MIKE SMITH – Had to house the biggest instrument by default
Etter en maktdemonstrasjon av de sjeldne under årets Inferno Festival, fant vi ut at vi ville sjekke om Mike Smith fra Suffocation ville være med i vår Blast Beast serie. Overraskende nok svarte Mike med en gang, og det mens de fortsatt var ute på turne. Mike kunne blant annet fortelle at han hadde spilt trommer i 26 år og at han venter med party til etter at jobben er gjort.
ET – When did you start to play the drums?
MIKE – I began playing drums when I was 10 years old in 1981.
ET – Why did you start playing drums?
MIKE – I started playing because all of my friends played guitar, including myself, but drumming was also easy for me to pickup, so I took on the responsibility. I also was the only one with the basement to jam so I had to house the biggest instrument by default.
ET – How old were you when you got your first drums/drum set?
ET – How often do you practice?
MIKE – Now adays I tour so much that when I am home, practicing isn’t my first choice on the to do list. When I was younger I practiced drums and guitar equally everyday. I still play them both to the same capacity today.
ET – Which drummer did you look up to when you were young and is there anyone today that you admire more than the rest?
MIKE – When I was young John Bonham, Niko Mcbrain, Lars Ulrich, Queensryches drummer as well, I forget his name, and Tommy Aldridge all got my respect.
ET – What kind of equipment do you use? Which equipment is in your ears the best?
MIKE – My home set is a Tama Grandstar, The set of choice for recording and touring has always been Yamaha. Now if they would just acknowledge my career and endorse me, all would be in its proper place. I suppose 18 years of influencing the Death metal genre and worldwide touring isn’t enough for consideration yet believe me Ive tried to win their support. I also am endorsed and supported by Sabian cymbals in the US, Axis pedals, Evans heads, Vic Firth sticks, DB drumshoes, and Gibraltar/Kaman Hardware. I thank them all for recognizing my efforts.
ET – Which qualities do you think is most important to succeed as a drummer today?
MIKE – Originality in rhythm , beat choice and placement is key. The drums should compliment the song, not overtake it and distract the listener from the overall direction of the song. Precision and Power is also key. Nowadays triggers have made the job of natural intensity obsolete so the majority of new drummers in Death Metal are light hitters.
ET – Have you ever played a solo during a gig?
MIKE – No, I consider myself a work in progress and prefer not to showboat. My job is done during the songs. The fans should feel the impact of the band as a whole, I think soloing is for those who feel they need to prove a point above and beyond the other band members.
ET – If you haven’t become a drummer, what would you most likely been doing?
MIKE – I could’ve easily been a guitarist, or in a perfect world I would have been a professional motocross/supercross racer but I would have had to invest the time when I was much younger instead of toying with the instruments.
ET – Do you workout a lot?
MIKE – not with physical weights, it seems to counteract with my playing when I mix the two. Touring is a workout in itself, as well as motocross on my off time. Between those factors I find it easy to stay in good shape.
ET – Do you have any special rituals you have to go through before you enter the stage?
MIKE – I prefer to just relax and keep quiet before entering the stage. Im not into partying and overreacting before playing which is why I am usually the spoiler when friends and fans consider the backroom their playground prior to. All partying /distraction can wait until the job is done.
ET – Which releases have you been a part of so far? (Band name, title, release year)
SUFFOCATION – Reincremation- 89
SUFFOCATION – Human Waste- 90
SUFFOCATION – Effigy of the Forgotten -91
SUFFOCATION – Breeding the Spawn- 93
SUFFOCATION – Souls to Deny- 04
SUFFOCATION – Live in Quebec –06
SUFFOCATION – Suffocation- 06
GRIMM REAL solo project- 99
ROADRUNNER UNITED- The All Star-Sessions- 05
ET – Before we end this, you now have the opportunity to challenge another drummer to take part in this series. Pick a drummer and explain why?
MIKE – Gene Hogland, cool cat and veteran of the scene. This is all the qualifications needed.