Matt Garstka of progressive metal pioneers Animals as Leaders is one of the most technically proficient and versatile drummers in today’s metal scene. With a degree from Berklee and a history of drumming his way through numerous genres, he brings a unique take on how to approach the general term of groove in a metal context. In this collection of MIDI he takes you on a journey of what shaped him as a drummer. Expect intricate grooves that touch on jazz, soul and gospel – all infused by the unmistakable traits of true, hard-hitting metal.
This collection of grooves is for any writer of progressive metal or heavy rock who doesn’t mind being challenged or thrown off at times. Expect refined finesse blended with an outburst of creativity. But above all, expect to be inspired. Start writing!
Works with EZdrummer, EZdrummer 2 and Superior Drummer 2 (optimized for 1 kick, 1 snare, 1 tom, 1 floor tom, 2 crash cymbals, 1 ride cymbal).
Talk a little about how you got started and what lead to you being the drummer you are now.
– I started out as a rock drummer(8yrs old), then was eventually hipped to Rush, King Crimson, Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra and other jazzy/fusiony/progressive bands. I extracted my groove from Latin and R&B styles, used the technical facility from jazz fusion and put them in an aggressive metal context. In short thats what lead me to where I am now.
Who in your mind are some of the best drummers in metal – and music in general – today and why?
– I wouldn’t limit my influences to one style. I prefer to take a little something from anyone I can.
What’s the one kit piece you’d be stumped without? And you can’t say the double-pedal!
– The one piece I would be stumped without would be the snare.
You are an avid e-drummer. Give us a rundown of your setup.
– I prefer the silicon pads from yamaha DTX kits. They have the most realistic feel in my opinion. But I use a Roland KT-10 for a kick trigger. As far as sounds go, I usually use it as a pad kit when practicing but when I record an idea with it I use superior drummer. Usually the avatar kit.
What are the most obvious pros and cons comparing acoustic and digital drums?
– The pros of digital drums are you can track and archive an idea very quickly. This is especially useful if you want to write melody and harmony to the idea. Another pro being I can practice/record quietly in my apartment without having to drive 30-45 minutes to my practice spot. Its also helpful to program an idea before I can play it, that way I can hear it and learn it in a shorter amount of time.
The past few years, it has become common to record records using e-drums and working with MIDI in album sessions. What’s positive about this development?
– Some of the pros of using MIDI drums are that you can program drums that you or a drummer can’t yet play. You can also change parts, drums, and time signatures at any point in the recording process.
What is your happiest drum memory…and your WORST?
– My happiest and saddest drum memories usually all occur in my practice room, haha.
If you could pick five players for an all-star band, who would they be and why?
– All star band Victor Wooten, Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Tigran Hamasyan, Fredrik Thordendal. Because they are some of my favorite musicians and I am extremely curious of what we would create!
Check out the entire Animals as Leaders show we streamed during Metal Month 2014.
”The Joy of Motion” featuring Matt Garstka behind the kit.