Drummer extraordinaire Martin Ngim was born on 5th May 1977, a homegrown drummer born and bred in the hustle and bustle of the Kuala Lumpur city life. Describing himself as a “grave drummer” owing to his previous job as a mortician during his early 20s, Martin actually started to know about drumming when he saw the funeral band during processions. One old folks taught him a few tricks and immediately his drumming fever caught on. He tried out playing in bands, polishing his skills along the way, and discovered that he had a special connection with drums, a special touch to it. Egged on by friends who saw his potential, and triggered by the skeleton incident that he prefers not to discuss, he quit his mortician job and joined a band as a full time drummer. Martin has not looked back since he is now a professional drummer, and not just any professional drummer, but a well sought after one.
During the early part of the millennium, Martin was part of several different local Chinese rock/pop showbands, but came to experience an interesting musical epiphany when he got chosen to perform a drum duet with jazz-influenced drummer Akira Jimbo (of the fusion band Casiopea fame) in a workshop. It was one his main exposures to the music known as Jazz. Further enquiry into the local jazz music scene led him to attend various jazz performances and participated in laidback jam sessions with various jazz musicians in KL to gain experience and learn new things.
With his natural talent accompanied by his commitment to practicing and refining his technique, Martin possesses a crisp, clear sound on the drums, enabling him to harness the groove in every style he plays, be it funk, samba, jazz, R&B, latin-jazz, pop et al. Martin cites his list of influences include Jojo Mayer (whom he was fortunate enough to have a brief tutelage under during Drumfest Singapore 2007), world-renowned afro-cuban drummer Horacio Hernandez, local drum legend Lewis Pragasam, and several others.
His beginning forays into jazz and the local jazz scene began, when he was called to play a jazz concert in UPM, with the JJ Jazz Ensemble (led by bassist Joseph Arnesto and Dr. Chan Cheong Jan), followed by several small-scale performances with various jazz musicians. Martin eventually became more active in the jazz scene in 2006, when he started joining The Happy People Quintet (now defunct, led by KL saxophonist Julian Chan), and shortly later on Julian’s second project, called Boplicity. He also performs regularly with other jazz bands in town, such as Eye-2-Eye Jazz Mix, GruvAvenue, David Gomes, and has performed or recorded with various jazz and non-jazz artistes including Greg Lyons, Lewis Pragasam, Michael Veerapen, Rachel Guerzo, Jaclyn Victor, Chinese songstress Yudi, Vince Chong, Siti Nurhaliza, Yasin, Shanon Shah, Hunny Madu, and Fish Leong. Martin’s career highlight so far has been performing with Eye-2-Eye Jazz Mix at the recent Malacca Strait Jazz Festival 2007 in Indonesia and rubbing shoulders with Indonesian icon Harry Toledo.
In 2009, Martin had been performing with SUPERBAND, a mandopop band formed by 4 legendary Taiwanese singers Lo Ta-yu, Jonathan Lee, Emil Chau and Chang Chen-yue. After giving 65 performances worldwide including Hong Kong, Singapore, Las Vegas Mandalay Bay, Taipei Arena, Bukit Jalil Stadium, and major cities in China, Martin and SUPERBAND held their final concert in the Mohegan Sun arena in Connecticut, USA on Feb 2010.
Being recognized for his talent and passion while performing on tour with Superband, Emil Chau decided to embark Martin to join his solo world tour from September onwards until middle of year 2011. Performing locations wise similar to Superband, Martin is currently performing alongside Emil Chau in mainland China all the way to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and USA .
During all his years as a drummer, he played with various drums, from his cheapest first entry level drum set to the highest model provided during high profile concerts. But along the way, he has always found a special connection with a certain brand of drums from Germany, called Sonor. He found that special connection with Sonor drums when he first played one Sonor Jungle Set in a small event. Martin eventually bought a new Sonor Jungle Set which he used for several years.
It is hard to describe what he hears and feels, but he just calls it the Sonor sound. With such a connection, Sonor drums enable him to bring out the best in himself, giving that delicate touch of control. Since his first Sonor Jungle set, he has never found another brand that can give him that sound and feel that has made him such a sought after drummer among superstar artistes.
It has always been Sonor’s policy that only true lovers and users of Sonor drums be allowed to endorse the brand. Only a pro-drummer who owns and loves his Sonor drum can be considered for the status of a Sonor Endorsee. Ultimate Music as the official Sonor distributor in Malaysia, had been looking for such a drummer for quite some time, and thru contacts, recommendations and much considerations, eventually found Martin, a true lover and user of Sonor.
Martin Ngim now is officially the first Malaysian Sonor endorsee and using Sonor S-Classix 18BD, 14FT, 12TT, 10TT, 08TT and 13SN and Fierce Cymbals exclusively.