Kazuhisa “Appleman” Katsuragi is known as an iPad Drummer (under the moniker Appleman). A confirmed Apple geek, he is also a landscape & drone photographer. Appleman first started drumming when he was 11. He drummed in a band when he was at high school in England In 1995 he enrolled for lessons at Drumtech, London.
When he returned to Nagasaki, his home city in Japan, Appleman encountered an obstacle. Due to the small size of his apartment, he was unable to set up a drum kit for both lack of space and fear of disturbing the neighbours. Appleman jokes that, in any case, he couldn’t afford a kit with Zildjian cymbals. His solution was to pick up his iPad.
Kazuhisa Katsuragi already had the “Appleman” persona. An April 2010 video on his YouTube channel shows him coaxing esoteric sounds from an iPhone with a silver-painted box, with the Apple logo cut out from the front, over his head. Appleman says it took him some time to get used to playing the drum kit on the GarageBand app. Playing the bass drum with his fingers was particularly difficult. With a lot of practice, he felt that he could play drums on the iPad as well as he could play a real kit.
The iPad drum solo in the video is one of Appleman’s first iPad drumming posts. With 15M views on Youtube, it is also his most popular video. The sheer number of views is testament to Appleman’s incredible ability to play authentic-sounding drums on an iPad. What finger proficiency, what skill! After the viral success of his iPad drum solo, Appleman started posting videos of himself playing along to rock songs. Here he is rocking out with Rocking 1000’s cover of the Foo Fighters’ Learn to Fly.
Appleman says that playing iPad drum accompaniment to songs takes particular skill and several days of practice. This is due to the slight latency that comes from playing virtual drums through an app. Although this latency is greatly reduced on an iPad pro, it is still there. To compensate, Appleman teaches himself to play slightly ahead of the beat of the recording he is accompanying, hence the need for rehearsal. When he plays solo, the latency is obviously not an issue.
The Appleman persona and the viral success of his drum solo earned Appleman an entry in the book The Cult of Mac: “He has been described by Digg as the ‘sickest drummer in metal right now’ with the speed, muscle and snap to become a legend — a legend on the iPad. … he has gotten attention for his ability to finger tap rock drum solos … with eye-popping dexterity and a YouTube channel as his stage”. If you would like to see more from Appleman, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook.