What first sparked your interest in music?
As far as I can recall I’ve always been very connected with music. My dad used to play the accordion, and I remember paying a lot of attention to that. Things evolved when my older brother started bringing home some punk rock and metal cassettes and LPs.
How come you ended up behind a drum kit? Were you always drawn to drums and was it your first and only alternative?
Whenever I listened to music, I pictured myself playing the drums, even though I had no idea how to do it. The moment I became really fascinated with the drums was when I accidentally walked by a Rock Bar with live music, and there was a window from where we could see the band pretty close. I was totally hypnotized by the drummer and what he was doing… I remember that clearly to this day! From that moment on I started saving money to buy an used drum kit from a neighbor. I am so grateful to my family that always supported me. I was 11 years when I bought my first kit. I can also play many other instruments, but the drums is where I can really express myself in the most natural way I can think of.
To you, what defines a great drummer? Name a few that you think stand out in today’s scene (regardless of genre) and some that helped shape you as a drummer growing up and learning the instrument.
In my world, what defines a great drummer has to do with inspiration. My favorite drummers were never the most technical ones, but surely very musical and powerful. The drummers that inspired me a lot when I started were Igor Cavalera (Sepultura), Lars Ulrich (Metallica) and Marky Ramone (Ramones). Those guys will always have a special place in my heart! Later on, I got more in touch with extreme metal, then I listened a lot to Max Kolesne (Krisiun), Tony Laureano (Angelcorpse), Gene Hoglan (Death), Doc (Vader) and Derek Roddy (Hate Eternal). Today, I think the most exciting drummers in metal are Mario Duplantier (Gojira) and Tomas Haake (Meshuggah). Mario has it all – power and technique, but, above all, he also has musicality and the ability to inspire new generations to play the drums. He is pretty complex but at the same time not too complicated – and that makes his music very approachable to serious young drummers. But then again, I have deep respect and admiration for Tomas Haake. Actually, I love Meshuggah so much, and I can say that it is my favorite band since many years by now. Tomas is a unique drummer and although Meshuggah can be quite scary to learn, once you get that taste of it, it gets addictive!
When and how did you discover Toontrack?
That was certainly when Drumkit From Hell was released (around 2005?), and I remember that VSTs were starting to get very popular! Man, that was a blast, total game changer! Since then I have been following closely Toontrack, but when I really understood the real power was around 2016 when I got my hands on Superior Drummer 3, which has been my exclusively source of drum sounds since then.
You’re a Superior Drummer 3 user. How do you utilize it in your work and how does it help?
Well, I am a huge eDrums enthusiast, and I have been playing electronic kits for many, many years…
I play with Superior Drummer 3 all the time! I use it both for practicing and also for business. I mean, I have been recording for many bands and everybody loves the final results. I have my favorite presets, but I like to experiment new sounds every now and then.
SD3 is unbelievably realistic, and the playing experience is out of this world. Add that to the fact you have almost infinite possibilities inside the software, all with super high quality, and you have an amazing setup. It’s super fun, reliable and it helps you creating music in as very effective way.
What is your setup like in terms of gear? E-kit, module, etc.?
I am always changing and upgrading my equipment. As per today, I have a very big real size double bass kit (acoustic converted to electronic), and also prototype cymbals, which consists in traditional acoustic cymbals with triggers attached. So it’s 100% electronic now. I use Roland and Pearl modules.
Honestly, I can’t see myself having an acoustic kit anymore. It’s just so much convenience with eKits today.
Your social media presence has really grown the past few years, amassing an impressive 200k+ following on Instagram and close to 100k on YouTube. Is there a specific video that made everything take off?
Yeah, I am pretty happy with the outcome in the last few months. Things are happening fast and I am haveing a great time!
I started getting attention on social media when I posted a short video playing a very epic fill by Lars Ulrich from the song Blackened. It’s basically a three-step strategy: first I listen and react to the specific part, then I play it slowly, and eventually I perform it on real pace with the song. No talking, just playing! That’s was it! Over a million views very quick. That formula is what made me what I am today on social media.
What’s next on your agenda?
My next step is to work more towards educational content, meaning online drum courses. I have been working as a music teacher since 1998 and now it’s time to share my knowledge with people who wish to learn from me. I have a lot to share, and I am confident this will be a very successful move.
Double-pedal or double bass drums?
Double bass, hands down. For me it’s totally vital to have sound coming from both sides. And I like to have slight different tuning and EQ from each kick drum. That makes it more realistic, and exciting to play.
Click track or no click track in your headphones?
Both! Depending on what I am doing, of course. If the plan is to go more old-school then I never use a click track. However, modern Metal requires a click track most of the time.
You can only keep one cymbal on your kit – which one?
A beautiful China! I just can’t live without a China cymbal.
Dream team band (with you on the drums!):
Max Cavalera – vocals
Fredrik Thordendal – guitar
Gary Holt – guitar
Jason Newsted – bass
That would be insane!