Gene Hoglan On Tracking Dethklok’s New Album
Do you usually play to a click or a guitar track in the studio?
Normally I play to a click and we fire on top of it. “The Galaxy” was in completed form, the first finished Dethklok song that I’ve tracked to. So I tracked to a click along with the track from the show. I’m playing along to a good template with guitars, vocals, and bass. For the most part I will play along with a little bit of the track. Even though a song appears a certain way on the show it might not exactly start out that way.
Drums: Pearl Reference (Carbon Mist finish with
1. 24" x 16" Bass Drum
2. 14" x 8" Snare Drum
3. 12" x 10" Tom
4. 14" x 12" Tom
5. 18" x 16" Floor Tom
A. 15" AAX X-Celerator Hi-Hats (or 15" AA Metal-X Hi-Hats)
B. 19" Paragon Chinese
C. 22" HH Power Bell Ride
D. 18" AAX X-Plosion Fast Crash
E. 18" AAX Metal Crash
F. 8" Paragon Splash (originally owned by Neil Peart)
G. 10" Paragon Splash (originally owned by Neil Peart)
H. 19" AAX Metal Crash
I. 22" HH Power Bell Ride
J. 19" Paragon Chinese (or 20" AAX Chinese Brilliant)
Gene Hoglan also uses Pearl hardware, Camco pedals, Pro-Mark sticks, Evans and Remo heads, and Alesis DM-5 module and triggers.
Does Dethklok grid your drums after the fact? It doesn’t sound like it on the previous albums.
Usually we comp more than anything. I’ll do ten takes and comp the best takes. We try to make everything as human sounding as possible. I understand that gridding helps for editing, and these songs are written spur of the moment. But I’m on a Viking album coming out later this year where there is no gridding of the drums. The studio wasn’t prepared for any sort of gridding. It makes you wonder why they grid me in the first place. I do try to make it as natural sounding as possible. Take a Fear Factory record, which is heavily gridded, that is what they want. They want it to sound like a machine. I play it as much like a machine as I can – which is pretty darn machine-like – then they grid it anyway. One thing Fear Factory didn’t do, they will add a bunch of triggers on the kick, but they don’t sound replace my toms, they keep the triggers tuned evenly. So it all sounds straight. I like to tune my left kick higher and my right kick lower. I am a left lead, so when it comes fast stuff, I play open handed in my left hand. I like the kicks to go high-low, high-low. But everything with Dethklok has to be gridded so it matches up perfectly with the screen behind us as we’re playing.
What do you practice when you’re off the road?
I don’t practice all the time. And I notice as I get older -- I used to be able to go six months without playing and jump back on the set. Now it takes a day or two to get my chops back. I wear leg weights when I play and when I practice. I tracked the majority of the Dethklok record with leg weights.
I don’t know. My chops are up so playing with leg weights is fine. Usually if I’m using leg weights for the beginning of a live set I’ll play the first few songs with the leg weights on then pop them off when we get into the cooking double-bass material. The first songs might have hauling double-bass, but I can put everything in the general wheelhouse. I am really comfortable at 190 or 200 bpm – those are easy and simple. But when I get up to 210 to 220 bpm I take the leg weights off. With Dethklok I track one song a day. For an easy song I will track with leg weights; it’s a good thing. It gives my legs a workout. Then I’m ready for the really blistering songs. I like to work out songs with my toes and fingertips too. Then I don’t have to wave my arms around so much.