Interview With Kevin Boutot of The Acacia Strain – Summer 2011


By: Noel Smart
SDM: Is Acacia Strain a Deathcore band? How would you define your bands genre?
Kevin: NO!! We are NOT a deathcore band. I don't personally like all the new names for "sub genres" of heavy music. When anybody asks, I always tell them we're just a "heavy band". That's all there is to it.

SDM: Why do you use Zildjian cymbals? Is it because your Father also uses them?
Kevin: The main reason I use Zildjian Cymbals is because of Neil Peart. I was obsessed with Rush when I was younger and always loved how Zildjian Cymbals sounded on the older albums. Kinda bummed he uses Sabian now, but it's ok I guess because they're both Canadian. A big part was also the fact that my Dad primarily used them.
SDM: Can you tell us about your Father, who is also a drummer? How supportive are you parents when your drumming is concerned?
Kevin: My father is a great drummer. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be playing. Both of my parents are very supportive and are proud of what I have accomplished so far.
SDM: What was it like growing up in a family of drummers?
Kevin: Well my father was the only drummer in the family. One uncle has the voice of Geoff Tate and my other uncle can play pretty much any instrument. It was really cool though being brought up around so much music and talent.
SDM: Can you tell us about your first band “Among Shattered Dreams”? Did you record anything with this band?
Kevin: Well the band "Among Shattered Dreams" is what got me into playing shows. They're the first band I ever played in front of a crowd with. We were a little different from the rest of the bands we played with. A lot of it was very unconventional and wasn't what people were used to hearing in CT at the time. We were just some kids having fun and didn't care how good or bad a show was or how we sounded. We actually did record a demo, but it was on a 4-track with one microphone hanging from the ceiling. So you can only imagine how that sounded.
SDM: Can you tell us about your other band “A thousands Falling Skies”? Did you release anything with this band? Who did you tour with in this band?
Kevin: I joined ATFS in 2003 when I was asked to replace the departing drummer, George Richter. George is one of my great friends and a sound man extraordinaire, so all you bands out there need to take him on tour! Anyways, we were a metal band with some breakdowns. It was really fun to play the stuff. I wrote one record with the band called "The Wilting" that was released on Stillborn Records. The one and only tour I did with them was in late 2004 with The Acacia Strain. ATFS was breaking up after that, and TAS needed a new drummer. You can figure out what happened from there!
SDM: Did you ever take drum lessons?
Kevin: I never took drum lessons while I was growing up. I just watched live concert tapes and watched my Dad play and figured it out from there. I did take lessons a couple years ago to learn how to read drum music, but the instructor was too busy with his iPhone to pay attention to me, so I stopped going. I know the basics of reading it, but would love to know it all.
SDM: How often do you practice?
Kevin: To be honest, the only time I practice playing is at band practice. I do not have anywhere I can set my drums up in my apartment, so band practice is the only time I can play.
SDM: What kind of drums do you use now?
Kevin: I use the best drums around… TAMA!! I had a DW kit for years now the I love dearly but TAMA is where it's at.
SDM: Who are some of your drumming influences?
Kevin: My biggest influences are Ken Schalk, Tomas Haake, Josh Freese, Abe Cummingham, Neil Peart, and my Dad. If any of you reading this don't know who some of those drummer are, then I feel sorry for you.
SDM: Do you do any warm up routines before you go on stage or in the studio?
Kevin: I honestly like going on stage and preforming in the studio cold. Warming up almost makes me too loose. I like letting it all out when its time to take care of business. I understand lots of drummers need to warm up and get loose, but not me. I just drink a couple bottles of water before playing to avoid cramping up.
SDM: What kind of drums did you use on the latest record? What was your set up like in the studio? What cymbals did you use in the studio?
Kevin: I used my DW Maple Collectors Series kit in the studio for "Wormwood", our last record. I used the same set up as I do live except I added another 20" Zildjian A Custom crash cymbal, a 14" Zildjian K mini china, and a 10" Zildjian A Custom splash. I used all A Custom cymbals in the studio and live, besides my 21" Z Custom mega bell ride.
SDM: Are you working on any new material with “The Acacia Strain”?
Kevin: As of right now there's a few songs ready to go for another recording, which will not be happening any time soon. Were still focusing on touring and promoting "Wormwood".
SDM: Do you use triggers in live situations?
Kevin: Triggers? What are those?
SDM: Tell us about your Slayer cover band? What songs did you play?
Kevin: Wellthis band was a just for fun thing in my garage when I was in high school. We played pretty much everything off of "Reign In Blood" and "Seasons of the Abyss". That's about it.
SDM: Is Charn from Job for a Cowboy helping you learn rudiments and how to read music? If so, what have you learned so far? Has it helped your drumming?
Kevin: Charn's extent of teaching me how to read drum music was about a 5 minute conversaton that took place in the dressing room of the late Showcase Theater, in the winter of 2007. Nothing he told me really sunk in, but he has given me some good advice over the years.
SDM: What can you tell us about the experience of the “Welcome To Hell Tour” with Whitechapel, Veil of Maya, Chelsea Grin, and I Declare War?
Kevin: The tour was great (besides Chelsea Grin). It was good to tour for 6 weeks with such good bands (besides Chelsea Grin) and dudes (besides Chelsea Grin).
SDM: How many units of the latest Acacia Strain album “Wormwood” sold?
Kevin: Pfft. Fuck if I know!
SDM: What was the whole experience like recording Wormwood at Planet Z Studios in Hadley, Massachusets? What was it like working with Chris Harris (Chimaira, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) fame?
Kevin: Zuess is so awesome to work with. It's a very chilled and relaxed environment. He also helped out with some ideas for songs that worked out great. He's just a great dude all around.
SDM: Why did the The CD feature three guest vocalists: Jamey Jasta (HateBreed), Bruce LePage (1000 Demons) and Kyle Chard of Born Low?
Kevin: Well that's a question to ask our singer Vincent. We thought Bruce LePage was perfect for this part, and Vincent wrote the lyrics for it with him in mind. Jamey Jasta's spot came outa nowhere. Vincent wanted a guest on the part, but we couldn't figure out who. Then Zuess suggested Jamey, so we contacted him and he came right to the studio, brought us cookies and did his part. Kyle from Born Low was something that Vincent wanted because him and Kyle are really good friends.

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