Features

Mike Meselsohn of Black Water Rising

By Andy Doerschuk Published August 5, 2009

Age: 38
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Previous Bands: Boiler Room, The Fuzz, Bumblefoot
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware/Pedals: Pearl
Sticks: Vic Firth
Drumheads: Remo

Released in July, the self-titled debut from Black Water Rising is a collection of soul baring, angst ridden, riff heavy material proudly anchored in traditional hard rock song craft. The band's first single. “Brother Go On,” has received heavy rotation on Sirius's Satellite Radio's Octane channel. “There seems to be a real demand for this album and we no longer want to keep our fans waiting," says drummer Mike Meselsohn. "It’s been a long time coming and we are psyched to finally be getting it out there.”

How would you describe the feel of the new album?
We wanted to capture the live essence of the band so we pretty much just tracked it live with some overdubs afterward. I prefer to record with guitar, bass, and vocals if possible. We didn't want to produce the life out of it so we went for a straight-up classic sound. We went back and listened to some old Sabbath and Zep records and basically used them as a sonic template. I used open tunings without much dampening and used a few room mikes for a big live sound.

How long did it take to track your drum parts?
Basically all the drums were done in a couple of days including setting up for sounds. I'm usually pretty well prepared before tracking so I can bang out a track in just a few takes. Sometimes the first take is the best one because your adrenaline is flowing and it gives the song an energy that some of the later attempts may lack.

Did you record to a click track?
I really don't like using a click and did not for this album. I realize it can be useful at times but not for rock with a groove. I like the song to breathe naturally and sometimes push or pull back at times, and the click makes that difficult if not impossible. Rock music is not meant to be perfect, and I believe a bit of fluctuation is cool and actually adds to the vibe.

What do you like most about touring?
I really like traveling and the excitement of performing in a new city every night. I like getting out there and meeting our fans and making new ones. I also actually like my bandmates and enjoy the camaraderie we have on the road -- we always find new and interesting ways to have fun.

Do you play your drum parts onstage exactly the same way that you recorded them?
I play the tunes pretty much the same, but the more we perform the set live, I start to add fills that I didn't think of when we first recorded the album. I think It's a matter of being comfortable with the song and feeling like you can stretch out a bit and take more chances.

How often do you change heads?
I probably don't change heads as often as I should. I usually change all the batter heads before a recording session but rarely while on tour unless it's absolutely necessary. I don't tune very tight so there's plenty of give, which prolongs the life of the head. I can't remember the last time I changed a bottom head on the toms.

Do you use the same setup on stage and in the studio?
I use the exact same setup on stage as in the studio. I sometimes even use the same vintage kit that we recorded the album with. I feel it's important to sound similar live because people expect to hear what's on the record and the reverse is true when they pick up the record after they see you live. We're just trying to keep it simple and real.

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