Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ryan Van Poederooyen - The Interview

Between shots of heroi...coffee, and reading Batman comics I think about good articles. This makes me think about good records, then good bands, then good musicians. My mind spins off the tracks until a neon laced nucleovascular (does that actually mean something?) explosion takes place at the intersection of Bitchin' and Appropriate.
I set out on a quest, I didn't need to take anything, it wasn't dangerous to go alone, but it was a quest all the same. I would interview some of my favorite musicians making music today.
Ryan Van Poederooyen was the first obvious choice for me. He's a great drummer and, being a drummer myself, I notice things like that. He has a new album out with Devin (Townsend, if you're uninitiated to things that are heavy and awesome), and he's just a fucking cool dude. So I hit him up and he was more than happy to oblige my drug induced fancy. What follows, here, is a short sequence of questions and answers. Enjoy.
What got you into drumming, and music in general?

RVP - My Father is the biggest reason I took an interest in drumming and music. My father played keyboards and sang in a cover band for many years when I was younger. My brother and I would always show up and watch him sound check for shows. Whenever they finished sound checking I would always jump up on the drum kit and smash around. My father took note of it and asked if I wanted to play drums... from that point on my interest in music and drumming took off!

Who are your biggest influences?

RVP - My biggest influences since I started drumming, other than my father, would be Neil Peart (Rush), Vinnie Paul (Pantera), Tim Alexander (Primus), Thomas Haake (Meshuggah) and my biggest influential drummer the past 6 years has been Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree). Any great groove or interesting drum pattern truly influences me on the drums. I'm open to all styles of music and drumming.

How did the hookup with Dev happen?

RVP - Dev had Gene Hoglan drumming in Strapping Young Lad and all his solo material at the time. He wanted to separate SYL and his solo material with a different band, since the SYL guys were doing both bands at the time. So Dev got the band together and tried out a bunch of drummers and then asked people he knew around Vancouver who would be a great fit for his solo material. I was playing in a popular Vancouver metal band called God Awakens Petrified at the time. Dev told me that he asked a bunch of local musicians he knew who would be a good fit for his solo material and my name came up every time he asked. He also asked Gene Hoglan about me and Gene gave me the thumbs as the story goes. So Dev got in touch with me, I went out and jammed with him and the rest is history as they say. 

If there was one record that you could recommend everyone listen to, what would it be?

RVP - That is a very hard question to answer, as I love so many bands and styles of music. I'd have to say it would be Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles. That album has so many great songs and I think it was a ground breaking album for music in general. It's such a versatile record being that it came out in 1967. Everything from the sample being used in the middle of  'A Day in the Life' to the heavier grooves incorporated in some of the songs were pretty heavy for its time and the overall vibe of the album is brilliant and very original compared to what was going on in that era of music. The Beatles are one of my top three favourite bands of all time. I grew up listening to them because my parents were such huge fans of them and played their music all the time. The Beatles really struck a chord with me. 

How would you describe your own style?

RVP - I would describe my own style as powerful, yet dynamic while based on groove, precision and versatile chops/fills. I always play for the song, not myself, unless I'm doing a drum clinic. I can do a little bit of everything not just Metal. I like people to know that. I try to be as versatile as possible....  I think that's important for up and coming drummers to know. That is why I get varied Session work from Pop Sessions  to Country sessions to Rock to Metal Sessions. I'm always working on my own style and learning while trying to make what I learn my own, instead of sounding like someone else.

Why did you choose to endorse Pearl drums?

RVP - I chose Pearl Drums because since I was a kid they always seemed to be the coolest drum company to me and the fact that they have always made consistent quality gear for years. All the big Rock Drummers played Pearl when I was growing up in the 80's, so I wanted a Pearl Kit and it stuck with me. The first kit I bought with my own money was a Pearl BLX (Birch) Kit that i still have to this very day and it still sounds amazing. We even used that same kit on the Devin Townsend Band's - Accelerated Evolution and Synchestra. So when it came time to choosing a company that would hopefully endorse me, Pearl was my first choice. I applied and got in with them in 2005 and have been super happy endorsing Pearl ever since! They treat me very well world wide.

What is the coolest place you've ever played?

RVP - The coolest place I ever played to date was definitely headlining The Tuska Festival in Helsinki, Finland back in July 2011. It was a 20,000 person sold-out festival on an enormous stage. The crowd was singing every song while the sun was setting, it was a magical night. I'll never forget it. I have a feeling that this headlining Sold-Out show - "The Retinal Circus" at The Roundhouse in London, England that we're performing on October 27th, 2012, could give the Helsinki show some competition for the coolest show we've ever played..... we'll see. 

What gets you through the tough times while on tour?

RVP - Staying positive and being grateful for the career I have, the family I have, the health I have and all the things that make my life a happy life. We all go through challenges and tough times in life and I think people should welcome those challenges, tough times or fears and take them head on. We're all born to succeed, that's what I believe. So I don't have time to look at anything negatively and if there is a tough time in front of me, I always look at what I already achieved from the past challenges I've conquered and know that I'll persevere and succeed in the end. There really is no other choice unless you want to fail. Who wants to fail ? Be positive, be grateful for what you have and believe you can get through anything challenging and then the tough times won't seem so tough. It works for me.

What's the best part about being in a world touring band?

RVP - The best part for me is seeing the world and meeting the fans from so many different countries. The world is an amazing place and it's a shame that a lot of people don't get to see as much as we do. I think everyone should travel and see how many amazing places and cultures there are on this planet. We're lucky and grateful that we get to do what we do for a living and I definitely don't take seeing the world for granted. Wherever i go I got my Canon 60D Camera with me to take pictures of the places I've been. I got quite the picture collection now.

What are your top 5 albums?

RVP - The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Clubs Band, Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, Pantera - A Vulgar Display of Power, Faith No More - King for a day... Fool for a Lifetime, Bob Marley - Greatest Hits.

What's your favorite album, that you've played on?

RVP - Epicloud. Plain and simple. Not because it's the newest record but because I think it's the best record from Devin that I've been involved with (in my opinion) and one of the best records I think he's ever released along with Ocean Machine. I love Deconstruction for the technical parts i got to play on that record, same with Synchestra from a Proggier point of view. Accelerated Evolution and Addicted were great Rock records too. But in the end.... Epicloud is just a perfect record to me. It has a little bit of everything that Dev does and every song feels very honest to me. From a drumming perspective, I like Epicloud because it shows that I can do the proggy stuff, lay down some simple Pop or Rock grooves with big, powerful simplistic fills or whip out some crazy fun double bass with crazy fills in other songs. It covers a little bit of everything which is fun to play and listen to and most of all it shows that I can play for any type of song whether it's crazy or simple.

What is one artist we should be listening to, but aren't?

RVP - To be honest that is a very tough question once again. I listen to so much music and different styles that it really is hard to nail down one artist. So, I'll name a couple that deserve more attention. Karnivool from Australia - Brilliant prog band. Stolen Babies from the USA - Kind of a Ska, Reggae, Rock and Metal band with a female singer who plays an Accordion. Both bands are very original with cool ideas and songs, the definitely stick out with their respective sounds. There are more I could list but these two bands should really be heard by more people.

Anything else you'd like to mention?
RVP - I would like to thank all the fans and supporters of the Devin Townsend Project, Terror Syndrome (my side Metal project) and the different projects I do. I can't do what I do for a living without all these awesome people and their support. For more info, videos, pictures and much more on my happenings with the DTP and outside of the DTP.... you can go to www.rvpdrums.com and get everything you need to know about me from that website including links to my YouTube Page, Facebook Page, Twitter Page and more. Thanks for the support and see ya' on tour! Thanks for the interview Dustin!
There you guys have it. I really can't emphasize how much you need to get Epicloud, it's a great album. All the thanks in the world to RVP for taking the time to answer these, I got my fanboy panties all wet.
You can catch him on tour with Dev (and, oh yeah, GOJIRA) in the US soon, check out Blabbermouth for tour dates.
You should buy some other stuff too, I really recommend the "Contain Us" box set. I have it, it is wonderful.
Some videmers:
(Planet of the Apes) http://youtu.be/NCFINl1Sxzs
(Terror Syndrome - Stupidity for All) http://youtu.be/1dreH7rppIY

As a quick side note, my band just released our first EP. You can listen to the whole thing: http://thebanddeadweight.bandcamp.com/music It's music

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