I met Fred through my friend Quiny Lucion, guitarist of Red Method. When they were forming the band I jumped to the opportunity to meet and hang out. This lead to sharing our love for drums and eventually led to Fred actually using our drums on tour across the country. I had the opportunity to tech for Fred at UK Tech-Fest 2019. This was a great experience to see the behind the scenes in a festival setting. Read all about the new album, his musical history and approach to playing a heavier and faster style of drums.
This snare drum is a power house. I’d totally forgotten just how solid and meaty wood snares can be, and this block oak shelled beast is no exception. First impressions (and importantly so) is that it looks very cool. It’s the sort of drum that looks how it sounds. I first got the opportunity to try this drum out in a rehearsal where the setting was neutral and I could really hear how consistent it was tonally. It sounded great cranked up, but equally so tuned low.
This snare drum is a power house. I’d totally forgotten just how solid and meaty wood snares can be, and this block oak shelled beast is no exception. First impressions (and importantly so) is that it looks very cool. It’s the sort of drum that looks how it sounds. I first got the opportunity to try this drum out in a rehearsal where the setting was neutral and I could really hear how consistent it was tonally. It sounded great cranked up, but equally so tuned low. The heavy rim shot driven style of music I play often requires me to have to retune and tighten the bottom left lug half way through the set, but this one held up and sounded the same at the beginning as it did in the end. What a drum!
Could you talk us through your full setup and how you utilised the snare?
So I play a relatively small setup compared to a lot of other metal drummers out there. I’ve got two rack toms and one floor Tom symmetrically positioned against the snare in the middle. Cymbals follow suit with two crashes over hanging the rack toms, splash in the middle, ride hovering over the floor Tom and finally the china and hats at opposite ends. I’m not a massive fill guy, even though we’ve got some nutty rapid sounding tracks. When broken down, it’s still all massively centred around just the kick and snare. To put it another way, if my toms were ever to get lost in transit, I wouldn’t struggle to get through our set live at all.
What is your drumming story, how did you start and develop?
My drumming story is kind of staggered. My dad who is a bass player bought a really nice old Gretch kit off an RAF pilot in our local pub. I don’t think he really knew what he was selling because for a couple of hundred quid I ending up learning on something most studios would probably be happy having as their house kit. From then on it was the classic stereo on full blast next to kit, clattering drums, annoying neighbours and getting my first blisters. This went on for a good few years until as with most kids, you move onto the next thing. Drumming or music was never pushed on me but it was always there. Which I guess is why I really appreciate it now, the fact I’m still doing it I know means it’s all coming from me and for me! At the age of 13, the gig that changed it all was seeing the Foo fighters live at Earls Court. In short, I just couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. The buzz, noise and excitement in the room was insane and something I’d never experienced. All in all and as cheesy as it sounds, I knew I had to be involved in whatever that energy was in some way in the future.
Who inspired you, people you know and musically?
I remember when I first went on the website ‘drummerworld’. It was back in the day when internet drumming wasn’t fully a thing like it is now and I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. The sites homepage was just a big list of different drummers. I would pick at random and just have my mind blown each and every time. It was a funny experience hearing and seeing for the first time what could be done on a drum kit. Fast forward a number of years, I have to thank all my friends at university for being into kick ass music and introducing me to stuff I still listen to now and play along to.
Can you explain your playing technique?
I’m a bit of a mongrel, but most drummers are I suppose. We use tools and techniques drawn from so many different genres and styles it’s hard to pin point exactly what it is I do or why. It’s important for me to play what’s within me and to play what feels natural, I try not to worry too much about what other people are doing. It’s super easy when playing on a metal bill to hear the band before or after you playing and go “holy shit, that’s insane, I could never do that”, but honestly who cares, that’s the wrong mentality. You just got to be you. I like hitting hard and head banging, it helps to project the music we play whilst also getting the audience on-board with our energy.
How do you build up to playing at high tempos, do you have any specific routines to stay on top of it?
For years I would sit there with a metronome incrementally increasing the tempo with a timer on next to me. I know this would have been really beneficial for sure, however my preferred method now is to just practice to the music I want to be able to play. It’s quite easy to get lost in practice. Playing to music your gonna gig is the definition of practicing with purpose.
What are your pre-show rituals to playing at intense levels of speed and power?
Lots of water, a good stretch, maybe a run about, sticks on the back a seat then go!
What was your approach to coming up with parts on the new album?
The album was 90% written behind a computer, programming drums and riffing. For the most part it would mean stripping back parts once we’d tested sections out in a rehearsal room. It was too easy to get over excited when dropping in those 32nd note kick parts sat back in a comfy computer chair. This being my first full length metal album recording, I was pumped to be able to draw from so many years of banked up ideas I’d gotten together from practicing metal drums but never actually being in a band.
You have teased us with some tracks of the new album, what can we expect from the full release?
I’m really proud of what we have done. There should be something in there for everyone. Heavy riffs, pumping grooves, big open melodic chorus’ and even a cover. This being the band’s debut album, it has been a positive challenge attempting to encapsulate all that we (6 members) are about and all that we want to convey, musically and conceptually. This is just the start though, consider this a main course taster for what is to come.
From your experience, what advice would you give to someone pursuing a heavier / faster style of playing?
Stay positive, be patient and enjoy the journey. It’s a process and it’s totally up to you how far you want to take it. I would say always practice and play with intent, i.e., I think it’s important to be able to back up your technique with creativity - give it an outlet! It’s not the easiest genre to get into, so make sure you love the music you play!