KEN BEDENE (Aborted)
Ken Bedene is the drummer of the belgian death metal act Aborted. Here’s his contribution to The Blast Beast Series.
What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?
I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately and really it comes down to this. Playing music and drumming is really I’ve ever wanted to do in life and that passion hasn’t left. I know plenty of people who would give up anything to be where I’m at and I know I would’ve done the same thing before I got to where I’m at now.
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?
Well, I think that if you have all of them but wanted one to stand out more than the other I would definitely say groove. It makes the rest of the music stand out and gives less of the typical "death metal" sound which is refreshing at least to my ears.
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?
Out of all the guys out there I’d say Gene Hoglan. He helped me shape my sound when I started playing, I was always into the cool cymbal stuff he did while never over playing parts and still to this day I still try to carry that out in my own playing. As far as newer influences, Mike Heller has definitely given me tools and ideas and really opened my eyes to drumming, almost showing me a whole other side to my playing I would’ve never touched if it wasn’t for him.
I’ve thanked both for helping me become what I am today. I truly hope someday I can be that same influence to others.
Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?
If you have the time to put into drumming its always good to do both. You can be the most knowledgeable drummer out there but if you have no feeling in your playing or your own style I wouldn’t care to listen. At the same time, if you only know two beats and one fill… well you probably wont be too prepared to play or write your own songs on drums haha.
Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?
Hmm…. Well, Don’t be lazy like I am hahahaha. I know for a fact that I might be one of the laziest drummers out there. Don’t be like me! Actually work and have goals for your drumming. Don’t be afraid to take styles or fills from other drummers. Everyone hears things differently so who knows, you might be able to improve upon or make your own thing out of someone else’s playing.
What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?
Keeping an open mind and listen to feedback. I know I’m the drummer and everything but sometimes other people have good idea’s and there’s nothing wrong with trying anything out. Once you box yourself in it can be hard to get out of writing the same stuff over and over.
What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenges for extreme drummers (or, generally speaking, drummers), and what can you do to work them out?
One of them would definitely be standing out from the crowd with my drumming. Everyone plays fast in extreme metal, so I constantly try to find other ways to sound different. Another would definitely be to not over play songs. Play what is best for that particular song and that’s that.
Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?
I play with both fingers and wrists, the faster the song the more I’ll depend on my using my fingers. I don’t use the same grip with both hands because its just comfortable for me that way. As far as feet, I have always been a heel up player. I also do the swivel technique for the super fast parts. I never do any doubles, I never saw the point in learning it.
Basically, everything I do while playing I do because it’s what is comfortable and works.
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?
HAHA! oh wow, well thank you, but as far as rehearsing goes I maybe practice a few hours every 2-3 days… Before joining Aborted it was even less. I have been playing a while though that’s for sure. I don’t plan on ever quitting drumming, it’s something that I can always go back to if I’m unhappy or in a slump or ever just need to beat something up…. it’s basically the best girlfriend I could ever ask for! My drums don’t even complain while I’m on tour hahaha
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?
Usually once the songs start I go on auto pilot and don’t even think about anything. I let my body do all the work and take out all thought. Whenever I start thinking too much I end up messing up which sucks. It can be pretty sad when I miss out on girls making out in the crowd because I’m too far off in my own world hahaha
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?
My advice, DON’T PLAY DRUMS! haha just kidding, but yes! Drumming is WAY too expensive and stuff breaks all the time. It’s pretty unfair if you ask me. You have to carry the most stuff, no one helps you set up or break down and you get yelled at if you take to long haha
As long as you adjust things and find out ways to feel comfortable on what you play, it doesn’t matter how much the price tag on the drumset was. It is pretty sweet getting on a 5-6000 dollar drumset though…
And then some about your equipment:
I don’t even have my own drumset at this point! I’ve been borrowing a drumset from Mike Heller ( Fear Factory) for nearly 3 years or something like that now. I feel terrible about it but we live so far apart it’s not easy to get it back to him.
I am however getting ready to buy a nice Pearl kit, I’ve always wanted one and I’m endorsed with them so I should have one haha. I love playing all the Zildjian cymbals I own, they are all amazing and I still think about being a little kid looking in magazines wanting to buy some but not being able to afford them… wait that’s still the case :/ hahahaha
Which snare drum and configuration do you like the best? 12", 13" or 14"? And which material? Wood, steel, brass or bronze?
My favorite snare size is easily 12"x7" maple. I feel like no one gives that size snare a chance but holy crap does it sound good. It’s got the perfect blend of snap and body and the maple makes it super warm. I’ve never been able to find that sound from any other snare drum size.
What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?
I use Axis AL2 pedals with Ekits. I have my right pedal almost maxed out tension as for my left pedal its a few turns looser. My VDL setting on my right pedal is almost maxed and the left is a little lower but not too much lower. Lastly I lower my footboards a little bit so they aren’t too high, I hate when they are really high up, it just feels uncomfortable. I also use Trick beaters, they are super light and still have a flat plastic surface that makes them a little louder than lets say a Tama or Axis beater.
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
Ryan Hilerio, he’s one sick drummer that needs to be noticed! Also he let me use his drumset on my current US tour with Kataklysm