For this second cross interview, I chose to focus on two drummers who have turned their passion for drums into a profession. I met Max Goemaere a few years ago when I first pushed the doors of the Drumlive Academy, his drum school in the North of France. And a few months ago I discovered Jades, an all-female rock band from the Paris region with drummer with a hat that did not leave me indifferent : Chloé ” JazzySnake ” Jalquin.

Between humour and thought, let’s meet with two exceptional musicians…

To begin with, I’ll let you introduce yourself and explain your background.

Chloé : I come from a family of musicians and at a very young age I wanted to play an instrument. My mother first taught me a bit of violin and then I think the drums came to me because it’s a rather eclectic instrument, you can play anything with it. At first I took classical percussion lessons, then I did jazz, then both at the same time and I had to make a choice because it was difficult to play both at a high level. I turned to the drums, which seemed to me to be more fun to accompany other musicians, I couldn’t see myself behind an orchestra waiting for bars and bars to play. I took my first drum lessons in the Milonga shops, with a young teacher who taught me a lot, then later I joined a CRD (Conservatory with departmental influence) where I passed my Diploma of Musical Studies… And until last year I was at the school of CMDL, the school of Didier Lockwood, a great jazz violinist. Eventually I got into rock and contemporary music quite late.

Currently I give drumming and musical awakening lessons. I also teach in primary and elementary schools. For my bands, I have two main projects. A jazz band called Up Trio, and a rock’n’roll band called Jades. I also play in a gypsy jazz band committed to organic culture (yes, it does exist) that performs rather in the Estivales in some rather strange places, and in a girls’ brass band. Then I have a pop-oriented band, with a singer called Kat GalieIt’s a band that is quite free between jazz, rock and pop, which suits me well.

Max : How are you managing all this in your planning ?

Chloé : Normally there are weekends when it is busy. When you have two concerts on the same day or evening, you need organisation. For concerts, in general, I prefer Jades because we don’t really have a replacement, it’s our compositions, whereas in jazz, if it’s standards, I can ask someone to replace me. These are choices, it really depends on the situation : who called me first, if it’s really important…

Jades - Photo : Faallaway
Up Trio

Max :

My name is Max Goemaere, I am 33 years old. I started playing music 25 years ago, at the conservatory, in a percussion class. I hated it for a long time because what I wanted to do was to HIT, to make noise. Today with hindsight I’m happy to have played percussion, it developed my ear and now as soon as I hear music I’ve never heard before, I can improvise on it. I was in an orchestra where there were eighty musicians. We played classical music, film music and things a little more modern. It was a great experience, but I was kicked out of the conservatory because I played the drums too hard when I was 16 or 17… I didn’t fit in well enough I think ! So I decided to continue learning the drums on my own. At that time there was no YouTube, just Emule or KaZaa. When you downloaded a drum video every other time you had a porn film instead. So I learned by playing on records.

My first band was called Slaughtered, a mix between Pantera and Gojira, then I joined my first pro band, Nightshade, in 2007 I think, deathcore. We opened several times for Dagoba and we played in a lot of festivals. Then I played with Dunkelnacht, an extreme metal band. We recorded an album and a five-track disc, we did a lot of concerts, tours all over Europe, it was an even more professional experience with effects on stage. And then I got a bit fed up with extreme metal, and they had other aspirations. I listen to metal, but I take as much pleasure in listening to an album of Alain Caron, Beyonce, or electro music. The problem with extreme metal is that it’s very demanding, you have to play every day to maintain endurance, power, speed… I didn’t have time to play anything else and it was starting to get intoxicating. After a big year without a band where I concentrated on my Tama drum school, the Drumlive Academy (which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year), I started to take over some projects, make some replacements. And for about three years I’ve been with Death Structurea metal band but much less extreme. The drums of their EP was recorded by Romain Goulon, he made very complicated parts that took me about four months to reappropriate. It’s slower and less hard physically than my previous project but mentally, it’s another difficulty.

I also did some team building. I went to companies and I applied the precepts of music to the professional world: listening, mutual aid, working hard, using the qualities of one or the other, … Everything that can make us a good musician, I applied that to the business world.

Death Structure - Photo : Christophe Leroy

Tell us a little about your gear.

Max : I play on a Tama Starclassic drum set, made of birch and walnut. I have a 14×8 Tama SLP snare drum, very deep, and a d Tama Speed Cobra twin pedal that I like. Overall I like it when there is resistance, you have to hit it hard to make it sound good. 

In cymbals I play on Meinl, mainly from the Byzance series. I have a jazz ride cymbal, it sounds terrific. I am in a partnership with Tama and Meinl, as well as the Legrand ear-monitors, and Cympad. These are super pretty cymbal foams and pads that you can put underneath the cymbals to reduce the sound a bit.

Chloé : To please everyone …

Max : That’s it, to avoid breaking everyone’s ears when you play in small places where as soon as you crash you are told: “It’s too LOUD !”

Max's drumkit

Chloé : So I’m going to challenge you to play on my first drum set : a little jazzette Manu Katché whom I like very much. It’s very resistant because I carry it everywhere in my trunk where it fits completely. It’s my jazz drum kit and it’s my transport drum kit. In small venues it’s very practical.

I also have a Gretsch Renown Maple, with 22 inches bass drum. I had a snare drum and another bass tom, which didn’t sound very good, made by a luthier based in England, Bay Custom. The manager’s son was at the CMDL where I was studying and he explained to me how the drums were made. In contrary to other brands, they carry out the entire manufacturing process themselves. I have another snare drum signed “Benny Greb”, practical for jazz and which can be adjusted very well. My cymbals are pretty much jazz, including crashes, but they sound good in rock anyway. The sound engineers like them because they don’t “psssssscccchhh” in their ears. I have some Sabian and a little known brand : the Impression cymbals, which come from Turkey. They sound good, there is no harmonic that comes out of nowhere. In jazz we are rather attached to the old used cymbals that someone gives you back and you’re like : “Wow ! It was the cymbal I wanted! ». All the cymbals I’ve bought are drummers’ cymbals that I’ve already listened for hours and so I know I’m going to take it after.

Chloé's Jazzette
Chloé's Gretsch drumkit

Since last February I have been endorsed by ProOrca with my JazzySnake sticks which are beautiful. I have green and not green ones, for jazz. The green ones are a bit bigger and they light up in the dark, it’s fabulous !

The drummer’s place is a bit special on stage. How would you describe it to explain it to someone who has never experienced it ? And how do you experience it personally ?

Max : It bothers me and at the same time it has never been a problem. For me, a concert is a show. If there isn’t a minimum of stage play or if you play your music completely empty, without emotion, you’re going to get bored very quickly, and so will the audience. It bothers me a bit when I arrive and there are no lights on stage, but I also take it as a challenge in the sense that I’m all alone at the back, it’s up to me to make people look at me. Maybe it’s self-centered, but as soon as I started I liked people to look at me, so I’ve been working on my acting. When I can, I will play with my arms up, juggle with the sticks, … It’s great fun even if it’s useless for the sound. In general, people like it, and it’s too bad for those who don’t like it. You have to make people dream, through the music and the staging, the visuals and so on. 

To describe the feeling behind the drums, I would say that either you feel you are the master of the world because you are a little bit above with the spotlights towards you and you have the impression that everyone is looking at you (but we know very well that it is the singer and the guitarist who have all the eyes ahah!), or you have the impression of being alone in the world. I remember a live performance that marked me in Nantes with Nightshade. I had a stage that was about two metres high and I couldn’t see the other musicians. The guitarist came to say hi and play next to me one time, but he was the only guy I saw for 55 minutes on stage. It was weird, not really a good experience. Plus I’m afraid of heights and I wasn’t expecting that at all. When I went up my legs were shaking !

Photo : Nicolas Chaigneau
Photo : Ybu

And when they are small scenes you only see asses…

Max : Yes, or even sometimes all you see is the back of the guitarist, who drops a cymbal when he turns around, or who comes and hits your drums with his neck.

There’s also a time when I played with a plexiglass all around !

Chloé : That’s awful !

Max : Yes because people see us, it’s transparent, but we all see the reflections of the lights.

Chloé : And you really can’t hear anything ! For me the worst thing was with a huge plexi, there was a door to get in. They lock you in, you’re cut off from the world and you have nothing to do with the audience ! I thought : “Ok, I’m recording in the studio but there are still people in front… Weird”. You see the other musicians running around on stage and you’re there behind your plexi. Photographers take shitty pictures… And to top it all off, my return had given way so I couldn’t hear anything at all.

Max : I remember the guys in the band threw a banana !

Chloé : For my part, apart from that little moment with the plexi, I never really felt alone. Maybe it’s because of the music I played beforehand. In jazz, you listen a lot to the musicians around you, so even if it’s a big stage, you position yourself next to the others musicians. In a jazz trio you have a double bass on your left, a guitar on your right and we are not going to stand five metres apart. In the other bands, people often come to see me so I never feel alone. On stage, at the beginning I was very tense behind my drums, I think my rock band loosened me up. You tell yourself that you’re on a stage and that you’re not going to sit there pouting behind your drums. In jazz it’s not necessarily that you make a face, I know that I like to look at the audience, to see if they’re in the thing. It’s not the same approach but you can also have fun doing the show at a jazz concert. And in the end I prefer to be in my place rather than the singer’s who is all in front !

Do you practice another instrument ? If not, is there another instrument you would like to play ?

Chloé : I start playing the guitar, it’s complicated. There are things I want to do but my fingers don’t necessarily follow, or I know very well what note it is but my fingers don’t follow… I hope it will progress.

Max : I plan to buy a piano. I had done a bit a few years ago and I’d like to do it again, it relaxes me a lot. Not to play complicated things, just to make a few chords, just for the sound, it’s another relationship to music. And I would like to have a harmonica too. It’s very small, you can take it everywhere. I love blues music and it’s one of the most important instruments in this style of music, you can do great things pretty quickly.

Chloé : For me, the guitar is a bit like your perspective on transport. A guitar compared to a drum kit is nothing. At the beginning I wanted to play double bass but I said to myself: “A drum set and a double bass in the same car won’t fit”, well, it fits but you travel alone, it’s not funny.

Do you participate in the process of composition in your projects ?

Chloé : It depends on the band. In jazz, we used to do compositions in pairs with the guitarist, where I would rather bring the melodies. Sometimes things come to me but I don’t necessarily know which chords to put underneath… Afterwards, still with Up Trio, we started to make background music. There was music about the forest, about horses… On quite unusual themes. We had to draw our ideas from far away.

In Jades, it’s often the singer who composes. Everybody gives his idea. There is a base and then we add a riff, chords, a rhythmic idea… For the drums, sometimes I get a little idea and then we try it on the spot and… I do something else, ahah !

Max : In Death Structure the guys in the band bring back songs that are 80% finished, with programmed drums parts. In metal, there’s a little less freedom so I respect a lot of what’s proposed, and then I create all the little subtleties that another drummer might not have thought of: cymbal strokes, anything ghost notes or ostinato with the bell ride or a move, and so on. Apart from that, I don’t compose. Sometimes I have a few ideas but I don’t really know how to materialise them. I have more ideas in arrangement though. The guitarist sends us the songs and while listening to them I say to myself: “If he changes something, if we add a sound with piano or strings or if we stop at a certain place to start again at a certain place”. And when I make replacements for other bands, I often had the chance to be contacted to have my own style, not just for them to have a drummer. And that’s great because besides being rewarding, I don’t have to force myself to adopt someone else’s playing.

What do you like about the drums ?

Max : I like being able to express all the facets of my personality when I play. As much as I can beat everything up, hit like a pig and express all my hatred, rage and energy, as much as I can play some super soft, laid-back stuff, because then I feel like expressing myself in a different way. Drums, and percussion instruments in general, are one of the only instruments where you can go from almost imperceptible sound, if only by caressing your drumhead without brushes, just with your fingers on it, to a space rimshot by taking your stick and hitting super hard! So personally I have never caressed my skin to make music but I have already seen guys doing it…

Chloé : I’ve already done it !

Max : When I saw that, I thought to myself: “The guy he caresses his drumhead and you’re transported! He doesn’t play the drums, in fact, he makes music but he doesn’t play the drums”. You see, that’s it, that’s the whole palette that’s available to us, it’s very vast.

Chloé : What I like the most is the release side, which you can’t do with a flute for example. Otherwise it won’t be very pretty. When you do a big sound check on a good stage you feel fine. And then the fact of accompanying, I would say. It’s a bit the only instrument where you can listen to all the instruments, you’re a bit the “leader” of the band, without being egocentric either, but you necessarily listen to all the parts because you put such a cymbal blow with such a guitar thing, you know that there you have to lower the nuance a bit because the vocals come in. And also you can play with a big drum set but you can play just with a cymbal and a snare drum and go ahead, challenge us, come up with something. The worst thing I did (because it wasn’t a choice for the job) was on the day of the music festival. The conservatory was supposed to bring the drums, except they forgot the cymbals and snare drum. And I had forgotten my drumsticks. I managed to find some slightly rotten sticks in a shop nearby but I still didn’t have cymbals or a snare drum. I must have been only 18 years old and I wasn’t used to dealing with this kind of situation. And just then you say to yourself: “Well, you have to be inventive”.

Afterwards, when you arrive on a stage, you don’t necessarily have the same drum kit every time. You discover the other drummer’s cymbals… There’s a kind of exchange between the drummers that you don’t always have with other musicians… The guitarist doesn’t necessarily lend his guitar for the next show. Whereas the drums can be the case. Except when you have your roadies bringing your drums !

Photo : Nicolas Chaigneau

Tell us about one of your best memories as a drummer ?

Max : One of the biggest scenes I did with the best conditions was with Nightshade, at the Hivernautes. Dagoba was headlining, T.A.N.K. was second and we were playing first. The stage was huge, with big sets. There must have been a little less than 1000 people and in the dressing rooms there was a masseuse! After the show I went to take my shower and I went with my little towel to get a massage. I watched the Dagoba concert from the backstage, one of the best scenes I’ve ever done.

And also the time I spent the day with Thomas Lang, my favourite drummer, in Paris. He was playing with Paul Gilbert, a great guitar hero. I spent the whole day with him, I attended the soundcheck and then I got to play on his drumkit. It was great to be able to play on his idol’s drums and spend the whole day with him, to see how he did his soundcheck.

17990313_10155206060868674_1103918021749848308_o
Max and Thomas Lang

Chloé : I would say I have two. A bit like Max, on a smaller scale, when we played with Jades at the Mennecy Metal Fest. When we arrived there were five roadies carrying our gear. I was on the drum podium: one was putting my cymbals on, one was putting my snare drum on, three were moving the podium, and then there was one who said to me: “Do you want something? ” “Well no, I have nothing to do! ». We were really well received, it was quite crazy. We had good soundchecks, in good conditions, a good concert and we got good feedback.

And then the other memory is a moment of play, when I did the concert with the school Big Band. You feel a bit like the master of the world when you’re a drummer in a Big Band, you have all the musicians behind you, espacially during the drumsolo, it was nice.

Max, as a drummer, what do you think about female drummers ? And Chloe, how do you feel as a female drummer ?

[Moment of silence …] And then Max says to himself: “I’m facing two women, I have to be careful what I say” …

Chloé : So I’m going to let you answer first…

Max : Ahah! There are more and more female drummers, and that’s a good thing. I don’t see why a thresher would be less talented because she is a woman. What annoys me a bit though is when I see the girls on YouTube who wear a large cleavage and who play without it necessarily being crazy, but who put more emphasis on their attributes… I think it’s a bit of a shame, I don’t even want to be interested by her. Besides, the greatest drummers, for example Anika Nilles or Emmanuelle Caplette, are not at all like that, as beautiful as they may be. Having said that, if a woman played even half-naked and played very well, I wouldn’t have any problem with that ! 

The only flaw I notice with female drummers in general, even when they play really well, I find that they don’t hit well. I like it when it is nuanced but sometimes I wish it would beat a bit more. I don’t think it’s a question of physics because it’s the suppleness that gives the strength and the clapping.

On the other hand, once I was looking for a second teacher for my school and I auditioned a girl who played mostly jazz. She played brushes, it was very sensual. It was beautiful to the ear and also for the eyes, just for the sensuality of the gesture, and I said to myself: “I’ve never seen a guy play brushes like that”.

Still, there are many female students at the Drumlive Academy. You’re a hit with women…

Max : If it’s for my pedagogy… I prefer it to be for that rather than for my pleasant physique, don’t you think? But yes I see it in my lessons, I have a lot of women. At one point I must have had something like 40 or 45% women. And as I always say: it’s better to have a woman in front of you than a big bearded man !

Photo : Ybu
Photo : Nicolas Chaigneau

Chloé : For my part, I would say that there is still a long way to go. We are always getting remarks, almost at every concert. There’s bound to be one time in the evening when someone tells you: “Ah it’s a girl on the drums”.

Max : But that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

Chloé : Yes, but why say that? We’re going to tell you: “Oh it’s great a bearded man who doesn’t have hair on the drums! ». You’re going to say: “And then, I don’t have hair, that’s OK”.

Max : Ahah! It’s the kind of thing I can say because I think it’s good that there are more and more women playing the drums…

Chloé : Coming from a drummer, perhaps, it’s not the same. Whereas a person who is in the audience and who comes after the concert… You see, it’s not the same feeling.

Max : I have lots of women who have come to take lessons with me and who told me that they wanted to start younger but that they had heard: “No, drums are for boys, play the violin or the piano”. I think it’s good that there are more and more women who don’t give a damn and who don’t even ask themselves the question. I think it’s perhaps more in the sense that we’re telling you that. After all, it depends on how it is actually said…

Chloé : In the band Jades we’re not really into the girl power thing at all. We’re a little bit into it because we’re still a group of four girls so we’re necessarily told about it every time. There’s a long way to go because people always see this separation between man and woman… Once I went to a jam and I was asked: “What are you going to sing ?”. “Nothing, don’t worry, I’ll just break your ears”. When I went to sit down, the guy who had asked me the question was very embarrassed… Then they feel obliged to justify themselves and you go into something that’s not possible.

So that’s more in relation to the audience, but have you ever been sulked by other drummers at a concert where you shared the stage for example?

Chloé : Yes, I would say so. Or we came afterwards and said: “Ah yeah I didn’t think you were going to play like that”. Or else, as we play on the same drum set, the guy who owns the drum set says: “Don’t worry, I’m sure you won’t break it…”. Like you can go, but not the others drummer. So you’re there: “Thank you…” But I’d actually have to break a cymbal… I’m going to keep this one ! Ahah !

Do you have other hobbies ?

Max : Yes too much! Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do it as much as I would like. Firstly, sport. When the fitness rooms were still open I used to go three times a week, all morning long. It’s an outlet and it becomes a need. I do a bit of everything: running, weight training… At the moment, as the sports rooms are closed, I do crossfit at home. And it’s also out of need because if I don’t do sport I get fat directly, so I have no choice but to move around if I don’t want to explode!

Then there’s the motorbike. Let’s just say that’s what I’m working for, to be able to leave on a motorbike and ride as much as possible, as soon as the weather permits it, because we’re in the North here, it’s not always easy! I try to go on a roadtrip at least one week a year. It’s a bit similar to music, you meet a lot of people, you go to a lot of different places, like when you go on tour.

Max's Yamaha Strycker

And then the tattoos, the cigars.

Chloé : And alcohol…

Max : That’s almost right, not the alcohol, but the GOOD alcohols: good rum, good whisky… Any kind of alcohol, as long as it’s a noble product. Good wines too.

And I have a lot of respect for tattoo artists because they are a bit like us musicians, it’s a lot of work and they are artists in their own right, I like that very much.

Chloé : I do a lot of music in my days. I don’t do too much sport, I confess, apart from Pilates, and a bit of cycling. I like to cook. You could say it’s my second passion. If I had to do something else, in a kitchen I could enjoy it. It’s in my temperament, I like the variety of music, I like the variety of what I eat, discovering lots of things, lots of flavours.

We will finish on your news, upcoming projects …

Max : That is to say that at the moment…

Chloé : You can put a photo with a blur…

Max : With Death Structure we are preparing the first album. Normally I go into the studio first, in April. We decided to take a week to record the drums, which is very good because in the projects I had before, it was like: “You have three days”! It’s going to be a great album. Music-wise, it’s the only project since we don’t know when we’ll be allowed to play live again. Afterwards, for my school, I have a lot of ideas. When we can start playing normally again, there will be collective workshops. I’m going to do style study workshops dedicated to an artist, not necessarily a drummer. Maybe also change my formulas, try to do a workshop but this time collective for next summer. I have another project that takes me a lot of time but I don’t want to talk about it more than that for the moment because it might not happen, but if it does it will be good. Something related to pedagogy, but not a drum method, that’s already enough.

Death Structure - Photo Bright Nebula

Chloé : As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bit fuzzy… In jazz, we’re a bit at a standstill because what we wanted to do was really play in the event business which is completely closed at the moment. Try to finish our intermittence as best we can, we’ll see how we’ll manage it.

With Jades we released a music video during the first lockdown, “Be my Freak”. It was a bit of a hassle to do the editing because we were each in our own side, we had meetings of three hours for the editing of the clip… This summer everyone was a bit on his side, then in September we met a few times and we started again, a new lockdown. So I’m taking advantage of this to start working on the twin pedal and come back to full speed when we’ll be able to try out new things, composing maybe a little more punchy in the continuity of the music video. We have a comic book that will also be released, which will be called “Rockpleaser” and of which we are the heroines. The cartoonist, Thomas, made a kind of story with snakes, it’s very imaginary: snakes, witches… I saw that he was going to make a comic book with Ultra Vomit too. We’re impatient because we don’t know what’s in the story, we’ve only seen a few pages here and there, we’re going to find out with everybody. And normally this summer we should maybe do a mini tour in UK I think, I don’t know at all what’s going on.

In the pop band it’s a little bit the same, we wanted to launch ourselves with live videos and we released them there recently because a lot of things happened in the meantime that slowed us down a bit. We have to loosen up a bit and then we’ll go for it afterwards. It’s weird when you go from 2-3 shows in a week to nothing.

Jades - Photo : Nicolas Chaigneau

Photos : Jump Cut Event (Max) and Jean Louis Sammut (Chloé)

To follow their projects :

Jades : https://www.facebook.com/JADESband

Up Trio : https://www.facebook.com/Up-Trio-1990068257742052

Kat Galie : https://www.facebook.com/katgaliemusic

Death Structue : https://www.facebook.com/deathstructure

Drumlive Academy : https://www.facebook.com/DrumliveAcademyDrumSchool