Our friends at Rhythm Magazine recently caught up with MASTODON‘s drummer, Brann Dailor, to chat about his kit, playing techniques and recording the new album, ‘The Hunter‘. The full interview is in the magazine (issue number 198) but you can check out some awesome pictures of his kit and extracts from the interview over on MusicRadar’s website now. See below for some extracts:
You’ve used the same set-up over years, is there a particular reason for that?
I don’t know, I guess I’m just a creature of habit. I get used to a set-up being a certain way. I know there are guys out there that will change it up from time to time to keep it interesting but I just really feel like I have a handle on the way my drums are set up.
When I write music with the band, I use those configurations so much, if I was to put something else in, I don’t know where I’d use it. I didn’t write the song with it. I would have to change it before writing. Like add a china or something like that.
I’ve always tried to keep it as simple as possible, but I can’t seem to get rid of the three toms up top. I like having the three toms there. I had a bigger kit when I was 14 or 15 and when we went to play our first gig, I couldn’t fit all the drums into one car, so I had to get a hold of a truck to come over and pick up the rest of the drum kit and bring it to the gig.
The songs on The Hunter are shorter and more compact. Was that intentional or just the way the writing happened?
It’s just the way it worked out. I guess it’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction to Crack The Skye, which was really long songs with lots of stuff going on. We wanted to go the other way with it.
But you can talk all day about what you want to do and then once you start writing, things just start happening. It takes on a life of its own. You have to trust it and follow it wherever it goes and hope for the best. There were a lot of weird, stressful situations happening with people in their lives outside of the band.
When you are writing lyrics, where does your inspiration come from, and do your lyrics inspire certain drum parts – or is it the other way around?
I see the way a vocal pattern lies over the top of something as also having a percussive element to it. I try to pick a subject matter for lyric writing but it’s hard because you want things to come to you naturally.
You don’t want to push for them to happen. I sit down with a song and listen to it over and over again and try to sing something over the top of it. Then I’ll get some sounds going, like some phrasings going. Then I’ll make those into lyrics.
I’ll say, ‘I can get four syllables into this space.’ that’s how you have to write the lyrics. They have to fit in these little spaces. You have to shoehorn them in there. Then you have to try to make lines one and three rhyme and make lines two and four. It’s really unorthodox but we make it work somehow.