DANNY WALKER (Exhumed) – Keep up with the times!
Danny Walker is the drummer in Exhumed. He began there in 2003 and dropped out just before the band took a break the following year. But when Matt Harvey started the band again last year, Danny was back in Exhumed. Mr. Walker began playing drums already as 8 years old and shares here some tips on how you can become as good a drummer as he is. Here is Danny Walker from Exhumed and his contributions to The Blast Beast Series.
What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?
Well, I’ve been drumming since I was 8 years old, so I’ve always had the passion and drive. I guess the fact that this is such a big part of my life. I love music and drums!
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 think all these are integral when it come to extreme drumming. For me I think groove and a good meter comes fist, then technique, then speed. There are plenty of guys that can play fast, but are kind of sloppy and have meter issues. It’s best to hammer those problems out first before you tackle speed. Once you’ve mastered that then go for it!
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?
There are so many drummers that I looked up to in my youth or even new and upcoming drummers. For me growing up Dave Lombardo, Sean Reinert, Gene Hoglan, Tim Alexander, Thomas Haake etc… were definitely a great influence. The funny thing is that I’ve met most of these drummers today and it’s great being able to talk drums and feel like you belong to this family of extreme talent.
Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?
I’d have to say both are crucial! I usually start out a practice by jamming by myself. Mostly improvising and coming up with new and random ideas. Then I can tackle things that I need to work on. Areas that I need to tighten up on.
Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?
Playing to a click track really helps. Going through rudiments with your hands and feet.
What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?
Well…I usually listen to what the guitars and bass are doing. Find the core! I ask myself "how can I accentuate this?" "How can I make it stand out and compliment it?"
It’s always good to focus on locking in, making the music more colorful.
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 is I guess just keeping up with the times. There is always something to learn. You don’t want to fall behind. There are some many new and up coming drummers. These young kids that just shred!! You never want to get too comfortable. Keep up with the times!
Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?
I use both my wrists and fingers for different things. Fingers definitely help when doing double stroke type stuff. Utilizing your Wrists definitely help when dealing with high speed patterns, blasting etc.. You don’t wear yourself out as fast.
I play flat footed. Think of a stomping motion. I play with the ball of my foot. I get the best results. Everyone is different. I tend to have my heel up more so that heel down.
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 actually feel that I don’t rehearse enough! Anytime I play drums it’s with a band. Whether that be Intronaut, Exhumed or Murder Construct. I’d like to have more time to myself to work out kinks in my playing. It’s always good to practice a little everyday if you can.
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?
I am definitely in sort of zen state and try to just focus on what I’m doing. That usually yields the best results. It’s hard sometime to ignore a crowd. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. The band and crowd feed off of each others energy.
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 was definitely expensive in the beginning because I was breaking everything! Cymbals and heads are not cheap. I finally got endorsements and it’s a life saver! Very thankful for this. I’m touring a lot.
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?
I prefer to us a wood (maple) snare. Prefebly 14′ x 6′ anything with diecast hoops. I like the drum to have a lot of crack to it, but I also want it to have a warm tone as well.
What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?
For the past 11 years I’ve been using the Tama "Iron Cobra" double bass pedal.
It’s prefect for what I do. I’ve never had any issues with speed or power and I need both. Some pedals are just too heavy and some too light only built for speed.
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.
I’d have to say Bryan Fajardo from Kill The Client, Noisear, Phobia and Gridlink. He’s a busy guy and a great drummer. Always keeping busy! We both have been in Phobia back and forth. Check him out!