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Pumping Metal: Dead Label Drummer Claire Percival Discusses Bikram Yoga, Slipknot, and Inner Calm

A chat with Ireland’s hottest metal export, Dead Label. Drummer Claire Percival on Slipknot, Bikram Yoga, and how exercise helps to keep her both coordinated and healthy on the road.



Dead Label are currently Ireland’s hottest metal export and they’re gaining a lot of momentum touring in support of their latest release, June 2016’s Throne of Bones sophomore LP. (Order your own copy via iTunes.) Recently, we caught up with the group’s drummer Claire Percival to chat about all things health and fitness. She gave us the lowdown on Slipknot, Bikram Yoga, and how exercise helps to keep her both coordinated and healthy on the road.

Why and when did you get into fitness in the first place?
Claire Percival: I have always been interested in keeping fit. Particularly while touring, I believe it is really important to be healthy. You need your body to be at its maximum potential to give your best on-stage.

What about exercise, health and fitness makes you take it seriously?
Percival: Well if you don’t have a healthy body, you don’t really have anything. Your body is the vessel your soul has to do its work on earth. Best keep it running well in order to get things done properly!

Weights, cardio, calisthenics, CrossFit, MMA… what’s your jam?
Percival: I am very into yoga, particularly Bikram yoga. I find it helps with my drumming so much. It really helps to keep a calm mind when playing such intense music. Also, the focus on your body and mind together and separately is something you need for playing the drums. It also gets you comfortable in sweat which is important.

Describe your weekly routine and/or an average workout for you?
Percival: It changes from week to week depending on my schedule. I always try and get at least two yoga classes in and I do a lot of walking too.

What music gets you extra pumped when you’re exercising?
Percival: I love to listen to Slipknot, they just cut through the random noise in the gym so delightfully! I also enjoy 90’s pop!

Do you ever listen to your own band’s music when working out?
Percival: Never, it sucks me in and I start thinking about parts and stuff, so I don’t enjoy it!

Being a touring musician, how do you stay fit on the road?
Percival: Well drumming certainly helps! It’s difficult! We toured with Once Human, those guys have staying fit on the road perfected! They had TRX straps and an exercise bike! That’s commitment!

Some people go Vegetarian and Vegan while others slam steaks, whole poultry farms, and a kitchen sink in regimented 6-meal sittings. Where does your diet sit?
Percival: My diet is good and bad. Sometimes I am all about Spinach and Salmon and then other times I am obsessing over pizza. I like balance. If I eat badly, I try and eat healthily. I have a lot of respect for people who are Vegan and Vegetarian. It’s a very healthy lifestyle, I just don’t have the time to fully commit to anything like that right now and if you don’t do those diets properly you can get sick too.

Supplements, yay or nay, and why/why not?
Percival: I don’t know too much about supplements, I know people take protein and that seems pretty OK but I guess steroids and stuff are bad. I think as long as something is natural, you are probably OK.


Morning, noon, evening, night… when do you like to exercise? Does it even matter?
Percival: I prefer to get it done early if I can, then you’re starting your day on good footing. But if I am working I’ll try and do some exercise in the evening.

How do you find your healthy lifestyle impacts your music and/or live performance?
Percival: I always feel I could be healthier for my live performance. Drumming is endurance so you need to keep your stamina up. I can imagine if I didn’t exercise it would be difficult to play longer sets.

Do you balance the “rockstar” lifestyle with being fit/healthy? Or is it 1 or the other for you?
Percival: Guns n Roses don’t live the rockstar life anymore, so nobody else should. I’m not into that whole thing, to be honest. I am not a party pooper but the road is the place to put your best foot forward and be professional. You can have a drink anytime, don’t waste your time on tour by being in an unfit state. People pay to see bands do their best and to do your best you have to feel your best!

Have you ever tried steroids?
Percival: Never. It’s not something I would ever even think about.

What’s your opinion on performance enhancing drugs?
Percival: I think that any drugs that are unnecessary shouldn’t be taken. Unless it’s going to keep you alive, don’t take it. Work harder to enhance whatever it is that needs enhancing. Natural all the way.

Check out the band’s video for their song “Pure Chaos”

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