Interview met Trivium-drummer Travis Smith
"You gotta stray away from your comfort zone"
On Stage 21-07-2006 13:59 slaagde erin om Trivium-drummer Travis Smith voor een gesprek te strikken na afloop van hun show op het Wâldrock Festival. Hoewel hij bekende redelijk op te zijn ("We hebben ontzettend veel gereisd. Ik geloof dat we meer dan 260 shows hebben gedaan in 2005."), had Travis wel zin om met Slagwerkwereld te kletsen.In het (Engelstalige) interview komen onder meer zijn muzikale achtergrond, zijn voorbereiding voor een optreden, zijn spullen en de nieuwe release aan bod.
"Travis, you're drummer in an ambitious band: Trivium have stated to reach for world domination. You guys are working hard to gain at least the same status as Metallica.

Travis Smith:
I remember laying on my bed at age fourteen, almost crying, staring into the dark, wondering and hoping: "Will I ever make it?" This is it man, this is what we have dreamed about since we were kids. Sure, it's hard work but I love being a musician. What I really love about it, is that you can't learn it all. There's always new stuff, new techniques, new music to create.

I always try to stray away from the comfort zone I'm in as a drummer, try to learn and adapt new things. You gotta think outside your comfort zone, it makes you a better listener and more creative. That way you can keep it interesting for yourself as a musician too.

My iPod is full of classics. Artists like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams III, I'm a huge Dave Grohl fan, I've got Weezer, Nine Inch Nails - my soul is metal but you need some variety!

Broad education
I started playing on pots and pans, with lits like cymbals. That was at the age of five. Next was a toy kit, which worked sufficiently until my brother put his feet through it. I guess he wanted to be Kurt Cobain, haha. I started taking drum lessons at age nine, continuing for about six years. I had a great teacher: Joey Aberlane. I learned anything I wanted. I could bring in a Megadeth album because I wanted to learn the tricks Nick Menza did, and Aberlane taught me everything. Not only double bass, rudiments as well.

During middle and high school I was in the marching and orchestra band, where I learned to play everything, from snare to timpany.

Before a show I do a lot of stretching and simple rudiments stuff. I have a practise kit, consisting of snare and drum, in the dressroom, so I can easily warm up. Most of the times I use the warm-up patterns I learned during my time in the marching band. I always felt comfortable using them and I've never stopped playing them since I learned them nine years ago. It's nothing fancy: lots of eights, next doubles, and back to eights. Then triplets, flams, I add some jamming with my feet, and back to eights. My advise is to make sure you don't play fast when warming up. Focus on your movements. I warm up for about an hour.

In fact, I also play these exercises when I'm not preparing for a gig. It's something mental. I wake up every day and I want to know I'm still on my chops, to assure myself I still know to play.

Currently I'm playing on a Ddrum Dominion kit. Ddrum is best known for their electronic kits, but they have recently started building acoustic drums as well. My new kit is made of Ashwood, which is quite uncommon for drums, but is widely used to make guitars. Ashwood has the sustain of maple and the attack of birch, which I think is a perfect combination. I've designed the drum kit myself. I came up with the concept of the Warrior Kit; and Ddrum made my vision a reality by utilizing over 400 one-inch metal spikes. It's my first design and I'm pretty fucking proud! You should check out the cymbal stands in particular.

Oh, and it has decobans, octobans that go up to 24 inches long! I don't think octobans are old-fashioned. I miss those old 26" huge bass drums and power toms they had in the late seventies and eighties. I'm trying to talk the Ddrum guys into making them again. Bigger is better.

For heads, basically I use a classic Remo combination: powerstroke on my kicks, emperor x on my snare, emperor clear as the batter heads and ambassadors as resonant heads on my toms.

I also use Sabian cymbals, Pro-Mark 5B sticks with nylon tips, and Ahead gloves.

My drum tech, Nick Engle, is also a great monitor guy and a real gear head. He knows exactly what I want. On the last tour in Europe I've used a Mackie/Sennheiser in-ear system. It works fine but it's several years old. Nick has ordered a new system for me which I'm going to try out when I'm back in the US.

Trivium's new album "The Crusade"
Writing drums on tour is hard. When we came off the road I had to learn fifteen songs in one week. I recorded them in two and a half days at the legendary Morrisound studios. Titled "The Crusade", the new cd will be out in October.

First we hit the road again with Sounds of the Underground (also featuring As I Lay Dying, In Flames, Gwar, Terror, The Black Dahlia Murder, Behemoth and more), than Trivium returns to Europe with Iron Maiden.
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