Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Volume 35 - David Dusseault

David Dusseault

We're off to the great North West to check out a young man who is laying down some heavy grooves for a band called Avoid the Void.(say that 3x's fast)
David is a drummer who is definitely passionate about his band and their success and rightly so. He is a solid driving force and has the chops to back it up. I was digging his studio sound, as it a bit different for the genre and I think, refreshing. As usual, meeting David was a friend of a friend kinda thing and I got to pitch my schpeel about chatting it up about his drum life. He agreed and now you guys get to read all about him and his band, right here on Talkin' Chop!

Name or Stage Name:
My name is David Dusseault.

Where are you from?
I'm from Kirkland, Washington.

How long have you been playing?

I've been playing for about 11 years now. I started in 5th grade!

Have you had any formal training? (private lessons or music school)
In terms of musical training, I haven't received real formal training. I'm mainly self taught with the exception of elementary through high school. I did have some tips and coaching along the way, attended some clinics, and had a pretty amazing drum line instructor that taught me the concepts of practicing correctly! Other than that, mostly self taught.

What is or are your main genre of playing?
The main genre I like to play is metal. I like to play a little more on the progressive and groovy side.

How did you get where you are now?
I just practiced a lot and played a lot of shows with my band! 

What are your goals, short & long term?
Short term, my goals are to get a few tours under my belt and continuing to practice as hard as I can to further tighten up my playing, enhance my creative side, and increase my overall skill level. Long term I look forward to even bigger tours, educating, having the chance to endorse my favorite companies, and furthering my skills even more. I love to learn new chops, new concepts and I hope to eventually develop my own method of double bridging between pedals to teach!

Artists you would like to play for?
At the top of my list is always my band Avoid the Void, but if I had the chance I'd love to play with Periphery, even just one song. It would be awesome. I would also love to play with some really heavy bands at some point, or just play something like that live someday. I would also love to play for a band similar to Snarky Puppy, or some band similar to Moving Parts. I would also love to play in a group similar to Phantagram or Tycho. Even though Tycho is mostly electronic, I'd love to play an ambient style like that. 

List some of your accomplishments:
My accomplishments so far have been recording my band's debut EP The Trench, playing Slipknot's Knotfest in California, playing a day on the All Stars Tour also in California, going on a tour through the west coast, and soon to be a tour through half of the US.

Avoid the Void at Knotfest 2015

Your currently in a band called Avoid the Void, What kind of band is this?
It is a metal band. We're more on the progressive side of things. Dare I jump into the pool of sub-genres, progressive metal core? Basically we like to get heavy, play some complicated riffs, play some simple driving riffs, play some really melodic riffs, and sing! It's pretty hard to describe our sound. Soon enough though, there will be songs coming out that describe our sound a little more than even the Trench does.

How did the band come about?
The band was formed a very long time ago by our Vocalist and guitarist at the time, they formed it as a jam group in middle school. They eventually wrote their own material and began to gain members. At some time later I joined and we decided that we were going to be a metal band because why not? We then wrote our first song as a band. Then we started playing shows and trying to show what we had, we of course, were still trying to figure out what kind of band we were, dealing with member changes, and trying to write new music. After a while we gained a couple more members and the lineup feels more solid than ever. Our new music is really personifying our sound and feeling good. But all in all, we practiced hard and never let anything get us down and now it's only up from here!

Avoid the Void

Are you one of the songwriters in the band?
I help write songs sometimes. My guitarist does most of the writing. The rest of the band helps organize and decide what parts fit or flow correctly. I help reorganize drum parts and rewrite them to fit my playing style or make them more realistic.

As Indie bands, you have to hustle to make things happen... do you perform any other roles in the band, other than drummer?
I definitely agree with the hustle. As for roles, I'm definitely a gear head so I help find gear that'll be useful and great for the band. I'm also very good about loading gear in and out, but I guess that comes alongside being a drummer. Other than that, no other roles!

How would you describe the bands dynamics? Do you guys work well together?
I'd actually describe our band as having one of the greatest dynamics around. Not to sound too arrogant, but I believe it's true. We are all great working together, we have just the right amount of fun and work. We all put in our share, and vibe really well together on and off stage. Outside of the band, we all hang out and are best friends. I feel it helps the dynamic incredibly. I love my bros.

So, I'm listening to your single "Prototype" from 2013. You drum sound in pretty open and natural, was that your idea or the producers?
Oh Prototype, that's a story. So as you know it was our first single. It was all our first real time in the studio so we didn't really have any idea what we were doing or what we were supposed to do. We were all so young, I was 18 and our singer was 14 at the time. That was the first song we wrote together as a band. It was also the first real band experience besides shows we had. So to answer the question it was the producer's choice to have the drums sound like that. But the single no longer really reflects the band or our sound much any more. It was fun experience and a good memory though!
I mention this because sometimes bands in this genre, the drums are so processed, that you can't tell if there is an actual person playing:
It's true, a lot of times you can't. The band and I like to record real drums for our music. For future recordings we are planning on having a full and real sounding drums. I'm a really big fan of the drum sounds on Periphery's Alpha and Omega. They are really big, but natural. I'm looking forward to powerful and human sounding drums on future recordings.

Has the band done any touring?
Yes! We've only done one real tour as of right now, but we have a second one almost fully booked for this coming summer. We also plan on touring a lot more in the near future.

Is Avoid the Void the only project you're working on at this time?
It is the only project at the moment, but I look forward to working on side projects or maybe doing some session work on the side in the future!

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect?
My current setup is:

DW Collector's series 4 piece. 8x10 and 9x12 rack toms, 14x16 floor tom, and 18x22 kick.
I have the 10in tom mounted to the left of my hi hat stand, and the 12in and 16in toms in a two floor tom configuration.

DW Collector's series Black Nickel over Brass 5.5x14 Snare Drum

I use Evans heads, EC2 Clears for tom batters, Genera Resos for tom resonants, Emad 2 and Emad Reso for the Kick, HD Dry for snare batter and Hazy 300 for snare side.

Cymbals from left to right. Meinl 14in Byzance Vintage Sand Hats Meinl 18in Byzance Vintage Sand Medium Crash. Meinl 10in Byzance Dark Splash Meinl 20in Byzance Jazz Thin Crash. Meinl 21in Byzance Extra Dry Transition Ride. Meinl 20in Byzance Extra Dry China. Meinl 18in Byzance Vintage Trash Crash on top of upside down Meinl 18in Byzance Extra Dry China.

I have all DW 9000 stands and pedals with a hi hat stand, double pedal, and remote hi hat stand on the right foot side for the trash stack hats.

I also use Promark DC17 marching sticks to warm up with and Promark DC17i indoor marching sticks for the kit.

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I don't have many drums yet, but I just have my Collector's kit and snare, and I have a 1961 Slingerland snare that I'm going to fix, shine, and replace the throw off for soon! 

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
I definitely have a dream kit. Though I have pretty much my dream kit at the moment, I would like to order a more unique collector's series and a more unique top edge snare some day. I would also like to build many cymbal sets and different customizations and kits for different situations! 

How do you describe your drumming style?
The way I've heard my style described is powerful, hard hitting, and intricate. I try to include as many nuances such as ghost notes and hi hat clicks all while being powerful live. I do hit pretty hard as well. I try to hit ever note with confidence and I also try to make my beats comfortable for other musicians to play over. Giving a solid groove and powerful backbeat without sacrificing technicality and spice!

"Breathe" from their EP TheTrench

Why did you choose the drums?
I chose the drums because my mom wouldn't let me play the flute! And I also could never keep still and drumming helps with that a lot. Plus I just love the sound of drums!

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
If I wasn't playing drums I would have loved to be an astronomer. I love space and science. I've always been interested in science and all things space related.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
Drumming has given me the chance to play music for people across the world someday, it has also given me some of the best experiences I've ever had. I wouldn't give it up for anything. And someday I hope to inspire people through teaching, playing and many other things and hopefully change some lives for the better.

Is the music business your career?
It is not my career yet, it is my career goal for sure however. Currently I work at Guitar Center, but I hope to someday make a living off of playing, touring, and teaching!

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown, other than just playing in your band?
I am! I interact with many people in the scene in the area. And recently I've been trying to go to more shows to support the other musicians in the area who also support what my band and I are doing.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
The first is definitely Matt Halpern of Periphery, he is my main influence and is a main reason I started developing the techniques I have. Along with the unparalleled groove and feel behind each beat, it's amazing. The second is Matt Garstka of Animals as Leaders, he is incredibly good, and I just love watching him play because he includes so much emotion and feel in his playing, he is also one of the most technical drummers of this age. Through this I've tried to develops my own emotion through my playing which is why my playing is powerful, I hit hard and I really feel each hit. A third influence is Alex Rudinger of Good Tiger. His playing is so accurate and precise all while not losing power or emotion. He has encouraged my playing to be precise with each action and really placing an actual note value to everything I play. A fourth is Benny Greb, he is a master of groove and feel. He also has many innovative ideas for new sounds on the kit that inspire me all the time. And finally there is Terry Bozzio. Not so much with the massive kit as with the more percussive playing style and technique. Before I really knew who he was I doing many things he did, and coming up with similar stylings and phrasings naturally. After I watched his videos I took after those percussive elements to certain aspects of my playing.

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Oh man, well, I love Periphery. They played a show in Seattle at El Corazon. I took a lesson from Matt Halpern, then saw them play. It was the most intense show I've ever seen. It was incredible! And they were so tight and in sync. It made me want to smash some drums for sure. 

Avoid The Void "The Trench"

How much time do you practice?
As much as possible, when I get a good chunk I like to practice at the very least three hours. I mainly practice outside however due to my apartment living. So it is all dependent on what the weather is like unfortunately. But soon I will find a real indoors place to practice my kit and I will do at least those three hours.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?
The first thing I do is warm up, I like to do various speeds and exercises to get all warm, the I do some rigorous independence exercises, then I may start practicing and tightening my band's material or begin learning another groups song. After I feel I've reached a point where my brain needs a rest I'll take a break then do bass drum control/speed exercises. Then I may go back to learning the material, a new chop, a new groove, or whatever I feel like learning!

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
I have! It really helps me hear what I could be doing better and look at my technique. Soon I will be recording a couple play-throughs and a Periphery cover. After I record those I will be judging my self based on performance pretty harshly to see what I can improve on!

Do you prefer studio sessions or live gigs?
At the moment I prefer playing live gigs. I think this because I like to be as solid as possible in the studio. I also have not had much time in the studio actually doing my own recordings other than 3 days worth. I'm very excited to spend a lot more time in the studio in the coming years though! Whether it be with my band or other projects!

Have you done the "sideman" gig, if so, do you prefer being in a band (being the artists)?

I haven't had much experience in the whole sideman gig. I hope to have some hired gigs in the future, but I'd imagine that I'd love being in a single band where I am the artist than being a hired musician for the most part. That doesn't close the door though! I'd love to experiment some day! 

Any crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
The most interesting gig I've done so far would have to be Knotfest. It was held at the San Manuel Amphitheater in California. I did play a smaller stage, but we spent a lot of the day going to see artists we like, warming up, meeting new friends also playing our stage, and running around the place with a sign that had our time and stage on it. We were standing at the bottom of a hill near our stage and in between the two main areas and yelling our time slot. Our bassist would yell random things like "wanna see how many grapes I can fit in my mouth? Come see Avoid the Void at the Headbang stage at 4!" Or "Come see Avoid the Void at the Headbang stage at 4 to see me play the bass with my feet!" That actually helped our turnout for sure though! We had about 300 people at our stage! 

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
My best words are to always practice. Never let your current playing level get the best of you. You can always improve, get better and succeed as long as you work hard and practice. Never give up. Lastly, have fun! This is an instrument, it's hard but very rewarding with time and effort!

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
I'd like to thank you for interviewing me and to thank Sean(Moriarty) from Varna for the recommendation! I'd also like to thank my band for all the support and love! 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AvoidtheVoidBand/

Avoid The Void - The Trench EP
Avail @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-trench-ep/id1047924765


I really dig seeing these katz go after it! Regardless of the genre or situation, seeing musicians follow their dreams is always a kool thing. David and his band Avoid The Void have a promising future. I want to wish David success in all his future endeavors.Thank You David for sharing!!

Yet again another kool drummer, sharing his story with us. I hope you guys check out David and Avoid The Void. Make sure you support them and encourage their efforts. Join them on Soc. Med. and drop by David's page and say Hello!

Would you like to share your drum life?
Contact me, so we can make it happen.
Help promote your career or your band and get interviewed by Talkin' Chop.

DeHaven - de@oliomusic.com




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