Interview with Jess Gowrie (Chelsea Wolfe)

Jess Gowrie of Chelsea Wolfe was kind enough to grant me an interview before her show here in NC on Friday the 13th! So, check it out!

DIY: How did you get the gig playing with Chelsea? I know you played with her before in a different band.

Jess: That’s exactly it. It was probably like 10 years ago, actually I keep saying 10 years ago but it might even longer, but around 10 years ago. We grew up in Sac (Sacramento) together. We were in a band for like 3 years and then you know we parted ways. It was sad but I totally understood and you know she wanted to do a solo thing and so we didn’t actually talk for like 7 years. 2015 rolls around, and we go to a New Year’s Eve party together and instantly just like reconnected as friends. It took about a year – 2016 I was in the band. So it was just a kind of a transitional period of time. I think Dylan (their last drummer, who I also interviewed) was getting my pretty busy with his other project (Mang Chi). I think it was honestly like a mutual kind of time for everyone to just transition into different things, and so the timing was actually really perfect, and so I’ve been with her ever since and we did the record together and it’s been awesome. 

DIY: I’ve seen some of the Instagram pictures, and your light show looks amazing.  

Jess: Yeah! It varies from different sized clubs on a nightly basis you know? Using a full rig, or half a rig. Every time it changes it’s almost like for the better because it’ll be more stripped down and Punk. But, then its super intense because there will be like a strobe behind me, or something that’s just like making up for the fact that the full rig isn’t being used and then when the full rig is up it’s amazing.

DIY: So what are some of your influences? I read in the modern drummer interview that you are a fan of Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins) and Matt Cameron (Soundgarden)

Jess: I’ve said it a million times but it’s true! I grew up in the 90s, and grunge is very important to me, so learning how to play those songs just like on the radio really developed how I approach writing, but then I realized much later that those are jazz drummers who were in rock bands. I didn’t realize they came with the certain style that usually you don’t get from just being in a rock band, so that kind of helped me broaden my mind I guess without even really realizing that I was playing with like a jazz style. I’m definitely not a jazz drummer, so that’s not what I’m saying, but it’s just like writing a riff rather than just like four on the floor. Jazz kind of like you know, pardon the pun but it really Jazzes it up to see that style in rock. I don’t know, they were just really interesting drummers. 

DIY: So you teach drums as well?

Jess: Yea, I used to teach a lot more, now I’m with her (Chelsea) and I’m hardly home and I don’t have a consistent schedule, but yes I did teach for a huge chunk of time.

DIY: Do you recommend your students playing along to their favorite bands more so than let’s say sitting with a pad? I guess it varies depending on what they’re looking for. 
Jess: I do both, yeah. We start with the pad and then “the fun part” as they put it, is playing along to one of their favorite songs. You’ve gotta make it fun but at the same time, if you are teaching and your student doesn’t know what a paradiddle is then what kind of teacher are you? You just have to incorporate that somehow. But yeah mostly it’s just getting in the garage and jamming to your favorite songs. That’s where your creativity comes from and maybe a passion might be sparked you know?

DIY: Also in the modern drummer interview, I read about Rocket Shells. Tell me about that. Whats it all about?

Jess: Dude, I’d love to. I’ve worked with Rocket Shells since I was 18, so it’s been like 17 years…and it’s a custom carbon fiber Drum Company. The problem though is that drums just weren’t cutting it, so now we branched into custom carbon fiber other things and we don’t make drums anymore, which breaks my heart. However, my snare drum – I’m playing Tama, but my snare drum is my Rocket Shell, and my snare drum is my secret weapon. I get so many fucking compliments on my snare like “what is that!?” and it’s a rare gem. There are some Rocket Shells floating around out there but not really. It’s what sets us apart, in fact, on Hiss Spun I had like 15 snares at my disposal, and we would go through each one for each song and Rocket shells is 80% of that record. And it would be just like, okay we didn’t know it was Rocket Shells, and everyone of us in there would be like “I like this one” which was the Rocket Shells. I mean I would have gone with whatever sounded best, but it was the rocket shells almost every time and I was just so stoked! I switched to Tama because I needed a company who makes drums now, but I will always always use my rocket shell snare. My snare is super fucking loud and my drum set is too, for being kind of on the smaller side of the sizes they project really well, so live you get a bigger bang out of a smaller kick or whatever. 

DIY: I read that you normally use a 20-inch Kick and now you’re using a 22?

Jess: Yea I went a bit bigger. So I can’t play a 24, it makes my toms too far apart, so my compromise was going to a 22. I’m VERY happy with Tama, of course.

DIY: Are you using the Bubinga?

Jess: Well, thats a loaner kit. I have one being made and it wasn’t going to be done in time for this tour. It takes like 5 months or something, but yes in December I’ll have a full Bubinga 22,16,12. I wanted a 13 inch tom but that would have made me wait even longer, so I’ll make that adjustment later down the road. It’s a pretty simple set up but yeah full bubinga, its going to be flat black black. 

DIY: Black hardware too, or just the classic chrome?

Jess: The flat black was kind of a compromise. I personally don’t want to play on some weird color drum set, and naturally with her (Chelsea Wolfe) black works with or without – whoever I’m playing with or whatever I’m doing, black is a classic. It’s like a t-shirt, it matches everything. 

DIY:So you have an endorsement with Tama?

Jess: Yea, that’s basically the reason why I got a loaner kit so I could start getting the word out and not have to wait until my kit was made. They actually came to our first show in Santa Ana and GoPro’d the whole thing by me. I haven’t seen any footage yet but I’m sure it’ll be cool. It was a warm up show, but it was still rad and it was really hot, so I’m sure I was just sweaty and crazy. 

DIY: Do you have any pre-show rituals or anything like that? Or maybe even as far as stretches and warm ups, or also maybe any sort of spiritual thing?

Jess: I mean with the new record, playing these new songs, I definitely started practicing on the practice pad. I used to go in there cold and not do that, but the drumming is a little bit… “more”… on this record and so I just realized I need to start warming up and get loose, but I mean that’s pretty much all I do is you know warm ups on the practice pad and take a couple shots basically. 

DIY: Nice. Whats your poison?

Jess: Well right now its Grey Goose. No whiskey, that’s just bad…bad news. Its mostly just Grey Goose.

DIY: Do you use any in-ear monitors? Or do you just go with the house monitor system?

Jess: Well, I play to a click live so I have only the click, as of now, going into my ear and I rely on the monitors. However, one of our next steps for after this tour is getting me with both of the in ears in, and having my monitor mix, because I know it’s not good for your ears to just have the one. I’ve noticed that when the show starts, my click is to here, but by the time it’s ended I’ve turned my click up way beyond that, and when you put it in your ear the next day you’re like HOLY SHIT! So basically hearing the whole mix in my ear is going to save my hearing for sure, but I just need to get the proper mixer to have all those channels to work with. Other than that it’s just the click thats in my ear yea. 

DIY: What’s your favorite food on the road?

Jess: Oooooh! Alright I think I have some here. (Jess digs through the cabinets of the tour bus) Ah! These miso ramen noodle soups!

DIY: Oh cool! Dr. Mcdougall’s vegan miso ramen noodle soup! Are you vegan?

Jess: No but my bandmates are, so I buy these so everyone can enjoy. I mean I don’t care, they taste fine to me, but these have been a lifesaver. When you’re done and you’re back on the bus and then you’re like I’m hungry, this is it dude. 

DIY: Do you have any advice for drummers trying to “make it”? 

Jess: I mean seriously, two things, and its probably like what everybody would say but it’s SO true. I’ve been playing music for a long time and recently now feel like I’m actually doing some cool shit, and it’s because, like I said I practiced in my garage and kept playing playing playing…and then seriously, do not EVER give up! Like, I don’t care if your band breaks up in 2 years or 5, keep doing it… seriously, something can change just like that, and sometimes takes long time, sometimes it doesn’t, but you just have to keep trying. Perseverance is so cliche but it’s so true. If I had stopped, you know even when Chelsea and I stopped playing together the first time around, we would have never made this full circle to come back into each others lives and create what I think is one of the fucking coolest records that I’ve ever been a part of. I feel like they feel the same way. Everybody put their own little specialness into it and came out with something that I think is very rare for everyone involved.  

DIY:It seems very cosmic.
Jess: Exactly. And that was me going my separate way, being in a bunch of bands, learning my styles and improving my chops, and her going her separate way, making a bunch of records playing with certain different types of people, adding instruments here and there, to get us where we are open-mindedness and just being ready, and we were both ready at the same time and it was great, and here we are we made a record and now we are touring on it. 

DIY: Well thanks so much for chatting with me, and inviting me onto your lovely tour bus!

Jess: Of course! Thanks for having me. And you’re right, there needs to be more female drummers that are like fucking doing shit that people know about. Even the modern drummer thing, I was just like dude thank you for even caring.

DIY: I mean, women in general and female musicians I feel like, for some stupid reason, are not given the same amount of attention as other accomplished musicians, and a lot of the times they are way better.

Jess: I feel like you have to take gender out of it and just look at like, what is this person doing? What are they accomplishing? What HAVE they accomplished? What makes this person special? Whether or not they’re a man or a woman just shouldn’t matter, but for some reason it does, and its a shame. We just need to break that barrier somehow. Like I said, even with modern drummer being like “yea lets do a little story on you”, that’s a big thing! I mean they’re like the Bible of drumming right? I can only hope like…you want to be on the cover, you know? Like THATS the thing. Maybe someday, but you know what we did was more than I would have ever expected, so I’m totally down to talk about drums and get the word for Chelsea out and the record out there. However I can help is important.

Jess plays Tama drums and Vic Firth sticks

Hear her on Chelsea Wolfe’s new album Hiss Spun out on Sargent House Records, and also with her other killer band Horseneck.

Main photo courtesy of Mary Gebhart

All others courtesy of the internet. 
Thanks for reading! As always, please like and subscribe! Find us on Instagram – @drumityourself

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2016 – Drummers Sweet 16 Holiday List!

(I know its a bit late, but here are some great last minute stocking stuffers and a few fantastic package deals to keep the drummer in your life on the beat!)

This year, I’m breaking up the list into several categories of 5. The first category will be small but extremely useful items, most of which help dial in your sound. The second category will be bigger items, and the final category will be package deals that are too good to pass up! Plus, there is 1 final item at the end that you may just drool over!

BUT FIRST….check out Santa Shredding some drums, courtesy of Adventure Drums! Be sure to like, follow, and subscribe them!

 

Alright, now that THATS out of the way, take a look at this list!

Each item’s title is a link to purchase!

Here we go!

 

  1. Drum Dots   $10drumdots

These clear little dots are among the best drum dampening systems out there! Specifically designed to take out certain frequencies when place on the batter or resonant head of the drum. I swear by these, and have never played a gig or recorded in a studio without them!

 

2. Emergency Kits $10-$20gibraltar-scdtk

Every drummer deals with losing small pieces here and there over time. These things add up very quickly, and before you know it you’re missing most of your felts, cymbals sleeves, and even your drum key! This kit, and others like it (although some are proprietary and have items that only work with hardware made from that company, such as the DW survival kit) are sure to keep your drummer playing their best!

 

3. Falam Slams – aka-  BASS DRUM SAVERS  $5-$10p38804

Designed to increase the longevity of your kick drum and keep the kick beater from wearing on the head too much, these life savers can also balance out your kick sound! They make them in Mylar, felt, and some with metal (for that “click” sound). Pair them with different types of bass drum beaters and you can really dial in that tone you’ve been looking for! Wood or plastic beater? try a felt patch, you’ll still get the attack of having a wood beater, but the felt will add just a touch of warmth. Felt beater? Try a mylar or metal patch, which will increase the attack (the click sound) all while making your kick head last longer!

4. Vater Stick Holder $10-$15

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Stick holders come in handy for those moments when you’re raging hard on a song and a stick just decides its had enough and either breaks or jumps right out of your hand! Either that, or maybe you’re a flashy drummer doing all the stick tricks, and you miss one….in which case a stick holder like this is perfect!

 

5. Vater Stick Bag $20-$30

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Every drummer needs a stick bag! This is where you keep all your small spare parts, felts, patches, drum keys, and of course….sticks!

 

This next set of 5 items is geared towards slightly bigger products, most of which serve the purpose of making your drum kit sound better!

 

6. Big Fat Snare Drum $20-$30

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The Big Fat Snare Drum is one of the coolest new items on the drumming market right now. There are several models, all of which deaden your snare sound to get that fat 70’s tone. Some have other trinkets like jingles and such, and they’re all fantastic! Great for studio or live drumming, and harnessing your creativity!

 

7. KickPro Bass Drum Pillow  $30-$40kickpro

If a dialed in kick sound is what you’re going for, look no further. These bass drum pillows have a weighted core (that adds extra THUD), a non slip bottom (so they won’t move around from song to song like most of the other similar kick dampening products ) AND a soft fleece top (great for long trips in the van on tour). As a Kick Pro Artist, I swear by these pillows. I’ve worked in the drum industry for years and have tried almost every kick dampening product out there, and none of them did the job as well as this one! Great price point too! Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!

 

8. KickPort $30-$40 9990

The Kick Port is a great way to add more depth to your kick sound. By focusing the sound coming out of your port hole, the Kick Port helps the microphone pick up a more deliberate tone from your bass drum!

 

9. Roc-N-Soc Drum Throne $150-$250nrxok-large

Roc-N-Soc Thrones are the best on the market in my opinion. Deluxe, Durable, and made right here in North Carolina. Adding a new throne to your kit can make playing a lot easier and a lot more fun! Comfort is king!

 

10. Vic Firth Drumming Headphones $50-$70lg_sih11

Theres a reason these headphones are a best seller in the drum world. They are affordable, comfortable, cancel out a good amount of ambient noise, and have great sound quality. Perfect for recording, playing along to tracks, or jamming out!

 

The final group of drumming gifts is focused on package deals! These can be a great way to get your drummer multiple cymbals, heads, and other items that can normally be pretty expensive when bought separately!

 

11. Dream Cymbals Ignition Starter Pack  $300-$400preview_1

Dream Cymbals are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES! Not only do they sound beyond fantastic, but they are arguable the best priced cymbals in the history of cymbals. Their approach to pricing structure ensures that the drummer can pick the cymbals they WANT, rather than the ones they can afford. How? Its called Sound Pricing, and Dream launched this idea in 2012. “All cymbals of the same size and style across Bliss, Contact, Energy, Vintage Bliss and Pang series will be the same price as the Bliss series. This represents a price reduction averaging more than 20% and ranging as high as 42%.” –Dreamcymbals.com

The Ignition Cymbal Pack features:

-Bliss/Contact series hybrid sound
-Great Sound For The Price
-Hand-Hammered Bronze
-Includes: 14″ hi-hat, 16″ crash, 20″ ride, 22″ cymbal bag

I’ve played my Dream Cymbals live and in the studio, and I will NEVER go back to any other cymbal company. You’ll see why when you try your new Dream cymbals out!

 

12. Remo Fusion ProPack $50-$70442827000000000-00-500x500

I’m a Remo guy, and buying drum heads in a pack is the best way to go about it. The most important thing is to make sure you know the sizes of your drums, so you can make sure the pack has heads for most if not all of your drums! This fusion pro pack is great!

 

13. Evans G2 Clear Pack $40-$70

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Evans heads are among the best on the market and are known for their innovative technology! You can’t go wrong with this G2 Clear pack! Great for rock and metal drummers!

 

14. Aquarian Performance-2 Clear Drum Head Pack $40-$7052081-5bb774d38e9dcf7b86d96ef8cf648b19

Aquarian drum heads are an industry standard for recording, and for metal drummers especially. Their most famous head is the Super Kick and Super Kick II, one of THE best kick drum heads ever made. As with most drum head companies, their multi packs vary and there are plenty of options to choose from!

 

15. Vater Stick Bundles $35-$40 vater-vsp5bw-5b-american-hickory-sticks-4-pack

Vater Sticks have been my go to’s for years. Ive never been disappointed! Buying sticks in bulk is the smartest way to do it! These 5b’s are great for rock and metal drummers, or anyone with big hands that likes a bigger stick, but there are many packs to choose from!

 

Here it is, the final, 16th item for the 2016 drummers holiday list…..

 

16. Yamaha Gigmaker 5 pc shell pack $399!!!!

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Yamaha makes some of the best drums and hardware, and they have a beginners drum set that beats all the competition! The Gigmaker 5 pc shell pack comes in 4 different color options, all with glitter (super rock n roll) and can NOT be beat for the quality, price, and sound in the beginners drum set market! If you’re looking to buy your drummer their first kit, or first “real” kit….these are the way to go! They’re durable, flashy, and sound great! My personal favorite is the White Grape Glitter kit 😉

 

 

Well, thats all folks! Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading, and I hope this list helps you pick out the perfect gift for the drummer in your life!

As always, you can find me on Facebook and instagram @drumityourself, as well as expertlychosen.com – a great website for picking out gifts! 

 

Drumityourself.com is powered by: KickPro Bass Drum Pillowskickpro-logo

 

 

Interview with Hugo Stanley of PALM

PALM is one of the most interesting bands hailing from the New York noise scene….or any scene for that matter. Their mind altering arrangements push and pull the listener around as if the body and the soul are in a heated battle of tug of war. Upon first hearing the song “Crank“, randomly going down a youtube rabbit hole, I remember being immediately taken over by some strange cosmic force…laying down on the floor, and being consumed completely.

I missed them playing at Neptunes (a local bar in Raleigh) in november of last year…but was fortunate enough to get the chance to see them at KINGS this go around (joined by Gnarwhal, SMLH, and DED) and I couldn’t help but let my inner drum nerd get the best of me. Hugo was nice enough to hang after their mesmerizing set, and give me some insight on his extremely innovative and musical approach to the drum set.

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Hugo, thanks so much for meeting with me. I Have to ask….what are your drumming influences? How would you say you’ve developed such a unique style?

Its a little strange. In my head I’m kind of like, primarily a guitarist. Which doesn’t really make sense when I say that to people, because I don’t play guitar in any bands.

I feel like that makes sense in the context of Palm though, because of the way the guitars and the drums work together you sort of have to think as a guitarist and a drummer at the same time.

Yea its kind of like a conscious thing in Palm where the guitars, a lot of the time, are the rhythmic element whereas the drums and bass act more like the melody, or if not the melody maybe the lead in a way. Which is fine because Kasra (guitar, vox) is a drummer, he doesn’t play that much anymore, but his way of playing is more of like a natural drummer to me. I’m shit at just playing 4/4, its just not my thing. I’m envious of people that can. So I guess getting back to your question, what drummers am I influenced by?

Well not necessarily drummers, but what inspires you to play drums the way that you play them. Do you usually just sit down and go for it, or do you have specific things that you do to get inspiration?

I don’t really practice on my own. I’d love to, but I’ve never really had a living situation where that was possible, so when I play drums its normally just at practice. I’ve played drums in a few other bands that are pretty different compared to Palm. One was sort of like noise rock/ post hardcore kinda thing where the drums were more like classic rock influenced. I don’t know, I played drums just fucking around with different stuff in college, which is also when I started kind of playing drums regularly, even though my mind is very guitar centric. When I started getting into music as a player when I was around 14 or something I definitely always liked the drums. The first drummer that was super influential to me when I started playing a lot was Britt Walford from Slint (also the Breeders, Watter and Squirrel Bait). Even specific fills I feel like, I’ve probably lifted and used. That band just blew open the door to things you can do compositionally, and I definitely try to be compositionally minded in the way that I’m a part of this band at least. Its not the kind of thing where they just bring in a song and its pretty apparent what the drums are supposed to do and I just do that. Either we work out a song together or something just comes from jamming or Kasra brings in a song and I’ll just be like “alright, I’m gonna try and fuck this up” or just play in a different time signature over the song and see what that sounds like…and Jerry kind of switches between playing in the feel that im play and then playing in the feel the guitars are playing.

When did you first start playing drums?

 First time I ever played drums in my life I was like 9 or 10 or something. My dad played music and he was doing some kind of recording session somewhere and brought me along, and they were listening back to some shit in their control room and my dad was like “why don’t you go in the live room and mess around” I was just drawn to the drums. I played them for a second and I was like whoa. Drums are kind of like the most intuitive instrument in a way, like they’re harder than all the other instruments in that you have to have independence with all four of your limbs. There aren’t really any other instruments like that. I guess arguably, Piano is one because of the use of the pedals in conjunction with the keys…but with drums its also kind of counter intuitive in that you have to develop this independence that’s not necessary with guitar and bass, but its also intuitive in that its just very clear how physical action of playing the instrument correlates with the sound that comes out you know what I mean? Its like, you hit this thing with a stick and it makes noise. You can figure out how to play percussion on some level even as a baby. I guess I like drums because it’s like this weird juxtaposition of it being a really obvious thing but also kind of limitless. The deeper you get you can conceivably be playing 4 different time signatures with all 4 of your limbs. It’s pretty insane. But yea, I didn’t start playing drums regularly until later in high school like 16 or 17 but I didn’t really start playing in bands that practice regularly until I got to college. There were a lot of situations where I would play drums because we were having a band practice and I didn’t really play outside of that. Only once I started touring with Palm and Big Neck Police, I would be like “oh I should practice this so that when we are playing a show I’m not like FUCK I wish I had practiced this. Guitar was always a thing because I could just play it in my room for hours and not disturb anyone. I grew up in Manhattan in an apartment, and I knew I wanted to play drums really early, but it was just never a thing. My parents bought me this electronic drum kit where all the drum pads were on this one unit, and it wasn’t particularly satisfying to play. Its not an acoustic instrument, which is another thing that I like about drums is that in this sort of classic rock context its pretty much the only truly acoustic instrument.

Do you remember the first show you ever went to, or played?

The first show I ever played I was probably 18. I think I had just turned 18. I had been playing guitar since I was 13 or 14 and I had started fucking around with drums at that time as well but didn’t play in bands until later. It was at this building that was a weird structure from the 1700’s called The Old Stone House in Brooklyn. It was some sort of outpost during the civil war or some shit. Anyway I played there with my band at the time, I guess we were like psychedelic rock. We drew lots of influence from Pink Floyd and Neil young so we kind of had that sort of vibe. I remember I was physically shaking I was so fucking nervous. No amount of practicing could prepare me for that at the time.

What are your kit specs? Your set up is basically: Kick, snare, floor tom, hi hat, crash/ride, and a jam block instead of a rack tom right?

Yea, so my kit is assembled entirely of stuff that I found mostly. The hardware I guess I “found” at my school. During the spring fling there was this thing and they had a tent where I guess bands were playing, and they had bought all this hardware for this showcase of the bands. It was 3 or 4 days after the even and the tent was still erected and there was still all this gear inside the tent and it all had tags on it, so I deduced that this had been bought by the school and had been abandoned. I called my girlfriend at the time and was like “there’s all this shit that I wanna take” and she brought me a random guitar case from somewhere that I had, and so I basically stole all this hardware. That’s where its from, haha. My bass drum pedal which I actually lost in Austin a few days ago was just like…my house was on the same lot as this other house and someone that played drums lived there and left it behind, so that’s how I found that. The floor tom I got from this dude that I met skateboarding who was like “hey, I have all this shit.” He had bass drum and a floor tom and was like “yea I’ll just give it to you” So I sort of kept nagging him and hitting him up for it and one day he was like “yea I’ll bring it by…but I don’t have the bass drum anymore cause’ all that stuff was in my car, and I was trying to pick up some friends and there wasn’t room…so I just left it on the side of the road somewhere, but I still have the floor tom” So he gave me the floor tom. The cymbals and snare actually I bought for super cheap from a friend of my dads who played drums. The bass drum I bought from this store called Main Drag Music in New York, which is a really good music store. They were having this even which was like a BBQ where they were trying to get rid of the surplus the store had, and they had this bass drum. My dad was with me and I was like “I need this bass drum, I gotta go on tour but I don’t have a bass drum”. It was this weird Ludwig from the 70’s that didn’t have lugs for a resonant head it was just open and it was soooooo light. Lighter than the floor tom. So they were asking for like a hundred bucks, and my dad who is like this fierce bargainer was like “I’ll give you $40 for it” So I got my bass drum for 40 bucks, got all the hardware for free, got the floor tom for free, the cymbals and snare which I guess are the nicest parts of the kit I bought from my dads friend, and then there’s the jam block. Its funny, people always ask me about that.

It definitely stands out, but in a good way.

yea it’s really loud and like super staccato and super bright.

Its fucking cool as shit to be honest

Haha, thanks man. I’m into because its like, there’s not anoter part of the standard kit that’s does what the jam block does. It wasn’t even me being like “oh I want to add this to my kit.” The guitarist Kasra and them liked it, and I guess they bought one. So I just showed up at practice one day and it was there and I was like “yea ill fuck around with this” … but I didn’t feel comfortable having a part of the kit that was like this novelty thing that I use in specific songs. I felt like I should treat it like a part of the kit. Its not so much like this anymore but for a while it made its way into all the songs we were writing, and I didn’t want it to be this kind of gimmick sort of thing. For a while I was using another crash and a rack tom but I kind of started stripping elements away. Part of that was because I’ve always thought the fewer elements you have the more you are forced to be resourceful. There are all sorts of sounds you can get out of each part of the kit. The other part is being on tour I would lose shit, and I hated carrying a bunch of shit. Any excuse for stripping away from the kit is less stuff that I can lose or have to carry. So I did away with a few things. It’s a weird combination of being practical I guess while also trying to challenge myself.

Right on. Thats a very cool way to acquire a drum kit!

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How about some slightly different questions. What’s your favorite food?

I don’t really have a favorite food right now. My sense of good food is kind of fucked just from being on tour.

Ok, whats your favorite tour food?

I always love Chinese food, and pasta I guess but the odds of having a Chinese food that’s actually good on tour are pretty minimal. I almost didn’t say Chinese food actually. A few days ago in Tallahassee Palm and Gnarwhal went to this all you can eat Chinese buffet…and it made me feel like fucking trash man. It was $10 to make me feel like shit. I would have rather spent $5 and felt semi normal. On tour I guess that’s what I prefer….burritos and sandwiches that have lots of veggies. Often times you eat like 2 meals a day. Its what, midnight right now and I’ve only had one meal today, so stuff that has nutrients and calories and protein and such, are more attractive on tour.

Top 5 bands or albums you listen to right now?

Eve (guitar, vox) showed me this artist Cate le Bon who is really cool, I’ve been enjoying her album called Mug Museum. The more we play on tour the more I get into friends bands. There’s this crazy album of Malian singer songwriter stuff by this girl Saramba Kouyate with an album called 56. It’s on this cool blog called tapes from Africa which is full of obscure African music. Its really cool polyrhythmic beautiful meditative music. We have some friends in Atlanta that make really cool music called Red Sea they’re really sick. There are a lot of cool punk bands from NY that I’m into. There’s this insane band called Dawn of Humans who are super sick. Hmmmmm. I also really love reggae; I listen to a lot of reggae. There’s this drummer, Leroy “Horse mouth” Wallace who is like a reggae session guy that’s really awesome.         ( ^^^ these links are pretty fucking awesome. Don’t skip checking them out!)

What would you say is your biggest drumming pet peeve?

If the way a drummer plays speaks to me, I try to just take the whole package of how they do it. If I don’t like the way they are playing it’s pretty easy to see everything I think is wrong with their set up and how they are carrying themselves. So this is a hard question to answer, but when I really try and think about it I would say…people who play the same fill over and over again, or punctuate ever bar or 2 bars with a crash, or people that overplay in a setting that doesn’t make sense, but also people who underplay when it doesn’t make sense.

A couple weirder questions:

Do you believe in parallel universes, string theory, holographic theory, multiverses….anything like that? Are you a spiritual, or religious person? What’s your deal?

Man….I don’t know anything about that. I reflect on things that have happened to me and people that I know. I guess I form a world view based on that, but I’m not scientifically informed enough to feel justified in having any opinions like that I guess. I’m not a religious person, or even necessarily a spiritual person in the way that I when I think of people I know that I would describe as spiritual that doesn’t really sound like me…but I also value a lot of the things that people consider emblematic of being spiritual such as relationships with people in my life or certain things that have happened to me and seemed to have some kind of meaning or significance on the mark of my existence but I don’t have any specific ideology or set theories that I subscribe to as far as my outlook on my own life.

What do you think, or hope, happens when you die?

Honestly I don’t really care. I guess I always think that my love for the people that care about me transcends any sense of mortality. I wouldn’t want the people that care about me to be super bummed that I died or whatever, but one thing I’ve never really understood is why people are super precious about what happens to their bodies after death. I think it would be cool if I died, to just dump me in the woods and let animals eat me. I just don’t care. When I’m going to die and how it happens is concerning I guess, but I don’t have any notion of what should happen to my body or my memory after I’m gone because I feel like whatever happens to me after I die wont affect me in anyway, because I’d be dead.

Finish this joke – How many drummers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Ha, I don’t know man…you’d have to ask a real drummer. It’s funny enough to me being interviewed in this context. You’re a drummer talking about drum stuff, where as I don’t know shit about gear, I don’t know shit about technique. I don’t even consider drummer to be a part of my identity. If you woke me up in the middle of the night and was like “are you a drummer?” Id be like “I dunno.” I love music forever, but if someone told me I couldn’t play drums anymore that I could only play other instruments id be like “alright, that’s fine.” In terms of drummers, it doesn’t take a lot to intimidate me. I’ll see some 17 year old kid play with some band that I don’t even think is that good, and ill be like “fuck that kid is a real drummer…I’m just a fraud.”

That’s a really refreshing and interesting outlook from such a talented musician. I really like the fact that you don’t consider yourself a drummer, and yet you’re such a bad ass at it. That in itself speaks volumes to me. Its fucking dope, and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me after the show.

I really appreciate you caring about what I have to say. Its super flattering, and it does wonders for my ego, haha. Great talking to you, and thanks again for lending me your bass drum pedal. You really came through in the clutch, no pun intended.

—-

PALM is : Eve Alpert (Noise Angel), Gerasimos Livitsanos (Space Bass), Kasra Kurt (Sonic Shaman), and Hugo Stanley (Panoramic Percussion).

tradic basics palm

 

Trading Basics is out on Exploding Sound Records. Do yourself a favor and pick it up!

 

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Thanks for tuning in! Follow me on instagram @drumityourself and Facebook.com/drumityourself for exclusive video content!

 

 

Interview with Dylan Fujioka (Chelsea Wolfe)

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One of the great things about being on a production team, (other than being in a tight nit group of fantastic people working together and making crazy shit happen behind the scenes), is working with artists.

Woven HandBlack CloudsChelsea WolfeGodflesh

This was the Saturday night lineup at Lincoln Theatre for Hopscotch Music Festival. I knew it was going to be an amazing show, not only from the bill of bands, but also the setting. Perfectly gloomy overcast skies all day with light patches of mist scattered here and there every few hours or so. I had recently hit up Chelsea Wolfe’s drummer Dylan on Instagram the day before, asking him if he would be willing to talk about his set up  at the Saturday show, and he kindly agreed.

The load in that day was fairly easy. Around 4 pm we were to bring some back line gear for Godflesh. Two Ampeg  8×10 bass cabs and two Marshal 4x12s. I forget what heads we provided. Godflesh, (only consisting of two guitarists and a drum machine and being the headliner) merely needed to line check before they went on, so most of our work wouldn’t come until the other bands started to arrive around 5 pm.

Once the bands showed up and got their gear inside, Chelsea Wolfe set up for their soundcheck while Woven Hand and Black Clouds prepared their gear to be put on stage after they finished up. I heard from their sound guy Chris that the Chelsea Wolfe crew had been smoking out of a ginger root.(I approached him earlier at soundcheck about whether or not the band smokes herb, as to not embarrass myself when I met all of them later). It being the last show on the last day of Hopscotch, and since it seemed I wasn’t needed elsewhere until load out after the show was over, I was considering marking the occasion with a modest smoke session. I will admit I was a bit nervous being in the company of some of my favorite musicians, and in the context of the interview I thought smoking some grass would help break the ice a little bit.

So there I was, sitting behind the loading area out back after soundcheck, checking my messages for any more load ins/outs or little fires that needed to be put out anywhere at the festival. In the clear. Dylan gets back from eating and we decide to go out to the Chelsea Wolfe van and get settled in to talk about some drums and catch a buzz for the show.

Click here to stream the interview–>>Drum Chat with Dylan Fujioka <<–

– I will admit its not the most formal interview, and sure…I had more questions, but I didn’t want to take up too much of his time or impose in any way.

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I would like to thank Dylan for talking with me, as well as Chelsea Wolfe, Woven Hand, Black Clouds, and Godflesh for playing the festival and generally being cool people. Good hangs.

Dylan Fujioka plays Spaun drums, Istanbul Cymbals, Evans drum heads, Pro-mark 5b sticks, and Low Boy kick drum beaters.

dylan fujioka

Don’t forget to follow on instagram! >>@drumityourself<< I want to see what other drummers are up to!

– Up Next –

After an extremely busy month, this week brings

– INTERVIEW WITH DYLAN FUJIOKA OF CHELSEA WOLFE

-Session footage from Dark Pines Studio – courtesy of the Raleigh Recording Company

-Sound Experiments (cymbal stacks, weird hi hat reverse snare trick, etc)

-Tuning tips for different genres

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