Jojo Mayer

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Jojo Mayer
Jojo Mayer Strange Balls of Fire.jpg
Background information
Born (1963-01-18) 18 January 1963 (age 53)
Zurich, Switzerland
Genres Drum and bass, jazz, jungle, fusion
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1981–present
Associated acts Nerve, Screaming Headless Torsos, Intergalactic Maiden Ballet, John Medeski, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone
Notable instruments
Sonor Drums
Sabian Cymbals
Evans Drumheads
Vic Firth Drumsticks

Sergé "Jojo" Mayer (born 18 January 1963) is a Swiss drummer born in Zürich and currently residing in New York City.

Mayer is the son of a touring musician and began his career as a drummer at an early age, receiving his first drum set at the age of two. Having taught himself throughout his childhood, he broke out into the professional music scene at the age of 18, joining the Monty Alexander group. Touring with the group launched him into the major jazz music scene, and he has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux, Nice, and Athens etc., which culminated with his gigging with jazz-greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone. Eventually, after playing with a great variety of artists, Mayer moved away from jazz and into Drum 'n' Bass.[1]

Jojo Mayer is known for bringing together jazz, drum and bass, jungle, and other influences. He is also famous for his ability to play the rhythms of programmed jungle drum 'n' bass music on acoustic drums, terming this technique "reverse engineering", a phrase borrowed from computing.[1] He executes this approach using various methods such as the heel-toe bass drum technique, the Moeller stroke, the Valving technique, and the "pull-out" or "push-pull" accent which takes the beat on the rebound. Using these techniques, he can play beats at astonishing speeds. A few of his main influences are Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette and Buddy Rich.

He is the leader of live electronica trio Nerve, which he founded in 1997.

He played with the guitarist David Fiuczynski in the avant-garde jazz rock band Screaming Headless Torsos and in the fusion jazz band, Intergalactic Maiden Ballet.

He ran the popular Prohibited Beatz live electronica party in NYC from 1996-2001.


With Intergalactic Maiden Ballet:

  • 1992 - Square Dance
  • 1994 - Gulf

With John Medeski:

  • 1994 - Lunar Crush

With Screaming Headless Torsos:

  • 1995 - Screaming Headless Torsos

With Harry Sokal:

  • 1996 - Rave the Jazz! :live:


With Janek Gwizdala:

  • 2004 - Mystery To Me - Live in New York
  • 2010 - The Space In Between
  • 2011 - Live at the Jamboree June 17th 2011 1st set
  • 2011 - Live at the Jamboree June 17th 2011 2nd set
  • 2011 - Live at the Jamboree June 18th 2011 1st set
  • 2011 - Live at the Jamboree June 18th 2011 2nd set

With Depart

  • 1987 - Depart
  • 2006 - Reloaded
  • 2008 - Mountain Messenger

With Rebekka Bakken

  • 2009 - Art of How to Fall

Jojo Mayer & Nerve:

  • 2007 - Prohibited Beatz
  • 2010 - EP1
  • 2010 - EP2
  • 2011 - EP3
  • 2011 - The Distance Between Zero And One
  • 2012 - EP4
  • 2014 - EP5
  • 2015 - Live in Europe
  • 2015 - Ghosts of Tomorrow


He was featured as the cover story of the January 2008 issue of Modern Drummer magazine. His DVD, Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer, is a bestseller worldwide.

Jojo Mayer was interviewed by - May 2010 - Jojo Mayer Interview by

Jojo Mayer was interviewed by Linus Wyrsch on "The Jazz Hole" for in July 2010 - Jojo Mayer Interview by


Mayer is a long-time Sonor endorser who also uses Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and Evans Drumheads. He helped Sonor design the Jungle kit and snare. He has also collaborated with Sabian to create two lines of cymbals, the Vault "Fierce" series, and "Omni" series, which includes both AAX and HHX models.[2] His Vault Fierce cymbals feature a raw, unlathed finish, and extensive hand hammering, while the Omnis are designed to function as both rides and crashes. Mayer usually uses birch Sonor drums and Evans drumheads in the following sizes:

14" and 13" Snare Drum

10" Tom Tom

14" Floor Tom

8" Tom to the right of the Floor Tom

20" or 18" Bass Drum

Sizes may vary primarily based on local drum availability.

For drumheads (all Evans):

14" Hybrid Coated

14" Hazy 300

12" G Plus Clear

12" G Plus Coated

12" Hydraulic Black

12" Hydraulic Glass

For cymbals, he's recently been using (all Sabian):

22" HHX Omni

18" Fierce Crash

19" HHX Omni

13" El Sabor Splash

13" HHX Evolution Top Hi Hat over 14" HHX Evolution Mini-China

10" Fierce Hi Hats

13" Fierce Hi Hats

10" Chopper

17" AAX Xtreme Chinese


External links[edit]