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Drummers, Feature Stories

Drummer Stephen Chopek Discusses His New Solo Album, Things Moving on Their Own Together


Stephen Chopek (John Mayer, Charlie Hunter) recently released a solo album, Things Moving on Their Own Together. Modern Drummer caught up with the him to get the details.

 

MD: The drumming, guitar, and vocals on Things Moving on Their Own Together are cool without drawing undue attention to themselves.

Drummer Stephen ChopekStephen: I approached the songwriting not in terms of any particular instrument, but just for the song’s sake. Everything goes to serve the song, rather than the song being a vehicle to highlight some particular instrument that I’ve been playing or have just recently started playing.

MD: How did you separate Chopek the songwriter from Chopek the drummer?

Stephen: They serve each other, so I let them shake hands. I debated for a while whether to have another name for the songwriter or band, as opposed to Stephen Chopek the drummer, but I decided against that because it’s all the same person. They’re both extensions of me. I wanted to mix it all up. And plus, it’s difficult to come up with a good band name. [laughs] I feel more exposed as a songwriter than as a drummer, so I felt I was going all in here.

MD: How did you produce yourself?

Stephen: For this record I wrote all the songs without any drum pattern in mind. That created an interesting situation in the studio, because I was able to hear the songs with a fresh perspective. I’d lay down the scratch track with guitar and vocals, and then sit down behind the drums as if I was hearing the song for the first time.

None of the drums were premeditated. It was as if I were called in to play on the session, but the session happened to be my own. That was by design. I wanted to stay open to the process. When I laid down the drums and other instruments, the songs took shape and different arrangement ideas happened, and I went with them. It was fun.

MD: What kind of gear were you using?

Stephen: It was a combination of things. The studio had some vintage drums and cymbals, and I used mostly those.

 

Interview by Ilya Stemkovsky. Photo by Mike Wren. For more on Stephen Chopek, go to stephenchopek.com. Things Moving on Their Own Together is available at stephenchopek.bandcamp.com.

 


Posted in Drummers, Feature Stories Tagged January Issue, Stephen Chopek, Things Moving on Their Own Together, interview


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