In today’s music climate, a band or artist’s live show can define their career. As importantly, style requires the utmost attention in relation to one’s relevancy and longevity in this business. For hip-hop specifically, live bands have emerged as a key piece to an artist’s live set, showcasing the intricacies in production that in a more full-bodied, enriching experience. Drummer Henry McDaniel IV is one of those keys to success for any and everyone he collaborates with. Henry also owns a clothing line, Mac Bear Clothing, which is finely tuned to cater to drummers and fellow musicians from a functional perspective.
We were able to catch up with Henry McDaniel recently at a Big Sean show. McDaniel has been playing with Big Sean now for a few years as his drummer for all live sets. He gave us some insight on the day-to-day dynamics behind being a professional drummer, some of his upcoming projects, along with some insight into his clothing line. We also wanted to know what was up with a certain special pair of sneakers we saw at the show.
Estelle for Craving Amazing: First off, just want to say how epic that performance was. This was the first time I’ve seen Big Sean live and watching you and the rest of band perform with him made it that much more downright epic. So thank you for that experience. And I appreciate you taking a few moments to sit down with me and let me ask you some questions about your clothing line and music. So, let’s get started.
What was your inspiration for MacBear Apparel?
Henry: Well, first, let me tell you how I got the name ‘Mac.’ My nickname is Mac- the nickname given to me by my grandfather. He had a barbershop called “Little Mac’s” and everyone’s called me a little teddy bear over the years. I kind of just blended the two names together Mac/Bear and that’s how it kind of came about. And I love fashion. I think I’m very fashionable. Kind of came about like ‘Damn… Let me make a clothing line that’s geared towards drummers.’ Me being a drummer that was kind of my inspiration and so from there I made the drumming teddy bear.
Estelle: That’s tight! And I absolutely dig the name MacBear. I also scoped out your website and it’s rad. You have everything from T-shirts for men to crop tops for women, and also some tanks and caps plus a variety of different colors to choose from. The collection is well mastered and very modern.
Henry: Bringing in drumming and fashion together and figuring out what my niche is and how I can relate in that way and it was an obvious decision. The drumming teddy bear, that’s what I represent – the cuddly bear. I want to bring fashionable wear to not only drummers but to everybody. I feel like it relates to the logo. The teddy bear can relate to kids and to everybody. It’s been great so far. I’m still learning a lot.
Estelle: Well, I think it’s a great start to something amazing. Not only do you have great musical talent, but you are an appreciable designer as well. So are you getting involved with other music projects?
Henry: Well yes. I have a project I’m working on with my friend Lang. He’s actually one of my friend’s from China. It’s me, being from America (being black from America) and him being from China. We kind of have the concept of making like rush hour but we’re calling it “drum hour.” It’s two drummers coming together to travel the world, to speak to clinics, and to speak to the youth. You know, whether it be to the youth or adults, it’s speaking to them about drumming and the concepts within the drumming community and how they can take their drumming to the next level – professionally and educationally.
Estelle: The idea of drum hour is a unique and fun concept. And the fact you and your friend are taking this project on together is altruistic and incredibly inspiring. I think it’s important for kids and adults to have a musical outlet especially if people like you and Lang are giving them the opportunity. There are a crazy number of people out there who are in search of something like this. So happy that there are generous people like you in this life who want to help others in need.
Henry: I feel like you can never learn enough. And as far as like music and drumming, it’s an endless amount of information that can be given and for us, I want to continue to use that to teach the next generation and have something to look forward to.
Estelle: You can never learn enough. I myself still have so much more to learn. Thank you for being so real. I do have one last question for you, and we’re going to switch up the topic: What’s up with the all white Yeezy’s 700 Runners? Do you know about that?
(Both laughing, he responds…)
Henry: Haha… I’m not up on that yet but hey, anything with Yeezy in it, it’s going to be fire. And I think it’s got to be something to look forward to because working with Big Sean, I know a lot about the Kanye vibes. Anything with Yeezy, you just want to put your hands on it. It’s going to be something that is worth getting your hands on. And I feel like anything with Kanye, you just have to involve yourself. He’s a great guy, a little misunderstood, but great.
Estelle: Yeah, I don’t own any Yeezy’s but maybe in the future. He’s a great designer and knows what he’s doing.
Henry: Anything Big Sean own, I got it. I got his Adidas, his Pumas. Other than that, I’m chillin’.
Estelle: Well, again, thank you so much Henry for letting me interview you for Craving Amazing. It was nice getting to know more about you, your music, and your upcoming projects. I wish you the best of luck!
For more on Henry’s new brand MacBear Apparel, visit the official site here.