Keep up with Blake here:
“A drummer today should have knowledge of what ever style he can learn. He has to almost become an MMA Fighter of drumming.“
During his high school years, Blake was watching his friends play in bands and he quickly discovered a form of expression that would not only challenge his creativity, but give him the passion that followed suit to become the drummer that he is today.
Growing up with the Bay Area Thrash scene exploding on every front page magazine, Blake was heavily involved with his drumming and managed to get his own band formed. Playing everything from Metallica/King Diamond/Testament to Motley Crue and Guns and Roses, Blake loved the technical side of thrash, but also loved just basic solid groove beats that other bands pounded out. Also a fan of Rush, he began to appreciate the progressive side of drums and how music is and can be written.
As the years past, Blake did some studio work with his band, but it was later in the 90’s when he joined Lankmar that he started to make a name for himself. Blake released a full CD along with a video “the Enforcer”. The band was featured on Musique Plus and MuchMusic. Lankmar disbanded.
In early 2011 when the opportunity to join Hollow was offered, Blake realized that everything he knew to that point was not still not enough. Black metal drumming was the basis of the band. Blake had to update himself and redefine his playing . This was a challenge that Blake would graciously undertake to improve his skills and playing. Hollow had offered not only a challenge, but a musical style that Blake loved. Progressions, great melodies and everything that put his dopemine level through the roof. Blake also introduced his own style of playing within the band to create a unique blend of old skool thrash and groove along with black metal blast drumming. Blake’s persona changed in the band and was born Blaac.
“My style and influences have changed much over the years. I am older, meaner and my playing is definitely much better and heavier than anything I ever played 20 years ago.”
Blake “Blaac” Lemieux Interview:
SDM: How old were you when you started playing?
Blaac: I was 16 years old. I had heard how Lars Ulrich got his first kit so I basically stole his idea and did the same. I begged my grandfather on my hands and knees to buying me a kit. (I lived with my grandparents) I was influenced by my cousin Craig who is a drummer also, and when he visited one summer from Toronto, he was air drumming to Rush – Exit Stage Left. Imagine, I was blown away by air drumming. I had got my first drumkit, a nice mid 70’s Pearl.
SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Blaac: Yes I did. I played my last year in my High School band. To this day, I still love listening to high school bands playing and rehearsing. Good times.
SDM: Who are your top 5 metal influences?
Blaac: Now or back in the day? Back in the day other than the obvious drum gods like Neil Peart, I was really influenced by Mikkey Dee during his King Diamond days. Ingo Swchitzenberg of Helloween was another favourite. Igor Cavalera, Nicko McBrain of course, and yes I really like Lars’ playin on Master of Puppets.
Today, I draw my influence and and creativity from drummers like Tomas Hakke, Gene Hoglan, Flo Mournier and Francesco Paoli, just to top it off.
SDM: Who are some other of your favorites?
Blaac: I like Ian Paice. He’s got some good groove going on still. Carmine Appice is really great to listen to. DrumWarz, he’s the man! I really like Chris Layton and Frank Beard.
SDM: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation
Rush – Exit Stage Left (Great to listen to when stuck in rush hour traffic beating the sticks on the steering wheel)
Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Compilation
Fleshgod Apocolypse – My own compilation
Meshuggah – Catch Thirty Three
SDM: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Blaac: Nothing… I know it’s bad and I should I do something, but I just get really sidetracked and when I do think of it, I try stretching and relaxing at the same time.
SDM: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have effected your playing?
Blaac: I do read. Not fluently but enough to write my own stuff down. It doesn’t really have an effect. I usually come up with a beat and write it down. If I happen to come up with a beat and write it down before playing it, half the time I find it’s not playable or just doesn’t sound as good as it does on paper. So I end up altering it or scrapping it altogether.
Other than writing, when it comes to practicing rudiments and stuff, it is a great asset to know and learn. You want to improve on skills, you’d better learn how to read the basics at least.
SDM: Can you tell us about the gear you use?
Blake: I use Paiste cymbals. I have always love Paiste. My first cymbal was a Paiste 2002 16″ Medium. I have always stayed with Paiste. I have a Signia drumkit which I have had for a long while. It still kicks ass live and in the studio. I have 10 and 12 rack toms, and 14×14 and 16×16 floor toms. I have a collection of snare drums which I used on how I feel. But normally I use a Sonor Hilite snare for rehearsal and a Sonor HiTech snare for live. My back up is my Signia snare. I use Pearl Demons on the longboard settings. What a godsend they were when they finally came out and in the stores. I have been using them ever since. My hardware is DW. I need something sturdy with my playing. My sticks are Vic Firth American Metal Classic Nylon tip. I think I have been using these sticks for about 25 years now when they first came out as the Tommy Lee model sticks.
SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Blaac: Metronome and paradiddles!!! For the first part. There is no greater sense of failure because you are a young drummer with no time whatsoever, and you get replaced in the recording studio. True failure is if you learn nothing from that experience. For the second part. Well you can do so much with paradiddles and it just opens up a spectrum of creativity that is endless beyond what your mind can think of. AND you want to do great snare rolls with toms and such, this is it. LEARN it, USE it, APPLY it.
SDM: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Blaac: Watching Tomas Hakke play here in Montreal. It was just mesmerizing just to see him playing what he plays.
SDM: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do?
Blaac: I like video games. Chilling with friends and a good cold beer in hand.