Basic Background Info

Birth: January 18, 1963
Location: Zurich, Sweden
Band: Nerve
Genres: Jazz, Drum and Bass, Fusion
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, DJ, Producer



Born in Zurich, Switzerland, as the son of a musician, Jojo Mayer traveled throughout Europe and the Far East with his father, bass player Vali Mayer. Jojo Mayer received his first drum kit when he was two years old; the following year he performed to an audience in Hong Kong. Surrounded by music and constantly moving around, Jojo Mayer basically taught himself to play.

In the early 1980s, Jojo joined Monty Alexander's band touring Europe's big jazz festivals. This exposure to other jazz performers led to performances with Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone, among many others.

In 1991 Jojo moved to New York City and dove into the live and studio performing opportunities in the city, while still touring around the world. Jojo Mayer also writes and produces music. And he frequently offers drum clinics and seminars internationally.

Shortly after settling in New York, Jojo created a weekly event called Prohibited Beatz in local clubs, which was a forum for live breakbeats, stylistic hybrids, and mutations of electronic music. This project was described as an "endeavor in reverse engineering the textures and rhythms of the current stream of computer generated music into a live performed, improvisational format." Personally, Jojo Mayer performed with Nerve, a project integrating electronic beats with live drums, at many Prohibited Beatz events. Although Prohibited Beatz is no longer active, Jojo Mayer continues performing with Nerve.

Jojo Mayer's drumming fuses jazz, drum and bass, and jungle into a unique sound. Jojo Mayer's exceptional techniques include the one-handed roll, made possible with the push-pull and the Moeller technique.

Throughout his impressive career Jojo Mayer played with a great variety of artists including The Screaming Headless Torsos, Meshell N'degeoccello, Vernon Reid's Science Project, DJ Spooky, Emergency Broadcast Network, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Wayne Krantz, Harry Pepl, Gerald Veasley, Monty Alexander, John Zorn, James Blood Ulmer, Chico Freeman, George Adams, Dhaffer Yousef, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, John Medeski, Hiram Bullock, Depart, Wolfgang Puschnigg, The intergalactic Maiden Ballet, Friedrich Gulda, Harry Sokal, Mike Stern, Steve Coleman, Rebekka Bakken, Wah Wah Watson, and many more.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1992 Square Dance Intergalactic Maiden Ballet
1994 Lunar Crush David Fiuczynski/John Medeski
1995 1995 Screaming Headless Torsos
1998 Delirium Tremens Sulfur Delirium
1999 Domenico Ferrari 3 Domenico Ferrari 3
2001 Artistry in Rhythm: European Suite The Vienna Art Orchestra
2001 Live!! Screaming Headless Torsos
2001 Northern Crossings Olga Konkova
2002 Echo Echo
2003 Commute Domenico Ferrari
2005 Grand Pianoramax Grand Pianoramax
2005 Motown Remixed Various Artists
2005 Obliqsound Selection, Vol. 2 Various Artists
2005 Mystery to Me Janek Gwizdala
2006 Choice Cuts of the Screaming Headless Torsos Screaming Headless Torsos
2006 Reloaded Depart
2007 Prohibited Beatz Nerve
2008 Mountain Messenger Depart
2009 Art of How to Fall Rebekka Bakken
2010 The Space In Between Janek Gwizdala
2010 EP1 Nerve
2010 EP2 Nerve
2011 Live at the Jamboree June 17th 2011 1st Set Janek Gwizdala
2011 Live at the Jamboree June 17th 2011 2nd Set Janek Gwizdala
2011 Live at the Jamboree June 18th 2011 1st Set Janek Gwizdala
2011 Live at the Jamboree June 18th 2011 2nd Set Janek Gwizdala
2011 EP3 Nerve
2011 The Space Bewteen Zero and One Nerve
2012 EP4 Nerve


  • Jojo is an amateur magician and worked with his friend Marco Tempest producing Marco's professional multimedia magic shows.
  • " I shifted my paradigm. Electronic music programming has made me realize that over the past twenty years it's not drummers who are the engineers of modern beat culture. It's the producers and engineers. Timbaland and guys like that are building the skeleton for popular music, not the drummers."
  • "Proving to the world that I can play drums really well is not a priority. I'm trying to create art that touches normal people. When you hit a drum you connect to thirty thousand years of human history. That's not eradicated by digital technology. [DJ-ing] let me hear the drums more as a musical and textural instrument, rather than a statistical instrument."

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Sonor
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Sonor
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips