TOM COLLINS (Morgue Orgy)

Av Rune Grande


Our next Blast Beast is Tom Collins from the British death metal act Morgue Orgy.

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

Definitely enjoyment. For me there's no feeling like the buzz of being behind the kit whether that's in front of a crowd at a show or if I'm just hitting the practice hard. I love doing what I do and that's what pushes me to keep going.

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?

All three of those factors are really important but for me its groove that really matters. I've always played a lot of different styles and I spent a couple of years playing a lot of Funk and Reggae which helped me to get groove down before I started focussing more on speed and technical elements. 

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?

I take inspiration from a lot of different drummers but my main influence for Metal in recent years has been Shannon Lucas, especially his work with The Black Dahlia Murder. I find his musicality really interesting and he's a guy who clearly puts a lot of thought into what he's going to bring to the track, that's something that I really respect in a player. I did get to meet him once and the only words I could find were ‘can I have a photo?' 


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

For me it's systematic progress. Improvisation can be great fun and it's certainly a skill that every musician needs but in my experience, structured practice is far more effective. I document my daily practice and note down any strengths and weaknesses that I've identified and this helps me to set goals for future practice sessions and spend time working on the parts of my playing that really need it. 

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

The biggest tip that I feel I can offer is don't stick to just one style. A lot of drummers only play metal and I can't help but feel that they're missing out. Different styles of drumming offer different use of techniques and pose challenges that you won't necessarily encounter in metal alone. I developed most of my speed through playing Drum & Bass and Break Beats at a time where I was hardly playing any metal at all, it just shows that you never know what you might pick up just by keeping an open mind. 

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 and orchestrate my drum parts in a way that compliments the rest of the music as much as possible. I match the kick drum with the low chugs from the guitar and then experiment with snare drum placements if I'm looking for something new and interesting. Generally though I just try and respect the music as much as possible, for me it's really important to remember that as a drummer you're responsible first and foremost for keeping the time and providing a solid platform for the other musicians. 

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

Unfortunately it's getting people to take you seriously as a musician. There are quite a few guys out there who seem to think that playing the drums is less credible than other instruments but you have to brush this off. If you put in the time practicing and honing your skills then don't let anyone talk down to you because you're a drummer. You have the most important job in the band. 


Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?

I use wrists mostly but the fingers just provide that bit of extra spring in some of the faster parts, this is something I specifically worked on for a few months, hence the importance of structuring a practice routine like I mentioned earlier. I prefer heel up on the pedals as I feel it gives me that little bit more power, I do know some guys who have had great success with the heel down method though. 

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?

It's absolutely worth it yes! If I'm honest, I don't find practice to be a chore so it's never that hard to motivate myself to get behind the kit. One of my favourite things to do is work the practice pad for an hour or so, it's a really great way to get inside your technique and put some real focus on technical elements of your playing. I've never considered quitting but there have been times where I probably haven't dedicated as much time to practice as I should have. I think everyone needs a bit of a break now and then though; it helps to keep things fresh. 

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 really do feel the energy at shows but my concentration is pretty much all on the playing. The other guys in the band need me to lay it down well for them, especially in guitar solo sections, so I just try and keep my head in the game when we play live. 

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?

You can become a drummer for fairly cheap as long as you start with budget equipment. As time goes on and you start upgrading your setup it can become very pricey, but at least by this point you know you're serious about playing and are likely to stick with it. To become a great drummer I'd say the most important things aren't drum related. I think the drummers that get the best results are the guys who have the right personal qualities such as commitment, drive and passion. Those are the factors that will really help to get you where you want to be. 


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?

For me at the moment it's 14 x 5.5 in Brass. I love the projection that a brass snare gives you and I tune it high so it cuts through well in live situations. 

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

At the moment I use a DW 5000 double pedal with extra tension springs (they don't come as standard) and I like a lot of resistance as the pedal comes back to me quicker which is helpful for faster blasts of kick drum. 

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.

Dean Hemming from the band Gehtika. A great drummer in the unsigned metal scene and an all-round spiffing chap from a great band!





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