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Matt Thompson (KING DIAMOND, AGHORA): GHOST - something different and done well

Matt Thompson (KING DIAMOND, AGHORA): GHOST - something different and done well
BANDS : Aghora, King Diamond

Probably most of you know Matt Thompson as the drummer of King Diamond, maybe some who are reading this know that Matt is also the drummer of Aghora since a few years. Well, besides the two named above, Matt is currently active in other interesting bands. He might not be the most talkative guy we've interviewed, but we still found out that King Diamond will release three new albums in the comming years. More details below:

Metalfan:  Hi Matt and welcome to!
Matt Thompson: Hi!

Metalfan:  Most of our readers know you as the drummer of King Diamond. How did you join King Diamond? Could you tell us more about yourself?
Matt Thompson: King has done a lot of work at a studio in Dallas called Nomad Studios. I've also done a lot of work there. The owner is a mutual friend of both King and me, and when I found out I asked the owner to recommend me. He needed a drummer about a year later and called me!

Metalfan:  At what age did you decide you wanted to become a drummer? How did it all  start?
Matt Thompson:I started playing at age 8, I come from a musical family. I always enjoyed it, but it wasn't until age 12 that I totally committed to being a drummer for life, it was when I saw the Rush Signals tour.

Metalfan:  Could you tell us more about your drumming style? Which are your top five drummers? Why?
Matt Thompson: From an early age I've played many styles, I played jazz in school, and studied the classical way of playing percussion. I majored in jazz in college. I've also loved metal from age 12 after hearing Shout at the Devil (1983) at a high volume. My metal style comes from many places, I'll say Tommy Aldridge, Neil Peart, Alex Van Halen, Dave Lombardo, Charlie Benante as early influences, although there are dozens of others and I'm still being influenced by a growing list of great drummers.



Metalfan: What's it like
to be in the band with King Diamond? What is your greatest experience as the drummer of the band?
Matt Thompson: It's amazing, like a dream come true to be honest. I'll always be thankful to King for giving me the chance. Everyone in the band is extremely proficient and professional so it makes my part fun. I've had so many great experiences with King… it's hard to name one! One that certainly sticks out is my first weeks with the band. Traveling to Copenhagen for rehearsals, then driving to Russia for the first show, the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, these were supercharged amazing times. Then playing the show, standing on the stage in St. Petersburg…indescribable. The set was supposed to be 90 minutes, but we finished in 45. I played everything WAY too fast!

Metalfan:  Could you tell us few words about Abigail II: The Revenge (2002), The Puppet Master (2003) and Give Me Your Soul... Please (2007)? Which one is the best of them? Which was the hardest to record?
Matt Thompson: Abigail II was the first one I played on so it was very exciting, The Puppet Master turned out to be my favorite that I've played on (my favorite King Diamond album is Abigail), it came together really well and I think it is one of his best stories. Give Me Your Soul…Please has some of my favorite riffs, and this is the album that got us a grammy nomination in 2007. I can't say which was hardest, they all had their own challenges.

Metalfan:  Are there any plans for a new King Diamond album in the near future or maybe a DVD?
Matt Thompson: Yes, King has signed with our label Metal Blade for three more albums, so it's a safe bet. I'm really looking forward to making more music! I can't say about a DVD, I know King was working on a couple, but ran into some technical problems, and that's when things started to get busy with the festivals, etc., so I think it's on the back burner for now.

Metalfan:  Besides King Diamond you also play drums in Shaolin Death Squad. Where does that name come from?
Could you tell us more about this band? Your sound has been described both as progressive metal and "oriental pop/rock". Which is the righ?
Matt Thompson: Well, I don't know what "oriental pop/rock" is,  I'd say progressive metal is closer but still isn't totally accurate. I'd put us as a mix of early Genesis, Mr. Bungle / Faith No More, Voivod, with theatrical/soundtrack elements as well as many other things. Shaolin Death Squad comes from a martial arts movie from China, we just picked it out of a list that we made, it was the coolest sounding to us at the time.


Metalfan:  Your stage name in Shaolin Death Squad is Black Ninja. Strange name for a drummer, isn't it? Haha!

Matt Thompson: I had to pick something! It came about eventually. We had a different name before Shaolin Death Squad and were very different and unfocused. Soon after we changed names, we got a different guitar player and wanted to make our stage show more focused. We decided to all wear black. The new guitar player showed up to the gig with an oriental robe and an extremely evil and creative kabuki mask. We looked ridiculous compared to him, so we decided to all pick martial arts styled costumes, I picked a ninja suit.

Metalfan:  Are there  any plans for a new album in the near future?
Matt Thompson: Yes, Shaolin is constantly working on new music. It's a slow process, we are all basically busy family people. I tour a lot, so that makes things go even slower. I'm lucky that they are very patient with me. Also, the new material so far is somewhat intricate and challenging which will make it go even slower!

Metalfan:  Since 2008 you are also the drummer of the progressive metal/jazz fusion band Aghora. How did you end up playing with them? Are there any plans for a new Aghora album in the near future?
Matt Thompson: Aghora to me is a branch, albeit perhaps a distant one from Death, a band that needs no describing. I've always had great respect for Sean Reinert as a musician, he played on Death's Human (1991) album, he also did the drumming for the 1st two Aghora cds. The way I got the nod for the 3rd album was this: I saw that they needed a drummer and emailed Santiago Dobles (the guitarist and leader of the band). I sent them an audition track and got the job. I tracked drums some time ago, he is still working on finishing it up. It's a big job, there is over 90 minutes of music with very little 4/4! Easily some of the most challenging music I've ever played.

Metalfan:  What do you think about the Swedish band Ghost? Their sound have been compared with such bands as Mercyful Fate, Blue Oyster Cult and... The Beach Boys for example...
Matt Thompson: I used to play in a band called Bat Castle and I swear we wore cloaks, and our singer/guitarist wore a pope suit! Way before Ghost! But their look and concept is way more focused. I think they are really cool, something different and done well.



Metalfan:  If you would have to pick a single album released by Mercyful Fate which one would
it be and why?
Matt Thompson: I think Don’t Break the Oath (1984), because it's the first one I heard. I remember reading the lyrics and actually being scared (I was young)!

Metalfan:  Matt Harvey from Exhumed said: "We have a rule in Exhumed: if you don't like Mercyful Fate, you can't be in our band!". How do you comment this?

Matt Thompson: Haha that seems a little extreme maybe, but at the very least if you play metal you have to recognize Fate's enormous contribution to all of metal, to not do so is just ignorant.

Metalfan:  What is your favourite book? Could you tell us more about it? Would you like to release a conceptual album about it?
Matt Thompson: I can't think of a favorite book, I have way too many books that I love for different reasons. I'm the same way with "favorite band/drummer/song, etc." questions, they are impossible for me to answer. My favorite style right now is Sci-Fi short story, and there is a huge list of fantastic authors in that style.

Metalfan:  Thank you for your time and for your answers! In the end would you like to send few words to our readers?
Matt Thompson: My pleasure, absolutely! Well, if the readers got this far in the interview I guess I'll say thanks for the interest!  
Autor: H.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Aghora, King Diamond

   June 14, 2013  | 0 Comments  | 8349 Views « BACK

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