Mauricio Villalon Altamirano – MAW Drummer

Keep up with Maw here:

Maw-drummer3Born in Queretaro, Mexico, on March 28th of 1991, Mauricio Villalon Altamirano is better known as “Maw,” a Mexican extreme metal drummer. He started to play drums when he was 14 years old and immediately got caught up in the heavy sound. He has toured in his country many times with different bands. In 2015 he experienced for the first time touring in Europe, visiting countries like Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, France, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Netherlands.

Also he has performed in Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and in big international festivals like Hell and Heaven Metal Fest, and Knotfest, sharing stage with acts like Slipknot, Rammstein, Behemoth, Suicide Silence, Deftones, Slayer, Meshuggah, Avenged Sevenfold, Epica, POD, Sepultura, Veil of Maya, Miss May I, As Blood Runs Black, Within the Ruins, After the Burial, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, and more.

Maw is a very dedicated musician, every day he is thinking about becoming better; he has the aspiration to continue improving his career in a bigger standard.

A few  words from Maw:

“The years do not go in vain, what was once your hobby today becomes the main reason to live your life, and take the path that many people start and that maybe a few ones only get it. It´s clear to me that time rewards the days, months and years of work, perseverance, and dedication; and believe it or not, falls and mistakes also helped a lot, and I am glad these things occurred myself once upon a time. There are many things that involve success, it´s just about working in our dreams and trying to be who they say you cannot be; I hope to continue growing as a drummer, and also as an ordinary human being, with goals and aspirations. Daily work with never giving up is the right way to be someone.”

Maw’s Gear:

  • Kit: Pearl ELX (three toms: 12, 14 and 16 inches)
  • Snare: Pearl Dennis Chambers Custom Signature
  • Cymbals: Sabian
  • Pedals: Axis AL-2 Longboard
  • Electronic drum kit: Yamaha DTX.

MAW Interview:

SDM: How old were you when you started playing? 

Maw: My mother bought me my first kit when I was 14; It was a Christmas gift. Immediately she signed me up for drum lessons and there I started to learn basic things. I can say that I started playing at 15, but my first live show was at 16. 

SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps? 

Maw: Never. My first band was at the age of 16 here in Queretaro Mx, it was called “Faster Elite.” Now I am 25, and right now I play in “The Arcane Hate,” “Darkside Ritual,” “Rapture,” and in a new project called “Deathmask” with some experienced members here in the metal scene in Mexico. 

SDM: Who are your top 5 metal influences? 

Maw: I admire a lot of bands; some of them are Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Nile, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, The Faceless, I have no favorite, everyone has something that another doesn’t, and vice-versa 

SDM: Who are some other of your favorites? 

Maw: I like all kind of metal music, I can listen to a metalcore band like “Parkway Drive” and immediately after a black metal act like “Dark Funeral.” For me, it’s very important to not close the door to any kind of music. 

SDM: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation. 

Maw: Behemoth – Demigod, Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony, Vital Remains – Dechristianize, Killswitch Engage – The End of Heartache and As I Lay Dying – Shadows Are Security.

SDM: What do you do to warm up before a show? 

Maw: I used to warm up like a half an hour before every show. Sometimes a complete hour in order to achieve a really great performance. What I do is I focus my mind, 100%  physically and mentally, backstage completely isolating myself. With my earphones, I listen to the complete setlist, and with my muted snare I play the songs. Also, I do some foot, arm, and wrist stretching exercises.


SDM: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have affected your playing? 

Maw: Yeah! I remember that my first drum teacher told me that it was very important to read music to totally know what you are playing. My very first drum lessons were not playing the instrument but were to start writing the drum notations on the staff. Reading music helps me a lot because whenever I make new songs with my bands, I write all the drum parts so that I don´t forget haha. 

SDM: Can you tell us about the gear you use? 

Maw: Mi kit is a Pearl ELX (three toms: 12, 14 and 16 inches). My snare is a Pearl Dennis Chambers custom signature; my cymbals all are Sabian, and I use an Axis AL-2 Longboard. I also have an electronic drum kit which is a Yamaha DTX. 

SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be… 

Maw: To never give up for any reason, even if the situation may seem difficult, always keep pushing; to be constant, to love what they do, to always learn new things, and to work on your dreams without caring what other people can say. 

SDM: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen? 

Maw: I have had the opportunity to watch different bands of world quality, Undoubtedly Rammstein (although it’s not my favorite band) made a really amazing performance in the last Hell and Heaven Metal Fest, that was held in Mexico and where I had the opportunity to play (being my first experience on a stage with thousands of people). In the same way, I saw Meshuggah (In the Knotfest Mexico, where I also had the opportunity to play with my band The Arcane Hate). Fleshgod Apocalypse and Behemoth are some other bands that impressed me a lot. 

SDM: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do? 

Maw: I usually work in the media, my father has dedicated himself to journalism all his life, and I remember when I was a kid, I was interested in what he used to do until I got involved in it. I have worked with him, and so on in a couple of newspapers. In my free time, I listen to new music, exercise, even though I eat a lot haha, and spend time with friends and family.