MAX DUHAMEL (Kataklysm) – I especially like the melodic side of it

MAX DUHAMEL (Kataklysm) – I especially like the melodic side of it

Max Duhamel er trommeslager i de kanadiske death metal bandene KATAKLYSM og EX-DEO, og det sammen med de samme folkene i begge bandene. Han er inne i sin tredje periode i Kataklysm og forteller i sitt bidrag til The Blast Beast Series at han fikk den store interessen for musikk i en alder av 6 år. Kiss "Alive II" var hans første album, Rush trommis Neil Peart er hans desidert største inspirasjonskilde og han er sinna på seg selv for å ikke ha trent mer enn hva han har gjort opp gjennom årene. Les mer om dette og en god del til i The Blast Beast Series med Max Duhamel fra Kataklysm.


What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?

It’s the passion and love for the music. I started listening to music when I was 6 years old (first album "Kiss Alive II") and I immediately knew that that was what I wanted to do in life!!! And I just love to play live, so that helps a lot!!!

You are playing in a genre where both technique and speed, together with groove, are important ingredients. What do you think is the most important of these?

I especially like the melodic side of it because it’s a very emotional side of the music, But for the live aspect of it would be the groove side of it because that’s what gets people moving and it’s a great feeling for a performer!!!

Which drummer has inspired you the most throughout the years, and what would you have said to him/her if you had the chance to meet him/her in person?

Neil Peart (Rush) and I would’ve told him that I really love the fact that he is a very technical drummer but with a "rock" feel to is playing and that’s a rare thing in this business…and I would also have told him that he makes me want to quit when I listen or see him live hahaha!! 


Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?

I think that that depends on what kind of drummer you are, I know that speaking for myself I just like to improvise a lot and trying to achieve techniques or "fills" that way.

Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?

I guess just trying to start slowly to really understand what you are doing and then progressively accelerating the pace instead of just trying to go fast at first.

What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?

I just try to capture the essence of the riff & put what I really think goes with it & then ask the other guys what they think. Sometimes it’s totally the opposite of what they thought!!!

What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenges for extreme drummers (or, generally speaking, drummers), and what can you do to work them out?

The biggest challenge to me, and is what I tell most "uprising" drummers that ask me for advice, it is just to try being the best you can be without pushing your limit, it’s not all about speed but being good and tight at what you are doing musically before anything else.


Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?

Wrists and for bass drums it depends on the part. Usually it’s heel up a bit but when I go fast. I use the "heel toe" motion so that involves both. And why?? It’s only because I truly like that technique and that I have a "BPM" limit when it comes to the "straight stroke" technique.

You must have rehearsed for an insane amount of hours to be as good a drummer as you are. Do you think it is worth it, and have you ever thought about quitting?

I’m actually mad at myself because I could be a lot better that I am now!!! I could’ve rehearsed a lot more when I was younger but was too busy!!! But I achieved techniques that I thought were not possible for me; the "heel toe" and "gravity blast" techniques. And I honestly think that it is really worth it if you have the time to practice for "silly" amounts of hours because you grow a lot faster as a musician. I never thought about quitting even though I was out of the band for an album. I love drums too much for that!!!

While playing at a concert: are you 100 % concentrated about what you are doing, or do you notice some of the mood and energy among the audience?

Of course I am very concentrated especially for the "faster" songs but I have time to "witness" what is going on in front of me!!!

Is it expensive to become a drummer, and what does it take outside all that can be bought for money to become a clever and good drummer in extreme metal?
It is depending on what style of music you are playing that’s for sure!!! I think that you really need to have a sense of rhythm in you and lots of dedication towards your instrument. But I’ve been endorsed for a couple of years now by 3 companies (Pearl, Meinl, Vic Firth) so it’s a lot less expensive!!!


And then some about your equipment:

Which snare drum and configuration do you like the best? 12", 13" or 14"? And which material? Wood, steel, brass or bronze?

14" steel snare

What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?

The "normal" Tama pedals because they are very smooth and the I go for the "loose settings".

As always, we are rounding off with you picking the next drummer in these series. Pick a drummer, and explain why he/she deserves (!) to be one of our Blast Beasts.

Of course I’m old school & he is probably my favorite death metal drummers of all time, so I would have to say Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel) !!! He was the first "death" drummer that I saw live when I was 15 years old and also because we toured with them 2 years ago and I watched him side stage every night & he just blew my mind away!!!  For an "old" man, he can pound the living hell out of the drums!!!