First off, I’m pumped to have the opportunity to write a blog for Modern Drummer. I was a rabid subscriber throughout my high school and college years, and it’s cool to take part in something that I grew up being so interested in.
A hell of a lot has been going on for me and the_Network in the past year. We began writing our second full-length album, Bishop Kent Manning, around this time last year. It was an interesting time for me when we started the writing process, because in the back of my head I wasn’t sure if playing in this band was something I wanted to continue pursuing. I had become completely burnt out from all the touring and the financial strain. We’d spent the better part of two years on the road, and by the time we started writing I found myself feeling no motivation to put forth the effort. I wasn’t practicing as much and found myself criticizing musical ideas before I even fully understood them. At the time I thought it would be best to step out. I figured I would just record the new album in October and then embark on a November U.K. tour. Honestly, before we finished writing, recording, and doing the U.K. tour, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue playing in the band or not.
The good side of all that uncertainty is having some pseudo deadline in the back of my head that helped me pull it all back together. Instead of trying to coast through the recording and tour, I really buckled down to practice and contribute in order to make the recording as good as possible. I definitely didn’t want our sophomore effort to turn out wack, regardless of whether I was going to stay in the band or not.
By the time we set foot back on U.S. soil after the U.K. trip, I was so psyched with all the tour fun we had, how well everything went, and how loud and dirty the recording was coming out. At that point I realized that I play music with a handful of my best friends. I’ve spent the bulk of the last three years in a van or on a plane, at a club, or in somebody’s dirty basement with a group of my best friends, going ape-shit and playing music. Sure, I’m broke–we’re all broke in this band–but because of the band many of my musical goals have been achieved, and there’s more on the horizon.
The new record is the first album we’ve written all at once with a solid lineup. We also have a more established rhythm section. There are times on the record where we actually let the music breathe while the bass and drums stay in the pocket on a solid groove instead of coming at you from all angles at once.
Don’t get me wrong–the album is still an unforgiving monstrosity, but we certainly weren’t trying to re-create the first album. I had a different idea of how I wanted the drums to be on Bishop Kent Manning. I wanted them to have more of a hard rock feel. On parts that are more rhythmically driven, I thought it best to play simple, hard-hitting grooves. I also tried to make the more spastic parts somewhat tasteful. For example, there are parts where instead of playing a straight blast on the kit I would use my hands to keep the upbeat tempo and play the bass drum on every other beat to give the music a pulsing feel. I also tried to repeat patterns during fills and add or subtract hits throughout a song to keep things fresh, add consistency, and create a more concise performance.
I’m extremely psyched about how the drums and the album came together. If you see us on the road, please trade your currency for a copy so we’ll have gas money to keep the “vanarchy” alive!
Find more on the_Network at www.myspace.com/thenetworkmetal.
Photo by Rev Aaron Pepelis