The Genuine Pulse – Exclusive OnlineDrummer.com Interview with Dave Kinkade
Still in his twenties Dave Kinkade is a really experienced drummer in the extreme metal circus. He played with Malevolent Creation, Divine Empire or Council Of The Fallen and seems to be always in search of new challenges. So here is another challenge for him…
What you are doing at the moment musically?
Dave: Sitting in Holland getting ready for Wacken. I fly to Norway on Sunday to practice with Borknagar then we play Wacken on August 1st.
You are playing with Arsis and Borknagar; both are very technical – was this fact important for you?
Dave: Arsis got their old drummer back because he was the original guy. I just play shows and festivals with them now. Technical is very important for me. Its boring if its just the same old shit. I need groove.
Are you a full member or just a session musician?
Dave: I‘m a full member of Borknagar and just the live guy for Arsis. Who knows how much longer Ill even be playing with them. They have a whole variety of musicians at their fingertips.
At what age did you start drumming?
Dave: I started playing when I was 3. Now I‘m almost 26 so that’s a long time haha. I got serious about it when I was about 7-8 and wanted to play for KISS. The rest is history.
Are your role models as a drummer still the same as in your beginning days?
Dave: For the most part. I STILL love Peter Criss, Neal Peart, Eric Singer, Eric Carr & Phil Rudd. I of course have guys now that I watch and admire but I‘m quite comfortable with my playing now.
How many hours did you practice a day when you started drumming?
Dave: 4-6 hours everyday when I was a kid. Now I never practice which sucks but I‘m quite good at just picking up where I left off now.
Did you take drum lessons?
Dave: Only for basic shit. Rudiments and stuff like that. I got pissed at my teacher when he started telling me to do things his way. Now I look back and it was a smart move because I tend to believe that my techniques are a lot smarter than most of the teachers I see now a days. I look at drums a lot differently than most of the drummers I see. I try to use the drums, not just play the drums. I know what sounds and patterns I am capable of making and I let myself kind of fall into the music with it. I never want to be a show off but then, I never want to lack that the rest of the band is putting out.
Do you find the time to practice regularly at the moment?
Dave: Never. I‘m always traveling or doing something else. It sucks.
How important are the rudiments for you?
Dave: Now, not very. I just somehow make them work and don’t think about it. Years ago, when working on my own style, I had to focus on shit like that and make sure that I would incorporate it into my playing. After punishing my body and mind with it for so long, it has not just kind of formatted itself with that kind of playing.
Please give us a detailed description of the drums and cymbals you are playing.
Dave: Dave: I play Pearl Masters drums. Black on chrome. Toms- 10,12,13,14,16…Kicks- 18×22. Snare- Pearl Ultra cast Signature 14×6.5. Remo heads. Vic Firth signature David Kinkade sticks. Axis A long board customs with Ekit triggers. Alesis DM5 for kicks only. Cymbals- All Sabian. The list of actual Sabian models is too long so I‘m including a photo of my layout.
Why do you use so many cymbals?
Dave: Cymbals are like ingredients to a great recipe. They are each a signature of a different sound / accent. My selection of cymbals represents moods of music. I obviously use 2 rides. I love accents. I also use 7 different splash cymbals. I would not want to play if I didn‘t have the options in cymbals that I make available on my kit.
Do you endorse the products you are playing?
Dave: Yes, I am endorsed by all of the companies that I use. Pearl, Sabian, Vic Firth, Alesis and Axis Percussion.
Would you play the same brands if you weren‘t endorsed by these companies?
Dave: Dave: Yes. Vie been using Pearl drums all my life. They are the ONLY drum for me. I‘ve played other drum brands on tour and they all suck as far as I‘m concerned. Pearls hardware is great and their drums are by far the best. When I was younger, I played Zildjian cymbals but as I grew and became a hard hitter, Sabian was the way to go. Their product is by far the strongest cymbal I‘ve come across and their variety is second to none. Axis has been a part of me for about 9 years now. I used to play Pearl pedals but the Pearl pedals couldn‘t handle my speed so I needed to switch. I would never think about using any different pedal other than Axis.
How important is jamming for developing your drum parts?
Dave: Well since I don‘t ever really jam, most of my writing is done in my head. I start with memorizing the basic layout of the songs and guitar parts and go from there. Then once we are at practice, Ill try out what I‘ve come up with. With Borknagar, we actually wrote all the drum parts for the new album while in the studio so that was very raw and very in the heart. I played what I felt when I heard the guitars.
Are there any differences between your grooves for Arsis and Borknagar?
Dave: Everything is completely different. I love it. In Arsis, I‘m obviously focusing on speed and playing very fast. Its a brutal band. The playing needs to be exact so its quite a discipline gig. With Borknagar, I have the chance to relax and play more from the heart. Its very groovy and epic. I find myself playing things that I‘ve never done before. Its such an intense groove feeling playing Borknagar songs.
Are there any guidelines from the other members of Arsis or Borknagar concerning your drum parts?
Dave: Well its always kind of up to everyone. I‘ve been given basic rhythm layouts from guitar players saying that this is the blast beat part and this is the Slayer beat part. Other than that, I go with my best instinct.
Your predecessors in Arsis and Borknagar, Darren Cesca and Asgeir Mickelson, are highly respected drummers; did you ever think their shoes are too large for you?
Dave: No. Realize I look at the whole concept of “shoes to fill” as bullshit. The fact is someone can either play or not play the parts. I change some parts in both of my bands to fit for my style and to also fit what I always thought the part should have been. Asgeir is a great drummer but I‘m not him and he isn‘t me. Ill leave it at that.
Do you try to play the grooves of the older Arsis and Borknagar songs in an authentic way?
Dave: Some yes and some no. Like I said, the basic roots of the songs stay the same with me. Blasts are blasts and so on but I don‘t necessarily play the same drum fills everywhere. I play music from the black flames within me….not from the CD.
What drumming skills are important for extreme metal drummers and for drummers in general in your opinion?
Dave: Quit focusing on bullshit and start slow. NO ONE on the planet will learn double bass in 1 week. Be disciplined and work for what you want. Don‘t copy techniques…..create your own. What feels good on drums for me may not feel good for someone else. Create your own style.
Do you think an extreme metal drummer should be able to play other styles like jazz, funk, Latin etc.?
Dave: Of course. I‘m a jazz/ rock drummer at heart. I play extreme music because I can. Music is an art man, not a !%*& rule. Music has no rules….A well rounded musician can play anything and/ or relate to anything and a well rounded musician isn‘t afraid to tackle new challenges. Remember…..Metal rules but without the roots of all music, we wouldn‘t be here today playing this extreme shit.
Do you plan your (musical) life?
Dave: I wake up, eat, play if I feel like it. I live my life around music and my girlfriend. They are the only 2 things in my life that I give a !@*& about.
Every drummer who wants to be respected seems to make a drumming DVD – do you think you could present some new aspects of drumming if you were offered to produce such a DVD?
Dave: I don‘t believe in drum instructional DVD’s. I think watching someone else do something is a waste of time. Its like watching a football player play an amazing game and wondering why you can play that amazing game. Its called practice. Buy a metronome, start slow, practice hard for YEARS and then you’ll be able to play as fast and perfect as you want.