Dan Lamagna, more then just a time keeper
On Stage 08-02-2007 11:59
In 2003 drummer Dan Lamagna hooked up with Groovenics/Ghost Fight guitarist AJ Marchetta and Biohazard guitarist/vocalist Billy Graziadei to form the new band Suicide City. In 2005 the band released their first EP "Not My Year" and a new album is coming up. Barely finished recording, Drummerszone.com asked Dan about the new album and his musical perspectives.The new album is coming up soon. Can you tell something about the songs, inspirations etc.

There is a lot of intensity and emotion in the new songs. It's shaping to be a faster, more dynamic record then our first. I know when I was tracking I was just trying to make everything feel and sound good, rather then counting measures, and worrying about what part is coming up next. I really feel like we have a great collection of songs, and I really can't wait for everyone to take a listen. There may be a surprise or two as well.

It took you guys two years to start recording the new album. What did you do in the meantime besides writing?

We spent a lot of time on the road promoting "Not My Year". We were lucky enough to have bands want to play with us. Otep, Mindless Self Indulgence, Gwar, Taking Back Sunday, Despairs Ray, and Life of Agony all gave us great touring opportunities. There were also many headlining tours and video/photo shoots. So if you add all that time together, we really were not off the road long before we started working in the studio.

As a drummer, you took lessons with some great artists. For instance Kim Plainfield, a specialist in Afro-Cuban drumming. To what extend did his background in this area influence you?

What I gained from Kim was a way forward with my playing. I didn't study so much his approach to ethnic music, as his approach in general. He was really my first formal teacher, and we worked more on refining my hands and learning the practice techniques that make his curriculum work so well. That said, his book comes out every time I want to work on something with a little Latin-zing to it, or the Afro-Cuban and South American feels.

And what about Jojo Mayer? Did studying with him mean a great improvement on your technical level?

Jojo turned me onto the book "New Breed II." We also went over some of his incredible hand technique. I had a working knowledge of the Moellar stroke and traditional grip, but Jo Jo showed me a whole new approach to handling the sticks, and that is with me every time I sit down to play. I work on all the material we went over every practice session. This was easily the most important drum lesson of my life. I'm hoping to get together with him when he heads back to N.Y.C. during the spring for a tune up.

You also studied classical music. Did working with instruments like tympani and marimba change your attitude towards drumming?

Those instruments are less about time keeping and more about embellishing, or being a prime focus. That definitely made me more aware of my role as more then just time keeper. I think it may also have given me a unique approach to phrasing.

As a freelance drummer you played with lots of artists. Just for fun, which one made the biggest impression on you and which one was a real musical influence?

Well, the biggest impression would have to come from the people over Rick Sales Management Agency. They validated to me, what I was doing. They were the first people in the industry who made me feel like a professional. Even though that job never came to fruit, it definitely opened doors in other areas of my life, and made me confident I would have a successful career, at least artistically. A real musical influence? That's a tough one because everyone I ever play with I learn something from, even if that lesson is how not to be professional!

Being drummer in a Rock band like Suicide City, are there any influences outside the Rock scope that you listen to?

Oh yeah! I listen to a lot of instrumental stuff. I love Bozzio, Levin, Stevens. Also the records Tony Williams made. Miles Davis, Critters Buggin, Planet X. Really anything that's got atmosphere, and some good groove to it.

Which three albums did you buy last, and can you give us the musical reason for buying them?

First, Tool, the "10,000 Days" album. Because I wanted to hear what Danny Carey would possibly play after "Lateralus"!

Second: Straylight Run with "Prepare to be Wrong". I really like the vibe these guys are creating. Real slow and delicate, but not clunky like a dirge.

Finally: Clutch with "Robot Hive /Exodus". This bands music just is enjoyable. The lyrics are completely weird, and the music just has this danceable groove to it.

Are there already any plans for promotion and touring for the new album?

Right now, there is nothing set in stone. We are still finishing the basic tracks, and then we have to polish, mix, master and then decide the best possible way to have it released. There are some shows coming up pre-release. But we are taking it one step at a time. That's how we roll!
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