Jojo Mayer was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1963, and began drumming professionally at 18. He originally started as a jazz drummer, and performed with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone. However, in recent years, Mayer moved away from jazz and into more electronic music.
Rather than be a producer for electronic music, Mayer plays live drums over Drum n’ Bass tracks. Drum n’ Bass is a genre defined by busy drums in the 160-180 beats per minute range. Mayer amazingly plays at this level with stamina and great speed, which he attributes to playing with a technique that allowed jazz drummer Buddy Rich to play fast as well. Mayer started his Drum n’ Bass group Nerve in 1997, and the group has put out a few albums.
In addition to playing drums, Mayer also works with his cymbal sponsors Sabian to produce the Fierce line of cymbals, which are designed to sound similar to electronic instrument samples. Mayer has also engineered a kick drum pedal that has a more even weight distribution, and a snare accessory to make the snare drum sound like a programmed electronic sample. Mayer has participated in a TED talk about the discrepancy between electronic and organic (which can be seen in its 17 minute glory here) and also discusses various ideas about drumming at clinics worldwide.