Drummer Gene Hoglan didn’t have much downtime after guitarist Devin Townsend put Strapping Young Lad on hiatus in early 2007. Fairly quickly, Gene got a call from Brendon Small, creator of the animated series Metalocalypse, featuring the fictional death metal band Dethklok. “Brendon was putting together a Dethklok album for the show,” Gene reports, “and he thought it’d be very cool to have me play drums on it.”
Despite the overtly comedic aspects of the show, the music is straightforward extreme metal–in other words, right up Gene’s alley. “Most of the music in season one is Brendon using a drum machine,” the drummer explains. “I just tried to duplicate what I could and give it a human feel.”
Gene has also put together an instructional DVD, The Atomic Clock, which he plans to promote with a worldwide clinic tour. “Although I’ve got a face made for radio,” Hoglan jokes, “I’m pretty good in front of the camera, so I had fun with it. It’s just me jamming on a bunch of songs and showing what I do. I’ve tried to make it entertaining to watch even if you’re not a drummer.”
For Atomic Clock, Gene focuses on performing songs he’s recorded with new projects over the past year. “I’ve included five songs from one of my new bands, Mechanism. That’s the craziest drumming I’ve ever done,” he insists, adding that he also included “non-metal” projects on the DVD.
“I love playing metal,” Gene admits, “because it’s easy for me. What’s challenging is playing other genres, so I threw some grooves, shuffles, and funk stuff on the DVD. I play a song from the new Mr. Plow album, which is an acoustic comedic/punk thing, and a song from a project I’m doing with a girl in Chicago named Jilly C. That’s a really simple, tasty, funky song that shows you how to lock into a pocket. I’m not concentrating solely on double bass or crazy chops. This DVD shows it’s not always just about metal for Gene.”