Cobus Potgieter Biography

Cobus Potgieter
Name: Cobus Potgieter Drums: DW, PDP
Born: October 23, 1986 Cymbals: Sabian
Origin: Carnarvon, South Africa Sticks: Pro-Mark
Official Website, Official Facebook, Official Twitter

Check out the Cobus Potgieter lesson on Drumeo »

Who Is Cobus Potgieter?

YouTube was launched in 2005, giving the room to anyone in the world to broadcast whatever they saw fit. In 2007 a South African drummer used this new medium to share his drum covers, and his life changed forever. This is how Cobus’ incredible journey started.

Born Pieter Jacobus Potgieter in Carnarvon, Northern Cape, South Africa in 1986, Cobus Potgieter’s life didn’t start to be engulfed in music until his teenage years. His parents had a great love for music, especially for the rock and pop of the 60’s and 70’s like “The Beatles”, “Parrish & Toppano”, and “Bread”. However, much like Cobus’ two older brothers, his parents didn’t know how to play any musical instrument. Cobus recalls his grandmother (father’s mother) as the only musically talented member of his family. It was only when he got his first computer that Cobus Potgieter really started listening to a lot of music, especially trance music when he was in grade 9.

Near the end of 2001, a 16 years old Cobus Potgieter attended an outreach organized by the churches around the area he lived in. At the end of the outreach, the drummer from a band that was performing there, invited everyone in the audience to play a basic 4/4 rock beat on the drum set. Cobus decided to accept the challenge. In what would become one of his defining moments, Cobus Potgieter was able to play the beat straightaway. At the time he wasn’t good at anything in particular, thus, by displaying some ability the first time he played on a drum set woke up something inside of him. As the outreach came to an end a feeling prevailed inside of Cobus Potgieter, the urge to play drums once again. He saved as much money as he could from there on and by 2002 was able to buy his first drum set.

It was around this time that Cobus Potgieter’s love for band-oriented music really took off. Bands like “blink-182”, “Sum 41”, “New Found Glory”, “Fenix TX”, “Biffy Clyro”, and “Sugarcult”, among others, really struck a chord with him and as such, had a big influence in his drumming. For the most part, playing along to “blink-182” was his major practice routine as he started out. So as expected, blink’s drummer Travis Barker was his first major influence. For the following years, Cobus Potgieter would hone his skills behind a drum set by practicing at home with a lot of music, with which he learned different drum parts, and by messing around with his own ideas. He also started performing in different high-school events, like dances and the “Inter-Schools”. In 2004 he co-founded and played in the South African band “Glaskas”.

After finishing high school he went to university to study “Mathematical Sciences” in Stellenbosch, South Africa where he stayed for only a year due to the poor results accomplished. During this time, Cobus stayed in a men’s hostel where he ended up being introduced to audio and video production. He got very curious with this new world and ended up by spending a great deal of his time teaching himself production techniques through free content he found on the internet. The next year he went to another university, this time around to study “Computer Systems Engineering” at the “Central University of Technology” (formerly known as “Technikon”) in Bloemfontein, South Africa. At this time he joined the worship band “Helios”, which played at the “Student Church” he attended in Bloemfontein. It was in this same church that Cobus Potgieter filmed the first video he uploaded on YouTube – “Quick Drumsolo” – and the subsequent 8 drum cover series.

At the end of his first year studying “Computer Systems Engineering” he decided to take some time off of university to see what he really wanted to do with his life, since he still lacked the commitment needed to pass all the subjects. Thus in 2007 he started working part-time for a few months as a waiter at “Träumerei”, to help support himself while at Bloemfontein. It was during this time that Cobus took the step that would forever change his life – upload a series of drum covers on YouTube.

At the time, Cobus Potgieter was trying to record an album for “Helios” at the church, using the production skills he had acquired in Stellenbosch. One night, unable to fall asleep, he decided to go to the “Student Church”. Since the drums were already miked, he mounted the church’s camera in an overhead angle and recorded himself playing along to 11 songs. This gave birth to the series best known as “Overhead Series”. Cobus Potgieter later pointed out the desire of owning an archive of videos of his drum playing as the main drive for creating the first series, since later it would enable him to show the footage to his own sons.

After uploading the “Overhead Series” on to YouTube he started garnering attention from a lot of viewers around the world. This propelled the creation of three more series – the “Tri-Cam Series” and the “Dual-Cam Series” in 2007, and the “Blister Series” in 2008. For each series he would attract not only more views, but at a given point sponsorship and endorsement deals as well. Before the Release of the “Hybrid Series” in 2008, he started endorsing “Udrum – Underground Drum Co.”, and got sponsored by a music retailer store in Joanesburg, South Africa named “Music Connection”, and by a distributor of audio and lighting equipment named “Audiosure”. Before the release of the “Michael Jackson Tribute” and the “White Series” in 2009, he started endorsing two more companies – TRX Cymbals and Jobeky Electronic Drums – and got a sponsorship deal with a marketing group named “SMG Africa”. “FullCircle” in-ear monitors was the last company Cobus Potgieter started endorsing before the release of his 2010 effort, the “Nexus Series”. This was the last series to be recorded in the “Student Church” in Bloemfontein before Cobus moved to East London, South Africa where he joined “SMG Africa” for working as an audio and video producer.

There is a lot to be taken from Cobus Potgieter’s story, but no one says it best than the late Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Emil Frankland:

…success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge…“.

Cobus’ success is the result of his love for playing drums. This, combined with his knowledge and enthusiasm for audio and video production, made it easier for him to create a high quality product. This helped him letting his own voice and enjoyment of playing drums really shine through and connect with people from all around the world. With so little he has accomplished a lot. Cobus Potgieter is doing something many of us won’t ever have the privilege to do – he’s living his dream, he’s pursuing it. So if he can do it, what is stopping you?

Career Highlights & Musical Projects

Cobus Potgieter has done session work with some South African artists. In 2007 he recorded drums for the first and last album of his former band “Inslowmotion”, formerly known as “YY” (TooWise in English). More recently Cobus performed, recorded and co-produced the album “Veranderd” with “Helios”, due for release within the early months of 2011.

Because of the great success he has found within the YouTube community – one of the top 100 subscribed musicians – he has made a few appearances on South African television shows interested in covering the worldwide exposure he has gained. The TV shows he has appeared on include “Gons”, “Kwêla”, and “Jip”.

In 2009 Cobus Potgieter’s self-titled DVD was released through “SMG:Oddity”. This DVD encompasses a documentary that sheds some light on Cobus’ early years, how he started playing drums, and how the YouTube phenomena came about. It also includes some drum covers, lessons on technical and musical concepts he likes to focus on, and some introductory lessons on audio and video editing for drum cover production.

The internet has also been an incredible platform for Cobus Potgieter to get connected with artists and producers from around the world. In 2010 he was contacted by American producer/musician Tyler Ward, by Spanish producer/musician Iago Pico through FormSpring.me, and by Canadian producer/drummer Jared Falk. With Tyler, Cobus recorded drums for three collaboration covers, with one of them being already released on YouTube and iTunes. With Iago, Cobus flew to Spain to record drums and co-produce the song “Heroes”, shoot a promotional video for the song and his next entire drum cover series. With Jared, Cobus will be hitting the Railroad Media Inc. studio in Canada for recording some drum lessons and drum covers in early 2011.

After taking part of the first “Jobeky Drum Festival” held in England in 2009, Cobus Potgieter is making preparations for tackling the United States and Canada in early 2011 for a clinic tour, and to attend the “2011 Namm Show” in Anaheim, California. He’ll be making appearances for “TRX Cymbals”, and for “DRUM!” magazine for winning the 2010 “DRUMMIE” in the “Rising Star” category.

What Can We Learn From Cobus Potgieter?

Learning with the aid of a great teacher will enable you to progress surely towards your drumming goals. The biggest problem here is to find that great teacher. There are plenty of teachers out there for guiding anyone to play drum set, but only a handful will help you play to your fullest capacity. In some countries it may be hard to find a good teacher anywhere, so free online content, books, and DVDs are sometimes the only resources available.

Cobus Potgieter is self-taught, and started learning even before picking up his first drum set. After returning from the 2001 outreach, he browsed the web in search of information about drumming. He ended up by downloading every free video and article he could get his hands on. All he has learned has been taken from free educational resources found on the internet, through YouTube videos, and from playing along and listening to a lot of music.

Being taught by a good teacher isn’t the only way to really develop mad skills, good sense of time and feel behind a drum set. Practicing things correctly, taking time to practice and play, and listening to a lot of music will do that for you. Guys like Carter Beauford, Buddy Rich, or Cobus Potgieter can prove us just that. There is also a very important aspect of drumming that a teacher can’t do for you – developing your own voice behind a drum set. Cobus Potgieter really worked on this aspect of his drumming, and is actually one of the most important things in making him that much unique.

By working on different ideas he heard on his head, or just things he though sounded cool, really helped him being able to cater to what his own head wanted to do, freeing him up to act so naturally and effortlessly when playing along to music. Some good examples of this can be seen in “Overhead Series”. He pretty much played whatever he wanted, disregarding what the original drummer had done for those particular songs. Every lick and beat was improvised on the spot as a reaction to what he was listening and feeling. So if you want to develop your own voice, and facility in improvising while playing along to songs, you have to spend time practicing your voice. Learning other player’s ideas can help you develop your voice. Learn them as they were played by them first. Then use them to start creating your own ideas. Cobus Potgieter also credits having Travis Barker as his main influence when starting out, as one of the engines to his own creativity due to Travis’ very unique style.

Cobus has a very rhythmical way of playing patterns that really complement the music. His syncopated hi-hat work and tom based grooves and fills are some of these examples. We can see some traits of his major influences in this side of his playing, like Carter Beauford, Tony Royster Jr. and Travis Barker. Other players that have influenced him tremendously are Derico Watson, Mike Portnoy, and Thomas Lang.

Cobus Potgieter is also praised for his great foot technique, and hand to feet combos. He has been using the “slide technique” since his second year of drumming, for playing very fast double strokes with only one foot. This way, he can keep his left foot on the hi-hat pedal, enabling him to play intricate hi-hat patterns with openings and closings while playing some fast single bass drum patterns. Since 2009 he has started learning and using the “heel-toe” technique for faster double bass work.

Another cool thing we can learn from Cobus is his way of using the different drums and cymbals on his set. This is one of his coolest trademarks. No matter what cymbal or drum he plays on, he tries to take from them as many sounds as possible. He uses the bow, bell, and edge for getting sounds from the ride, crashes, and even the hi-hat. He likes to use the rims of the toms and bass drum for added textures, and we have also seen him use his drum rack as an added sound source. So use your imagination and really think outside of the box here.

Stick tricks have also been a big part of Cobus’ playing. You can learn a lot of different stick tricks by browsing YouTube, or by checking out Thomas Lang‘s and Cobus’ drumming. Although both Cobus Potgieter and Thomas Lang love to use stick tricks because of added visual effect and fun factor of course, it’s very important that you don’t hurt your playing by using them. First comes the music and only then the visual effects, always remember that.

Cobus states that although being a fan of sick fills and grooves, and of intense and passionately played music, he has a sweet spot for beautifully sculpted melody. This includes a melodic approach to writing drums, which has always been a big focus of his, musically.

The coolest thing with all of this, is that you can see him exhibit each and every one of the things we have discussed here by watching his drum covers. So watch them, enjoy them, and then take some of his ideas and concepts to your kit and start developing your own voice. Strive for being yourself, there is already 1 Cobus Potgieter on the planet. There is nothing wrong in having 100 more Cobus Potgieters running around and making some noise, but when it comes to anything in life, people will always fancy the original more. So give your own voice a fighting chance, and just get inspired by this great drummer.




  • farmaciaSkymn says:

    Farmacia online

  • andiepotgieter says:

    Saya ingin sekali bermain dengan cobus

  • Brandon Taylor says:

    I’ve seen his previous videos, his cymbals sound awesome

  • Jeff Jackson Morgianho says:

    This is a great story after meeting Cobus on YouTube though his videos I’m truly inspired to take my music beyond imaginations. Well there’s a story behind every success and with mine which lies in the future… Cobus’s story Is one of my greatest inspiration I can only wish to work with people like him in the future

  • Benjamin Thomte says:

    (y) you are so cool.i am a big fans of you. \m/

  • amanda says:

    damn, you are so cool.i am a big fans of you.

  • Arya Sandika says:

    kak cobus keren …….:D

  • Edwin Arocho says:

    Great drummer!
    What happen to the project where he asked people to donate to?
    Have heard no response.

  • Muhammad Ragil says:

    Cobus you Awesome,,you great Drummer..you is My Favorite Drummer

    • Daniel Johnson says:

      I think you meant. you are my favourite drummer.

    • Margaret says:

      Just seeing all of those beifuautl dogs romping around makes my heart soar with happiness. What a great outing for you all. All of those doggies smiles are so uplifting.Jeppe is a handsome dog. I have never seen this breed before you started posting about them. Just wonderful.

  • Obed Flores says:

    ‘re my favorite drummer Best cover I have seen and are great conoserte hope someday to do a cover with you and get an autograph from my number one fan is my dream 🙂 Greetings from Mexico

  • Obed Flores says:

    Potgieter Cobus ‘re my favorite drummer Best cover I have seen and are great conoserte hope someday to do a cover with you and get an autograph from my number one fan is my dream 🙂 Greetings from Mexico

    • Ted says:

      Hi Obed, In Mexico you have a wonderful little drummer named Pau, she does crossovers she is totaly incredible! be proud i love this little lady! search luisvillarr on youtube to see Mexico’s own little Treasure! Greetings from Canada, Obed!

  • Lidemo kit says:

    After reading the above story about Cobus my eyes r like WIDER!! I mean.. I’m a rookie drummer n Cobus is a pro BUT, he n I hav so many things in common like Blink 182, Travis Barker, mike portnoy etc etc i’m olys tunned to his youtube videos when free.. It influences me evrytime i watch his videos n i’m olys practicing.. Wish to be like Him 1 fine Day! Olys your fan Cobus.

    • Jimmy says:

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Every single time I watch Cobus jamming on youtube, I learn something new. He has an incredibly smooth style, and he makes the most tech fills and beats look completely effortless. I’m stoked that he’s making waves in the international drum scene.

  • grandy says:

    cobus…. you are my favourite drummer…
    you are my inspiration…. 😀
    God bless….

  • Clent says:

    wow cobus is a great drummer keep up doing well your awesome your my fan

  • David Oquendo says:

    encontrar este gran maestro de la percucion fue mi unica inspiracion para practicar, sin duda nunca abra otro cobus pues su estilo es el mas original q he visto y espero seguir mi sueño y ser el mejor de Venezuela o de latinoamerica y ojala algun dia reunirm con cobus y mostrar lo q aprendi x el…. tank you COBUS…

  • vita says:

    it’s so awesome….. 🙂

  • Revicko Octavian says:

    i like cobus very much an i like his playing drum

  • tanzil aziz says:

    aku juga suka liat mainnya 😀

    • RizkyRegar says:

      ini tanjil yg hidungnya kaya voldemort ? Demen juga lu yg beginian hahaha 😀

    • Esteban says:

      Hi again Yolanda ,hope you are feeling beettr now :-DWow what a beautiful set of images. I’m not a dog’ person but they are lovely looking dogs and seeing them play in the snow like this well they must be melting the hearts of dog lovers. They certainly made me smile :-DHave a great weekend enjoy your walkies 😉

  • ikramuzzaman shopan says:

    he is my idol for my drumming…..i love his style of drumming very much…within a very short tym..and in the coming future he will become the best drummer of the world if he keeps practicing like this…..bravo dude….carry on……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • aly adzkar says:

    ak salut bgt & fans bgt ma cubus potgieter.

  • Pc repairs in Kent says:

    Great site lots of information Looks like alot of time has Been taken here

  • Jon Samuel songungou says:

    If he was an american..he’d be a millionaire by now..

  • Lucy says:

    Is he single? 😀

  • Joel Benjamin says:

    Cobus truly is a hard working geek. . .

  • yusri miajinasi says:

    cobus potgiter is forever in my lifethe best

    • Gatot says:

      After study few of the blog posts on your site today, and I truly like your way of blogging. I boarkokmed it to my favorites website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my internet site as well and let me know your opinion.

    • Maria says:

      Hi! What fun to see pictures from Nemos “family”! Only Samba was minissg. Nice to have a place were you can let your dogs run free. In Sweden we have a lots of forests and fields that we can walk and practise in. I can walk about 1 hour without seeing a person! 🙂 I hope everything is fine with you and Nemos sister.c5sa

  • Cheese says:


  • cica says:

    Cobus is a remarkable drummer who I admire
    when I could be like him?

  • shiro kw ld stm says:

    can please someone tell me the sizes of the drum,of cobus which he was using in the song ‘blink 182-up all night’please i’m asking because i want to buy the same of all…plz and cobus u r the best of best..all the best.

  • shiro kw ld stm says:

    cobus…is the best…keep it up..and i wish to become like him 1 day.. and by the way can someone please please please tell me what size of the drum kit he is using in the song ‘blink 182-up all night’.I know the name of the drum but i dont know the sizes can please sum1 tell me,i would like to buy the same one…and cobus u r the best.

  • Reinhardt says:

    Cobus!! dis leka om n Suid Afrikaner te sien so bekend raak!! you inspire me!!

  • rey says:

    i’ve been trying same thing with him such as heel-toe technique
    and cover some songs like him

  • Marcelo Bluetooth says:

    Cobus vc eh uma grande influencia e inspiraçao para mim.Gosto muito d como vc toca as musicas.Bastante susseço e um abraço.Marcelo Bluetooth

  • Ebie says:

    Cobus… Wanner kom jy polokwane toe? Ek wil jou graag ontmoet en miskien n paar tips optel!

  • Stephen Jacobs says:

    Wow this is freaky. . . I’m reading all this stuff about Cobus find out he was the drummer for Glaskas and then see Jared Falk comment. . . So amazing!!!

  • Nancy says:


    • Christopher says:

      I wanna buy an electric gaiutr 1st or 2nd hand or even an acoustic will do.Anyone wants to sell their gaiutr plz let me know. And i’m also looking for drum sets if i get em cheap and a drummer for my band.

  • Zaiqito Castt Zaium says:

    Cobus,you are awesome….. I have try a lot of your drumming technique but i cant follow you…. This proves that you are truly ….. Kencang!!!!!! And Hebat!!!!!!! Peace!!! Love the beats!!!

    • Chelda says:

      Like czar said, you can most likely pat the sound enegneir on the back more so than the drummer for that tone. I am always amazed when I hear my drums on stage through the monitors dry, and then step out front and listen while one of the other guys plays them a world of difference.

  • ceedee says:

    i love you cobus !! stay blessed ,GOD bless …. 🙂

    • Corinne says:

      Hi all and welcome to doggy Bliss!* Brimstone: het was een heel gelnkigel die middag met al die actieve belletjes. ;-)* Green Thumb: the dogs have thick coats and were not bothered by the cold at all. It was the humans who suffered from cold feet after an hour, well 2 of us and it wasn’t me. 😉 Joie de vivre is right!* Lisa: although the Kooikerhond is a very old Dutch breed, it is a rare breed even here. When I’m walking Tara almost everybody (dog owners included) ask me what kind of breed she is. Most have never heard of it before. When we were having that fun filled afternoon quite a few people who were either skating or walking their dogs stopped to watch our 6 doggies romp as it was such a rare and wonderful sight. * Asa: vilkommen! Not only Samba was missing, your Nemo was missed by us all too. 😉 Hopefully one day the whole family can come be together and have lots of doggy fun. Wouldn’t that be great? I hope all is well with Nemo and you? Kram!* Gail: you’re not wrong. 😉 I was very much impressed by the beauty of both Jeppe and Cobus. Mummy Renske was not as gorgeous as she usually is thanks to having had 4 puppies last August. That does take it out on a female dog, but her coat is improving daily so soon she will be her very pretty self again too.Thanks all for stopping by and admiring our gorgeous family of Kooikerhondjes!

  • nicko says:

    he’s awesome,, he has a natural talent.. something in his african roots has the answer of his don..

  • True Saamu says:

    Hi everyone, my name is True. I am from New Zealand and currently studying industrial design (product design). I am doing a research of my final year project on drum-kits. I want to get hold of Cobus. Does anyone know any link that i could find his email address or someone who knows his email address. That will be very helpful.


    • monika says:

      you can see his official youtube acc: youtube.com/deedlebag or check out his website cobuspotgieter.com, you might find some contacts of him. good luck

  • John Vespucci says:

    Your a young man with a bright future ahead of you….like Jared; because you want to help others, makes you a special person!

    • Parveen says:

      Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the messgae home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • Yarzilane says:

    Well done, Cobus.

  • eric john says:

    He’s great!…
    the best for me!…

    • eric john says:

      hope, can watch the live!… 1am in the morning!..

    • Rose says:

      We lost our beloved dog Morena in November, age 13. It is truly a joy to see these pups, so livley, happy, and free. If we could find a puppy like your Fija we would surely be delighted, but I’m guessing that is unlikely. There is some sweet dog out there waiting for us – I hope we find her!

  • xedycoid says:

    i lake you..!!really would have never know that much about cobus !!
    he’s an awesome drummer and my inspiration to drumming !!
    lovo his covvers…keep doin the gud work bro !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jamie says:

    Haha, i already knew 90% of this 😛 I’m a bit of a cobus freak.. nothing stalker-ish though, i promise. But there are so many good things i could say about cobus i doubt i could fit them all on here (i don’t know one bad thing about him. maybe that he’s a LOT better than me.. heh..). All i can say to him is just keep doing what he’s doing. don’t ever change. 🙂

    • Shahbaz says:

      do the stick twirl!!! its really not hard, you just hold the stick etweebn your pointer and middle fingers, then twirl it around. if you do it right, it looks like youre actually spinning it around your hand. or, just toss a stick up in the air and catch it during any part where you have a 2-4 beat rest. maybe throw a sweet, but simple solo in there. in general, people dont know how to play drums. so as long as it sounds decent, people will be mroe than happy. hehe good luck! and relax, and have fun!

  • Billy orfanos says:

    the cobus potgietr It’s a great drummer and would like to know a lot of tricks from him.It’s a good drummer.Nice cobus!!!! (-_-)

  • Rohit Saini says:

    WOW! Is he really self-taught?!?

    • Janado says:

      Hey Rohit

      Yes he is. There are a lot of famous drummers that have never had a private lesson in their life, or have never gone to music school, but achieved great success nonetheless.

      Guys like Cobus and Buddy Rich are great examples of this. Buddy only had lessons to learn how to read music.

      Take care man.

  • Felix David says:

    Dude hes awesome, jared is there a chance to invite them live or something, would be cool!!! he is awesome, I would love to learn some tricks from him

    • Jared Falk says:

      Way ahead of you man! He’s going to be doing a live show sometime at the end of January or beginning of February 2011. Stay tuned!

  • shoaib says:

    great…i really would have never known that much about cobus !!
    he’s an awesome drummer and my inspiration to drumming !!
    love his covers…keep doin the gud work bro !