features

John Bengtsson of Sonic Syndicate

Age: 25
Hometown: Falkenberg, Sweden
Previous Bands: DØDZ, Don’t You MUU Me Project, Lethal Legacy.
Drums: Tama
Cymbals: Meinl
Hardware/Pedals: Tama
Sticks: Wincent

In the late summer of 2005, Nuclear Blast ran the giant Bandcontest competition, and one winner emerged out of over 1.500 entries Nuclear Blast Records – Sonic Syndicate. The label released Only Inhuman in 2007 followed closely by Love And Other Disasters in 2008, both impeccable examples of a marriage of commercial metal and hardcore that originated in Scandinavia a decade ago and has taken root in America in recent years.

How would you describe the feel of Love And Other Disasters?

I feel that it is way more diverse then our other albums. The harder songs are a bit harder and the softer songs are a bit softer. And that was something we wanted when we started to work on the album, because we all felt that Only Inhuman was a little bit to much in the same line. So everyone in the band are very satisfied how the album ended up.

Did you change your drum parts much throughout the recording process?

There are always some parts that get changed during the recording progress. But I don't think there were any bigger changes than on the last record. The only one I remember is in “Damage Control” -- the drums started with double kicks instead of how it goes on the album.

How prepared were you before going into the studio?

I was very well prepared for the recording. One month before the recording started we felt pretty stressed because we didn't have enough material. So we started to almost live in our rehearsal room for the last month. In the end, we had too much material and it was very well rehearsed. So I felt very well prepared for the recording. But even if I knew before how I was going to play the parts on the songs, I’m always up to change it if someone has another better idea.

Did you record to a click track?

Yes. I always play with click, even if I rehearse, play live, or record. And I’ve been doing it like that since 2000.

Did you record your tracks with the entire band or by yourself?

On the last album I recorded with just a click and a pre-recorded guitar. But I've also done it in other ways before, with just a MIDI-track and click, and also one time with all the music pre-recorded. But I think the way we did it this time was the best way for me.

What do you like to hear in your monitors onstage?

I have in-ear monitors with just click and samples, and everything else comes through my monitor. I've only had one bad experience with the system, at a really good show last summer at NovaRock in Austria. It was a big stage and a great big audience, but the click track/sample-system started to skip in the middle of the songs. So I had to try to follow a click track that sounded like it was high on drugs, and it was hell to play on the right place in the songs to get it to fit with the samples.

What do you like most about being on tour?

One thing that makes me want to tour is that when I'm home I always get bored after three days. Of course, I love to see my family, girlfriend, and friends, but I get too much "dead time" at home. But that's not the main reason why I love touring. I love it is because we get the chance to see our fans, play for the people that like our music, and to feel what the fans give back to us on our shows. It is a totally amazing feeling and I love playing the drums every day.

Describe the worst gig you've ever played.

We played a show in Worcester outside Boston last fall, opening for a band we didn't really fit good together with musically. And in the middle of our set, 300 of the 700–800 that were in venue sat down and pointed their middle fingers at us for the rest of our show. That was a very weird experience.

Which drummers influenced you most?

Lars Ulrich was my first big drum influence when I started to play in 1992. I also listened a lot to Mike Portnoy and the whole Gothenburg metal scene. I think I get influenced by all the music I listen to. Nowadays I listen to everything from Muse, Dredge, and Pink to Dimmu Borgir, Meshuggah, and Gojira. So I have a very wide musical taste.

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