RAWDRIGUEZ – Interview mit dem Drummer
RAWDRIGUEZ – Interview mit dem Drummer
Hi there Christophe. As one of the founders of metal-heads.de the music magazine for fans of the heavy side of music, I’m happy to hook up with you today to get an update an insight regarding your latest activities. Our attitude is: Distortion is our passion! So anything goes, using an electric guitar. With RAWDRIGUEZ you easily pass that test…Hahaha! I thank you for the chance to do this interview. My review will be up on our homepage by the end of March, in time for the release date in April (it´s in German though). So I wanted to give the people out there a chance, to learn more about your band and music.
MH: People familiar with the Belgian metal scene might firstly know you from your „job“ as a guitar player in AFTER ALL for many years. Lately you have also joined the well known band CHANNEL ZERO. Can you please tell us, how this contact came up and how you decided to step in there?
From a guitar tech to a band member CHANNEL ZERO
CD: Hi Amir, always good to speak to you. I was a guitar tech for CHANNEL ZERO for about a year and a half so I really got to know the crew and band members very well during that time. There was (and still is) a good chemistry and camaraderie between us. When CZ recorded their most recent album “Exit Humanity” they recorded a lot of guitar parts (as is quite common) they thought it would be a good idea to add a second guitar player for live gigs. As we had such a good relationship I was the first, and only guy, they asked. Initially the idea was just to do the ten day club tour (December 2017) to promote the album but things went so well and the reaction of everyone (band, management, fans) was so overwhelming the band asked me to join as a full member.
MH: It’s been quite a while, since we heard about new material from AFTER ALL. Please let us know, how the situation is regarding a new album. The last release (if I see it correctly) was „Waves of annihilation“ from 2016. As a follower from the beginning, I’m personally interested in what’s going on…
CD: Well fairly quickly after the release of “Waves Of Annihilation” our then singer, Sammy decided to quit the band to focus more on family life. Our quest for a new frontman/singer took some time. Also because we had a clear vision of the voice we wanted. We wanted to be blown away. In the end we did find the right guy in Mike Slembrouck an amazingly talented singer and super cool dude. We re-recorded vocals for two songs from the “Waves Of Annihilation” album and released them as the “Restore To Sanity” EP a limited 7 inch.
Not so easy to find a new singer – AFTER ALL
We have already played some gigs with Mike and are really very deep into the writing and recording process of our next (tenth) album. Two thirds of the material has been written and already recorded. So another three to four songs to go before we have the complete album. We are aiming for an early 2021 release. But there is no real hurry. The most important thing is the quality of the songs. I can tell you we are extremely excited about the songs we have so far. It’s still unmistakenly AFTER ALL but with a much broader approach musically and especially vocally.
MH: So now we are updated on to the well known bands you play the guitar in. Let’s talk about something „new“. Let´s start quite in the beginning. I´d be interested to know, how you got you into starting this band called RAWDRIGUEZ? Who´s idea was it and how did it begin and develop from the start in 2016 until 2020, where we are now?
CD: Well it all started actually during the time we were looking for a new AFTER ALL-singer. Auditions didn’t go as smoothly as we wanted and finding the right guy took a lot more time than expected. Fortunately everything turned out great in the end though. Anyway, during this time I had some time on my hands and the RAWDRIGUEZ project started out as a studio project. Bass player Stef, guitar player John and myself would get together to jam on some stuff. We would construct some songs, record them at rehearsal. I contacted Gunther and asked if he would be interested in putting down some vocals on the songs. That’s how it all started out, but we had so much fun and were excited about the material and the way of working the ambition soon grew to record and release an album and even do some live shows.
The start of RAWDRIGUEZ – becoming a drummer
MH: When did you decide to switch the instrument and take a seat behind the drum kit? That’s quite a step for a guitar player, right!?
CD: Well I have been playing guitar for 35 years now, but I have always also played drums and bass on the side, not in a band. I always thought it would be cool to play drums in a band. I already play guitar in two awesome bands (AFTER ALL & CHANNEL ZERO) so it just all happened really naturally. No big plan just having some spare time, meeting the right people and before you know it I was playing (drums) in a third band. We all have our other bands but enjoy getting together and jamming, writing songs. And now we are on the virge of releasing our debut album “Asylum Of The Arcane”.
MH: Could you imagine to play drums in AFTER ALL or CHANNEL ZERO too, if that position was available?
CD: Not really, the CHANNEL ZERO and especially the AFTER ALL material is much more technical. I can manage that on guitar but I’m no Dave Lombardo or Gene Hoglan on the drums. Plus both CZ & AA have amazing drummers with whom I really enjoy playing. RAWDRIGUEZ is a lot more straight forward, stoner-like, groovy hardrock with a nineties vibe according to me.
A great passion for music in general
MH: What was your intention to start with this kind of music you now play with RAWDRIGUEZ? In how far do you see differences compared to AFTER ALL? Usually musicians start side projects or play in various bands to get more possibilities to express their different interests in styles etc. – how is it with you?
CD: I just really enjoy playing and creating music even producing and mixing it. It’s really my major passion in life. Every spare minute I have is spent on music in some way or form. Playing, song writing, mixing and also guitar teching for a couple of bands. Working in the studio, doing some live sound, going to concerts.
MH: Could you imagine to continue RAWDRIGUEZ for a longer period, or is it more a short term thing?
CD: As long as it feels good I don’t see why it should be a short term thing. We didn’t set out to start a new band it just turned into one along the way. We now have a full album coming out, some shows and cool festivals booked. We’ll just see where it takes us. There’s no big plan behind it but I don’t see why, if we feel like it, we couldn’t write a next batch of songs for a second album. But for now we’ll just concentrate on releasing and promoting the debut album and having some fun playing great shows in the mean time.
MH: Where do you see your main influences regarding music and lyrics? How does that differ between your 3 bands?
CD: I have a very wide musical taste ranging from rock to classic hard rock, thrash and speed metal, stoner, prog rock, new wave, pop … basically anything with a (distorted) guitar and drums. So naturally my influences are really varied too. If it’s good music, it’s good music no matter what style. Difficult to pin point specific influences as there are so many. The list is endless…
MH: In my review I say, that I see some influence of BLACK SABBATH and MOTÖRHEAD. Can you agree with that? I like AFTER ALL a lot, but I also can dig your new band…it’s just different.
CD: It’s definitely different and that’s what I like about it so much. I don’t want to play in three bands doing the same style. That’s the cool thing about what I do three bands, three different things even playing another instrument in RAWDRIGUEZ. Wow, BLACK SABBATH and MOTÖRHEAD…thank you for that compliment there are much worse bands to be compared with. I can understand where you come from though with those references.
MH: Are there any plans for some touring, maybe even in Germany or the Netherlands? Festival appearances in 2020? Unfortunately, the release concert in early April was cancelled due to the situation with the corona virus.
CD: We have three club shows confirmed at the moment and one festival (Alcatraz Metal Fest) but we are working on more dates. We’re very happy with how the album came out and are now ready to take this thing on the road. Germany, Holland, Belgium, anywhere they’ll have us basically ….
Touring with IRON MAIDEN…what else!?
MH: What musicians would you love to share the stage with and/or what band would you like to tour with and why?
CD: With After All we’ve toured with some pretty amazing bands in the past. If I can dream out loud I would say IRON MAIDEN is for me THE band I would absolutely want to tour with. But there are so many amazing bands …. I think any musician, no matter how big or small, is in the first place a big music fan.
MH: Regarding playing live – festival, club gig or big venue? There are various kinds of gigs to play for a band to play. Small sweaty club gigs, big venues or even stadiums and then these 3-day-festivals in front of 50.000 to 120.000 people. What kind of performances do you prefer and why?
CD: Every show has its charm no matter how big or small. As long as the people are into it and we can give our best performance possible. As long as the technical aspect (sound, lights) is covered and taken care off, anything goes really.
MH: Do you have any experience in playing charity shows like the RAGE AGAINST RACISM-festival in Duisburg? It´s a great thing, positioning itself against racism and of course the participating bands fully stand behind that attitude! Could you imagine to play an event like that? Just asking, as we are starting the preparations soon, as our magazine ist he official media partner!!
Playing charity concerts…
CD: I haven’t really played any benefit or charity shows as far as I can remember (I could be mistaken). I’m totally up for it and obviously stand behind the cause you mention. We need to talk about this more in depth I guess, make us an offer!
MH: The final words is always to our interview partners. Here YOU get the chance to tell the people out there something, that you think is important, regarding music in general, the latest album or whatever. So, here we go…
CD: There’s so much bad stuff going on in the world, which we obviously can’t turn a blind eye to. But I think music is a good release of emotion, be it positive or negative. People need an escape once in a while. Less whining more good music is what I’m all for. I would recommend all your readers to check out all three of my bands: AFTER ALL, CHANNEL ZERO, RAWDRIGUEZ. Follow us on our sites and social media pages.
MH: Thanks for sharing your time and all the info. I wish you all the best with the album and future efforts and hope to see you perform live on stage again at some point (or run into you at another occasion for example the GRASPOP METAL MEETING in the past…).
CD: Thank you Amir for your time and interest. Always good to chat. Looking forward to running into you and catching up in real life. Horns up and keep the metal flowing! Cheers!
- Christophe Depree – live on guitar: Franky Schutz
- RAWDRIGUEZ – Bandphoto 2020: Christophe, RAWDRIGUEZ
- RAWDRIGUEZ – Albumcover Asylum of the arcane: Christophe, RAWDRIGUEZ
- Christophe Depree – live on drums: Real Pick
- AFTER ALL – Live in Köln – Archivbild – (c) Amir Djawadi: (c) metal-heads.de / Amir Djawadi
- RAWDRIGUEZ – Bandphoto 2020 – Titelbild: Christophe, RAWDRIGUEZ