Doom metal is a fast-growing genre complete with, as with most other genres, and over-saturation of cookie-cutter bands who at the end of the day will not amount to much. Thankfully the genre is also blessed with groups which are not only loaded with talent, but also produce some truly worthwhile headbanging anthems – and yes, Below is absolutely one of these such bands. Hailing from Sweden, the quintet are signed to Metal Blade records and gearing up to release their new eight track album, Across the Dark River, on April 15th. Recently we were able to send some questions to drummer Jens Vestergren so as to better understand how this up and coming act manages to get it’s oh so juicy, crispy, powerful and doomy sound.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Vestergren: Then I would like to call my entire drum kit one piece of gear, haha. I use a Pearl Vision limited edition kit with Sabian AAX Studio cymbals. I think you get a whole lot of drum for the money; pretty low tuned to get that dark, powerful sound and the AAX cymbals got a really crisp yet powerful sound.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Vestergren: Everything is just the way I want it. To play your ability and get the groove that you want you have to be able to play really relaxed. I don’t mind playing other drum kits, but i prefer my own just for my own comfort.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Vestergren: I used my own kit while recording this album. I spent a lot of time tuning the kit before we traveled to the studio, and I made sure to have new heads for the drums. Within two hours of rigging the drums in the studio, we were recording.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Vestergren: I never record anything I can’t recreate live. If I would have needed 50 takes to get it right in the studio, it would probably sound pretty sloppy 49 times out of 50 on stage. I think that’s a thing for everyone to think of when writing their parts… know your limits.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Vestergren: Being a poor musician I don’t have a backup for the entire kit. But on the road I keep extra heads for the drums, some extra cymbals and a lot of extra bolts and rods and stuff for all the hardware.
How long have you had it, would you ever change it?
Vestergren: I have been using this particular drum kit for the past three years, but I have been using Pearl drums for thirteen years now. Ever since I was old enough to pay for my own kit. When it comes to cymbals I have tried a lot of different ones but these are the ones that I like the best and I have been using Sabian AAX for the past five years. But sure, if someone offered me something that I felt was even better we might have to discuss it.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Vestergren: The one that springs to mind is once when the rod that holds the hi-hats in place suddenly dislodged and went straight down into the hi-hat stand sending the hats crashing down. So while playing with one hand I had to put the hi-hat back together with the other one. It was probably not the best version of that song, but the show must go on.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Vestergren: This is the perfect combination for me. Good sound and quality and a reasonable price.
Check out the song “Portal”