Exclusive Interview: Drowning In Blood talk writing and recording “Crush The Weak”!
It’s that time of week again! The second of our creature double feature interviews with Montreal Québec Canadian Thrash act Drowning In Blood sees us go behind the scenes with them on what went into the writing and recording of their debut EP “Crush The Weak“. Depending on where you look you might find it as a 3 or 4 track affair with a hilarious take on “Sunday Morning Coming Down” not quite managing to appear everywhere but in truth it’s all about the bands original cuts…
What did you learn from the studio time for debut EP “Crush The Weak” that could help you make recording new songs better? “You really have to be prepared. I mean, you really have to know your shit before even thinking of coming into the studio because getting the perfect take and the perfect sound is really long and it’s expensive too, you can’t lose a single second fucking around. Playing in the studio is completely different from playing with other musicians. I mean, when you play with other musicians, you can adjust to them and they can adjust to you but in the studio, you play to a click, the metronome does not care if you can’t follow it, it just keeps going on and on so you really gotta practice it until you nail it”
How does the writing process of a new Drowning In Blood track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “(Chris Michaud, vocals and guitars): It usually starts with a riff. If Noah likes it, we keep it and we try to find the right vibe you know, the right drum beat. Once we have that, we just start putting the pieces of the puzzle together until we have a satisfying song. When it’s done and ready to go, we write the bass lines so, I play the riffs one by one and Noah writes the bass lines as we go on, doesn’t usually take more than an afternoon. Finally, we start placing the lyrics. We usually have some lyrics, some words or themes that we wanna put in it so I just pick up my guitar, plug it in at low volume and then we start placing the lyrics and the rhythmic”
You only have one guitar player so when it comes to playing this material live how do you go about getting the right sound and playing the solos without the backing rhythm riffage? “Well, when we started writing songs together, we were only two guys (drum + guitar & vocals) and it already sounded pretty good but obviously we needed a bass player for concerts. Our friend Félix Kemptner from False Gods accepted to be part of the project for the live portion of the band. We tried it and we discovered that, if your bassist is tight and aggressive, you can get by without a second guitar. Plus, it’s less complicated when you wanna schedule a band practice”
If you could bring out a guest to join you on stage for one of your cuts, who would you like to bring out and which one for? “Well, the first track that we wrote, Death Of Democracy was really inspired by the “Crossover Thrash” vibe of Toxic Holocaust, especially the yellow album (Evil Never Dies?) so, if we ever share the stage with Joel Grind, it would be an honor to play it with him”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “For the drums, Noah used: Sabian XSR cymbals, a B8 China cymbal and a Zildjian Transformer cymbal. It’s an Emerald burst colored Yamaha rock tour custom drum with an SD266A snare drum and 2 Pearl eliminator pedals.
For the bass, Noah recorded using a Squier dimension bass with Ernie Ball’s cobalt strings and a bass preset from our studio engineer’s computer that sounded particularly aggressive.
For the guitar, it’s pretty straightforward. Chris uses an LTD M-1000 with the stock EMG pickups through a pretty standard Ibanez TS-9, and that goes into a Marshall DSL100H and a Harley Benton 4×12 loaded with Vintage 30s speakers. I think we maybe used a wah for a solo and some spring reverb but that’s about it”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “(Chris Michaud, vocals and guitars) Not much honestly. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of Ibanez guitars but if they called me tomorrow and said “We’re giving you a 3000$ guitar for free but you have to use it for the entire tour” I would be like “Okay fine, whatever” you know because in my humble opinion, we all have our preferences regarding instruments, amps and tone but gear does not matter that much when playing live. You just have to give them a good show. People did not pay to see your beautiful Mesa Mark iic+ or your amazing 3000$ Ibanez signature model on stage, they paid to see YOU on stage. I believed it’s Glenn Fricker from Spectre Sound Studios who once said “having 21 different tone presets for all of your songs doesn’t make you a great guitar player, it makes you an asshole” and since he has a lot of experience in the industry, I kinda value his opinion when it comes to that kinda shit.
(Noah Muller, drums) Yeah it’s true. I mean, when we rent a jam space with all the gears already there and ready to go, we don’t bring our own amps and all that. We play with a different drum and different amps and it doesn’t make that much of a difference. If your playing is not tight enough, your gear will not magically make your band sound good”
“Crush The Weak” by Drowning In Blood is out now and available over at bandcamp.