IMPRESSION CYMBALS: Hi Rainer, what’s going on? Tell us a bit about your current projects.
My main focus is Niklas Kvarforth’s Shining. I started out as a live drummer in 2012, and quickly transformed to a full time member. Playing in Shining is all about the feeling, and that’s how I approach my instrument. “Drumming from the heart of a human being”, as the tattoo on my side translates to.
We are always making new material with my oldest band Causemos, which is a hi-tech space musical when it comes to metal music. This is the band where I put all of my craziest ideas in, it’s like the sandbox mode of bands: experiment, do what you will, at you own pace, no rules, no boundaries. Still we try to keep a steady theme throughout the releases, it has to feel like a cosmic adventure.
Woland is an exceptional band, categorised as modern black metal, stylised with good looking guys dressed up like million dollars, beautiful girls, fast cars, champagne and parties. The music has a catchy rock ‘n’ roll groove in it, polished with screaming lyrics about ecstasy and rapture. I’ve been a part of this orgy of a line-up since ’13.
I joined the live forces of Waltari in ’13, a band which I’ve been a huge fan of since the early ’90s. Waltari is a highly experimental band, with a style ranging from pop to death metal. The music is very uplifting and it’s such an enjoyment to play. That joy is ever present during the live shows, and we have a lot of shows to come.
I’ve been a fan of fat sounding, groovy, old school death metal since I was a kid, but never really had that kind of band. This is why me and Skrymer from Finntroll put up Decomposter, to make music that’d make our heads nod, music so heavy that all you can do is laugh. One thing that attracted me with some those early ’90s death metal acts was the lack of talent and low budget, drummers trying to play their skank beats at max tempos, constantly slowing down, strokes getting weaker, out of sync cymbal chokes etc. But on the next release, you can hear the drummer has got a little better. That was something I wanted to do with Decomposter, to basically play badly, to make the outcome seem authentic in that sense. We are planning to release more material in the near future.
People keep asking me what’s going on with Ajattara, are we coming back for a new album or more shows. And all I can really say is; you never know.
IMPRESSION CYMBALS: You are well known for the meticulous work you put in preparing your parts for new gigs. How exactly do you prepare for a project or job?
Firstly, for any kind of work, I do a lot of listening, a lot. That is how I memorize things, how I come up with ideas, and that’s also when I do my image training.
For studios I like to have free hands with the drum tracks. At first I listen to the songs without any drums, search for rhythmic patterns, accents, come up with my own ideas and then program them to my computer, precisely with dynamics. Then I listen to the demo drums that the composer usually provides, search for good ideas and things to add, and then do some more programming. After that it’s me, the drum kit and practice, practice, practice.
For live I don’t usually program my ideas. It all starts with listening of course, maybe taking some notes, then it’s off to the rehearsal place and just feel it out. I’ll play through the songs over and over, constantly paying attention to the other instruments, trying to find if there’s something different to be done with the drums. I’m not afraid to make drastic changes, but I like to consult the band during the band practice about them. Unless I get inspired during the show!
IMPRESSION CYMBALS: What do you look for in cymbals and how do you approach assembling a set for any particular gig?
Response, tone and definition. I’m also always looking for something different, new and exciting. Being able to customise your cymbals is a paradise for an eccentric drummer like me.
My approach for cymbal setups comes from the image training, but also from the air drumming I like doing so much. Air drumming shows me where I subconsciously feel that a certain cymbal should be. That’s how I assembled the setup I’m using now, which is really nothing special, but still.
IMPRESSION CYMBALS: A few years ago you visited the Impression Cymbals factory in Istanbul and saw how our cymbals are hand hammered. What did you think of that, and did it change the way you look at cymbals as an instrument?
First of all, I was really impressed by the craftsmanship. I tried hammering a cymbal myself, and only ended up with this twisted piece of metal that sounded absolutely horrific. These guys are top notch, it’s a work of art for sure. The trip definitely made me appreciate that.
IMPRESSION CYMBALS: You have some custom designed cymbals in your set. What’s the story behind them?
I absolutely adore the possibility to order custom designed cymbals, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day all of my cymbals would be custom made.
My first fully custom made cymbal was, what I call the ‘Chaos Ride’. I wanted something dry and chaotic with a lot of stick definition and crashability. The ride is great for heavy crash driven beats and also for lighter fusion or even drum ‘n’ bass. I might actually customise the cymbal even further, drill couple of Hollister holes to make it even more chaotic. It would be ‘Chaos Ride 2.0’.
The second was the ‘Unholy China’, a 24″ monster of a cymbal. I had the wildest idea to custom order a china that had everything, size, wide edges, mixed finishing, holes, rivets, the whole nine yards. The outcome was something unexplainable. First you hear the unbelievably loud bang, followed the roaming and rumbling dark tone, ending with a quiet eerie sizzling effect. It’s like getting attacked by a giant rattlesnake from hell.
I have also made small adjustments to already existing models, changing the bell size, changing the finish etc.
All-in-all, brilliant, brilliant work. I’m literally Impressed!
IMPRESSION CYMBALS: Thank you Rainer! Always great to hear from you.
Live photography © Tiina Hasa, all rights reserved.