Tamala Park Book Club returned last month with the release of their new single, “Cut My Teeth.” It’s the Perth, Australia band’s second single this year, as they have been steadily building their popularity as the strict COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have eased in their home city. These restrictions ended up being something of a blessing in disguise, with the downtime offering the quartet the opportunity to spend their time driving their frustration into their songwriting. A highly collaborative outfit, the band members work with each other very interdependently, with no one having any one specific role. They frequently trade instruments and experiment in ways that other bands may be hesitant to.
Tamala Park Book Club began to emerge in late 2018 when they released their debut EP Colour My World. Since then, they have diversified their sound, thanks to their many influences that see them join together the spheres of rock, punk, and pop. It’s an exciting time for the group and to be a fan as well, with all of this trending towards the release of their debut album in the next few months.
We recently got to know drummer Marcel Bluett a little better with our latest edition of Geared Up, in which he discusses his favourite piece of gear, his China Zildjian cymbal.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Marcel Bluett: “My favourite piece of gear, which I would have to say, is my 16-inch China Zildjian cymbal.”
How did you come to possess this cymbal? Vintage shop, regular shop, borrowed money gifted. Give us the details…
“I came across the cymbal when I was up north in Kununurra, Western Australia. The owner was leaving town, so I grabbed it for a nice, cheap price.”
What made you choose this particular cymbal, and were there any close seconds or alternates?
“I chose the cymbals because it gives our breakdowns a hard-hitting sound and breaks through the heavy guitars and bass. It adds a good dynamic to our sound that we can really appreciate. A close second would be the double kicks. Adding those extra kicks to the breakdown gives the songs a heavier feel to the sound.”
What about this cymbal makes it so important to you?
“It’s so important to me because it helps provide our band with a sound that’s unique to us. It has been with the band since the beginning, so there’s a lot of sentimental value. In terms of our sound, we like to have a good mixture between the different styles of rock. Whilst our guitars try to be more melodic with the distinct J-Rock sound, our drums try to stay true to our hard rock and punk sound. The cymbal helps punch through the melodies of the guitars and provide a more Western influence to our music.”
Did you use this particular cymbal while recording your latest song or album? If so, please elaborate on how and for what parts.
“We used it during the recording for our song ‘Cut My Teeth’ during the breakdown section in the bridge. It helped add more dynamics and a heavier crashing sound.”
Do you have a special way that you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in a live setting, or is it more just plug-and-play?
“We try and recreate the tones in our single as close to the recording as possible. But we still want this live feel, so we try not to use samples where we can help it. The drums are usually a constant, where we might add some fuzz to the bass for our heavier songs and some clean tones and delay to the guitars for our softer songs.”
If you could or wanted to (maybe you don’t at all, and that’s cool), what would you tweak or mod on this cymbal?
“I wouldn’t mind a bigger China cymbal for a stronger, more dynamic sound. Mine is also close to breaking… So a new one is definitely needed!”
How does this cymbal hold up with regular touring and gigging?
“It holds up great! I keep it safe in a cymbal case, and has been going well for a good number of years.”
Time for some fun. Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
“Oh, in our first gig, the cymbal went flying off the stand; it was hilarious. The song was our first single, ‘From the Ground Up,’ and we were really getting into it. Because of the adrenaline from playing our first gig was so high, I was hitting the drums a bit harder than usual. I was getting too into the groove when suddenly I see some light fly by. It gets to the breakdown, and I hit thin air. The cymbal was gone, and I almost lost it.
“Luckily, Patrick (de Rooy) was near, so he could quickly chuck it on. I’ve definitely learnt my lesson… Don’t be mean to your drums, or at least make sure they’re tied in and ready for take-off!”
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
“China cymbals are amazing! Should definitely add it to the list of breakdown needs.”