Full of Hell are a band we’ve been longtime fans of, but who may be new for some Gear Gods readers. These dudes have been pushing the boundaries of good taste in noise, grind, and extreme music in general both on their independent releases, as well as collaborations with The Body and Merzbow. Their most recent release, a split EP with Nails, is under three minutes total – but the band does more in those three minutes than most do in 30.
As a treat for you, the band sent over drummer Dave Bland’s playthroughs for both songs on the EP – shot at Developing Nations Recording Studio in Baltimore by Jim Thayne during the recording sessions. Enjoy below, along with an interview with Dave, and nab a copy via Closed Casket Activities.
I’ve seen you play the drums not just with sticks – but also with rusty old metal chains and assorted blunt objects. Can you run us down these tools in your “rig”?
The metal and chains I’ve used in certain sets varies depending on the show or tour. I’ll usually walk around in whatever city we are in to scope out construction sites and trash to find whatever I can use. The best score I’ve gotten was two 50 gallon drums, chains, pipes that I hung up as chimes, and sheet metal from a fetish shop, blacksmith, and construction sites. That was for the Full of Hell/Occult Blood collab set in Australia. I want to incorporate it more in future tours and noise sets.
Other than noisy metal tools, do you have a go-to drum rig? I notice you usually play a pretty minimal/stripped down set-up.
I’ve been adding more and more stuff to my kit. I always believed in a simple drum set. Four piece kit with minimal cymbals and always single kick. It definitely challenges you to use your hands a lot more and make fills more interesting to me. For our next LP I’ll be using double bass. I’ll always use one foot for blast beats though.
How does Full of Hell usually track? I know Kevin Bernsten tries to push bands to play live in a room together, and it certainly sounds like you guys have done that on the recordings, at least between guitar/drums.
Usually we will track drums and bass at the same time with scratch guitar tracks. The body collab record was different then how we’ve recorded previously. Everything being written in the studio starting with programmed beats and recording real drums over top.
Speaking of Kevin, you guys have worked with him on (everything, right?) that you’ve done as a band. Is there anything about his drum recording process that you find helpful, or that you just enjoy?
We have worked with Kevin on pretty much everything except The Body collab records. I really like recording drums with Kevin. He has a very good ear for exactly how I want my drums to sound. Very huge sounding drums which I think some people miss out on while playing fast.
Besides the base drum tracks, how much percussion layering/overdubs are you guys doing? Is that stuff planned out before you go into the studio?
The Body collab has programmed drums over almost the entire thing. We would start with a programmed beat that’s made previous or an idea we had on the spot. Combining electronic and acoustic drums makes for some more interesting drum parts. On previous records like the Merzbow collab we have also use metal trash and tom layering for noise tracks.
What drummers are you listening to or inspired by these days?
Two drummers that have influenced me my entire life but even more so recently for the next LP are George Kollias and Derek Roddy. They both really show a real appreciation for other styles of drumming that most metal drummers forget about. All while still keeping the integrity needed to play death metal. Dale Crover, Virgil Donati, and Billy Cobham are some other favorites of mine.
When is the Swans & Full of Hell album coming out?
As soon as the Full of Hell/Viper collab drops.