Keep up with Ben here:
Benjamin Koller has been a full-time professional drummer for the past 10 years. He embarked on his first tour of the United States with grindcore cult artists Forcefedglass in 1997 and has not looked back since. After meeting Converge guitarist/recording engineer Kurt Ballou while recording a Forcefedglass album, Ben was asked to play drums for Ballou’s side-project entitled Blue/Green Heart in 1999. Coincidentally Converge was in need of a drummer at the time, and enlisted Ben’s services for a local show. The trial by fire was a success and Ben has been a full-time member of the band ever since.
Since joining Converge, Ben has been on over two dozen tours in just as many countries including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. He has recorded three full-length albums with the band, including the critically acclaimed “Jane Doe,” as well as smaller releases including EPs, DVDs and compilations. Aside from Converge, Ben recorded drums tracks for the studio project United Nations, the brainchild of Geoff Rickly (Thursday), also featuring Glassjaw/Head Automatica vocalist Daryl Palumbo. The United Nations debut album was released on Eyeball records in September 2008. Ben is also in the Brooklyn-based band AcidTiger, who have been making a name for themselves in the Brooklyn/NYC area since playing their first show in Brooklyn on New Years Eve 2007. Ben has also been busy behind the drum kit with Cave In (RCA/Hydrahead) since 2005, recording a 2 song EP and joining them on tours of the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
As for the future, Converge has begun writing songs for their third full-length album for Epitaph records, and AcidTiger will be recording a full-length album in October at Godcity studios.
Ben Koller Interview:
SD.com: How old were you when you started playing?
Ben: I started messing around on a drum pad when I was 13, and I started playing on a kit when I was 14.
SD.com: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Ben: I would join anything that involved drums and percussion. I was one of the only drummers in my high school, so I could join every music program that needed drums or percussion. I ended up playing a lot of jazz, blues, and orchestral, etc. No drum corps though.
SD.com: Who are your top 5 metal influences?
Ben: Metallica, Anthrax, and Pantera were my biggest metal influences when I was growing up. Currently Slayer, Municipal Waste, Exodus, Craft, Mastodon, Iron Maiden….
SD.com: Who are some other of your favorites?
Ben: Bonham, Dave Lombardo, and Keith Moon.
SD.com: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation
1. Dead Meadow “Old Growth”
2. Motorhead “Overkill”
3. Pantera – everything
4. Hank Williams
5. Led Zeppelin “Houses of the Holy”
SD.com: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Ben: Lately I’ve become pretty psychotic about my warm-up routine. I usually try to warm-up for at least 45 minutes-1 hour split between stretching and warming up on a pad with over sized drum corps sticks.
SD.com: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have effected your playing?
Ben: When I was playing jazz and orchestral stuff reading music was an absolute requirement. It helped me out in terms of musical terminology and being able to explain musical notation more clearly. When you’re writing music and trying to explain your ideas, it certainly helps your cause to know what an eighth note is.
SD.com: Do you have a favorite brand of drums or cymbals?
Ben: I play Sabian cymbals and SJC drums. www.sjcdrums.com
SD.com: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Ben: If your heart is in it and you love music, then you will be happy and successful.
SD.com: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Ben: Botch during a blizzard in the late nineties at the middle east upstairs in Boston, and Neurosis in 2008 at the masonic temple in Brooklyn.
SD.com: If you had to stop drumming, what would you want to do with your life?
Ben: Play poker professionally and raise goats.