Magazine: Slagwerkkrant / Netherlands
Article: Gene Hoglan bekent

Written by: Mark van Schaik
Published: June/July 1995



Two years after the Individual Thought Patterns cd and a gig of Gene Hoglan on Slagwerk '93 (drummers festival in The Netherlands/YK) Death is touring the world for the new album Symbolic. Later this year the band will tour Holland big time, but with eastern they were here for a little festival in Paradiso (Amsterdam/YK). Reason enough to talk with Hoglan, about the why of "the opening up new horizons" way of drumming, about drastically losing weight and about the art of stealing.

Florida's Death still has a large following, but the number of spectators that are watching the performances of the Florida four under the leadership of guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner with dropped jaws is winning over the number of headbangers and slamdancers. From album to album the band is growing with big leaps and bounds. From extreme death metal it's going to, as extreme but of a very high level, technical musicians music.

Death hasn't had the same line-up for two albums in a row. For the recent Symbolic the guitarist Bobby Koelble entered the band and Kelly Conlon was welcomed as the new bass player. Gene: "Working with Kelly differs a lot from working with Steve DiGiorgio, our former bass player. Kelly only had about 5 rehearsals with us before entering the studio, he literal attached his bass parts to my drum parts. Steve was far more free, not necessarily better, but very different. You could say that Steve and I are working in a more traditional rhythm section way. Grooving was more important to Kelly than playing difficult parts, something we let him decide on his own. Maybe it will change in future when he's more at ease in the band.


Gene states he hasn't been practicing that much in between the two albums. Yet he was able to combine more styles than before. "The preperation for ITP was so hectic that I was glad I could play my parts the way they are on the album now. They had to fit in, that was the only thing that mattered for me back then. I had too little time and mainly played on routine. For Symbolic we had from March to September 1994 to rehearse the new material. I had far more time to absorb the parts."

"Everything I play stands for something. Nothing on Symbolic is without a reason and therefore I think there never has been a title more suitable. I think people will understand because it's all very personal. With every fill there was someone on my mind and quite often other drummers. I let them inspire me one way or the other."

"Yes I stole breaks. Dom Famularo once said it's permitted, so I did. It's his fault, hahahaha... I visited his clinic in Bradford where he told stealing was OK because drummers have to spread their art and sooner or later other drummers are gonna steal from you. So I stole and I'm proud of it! When you would tell me: "Gene, I hear a lot of Deen Castronovo in your play", then I would say: "You're right and mainly Castronovo on Marty Friedman's Dragon's Kiss". I want to let them hear what inspired me, as far as I'm capable of course."

On ITP Gene followed Death's frontman's riffs very tight. On Symbolic he plays far more free and doesn't always follow Chuck Schuldiner in an expected way. He also succeeded to give some rhythms a fusion kind of lightness.


"I played Symbolic for my friend and great example Reynold Carlson, he used to drum in Jag Panzer. He's a virtuous drummer, playing with one hand, the other on the keyboard and blowing an ocarina solo at the same time. He was laughing and shaking his head while listening. I started wondering if he didn't like at all what he was hearing. But on the contrary: "Man, you play it all" he said. "You play everything there's to play in this music". I thought about it for a while and I agreed. Damn it's true, I try to play everything that's slightly manageable to play in this music. "Don't you like it" I asked him, "Yes" he said "but I don't understand it". And that was something I couldn't understand. I slept bad for about a week thinking I had overdone, that I should have grooved more. Now I've reconciled with the idea that I groove in my own kind of very lively way".....

"Another friend of me had a very different opinion. He said: "Gene, from one album to the next you've lost about 100 pounds of weight, now you're in the studio letting yourself go like crazy and you're wondering whether it's a good thing to do? I think you're celebrating you're feeling reborn"! Well that was a nice theory, I felt a lot less guilty for the many notes I play. Believe me, I love grooving in a simple beat. There are moments in the Death set I simplify drumming and concentrate on the groove. How it will develop in future? I don't know. I know Symbolic represents the way I'm feeling at the moment. And I feel good ! Believe me, I seldom enjoyed drumming that much and had that much fun as the past year!"


to talks

Translated by YK/AS for EmptyWords-Published on March 31 1999