your, you know, your mission statement is at the forefront of helping students that need insight on their percussion career. But also I like buying products. It’s like, I don’t, I don’t think it’s so negative to insert yourself in the system of, of product, you know, creation in consumption. I, I just don’t think it needs to be vilified. And it’s, you know, this activity specifically is so like, this is really expensive, but at the same time we underpay all of these people doing this work and it’s like, listen, you want a service at the highest level man. Like it costs like, I, I just, I refuse to believe that if you’re gonna pay, like, Hey, go buy 12, our genes at Walmart, but they’re not gonna last.
Dan Schack (01:48:53):
And there’s landfills filled with fast fashion because you thought that was the right thing to do. But if you actually spend $150, they’re gonna last you a decade. So it’s like this question of how you consume and being a thoughtful consumer. And then the way that you put that in front of individuals so they can actually make a decision about the so I, I, it definitely resonates. And so I wanna, I wanna talk about grading before we get off here as we round the corner. Yeah. We’re talking about grid book, but we haven’t explained what gritting is. So one tell the listeners what’s gritting. I know what it is. And I’m pretty, I’m pretty, I’m pretty solid at gritting, to be honest with you, I’m tempted to bust out the, the old sticks and, and do some, but what, so what, what is griding according to the, the the master? What is griding and why is this the fundamental thing? Why is this the name grid
Mark Perrett (01:49:46):
Book? Why is gritting the thing that you’re hanging your head on the hill that you’re you’re dying on? Gritting is the interplay between a constant and a variable. And that is, you know, kind of the like technical savvy term, but really in griding, griding is a format of practice that allows you to play every per of a skill. And so if I wanted to work on absence, then I could play 16th notes. I could put an accent on the first partial, and now you have 16th notes that are loud for one beat and soft for three more beats, check it, check it, check it, check job. That is the constant that is happening. And in music, in the final music that you’re gonna play it’s usually back to back to back to back changing of rhythm and dynamics, da da, da, it’s like the full gumbo of what’s happening.
Mark Perrett (01:51:03):
A great way to understand your music is to break it down into the individual ingredients. And what griding allows you to do is to have a constant, like a rhythmic pattern with an accent on the first partial, and then move a variable through it, meaning that you could keep a accent on the first partial and then shift a dittle through all four partials within one beat. What’s interesting about griding is there’s like the 16th, no accent grid that we all know. One thing that John and I really started thinking about with griding is the core of it is the constant and the variable without that it’s not griding. So when you do independence, griding, you have an O auto that does not change. And then you have a timing pattern that revolves through the partial. And it’s the AA, which is the constant and the shifting partials, which is the variable that makes it a grid. Sometimes people get confused, like the 4 21 format is not griding. We use the 4 21 format to put grids into, but the actual essence of griding is that something stays the same, the whole musical phrase. And then you revolve every mathematical partial around it. Yes.
Dan Schack (01:52:46):
It sounds like you’ve explained this before
Mark Perrett (01:52:51):
Dan Schack (01:52:52):
Yeah. I mean, I, I love that. And the thing that I always enjoyed about Gring was the, the way that it takes these like abstract stroke types, we all talk about. So like, yeah, can you stand there and go like full, full, and just like spring the stick back up. Yeah. But like, when do you do that music? You don’t what happens is the stroke types are embedded in motions and they’re embedded in rhythm and especially overlapping sticking ideas. And I feel like when you can get that mastery of the grid, it’s very much like the O to the kick flip to the burial, flip to the front side, flip to the backside, flip to the switch to the N it’s that essential part, but you need the Oll at the front of it, cuz that what that’s, what get the, gets the board off the ground. You learn how to pop the board. I,
Mark Perrett (01:53:42):
I used to skate back in the day, by the way. And when I heard that and the podcast, so I was like, we got even more in common than I thought. So that’s a side note, but something that you said earlier was, you know, like, like what is gritting, but then also why is it important? And you kinda just touched on it is it’s it helps in the evolution from the fundamental to the final. And that I think is the reason why it’s such an important part of getting better at drumming is you have the like fundamentals, everyone learns the same stuff. Legatos accent, tap multiple stroke B and we get all the way to playing roles and rudiments. And then there’s a huge gap. And then there’s the show music, which is like in sanity. And it’s like, what, where at what point do we kind of mix all these things together and that where griding comes in. So if you’re practicing roles, you know, cool, now let’s play the show.
Mark Perrett (01:55:08):
Music’s like, how did we go from to this other thing? And now when you are griding, you’re working on every mathematical partial so, or flip it. And the coolest part I feel about gritting is you can customize it to what you need. So if you have a piece of music that goes, you know, you you’re like, okay, there’s a did on one and an accent on two. So let’s do a grid that has that and revolve the DITs around that. A term that we, I, I don’t wanna say came up with, but like I have, when I don’t know, like years ago, I used to always say, oh, here’s the thing I came up with. And then every time I would put a video out like that, people were like, you didn’t come up with that. Steven came up with that and 90.
Mark Perrett (01:56:19):
So I don’t, you know, whether or not we came up with this term, this is the term that John and I use. And it is you have accents down and accents around gritting formats. Yeah. With accents down, the accent stays in the same place. And then the embellishment moves with accent around you keep the embellishment as the constant. And the variable is the accent. And when we learn grading, you know, middle school, freshman year, high school, whatever, it’s really funny that everyone always learns totally the accents around grid first. But then I was like, man, we should really be teaching the accents down version to keep people on the down beat and then revolve the embellishment around the downbeat. And then eventually you evolve to one of my favorite grids is keeping the constant on the E. So the is E E E E and then you are gritting with the constant on the E and that blows everybody up.
Mark Perrett (01:57:35):
The epidemic that we have is there’s a lot of people who, especially, you know, when you begin, you’re a downbeat player. If it it’s on the downbeat, you are good. But the second you have stuff that’s on the ease and us, or the attack starts on the, and count. The controlling of time is not right there. Totally. Cause all of the fundamentals that we work on are on the downbeat. Yeah. With griding, it takes you off the downbeat and so need directions. And that’s why, again, it’s the aggregate between the sort of simplified downbeat fundamentals and the show music drumming
Dan Schack (01:58:16):
Doesn’t really happen on the downbeat. You know, not the stuff we do at least. And you know, the reality too is doing the grid, especially not doing any of the grids. It’s teaching you the relationship between upbeats as quarter notes. The E to the E is the same as the downbeat to the downbeat. It’s shifted over a partial, the, an the, and the U the a, and if you can make that connection, then you are actually formulating a relationship with your feet, you know, with the marching and with sick of patient, which is like such a, you know, and I like, for me, like, man, I don’t know when I started gritting, but like that idea of like constant, you know, like, and then I that’s like base drumming 1 0 1 that’s drumming 1 0 1 where it’s like, you have to figure out how to separate your hands and not let this. And that’s like, drum. I mean, you’re teaching drum set players. This is not just a, a merchant percussion concept. This is like, all right, your foot is gonna be E E
Mark Perrett (01:59:19):
Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. I talk about that so much. I’m like, let’s stop saying marching and let’s just call it what it is. Drum set like your foot is playing an instrument
Dan Schack (01:59:33):
A hundred percent. I love it. Yeah. So, so the big question, as we get two hours just flies by this was we’re have to do a part two. We’re gonna have to do a part two and get into, we could get into the weeds here, but so from the man himself, if you had to choose one, would you choose the triplet grid, the 16th, no grid, or the five lit grid? Ooh,
Mark Perrett (02:00:01):
Triplet grid all the way, like hands down the 16th note grid. Obviously I love, I feel like there’s a, a very good amount of 16th note, like stuff out there that we play all the time. Five lits may be, you won’t eat, even run into playing a five lit in your career unless you like do drum core or whatever. But the triplet, like, man, there’s a lot of people who can’t play triplets well, and it’s surprising, like I’m in rehearsal, I’m consulting, I’m kind of looking around and then I’m like, Hey, you mind if I take over for a second and I’ll walk over it. And every time people can’t play triplets, like they think they can. And I’m like, all right, cool, hold on. So you by yourself, go ahead and play it. And you know, everything’s great. They get to the triple apart.
Mark Perrett (02:00:54):
And it’s like in outer space and I’m like, Hey, let’s try that one more time, but let’s just play the triple apart. So let’s play one beat of, okay. And now we’re trying to break it down. I think triplet grid fills a gap in stuff that you need. And then it’s also super fun. It plays off the right hand and the left hand. So like six, if you only play one 16th note grid, you’re off the right the whole time, the triplet grid it’s alternates. Every time the ones are super funky, cuz it’s like that, that a hot
Dan Schack (02:01:27):
Take man. That was the that’s the first one I learned. And I really love the, the accent down version. Like I love playing the flam one where it’s like, check it the, check it, the, check it, the check it, check the, and you’re, you’re moving that flam because that’s a, that’s a hard skill in terms of again, stroke types where you’re having to stop the accent, but then play a bounce stroke as a downstroke and place. That’s a nuanced skill, but usually we’re like feet, boo, boo, boo, beat playing a note, accent tap. It’s not totally capturing what we play in the music when we’re playing in the music. It’s usually like, like beat to beat fast hand to hand accent stuff. And I love the way that the, that uncovers some of those more nuanced, like I don’t know that it’s so binary between like a downstroke and a full versus a up versus a tap. Like I don’t see it that way. I see them as very hybrid and very context dependent, very speed, tempo dependent. So I think that totally gets to the, the heart of it. And I think a triple grids are real, real classic. My that’s not my answer, but but I respect it, respect it.
Mark Perrett (02:02:37):
I, so just a quick touch or on what you said with the stroke types. In my evolution of teaching, I have come to the opinion that stroke types Heights, you know, the dreaded 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, that is like controversial right now. I, I believe that those are like training wheels. You know, if you have a BMX biker with training wheels, people are gonna be like, look at this guy. Like, what is the deal with that? Like, you’ve evolved past the training wheels, but how important of a tool for helping you get your balance when you’re beginning is this like piece of information for us as drummers. So I actually did an experiment over the last two years because of this controversy. I stopped talking about Heights completely. And I was like, let me see what happens. Like I know how like I’ve used the Heights religiously, cuz that’s what I was taught.
Mark Perrett (02:03:41):
And then I was like, I’m gonna stop. So I, I would refuse to say that. And what I notice is it was a lot harder for my beginning players to really grasp the concept of like rebounding the stick the right way. But when I told them, Hey, let’s make it parallel to the head and really focus on that. Then they became more nuanced and had like this goal to reach. But once we’ve kind of evolved past that, we take the training wheels off and now I’m not like barking at you cuz it’s not nine inches. We’re talking more about the dynamic overall sound that we’re producing and do da da. But I definitely don’t vilify teaching that in the beginning stages. Cause I, I think there is value in it may maybe changing like three inches to like level one level two level three, or maybe saying the angle of the stick, but the height in which you rebound being a part of the toolkit of education, I think is important. And then of course the volume really comes from the velocity of the stick.
Dan Schack (02:04:47):
Yeah. I, I have a hard time with that height argument, much past the fundamental beginnings of a player. When you look, look at a group like Vanguard and across a board, they look completely different and they’re winning every year. So I do understand like it, maybe you’re talking about a height in terms of a place where the stick needs to like come back to, like you’re saying it’s a reference point. The stick is rebounding to, but you’re gonna, it’s it’s hard pressed to convince me like Heights matter because uniformity is a very nineties and early two thousands thing and we’ve moved past and honestly like 18 and 19 crowns specifically, we completely did away with Heights and we looked visually better and more uniform cuz it’s just like, Hey, you play this part and inch higher, you play lower. Or we play in a circle match.
Dan Schack (02:05:38):
Like so much of our visual identity is based on looking around. We could just focus on sound. We got cleaner. Like the, the point should be how clean you can play, how fast, right? Because with Heights you’re actually setting yourself on a slower timeline where if you’re like, just play perfectly right now, one, the Heights are really gonna a Conal. So it’s not really a big deal, but also what drum judge out there is gonna hear a perfect triplet role and say, well, your Heights were slightly off. Nobody, no one. So I do think that work kind of culturally moving past that, but I totally respect what you’re saying in terms of like the height as a training tool, I think that’s spot on. I think there’s a place for it. We don’t need to like, just say like do away with it. I just know like in high school, man, they were like three. It was like, what does three sound like? What? It’s not related to the sound. Right? So that’s a little bit counterintuitive. You know what I mean?
Mark Perrett (02:06:32):
In the drum line setting, you can say balance to the person next to you. And then it’s like, got it. Now everyone is playing the same height, not cuz you told them to play a height, but because you said balance and now you’re just playing as loud and the same sound as the person next to you when you’re at home by yourself and you have no person next to you to balance to, it’s nice to have a reference when you’re beginner to be like I’m bomb. What do I like? I think this, I remember what this is, but to say like, Hey play about the height of the dollar bill and that’ll make it easier for you to play this dynamic. Now that’s kind of the, the training tool is like the height has nothing to do with the musical. So side it has to do with the motion side.
Mark Perrett (02:07:24):
And that is where I have shifted. Like I used to back in the day, man, I was like, it’s gotta be three inches or else, you know? Well, and I didn’t even know why that’s just what I was taught. And now I’ve kind of evolved to like, you know, if I was teaching a basketball player, I might tell them like, Hey, bounce the ball at your hip because then it will give you this mobility. So with drumming, I’ll be like, Hey, you know, make sure that you’re bouncing this at about a 45 degree angle, cuz that’s gonna facilitate the ability to play Metso forte. For sure.
Dan Schack (02:07:57):
I love that. I would also argue the best orchestras and music ensembles in the world. Ain’t no one telling the best guitar player, what height he’s playing or the depth of his strum or a trumpet. What is the, what is the reference point for a Trump and a player playing for TMO? There ain’t no height there. Ain’t no decibel, right? It’s so subjective. It’s about the conductor, right? And it’s so different year to year. That’s why crown. I feel like with crown and Mason, the identity of the group is very year dependent. We obviously have like our approach, but it’s like the way that Phil played and in the volume he produced is different than the way that Sam played. And that’s okay because it should be live. You know what I’m saying? It should be related. And I just feel like that’s, that’s fine.
Dan Schack (02:08:47):
There’s no, I just feel like everyone’s very like rule oriented and marching percussion, but it’s like, Hey, the Chicago SI the orchestras not like play three inches. It’s like this part of this song requires everyone to play quieter. And the bassoon player is hot because of the key that we’re in. You need to have an atten it’s like how much context is there? Oh, well the drum line’s in the back of the field behind the back hash. So actually that piano needs to be louder. And actually when you’re in the front and you’re in front, like there’s just so any intricacies that the rules basically apply for like the first five seconds and then they’re like rat get ’em out. Yeah,
Mark Perrett (02:09:25):
Dan Schack (02:09:26):
But bro mark, dude, this has been just a, a solid one and yeah like we’re gonna have to just, we’re gonna have to get up on, I I’m just feeling the, the sche and the collaborations just brewing. I’m just feeling it I’m feeling. But Hey, before we jump off, can you let people know? Where can they access grid book? Where can they find you hit me with some handles some websites.
Mark Perrett (02:09:49):
All right. So if you would like to get better at drumming and have fun doing it. Cause that’s what we’re all about. You can check out grid book percussion on in Instagram, actually the same handle for Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat everywhere is at grid book nation, just like it sounds. And then if you would like to check out our products that we have, we have physical products. We sell method, books and apparel on our website, shop dot grid, book, percussion.com. And if you would like to check out our online
Dan Schack (02:10:33):
Training platform for percussionist and percussion educators that is grid book, percussion.com. And that is our grid book, profession academy. That’s it. Everyone check it out. Red book, percussion mark Perret dude. Thanks for joining me today. It was a blast. Love to do it again soon. You thanks everybody. See ya. See you next time. Whos. Thanks so much, dude.