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Setting the pace at work and on stage

Our drumming fanatic MD, Martin Hill, recently shared his passion with the Yorkshire Post. If you missed the article, you can catch up on it in full here...

When Martin isn’t in the office, you’ll most likely find him behind a drum kit.

Growing up, there was almost always a tune playing in our house, so it’s unsurprising that some of my earliest musical memories are from my parents’ record collection. That’s probably where my life-long love of composition comes from.

I remember seeing a TV show featuring the legendary Buddy Rich when I was very young and it blew me away. It began with a blisteringly fast drum roll emulating from behind a curtain, which opened to reveal he was playing with just one hand! After watching that, I think I knew I would end up being a musician in some way, shape or form.

And, by the time I was 10 years old, I’d started playing the drums. Although I can belt out a melody on a range of different instruments, I knew I’d found my real passion. For me, the way a drummer holds together an ensemble – counting people in and setting the timing of a performance – is a very responsible job.

Not only that, but it’s fabulous to be able to utilise your instrument to emit the lightest of sounds, right through to full-on cacophony – a skill which comes with understanding subtlety and control.

I’ve also been lucky enough to meet many of my heroes, including Clem Burke from Blondie – a big influence of mine – after a show he played earlier this year. Although, I think my real claim to fame has to be supporting Take That – even if it was 1991 and they were just about to release their first album!

As my professional career has flourished, I’ve still continued to be a part of a group, and away from the office I perform in a function band, Dexter, most weeks. We’re often booked for corporate events and we’ve been lucky enough to play at some phenomenal venues – including the top floor of the Gherkin in London.

We’ve been together since 1997, so rehearsal time doesn’t encroach on my personal life either – a quick soundcheck before a show and we’re ready to go. I’m lucky in that sense because it doesn’t mean I have to balance my work and home life with music – plus I have a very supportive family, who like to come and see me play whenever they can.

That said, it’s important to achieve a good work-life balance. Although I very much enjoy switching off with a good run, I think that losing myself drumming can act as a great counterbalance to my business life. I find playing very cathartic, and it helps me clear my mind from complex issues that I might be focusing on elsewhere, allowing me to return to a problem with refreshed focus.

Of course, playing such an instrument isn’t the most social of pastimes! At home, I have an electronic drum kit that makes no noise – much to my wife’s relief. I simply plug in a set of headphones and – while I’m surrounded by bass drums and high hats – the rest of the house doesn’t have to listen to me thrashing out a classic rock anthem.

I’m not sure how many of my DealTrak colleagues are musically inclined, but we’re in the process of recruiting for 18 new roles – so perhaps we’ll have enough people to get an office band together in the next few months.

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