Matt Garstka

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Matt Garstka
Matt Garstka - 2014 NAMM Show (cropped).jpg
Matt Garstka at NAMM 2014
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Wolfgang Garstka
Born (1989-04-27) 27 April 1989 (age 29)
OriginHopewell, Virginia, United States
GenresProgressive metal, djent, jazz, jazz fusion, reggae, blues, rock, funk, hip hop, Latin, gospel
Occupation(s)Musician, music educator
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Associated actsAnimals as Leaders, CHON, Two Man Trio, Mestis, Gokh-Bi System, Backstab, Verse the Fire

Matthew Wolfgang "Matt" Garstka (born April 27, 1989) is an American drummer, best known for his work with instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders.


Garstka, son of professional guitar player Greg Garstka, was born in Hopewell, Virginia, and raised in Westfield, Massachusetts. He started playing drums at the age of 8. At the age of 12 he started gigging with his father, playing rock, blues and reggae music. At 14 Garstka met Jo Sallins, who introduced him to fusion, funk, Latin and jazz drumming.[1] At the age of 14 Matt appeared in Sallins DVD Mr. Cool.[2] At the age of 16 Garstka began taking lessons with Bob Gullotti.[1] In 2006 he released an EP with punk band Backstab and in 2007 released his first solo album Heavy Volume, featuring Joel Stroetzel from Killswitch Engage, Chis Regan from FNB and Jo Sallins.[2] After finishing high school, Garstka attended Berklee College of Music. While studying at Berklee, Matt toured with African hip hop group Gokh-Bi System. In 2011 Garstka graduated and moved to Los Angeles.[1] In the same year he was featured in DVD Shed Sessionz Vol. 3.[3] Soon after moving to Los Angeles Garstka met Tosin Abasi and joined his band Animals as Leaders following the departure of Navene Koperweis. With Animals as Leaders, Garstka released The Joy of Motion in 2014.[1] In 2012 Garstka programmed drums for Mestis debut EP Basal Ganglia.[4] In March 2015 Garstka was featured as Modern Drummer magazine cover artist.[5]

During his career Garstka has performed with artists such as Rohn Lawrence, David Stolz, Tony Smith, Doug Johns, Toni Blackman, Derek Jordon and Evan Marien.[2]

Equipment [6][7][8][edit]

Garstka uses and endorses Tama drums and hardware, Meinl cymbals, Remo drumheads and Vic Firth drumsticks.

  • Drums (Listed Depth x Diameter) - Tama Starclassic Maple/Bubinga kit w/ .6mm outer ply of Cordia (Custom ordered and made from Tama)
    • 16x22 Bass Drum (3 ply bubinga, 5 ply maple)
    • 7x10 Rack Tom
    • 7x12 Rack Tom
    • 12x14 Floor Tom
    • 14x16 Floor Tom
  • Snares
    • 14" Tama Maple/Bubinga Snare w/ .6mm outer ply of Cordia (3 ply bubinga, 4 ply maple)
    • 14" × 6.5" Tama Bell Brass Reissue Snare
    • 14" Brady Jarra Snare
    • 14" Ludwig Superphonic Snare
  • Cymbals - Meinl
    • 6" Byzance Brilliant Splash
    • 10" Byzance Traditional Splash
    • 8" / 10" Generation X Electro Stack
    • 13" Byzance Extra Dry Medium Hi-Hat
    • 14" Byzance Vintage Sand Hats
    • 18" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash
    • 18" Byzance Jazz Extra Thin Crash
    • 18" Byzance Jazz Medium Thin Crash
    • 18" Byzance Traditional Extra Thin Hammered Crash
    • 20" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash-Ride
    • 21" Byzance Extra Dry Transition Ride
    • 22" Byzance Extra Dry Medium Ride
    • 22" Byzance Vintage Pure Ride
    • 20" Byzance Extra Dry China
    • 18" / 16" Artists Concept Model - Matt Garstka Signature Fat Stack
  • Drum Heads - Remo
    • Snare: Coated Powerstroke 77 batter side and Clear Ambassador resonant side
    • Toms: Coated Vintage Emperor batter sides and Clear Ambassador resonant sides
    • Bass Drum: Coated Powerstroke 4 batter side and Coated Emperor or Ambassador resonant side
  • Other
    • Tama Hardware
    • Tama Iron Cobra HP900RWN Rolling Glide Double Pedal
    • Vic Firth Matt Garstka Signature Model Stick


  1. ^ a b c d "Matt Garstka – The Artist". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Drummerszone profile". Drummerszone. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Shed Sessionz Vol. 3 DVD On Sale Now". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Mestis". Sumerian Records. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. ^ "March 2015 Issue of Modern Drummer featuring Animals as Leaders' Matt Garstka". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  6. ^ Garstka, Matt (2016). Animals As Leaders - The Madness of Many Full Drum Transcription.
  7. ^ Cymbals, MEINL. "Matthew Garstka". MEINL Cymbals - Artists. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  8. ^ Matt Garstka (2017-04-14), Matt Garstka - Ectogenesis Playthrough, retrieved 2017-06-01

External links[edit]