Hey, everyone! My name is Chris Heaton, and I play in a heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, called Becoming the Archetype. First off, let me say how thrilled I am to be writing this blog right now! I’ve been a reader of Modern Drummer for a long time, so to get the chance to be a part of it is truly awesome!
I’ve been playing drums for about twelve years now, and have been playing seriously for about nine of those. I began, as I’m sure many drummers did, at a very young age tapping and drumming on any and every surface around me. I can remember getting in trouble all the time in school for disturbing the class by using pencils as drumsticks. I guess I never grew out of it!
I was also raised in a very musical environment. I remember my parents would have music playing in the house all the time, and I recall quickly becoming fascinated with drummers like Steve Smith and Neil Peart. At that age, it was a complete mystery to me how they were able to play the way they did, so I was very inspired to explore drumming and try to play like that too! I never had any proper training until I joined my school’s band in sixth grade. I played percussion in concert and marching band all the way through high school, played in the school jazz band, and began playing in local garage bands as well. I learned a great deal during that time in my life, and looking back on it, I think that’s when I got truly addicted to the drums.
For me, drumming isn’t just something to do. I think about drumming and have rhythms in my head all the time. Sometimes I find myself tapping along with the turn signal of my car, or drumming with the song playing on the radio in a restaurant. It’s really an all-day, every-day sort of thing, and I’m sure many MD readers can relate to that!
I approach my own drumming with the belief that as a drummer, my job isn’t to play fast all the time, or to draw attention to myself, but rather to enhance what the song is trying to do. If the song calls for me to just sit back and groove for while, then that’s how I want to play. I mean, playing crazy parts can be fun too, and sometimes it just comes with the territory of playing within the metal genre. But more often than not I find real joy in the small fills and subtle transitions that allow the song as a whole to develop in a musical way. This is the approach that I’ve been trying to take for a while now, and I feel that it really helps me play more effectively. Sometimes less is more.
Well, I think that’s about all for now. Check out BTA’s new record, I AM, coming out September 18 on Solid State Records. We’re very excited about it, so let us know what you think!
Thanks again to Modern Drummer for having me. See you around!
For more on Chris Heaton and Becoming the Archetype, go to iambecomingthearchetype.com.