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Claude de Rosa “Clod The Ripper” Interview:
SDM: How important are your kick pedals to your playing?
Clod: Kick pedals are very important especially if you play fast music! I use Axis longboard with e-kit triggers. They are very sensible so at the beginning it takes a while to find the right balance between settings and your way of playing.
SDM: How do you prepare yourself before a show and recording?
Clod: I just try to be relaxed. I do some stretching and some muscle warm-up’s for the legs and I play as much as I can of the songs. Of course some cigarettes and a horror movie the night before help a lot too.
SDM: How do you practice? Do you practice with a metronome?
Clod: To be honest I have no a private rehearsal, so I’m used to playing drums in my car while driving… hahaha. So my metronome is the songs I’m listening to while going to my tattoo studio in my car.
SDM: Did you ever take drum lessons? Do you play any other instrument? Can you read music like drum notation or guitar tab?
Clod: I’m first of all a bass player ( I recorded with Blasphemer, Septycal Gorge, and some other death and grind bands) and I never took lessons of any kind… unfortunately.
SDM: What kind of gear do you use?
Clod: I’m endorsed by Evans Heads and Planet Waves Cables (and electronic stuff), then I simply use some Vic-Firth 5AN, Axis Pedals and some different brands of cymbals.
SDM: Where did you record the album Nobody?
Clod: It was home recorded and mixed, but we weren’t satisfied with sound as in our previous mini CD, but shit happens when you work with non-professional people (lesson learned).
SDM: How long did it take you to record the drums? Who recorded the album?
Clod: I think one or 2 days at Brutal Dave Billia’s home studio. He did all the work from editing to mastering. As I mentioned, I’m not completely satisfied, but it sounds dirty and natural, the way it must be.
SDM: Did you record the drums to a click track in the studio? Do you find playing to a click track challenging?
Clod: Yes I did the recording session with click, but I didn’t use it live. We play kinda grindcore/hc styled deathgrind, so I don’t want to be a machine while we play live. I prefer impact and power instead of a technical and sterile drum lesson. Also because I’m probably not so good on drumming hahahah.
SDM: Do you use triggers in the studio or live? What’s your opinion on triggers and drum modules?
Clod: Of course I use them! Only for the kick, both live and studio. I think it’s impossible to have a powerful sound whitout triggers in the extreme genre of music we play.
SDM: What band or drummer maybe influenced you on your latest recording?
Clod: For sure the great Kevin Talley. I literally adore his skills on Destroy the Opposition from Dying Fetus. Also big names like Hatebreed or Despised Icon for the groove, and Nasum and Hateplow for the grind parts! In general I think Misery Index are the most close sound to our full-length.
SDM: Who are some of your main drumming influences today and back when you first started? Do you listen to different styles of music outside of the metal realm?
Clod: My first idol when I was a teen was Nick Menza of Megadeth. Then I was impressed by Doug Bohn (drummer on Pierced from Whitin – Suffocation). I like Dave Culross, Pete Sandoval and in the recent times Kollias, Longstreth, Ki of Rotten Sound, and Mauro Mercurio (founder of Hour of Penance). Out of death and grind, I’m too much into HC and doom (Terror, Death Before Dishonor, Raised Fist or Shape of Dispair, Dolorian, Swallow the Sun), but I listen almost everything I like: Rob Zombie, The Mars Volta, some old Korn and other commercial shit.
SDM: How often does the band practice during the week?
Clod: We were on hold since 2012 when we disbanded just before entering the studio to record 6 new songs for a split CD with our friends from Colorado’s, Enemy Reign. But I reformed Modus Delicti a couple of months ago with a new guitarist and bass player, plus our very old singer Adrian Bundy from our second split in 2009. Now we’re trying to play a couple of hours per week.
SDM: How were the drums recorded in the studio, with what kind of gear? How did you create the drums for the new album?
Clod: To be honest I don’t remember. I can only say that everything is natural 100% except for the kick that was triggered. I composed drum parts of our first recording during our practices, and then I changed ’em a litte bit rehearsal after rehearsal, nothing special. Then in a couple of days I recorded the album in full.
SDM: What blast beat method do you use?
Clod: I blast with both hands, the strange thing is that I can only do gravity with my left hand even though I am a right-handed. I don’t know why.
SDM: What are you kick pedals set at?
Clod: I’m not so technical my friend, I’m sorry. I just set it the way I perform better. I can say my spring is pretty tight and I set the beaters with a 45 degree angle.
SDM: Do you blast with one foot? If so, how did you learn this technique?
Clod: Yes I usually blast with one foot and if blast with left hand on the snare, I use left foot, otherwise I change also the foot. Sounds weird I know, but when I do off-beat I use both legs.
SDM: What kind of double bass technique(s) do you use? Such as swivel etc?
Clod: I would love to do swivel, but I think is a little bit too hard if you cannot practice every day. Moreover I’m focusing on impact and groove instead of pure tecnique and velocity.
SDM: How do you advise drummers build up their endurance and speed? What did you do personally for yourself to enhance both of these areas?
Clod: If you cannot go to a rehearsal everyday (like me), just play drums everywhere, that’s it!
SDM: What sort of tension do you have on your snare? Do you use anything like Moongel or anything else on your snare? What size is your snare?
Clod: My drumhead is very tight. It helps me blasting faster, but you need more control in your fingers. I prefere use 2 different snare drums to have different sounds. I hate the snare, so I took it off! Instead of using moongel I use some pieces of tape if I need to dull the note.
SDM: Do you think the size of your snare affects the velocity of your blast beats?
Clod: Yes, but you can find the good way using the right drumheads and adjusting it as you like. Of course a smaller snare have a different and bighter sound imo.
SDM: What sort of gripping technique do you use?
Clod: Matched grip.
SDM: What would you do if you couldn’t play drums? Do you have another profession besides being a musician?
Clod: I’m a professional tattoo artist since 2000 and I do this all my day 6 days a week. I also travel a lot for work (conventions, guestspots).
SDM: What are some the albums you are listening to now?
Clod: Tons of Hatebreed and Raised Fist! I’m focusing on HC impact and groove and I’m trying to bring this shit into Modus Delicti!
SDM: How supportive are your family concerning your drumming?
Clod: My family is my girlfriend Gipsy and my puppy Zomby! I’m happy because I have few, but great friends that support me every day in everything.
SDM: What would you say to drummers out there that are just starting off and want to become professional?
Clod: I don’t care if you are a professional or not! Just keep on playing the music you really like and fuck the trends. Then if you are lucky you will survive with your passion.
SDM: Any tips for drummers who live the tour life?
Clod: Tour life could be veeeeery hard! Especially if you’re in an underground band. So my rules are: 1. Never forget my earplugs (sleeping with lots of people drunk that snore all night is not relaxing). 2. Bring some hand sanizer and sanitizing wipes (you’ll for sure see the worst toilet ever). 3. Don’t get drunk and try to sleep during the long drive from a city to another.
SDM: Why do you use the specific type of module and triggers you use now? How did you find out which were the right kind for you. Did you try a lot out or just settle with what you could get?
Clod: I used for years the one a friend gave to me, then he asked me for it back! So I need a new one right now… haha
SDM: How important is it to your drumming to know the basic 40 drum rudiments?
Clod: First time I hear about this, sorry. So I think the answer must be not at all.
SDM: Do you use a metronome when you practice alone?
Clod: I use songs, and change the patterns and speeds while playing.
SDM: Do you have any problems or have issues with your less dominant hand when drumming?
Clod: Of course! My left hand was not far as the right, now is probably faster, but still less powerful.
SDM: Do you go to drum clinics in your area?
Clod: I saw a couple of clinics. The best lesson is watching your idols playing when you’re on tour.
SDM: How do you count when your playing a piece of music with your band? How important is counting to your drumming?
Clod: I count a lot when we’re learning a new song, then I just enjoy playing it. I am used to playing very technical shit on bass with all my brutal bands, so I’m trying to do just easy and powerfull music. I want to enjoy playing, not get stressed.
SDM: Do you do any cymbal chokes in your playing?
Clod: A lot!
SDM: How do you keep your drum patterns original and innovative?
Clod: Listening to some other shit! Otherwise everyone will play the same shit, with the same sound, with the same logo, with the same cover, with the same lyrics, with the same outfit etc… You know what I mean?!?
SDM: How important is it for drummers out there to support their local scene of metal?
Clod: Here in Italy people support each other only if they have interest doing it… but well, support is import to build up a stronger underground scene.
SDM: What’s more important to you: Having your drums sounding sick and fast, or having character?
Clod: Sick and fucking fast with character.
SDM: How about practicing linear patterns? Do you cover any of this in your practice routines?
Clod: I’m so fucking bored of sterile technical hyper-intricate and ultra-fast tempos! That’s it.
SDM: What inspires you to create new grooves behind the kit?
SDM: What motivates you do get behind the drums everyday and how do you keep motivated to drum?
Clod: I can only tell you that playing drums is such a good medicine for me. I just need it. I don’t care if on a stage or in my car, I live doing tempos on everything with everything. Restaurant with forks on glasses, my car with sticks on steering wheel, right know between your questions on my table with my fingers.
SDM: How important is it to keep eye contact with your fellow band members while playing live?
Clod: I usually play with my eyes closed… I’m in my own world while playing.
SDM: Are you a big fan of pro tools and do you support others in the studio copying and pasting, manipulating your performance on a track?
Clod: I believe in tecnology, especially on studio. If you can use instruments that help find the sound you’re searching for or help in recording process to make it easy, why not?
SDM: Tell us about your past briefly where you played bass for bands like: Alice in Darkland, Blasphemer, Ira, Neophyte, Nobody, and Nuclear Devastation. Tell us about playing bass with Septycal Gorge or doing vocals for the band Gory Blister.
Clod: Well… My first studio experience was with a brutal band called Neophyte, back at the end of ’90 when we recorded a song for a compilation released by Razorback Records. Then a full-length with a goth band called Alice in Darkland, a full-length in a black band called Darkness Thy Counts (with our singer in modus delicti).
I recorded lots of demos and CD’s with Blasphemer, Modus, Septycal, Brainwash, and I played for a period in Gory Blister too. Nobody was the name of the combo before our 2 guitarists were sent to prison due to multiple murders; they were in a satanic sect called “Beasts of Satan” with 6 others, and they killed about 10 people between 1998 and 2004.
I also toured all over the US, Europe and Russia, and I organized for about ten years a fest called Tattoo Deathfest. I also ran a label called The Spew. I’m really too much on this shit for such a long period of time!
SDM: Is it true that Modus Delicti is broken up? If so, why?
Clod: We broke up at the beginning of 2012 before entering the studio, because I was tired of people who say they want to do this and that and they are ready to fight for the band, but at the end there was only words. So I decide to focus on Septycal Gorge and my job, tattooing. After years, I had big problems with my bandmates in Septycal Gorge and I left the band before entering the studio, even if arranged all the songs with ’em… but I don’t care, too much bad energy. Now I have some new and old projects I’m focusing on, one is MODUS DELICTI.