MALY is the drummer of the polish death metal act TRAUMA and here is his contribution to The Blast Beast Series
What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?
The key for a strong and good group is to have skilled drummer. Being a drummer is very responsible role and if a drummer will make a mistake within the song the whole group will be screwed. It’s extremely important to play evenly throughout the whole song, so the people could hear it clearly and enjoy it.
By the way… Girls love crazy drummers! HAHAHA!
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?
Both of these things are important, because they merge together and give accurate picture of the every musician, either good or bad one. I can’t imagine a drummer without feel to the rhythm. It’s known thing that in our music technique has to go together with the speed and once you’ll feel the rhythm – I can guarantee – that after spending plenty of hours with the drums you’ll get where u want to go with the quality and will become successful.
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 many great drummers and I’m trying not to be focused on one favourite one, but in the last few years I’m fascinated by Mike Portnoy – he’s first class. If I ever met him I would ask him about some great patents. We would go then for a beer and talk about music and life in general.
Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?
Systematic progress helps u to form and implement of your own technique, remembering your own patents and to keep good form, but the art of improvisation helps u to keep developing the form of your music. This makes you to think and to start to contrive which then helps to break boundaries and u can play nearly anything. When we improvise we always get surprised how unusual and good it sounds. Progress and improvisation go together and both are really crucial part of every musician.
Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?
Unfortunately I don’t know any patents or tricks. For me the only working patent is hard work with the instrument with plenty of sweat during many hours on rehearsals.
What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?
I try to memorize new motifs straightaway and then often to develop them in the way that they would sound better for me. We always try to improvise the motifs with other themes, we change and contrive until we realize that we are already happy with the outcome and it sounds good enough for our tastes. We often have different opinions, but always have in mind the fact so it would merge and sound well together. We always try to improve during a recording session, but we try to stay focused not to overdo and spoil the initial idea.
What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenges for extreme drummers (or, generally speaking, drummers), and what can you do to work them out?
To be honest I have never thought about it, but the biggest challenge for a drummer is probably to play on a drum set with thousand cymbals and toms with the speed of light (HAHAHA!). I don’t feel the need of challenge in order to impress anyone, there’s many great drummers and it’s up to the listener who likes who, it’s the matter of opinion and taste. New challenges appear during recording new albums and we always try to fulfil to maximum of our abilities.
Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?
We have to use both, wrists and fingers. When playing fast, it’s easier to use fingers, because you don’t get tired so much and so quick. When playing with wrists in slower moments of the song you can play more appealing to the eye and present the force of it to the public. When playing with a heel I always keep it up, it makes it easier for me, because I learned it this way. Hitting the kick drum with the heel up makes the sound of this kick stronger and firmer. It’s rare occasion to see the drummer playing a kick drum with the heel all the way 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 never considered stopping playing the drums. It’s part of my life and it makes me happy. I think there’s still a lot to come. When playing concerts we travel from one city to another, we visit great places, we meet great people, always have fun and then plenty of good memories, we choose this way of life and we don’t regret anything, this is integral part of our life as a group and anyone of us individually, we live for the music. Anyone who ever tried to play instrument, knows perfectly how much effort and time it takes to become good player. People often underestimate this fact and just say: "I can do it as good as you", but when it comes to actually showing the skills they don’t know what to do. Then they realize that it’s not as easy as it looks and how much time and effort you have to spend to be a great drummer.
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 always try to concentrate on the songs in order to know what, when and how to play, but when it comes to moments when I’m not 100% sure I try to focus even more to eliminate any mistakes. It depends of the public reaction how good and comfortable you play and it involves all of the players within the group. When you see the crazy crowd it feels like you get the wind under your wings and it makes you to play even more confident and accurate. It feels like the crowd is part of the act.
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?
In my instance, becoming a drummer meant to get own gear, because nothing gives you more comfort like your own instrument. I worked the whole summer in the construction in order to buy my first drum set. There was not much choice of music gear at that time in Poland, so I chose the used drum set (Polmuz) which was bought from the group THANATOS. It was a large set which set me back then 2 months of my life working, earning and saving for it. These days it’s different, because a drummer has to invest systematically once in a while, because there’s so much to choose from. If you want to be a great drummer on a budget there’s nothing better than constant practice and imagination.
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 have a 14" Pearl snare drum made by Virgil Donati. It’s very solid choice because you can expect a lot from it and I always liked wood, it’s sufficient for my needs.
What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?
For many years I used pedals made by IRON COBRA, I loved them and used them until they broke down. Later I used axis sy, but there was something missing. I tried to configure them under many different angles, but the results were not satisfactory. Some time ago during the concert in Wroclaw I met the guy who told me about the project he worked on. That project consist the new pedal for a kick drum. He engineered, developed it himself and named it "DEVIL’S HOOF". Later I started using it and I never changed it for anything else. The workmanship is excellent and the freedom of unlimited configurations seals the deal. The quality is so good that the state of mine is still like new. I seriously recommend getting one of these!
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.
There are plenty of great drummers in our country and every one of them is unique. I don’t know who you keep in touch with and seriously don’t know who to recommend. On the other hand I would like to thank you for getting in touch with me in order to get this interview. STAY TRAUMED!