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Happy birthday Franky!

Radio Metal is offering today this column to Franky Costanza, Dagoba’s drummer. You know, “the first metal band to make a name of himself in France for over 30 years” ! Delighted with his cross-interview with Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory, …), Franky has expressed his impressions about this encounter in this present column. The interview of these two drummers, which occurred on July 9th during Anarchy-X, the broadcast you can listen to every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 10pm, can be listened to and read here. And now Franky, the place is yours.

“Hello to all the listeners of Radio Metal!

I’m coming back with great pleasure to talk to you about an unforgettable moment that aired on Radio Metal. While in the middle of the promotion of Dagoba’s new album, Poseidon (available since the 30th of August), while phone and mail interviews were carrying on abundantly, I had the great surprise to receive on offer for a shared interview, quite oriented drumming, with a certain Gene Hoglan on Radio Metal! Thanks again for this great idea you had there!

I believe that Gene Hoglan is one of the greatest drummers of the worldwide metal scene. His drumming is so monumental that the list of adjectives to describe him is endless: inventive, original, fast, subtle, ambidextrous, visual, precise, powerful… He is a constant source of inspiration for all the drummers of this style and every album he contributed to is a gold mine. I remember having discovered him with Death’s album Symbolic that literally subjugated me: it took me hundreds of listening to understand everything he was doing! After that, I’ve frenetically looked for absolutely all his musical contributions: Death, Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad…

From a personal point of view, his influence was very important in the evolution of my drumming. A lot of techniques I’m using today are coming from him, especially concerning the use of the splash cymbals, double ride over the sixteenth notes on double bass pedal (as on the track « Symbolic » on Death’s album) or even the breaks with hands and feet alternating. His ambidexterity makes him also very impressive. His set is nearly symmetrical (a ride on each side), which allows him to have an extremely visual uncrossed drumming. Thanks to that, he is one of the few extreme metal drummers that dares juggling with their drumsticks and that allows himself some visual eccentricity. Personally, I love that!

Linked to that, I seized the opportunity of that interview to ask him if the bands of hard rock and of American glam rock were a source of inspiration for his drumming… and in fact he is not a fan of this style…: “It was kind of an irony that I started doing that in order to poke fun at all of those horrible bands from the 80s. I just figured ‘hey motherfuckers, you guys are doing all that when you’re playing BOOM – BAM – BOOM BOOM – BAM, so try doing the same when you’re playing PAPAPAPAPAAPAA blast beats!’ It’s kind of a big fuck you to all those cock rock hair bands”.

Let’s not forget his game with the double bass drum, simply magical (on that point, Strapping Young Lad’s album City is full of terrific passages). There also, this is a source of inspiration to me: these staccato and surgical rhythmic are one of the main elements of my own bass drum style, as you can feel in Dagoba’s music. When one sees Gene playing live, one is also subjugated by his peaceful strength! Everything seems easy and fluid while it would take anyone a lifetime to reproduce what he is doing! I imagine that the musicians accompanying him in studio and live know that they can count on him as they would of an unshakeable tank! Countless drummers acknowledge having been influenced by Mister Hoglan: Nick Barker, Dirk Verbeuren to name but a few. I could only recommend drummers who don’t know him to hurry buying Death’s album Symbolic and Strapping Young Lad’s album City.

Imagine what an honour it was for me to have the chance of asking him a few questions and to spend some time in his company. As the interview unfolded, I discovered in him a very sympathetic, attentive, passionate, interested and interesting man! The Great Man was very talkative and he even postponed his next interviews to continue ours, to talk to us about his story, about his favourite bands and about the diverse music that influenced him from metal but also from funk and jazz! In fact, I’ve not been surprised at all when he mentioned the name of Deen Castronovo (ex-Cacophon, ex-Journey, …) as a source of inspiration: I was sure that many of his patterns was coming from this amazing drummer. I was nicely surprised to hear that he knew and appreciated Dagoba! For the anecdote, it was the day before my birthday and well before I was proposed this interview, I discovered that one of my gifts was going to be his pedagogic DVD. Funny coincidence! I even received a “Happy Birthday” from Gene Hoglan! What could I ask more!

Thanks again to Radio Metal for this terrific evening! It was really an amazing birthday present!”

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