Brian: Miles Ryan is the creator and owner 7DrumCity. 7DrumCity, which opened in 2011, is a music studio on North Capitol Street Northwest that offers drum lessons, band practice space, and community events. It's become a hub for musicians to meet, hang, learn, and even perform in a cozy environment. Hosting more than a hundred drum students and several dozen core bands that practice at 7DrumCity regularly. They just opened their new studio at 1506 North Capitol Street, featuring three floors and a two story carriage house in the back. So it's 3,800 square feet total. Nine rooms in total and enough space to host a music festival.
So with that, listeners, I first met Miles through the Flash Band program and 7Drum, his studio ... I went and took lessons there, and I've gotten to know the guy. And I am so excited that I get to introduce him to you because he is such a cool member of the scene that it's a treat to have him on the show. So it's with great pleasure that I introduce Miles Ryan. Say hi man. Thanks for being here.
Miles: It a treat to be here too. I [crosstalk 00:01:11] love you, just to get that out of the way.
Brian: (Laughter) It is that special Valentines time of [crosstalk 00:01:15] the year so I love you too, man. Let's keep it going with the love. I love it. And speaking of love, you love drums. So how did 7DrumCity, or 7Drum Lessons ... It's had different names over the time, but how did this whole idea come about? How did it start?
Miles: Well the idea ... Man, I thought this would be an easy question, but ... I originally just wanted to make some money on the side teaching drum lessons. I used to be in the solar energy industry and I was living in Boston. And I got laid off. And that was in May 2010. Around then I was hanging out with some entrepreneur friends and-
Brian: Good friends, by the way. Entrepreneur friends are great friends to have.
Miles: Yeah, good to hang out with those kind of people.
Miles: But they were pretty influential for me. Also I was dating a woman who lived down here and she's a jazz singer. Another music entrepreneur herself.
Miles: Lena Seikaly(sp?), actually. But you should check out some of her music sometime.
Miles: I came down to D.C. and then I basically started a website. Wanted to teach drum lessons. My friend Chris Williams, who went to Babson College, was sort of begging me for lessons. [crosstalk 00:02:43] And I was like, "All right, fine. I'll teach you a lesson." And I was like, "This is actually kind of awesome." I like teaching. I forgot I used to tutor Spanish and Italian in high school and college and that kind of thing.
Brian: Now where did the name "7Drum" come from?
Miles: Well, Seven ... It was originally called "7DrumLessons" because I wanted to show up more in the search engines because it was a clear name, drum lessons. [crosstalk 00:03:18] But something identity, maybe, of something ... I've thought a lot about it, but seven is about the chakras, the seven chakras of the human body.
Brian: Really? No way. It comes from the chakras? [crosstalk 00:03:31] I love it. Miles, I had no idea, man. There you go. It's all about the chakras on Valentine's. But it's also all about the drums. There it is.
Miles: So for those of you who don't know, there's seven ... The chakra system, which is basically an eastern based thing ... But it's now sort of just different energy centers of the body. They represent different emotions or energy that you can experience. And I though that it was kind of a cool way of categorizing the experience of being human and all that.
Brian: Seven chakras. Love it. And is that a personal ... Are you big into the chakras or you familiar with it and you-
Miles: I'm familiar with it. My mom talked to me about it. She's a reiki master which is where you ... I don't know. I don't really get it necessarily. [crosstalk 00:04:29] But you lie down and they clear your chakras of blockages or something. It's really cool. I don't know. Have you ever done that?
Brian: I haven't tried before, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. So I'm a pretty open minded guy. I'd give it a shot. It sounds awesome. And I love the fact that that somehow stemmed into the name of this great thing. And so now tell us about this new location now. When did you move in? When did it open?
Miles: Well let me just explain ... Maybe just get to that point first, I guess. I just started off ... Again I was just gonna do it on the side as I was looking for another job. And then people kept signing up. I realized that there wasn't anything else. So basically I brought my drum kit from high school into my living room. Somebody signed up. That was so amazing. It was like, I got an e-mail that someone signed up. I was like a stranger [crosstalk 00:05:25]
Brian: That you didn't know. [inaudible 00:05:25] no longer was your friends. It was somebody else.
Miles: Oh yeah.
Brian: What a cool thing.
Miles: Yeah, and he ended up taking lessons like four years, [crosstalk 00:05:32] which is awesome. Anyway, I was in my living room for three years, and then found a space on U Street. Got a three year lease there and that's where everything kind of blossomed. You made it sound like, the way you're describing it, that this is a new studio starting from zero. But we've actually already had about a hundred drum students and all these bands and stuff that preexisted. So our lease was up at the other spot so we moved to this new place. It was kind of tough to leave our beloved, yellow building. [crosstalk 00:06:09] But I--
Brian: Where about in D.C. is this one located. You said on North Capitol Street.
Miles: Yeah, North Capitol Street. So if you stand in the middle of North Capitol there is a ... Just watch for the cars, but-
Brian: Don't stand in the middle of Capitol, for reference.
Miles: Anyway, if you peak out you can see the Capitol Building It's kind of cool. It's like up on hill and then it's like right where North Capitol hits Florida Ave which goes straight over to U Street.
Brian: Got it. Which is near ... What metro stop is that near?
Miles: It's near the NoMa metro stop. So it's one block up from NoMa, basically.
Brian: That's cool. So what about you outside of drums? We know that you ... We're pretty clear you've drums and you got a drum lesson place that's turned into a drum studio. What about you outside of those things?
Miles: Well, it is Valentine's Day.
Miles: I'll start with what I should start with which is my amazing girlfriend [inaudible 00:07:08][crosstalk 00:07:09] Just gotta shout it out.
Brian: Shout out to the love. The lady in his life. Yup, I love it. Okay.
Miles: Amazing woman.
Brian: Awesome. Happy Valentine's Day.
Miles: Spend time with her. That's number one thing.
Brian: Got it. Okay. Time with her.
Miles: Check that off the list.
Brian: Oh no. There's no checking. That one's in there automatically 'cause she's that awesome. So props to the woman in you life, man. Awesome.
Miles: Thanks to ... I'm just gonna shout out to Bumble. Bumble's awesome.
Brian: (Laughter) Yes, shout out to Bumble. I love it.
Miles: It's been-
Miles: Five months since that story. So you know, Valentine's Day theme.
Brian: Okay, I dig it. Absolutely.
Miles: Miles' personal life.
Brian: All right, so out side of your life now, is there there more? What else? There's a dog, right?
Miles: Yeah, there is a dog. You must know me or something.
Brian: Yeah, I do. It's like I've seen you before. I've been buggin' you. Whatever. So, then, who's the dog? Tell us about the dog.
Miles: Well my dog, his name is Remo, which is also a brand of drum head.
Brian: Ah, so that's where the name comes from. A dog named Remo. Remo drum heads. Very good heads, by the way.
Miles: He's a black lab/pointer mix. And so he's really cute in my biased opinion. He usually can be found at the studio. Very chill, relaxed dog for a three year old.
Brian: Cool man.
Miles: Oh no, go ahead.
Brian: I was just gonna ask, what about the personal life? And I'm just curious. And I'm gonna ask you another question which is biggest success moment that comes to mind when you think about 7Drum. What comes to mind?
Miles: Well, I mean that first student, was honestly still like a very emotional moment. His name was Mitch. He's awesome.[inaudible 00:09:03]
Brian: And you got ... This was when you were still in your living room or hadn't even got the drum set yet?
Miles: Hadn't even moved to D.C. yet. That was in December.
Miles: Made the website and everything.
Miles: But anyway, that was cool. And then I guess another big thing was hitting a hundred students. Active enrolled students, which was like I think last fall.
Miles: I just sort of had that number. It's a nice number. But of course that number is always sort of going up and down if someone's away for the summer. Then you're like, "Well do you count that?"
Brian: No, we're counting it. A hundred students, [crosstalk 00:09:48] that amazing. That's amazing. I love it. Now, one of my favorite questions to ask is, "If you had one piece of advice to offer, what would it be?"
Miles: Well, I prepared for this question but it was hard to pick one.
Brian: All right, we'll start with one. What d'you got?
Miles: I mean, I'd say visualize what you want.
Brian: Say more.
Miles: Spend time-
Brian: In your head? Is it a vision board?
Miles: Yeah, in your head. Thinking about what it is that you want to see happen. And it will happen. You have to ... And this is what big thing that helped me get to where we're at is just trying to set goals, you know. Working backwards from where you decide you want to get to.
Brian: Sure. So are you at your vision? This place on North Capitol? What's your vision like in your head?
Miles: Well right now I just want to take over the world. But-
Brian: Got it. Okay.
Miles: No, no, no. That's exaggeration. But honestly, well right now, you're asking my goals right now?
Brian: Well you said you have a vision. So what was your vision before you got to here? Were you envisioning where you're at now? Did it look different in your head?
Miles: No, when I started I didn't start this studio, or community, or business because I was trying to have a big 4,000 square foot studio. I just wanted to ... My vision was I thought people were working too hard in general and too stressed out and not having balanced enough lives. So I wanted to try to help people live more balanced, fulfilling lives.
Brian: Got it.
Miles: And I think that music should be like sports. Everyone has some sort of exercise that they like. Everyone should have some kind of music or artistic thing that they like, which I think most people do. But I don't know if it's already unacceptable, or something to be like, "No, I don't do any exercise."
Brian: Got it.
Miles: But what about ... We gotta get everyone going on music and feeling those vibes and-
Brian: I agree. Well all right. So we'll get people going. And now I want to get to the amazing tracks that you brought us, but I do want you to share with folks what's the website. If they want to find out more about 7DrumCity, where do they go?