Brian Chase in Modern Drummer, May 2019:
To read and reference the article visit: https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/may-2019-yeah-yeah-yeahs-brian-chase/. Very brief excerpts from the article's interview are included below each link.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Governor's Ball 2018:
MD: Seeing you live at the Governors Ball Music Festival a few months ago, the performance was just as exciting as those early shows. To what do you attribute that?
Brian: There’s definitely a spark that all three of us share that we light up when we get together. We have it individually in our own ways, but then when we combine, it feels really powerful. It was there at the beginning, and we still honor it.
*Side note: In this clip, the performances of the song "Y Control" [0:00] and "Soft Shock" [37:53] contain many of the compositional elements discussed in the article regarding creating drum parts.
2. Drums and Drones 1 - Harmonics playing:
MD: Let’s talk about Drums and Drones. Why has it been such a fruitful path for you?
Brian: The move to Drums and Drones was as an extension of the way I was hearing the capabilities of drums. Due to my background as an improvisor and jazz musician, I’ve often heard the drums as a melodic instrument as well as a rhythmic one.
3. Drums and Drones 2 - Tonal Shading:
MD: So there’s a matter of creating solutions for the “problem” of playing melodies on a four-piece.
Brian: Yes. A lot of it is through creating or suggesting different tones and playing with shading and dynamics. As an improvising musician, I was hearing all these different tones within one drum. If I hit the drum in the middle I get one sound, if I hit it towards the end I get another one, and if I do a rimshot I get another set of tones. I would use that for my expressive palette.
4. Drums and Drones 3 - Electroacoustic:
Brian: Then when I started working at the Dream House and getting into just intonation, the [Just Intonation] tuning theory gave me a framework for understanding how overtones functioned in the resonance of a drum.
*Side note: The musical composition and sounds of this piece are derived from the overtones of a precisely tuned snare drum.
5. Drums and Drones: Decade - triple album and 144 page book: https://www.chaikinrecords.com/drums-and-drones
MD: A close focus on drum overtones and acoustic sound doesn’t seem to have been done in quite this way before.
Brian: It was pretty fun because it felt so fresh, but it also required a lot of work and experimentation to develop my techniques and methods. The only way to do it was to just start doing it and figure it out.
6. Catherine Sikora and Brian Chase duo:
MD: Can you talk a little about how your Ashtanga yoga practice feeds into your music?
Brian: Through Ashtanga yoga, I’ve nurtured a deep sense of body and “self” awareness. On a physical level, yoga has helped my attention to posture and arm mechanics: I know what it means to sit straight and how it feels when I don’t. I know what it means to play with minimal tension in my shoulders, arms, and hands, and how it feels to play with much tension in these areas. Most importantly, yoga has taught me what it means to “connect to my breath,” and to rely on the breath as a foundation upon which all movements, thoughts, and feelings can be anchored.
*Side note: Catherine Sikora and I have a long running duo with an album on Chaikin Records. Much of the playing with Catherine is anchored on a tight and intuitive sense of melody and phrasing which is on display in this clip. When viewing, unlike many things on the internet, some initial patience may be required due to the music's use of slow pacing and subtle dynamics. Specific points of interest include a short drum solo at 1:47 and the core of the improvisation which begins at 3:36.
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, second to last show of tour 2013:
MD: Along the same lines, I understand that you’ve nurtured your Judaism in the last ten years.
Brian: ... In regards to spirituality, a basic premise of Judaism is connecting to an awareness of eternity. This means that there is a thread that unifies people throughout time and space: that this thread exists now, has existed before us, and will continue to exist after us. Simultaneously, this thread functions as a link between all humanity, and there is no individual that exists independent of it. As a musician, this type of perspective is an inspiration to somehow convey this generational and humanitarian interconnectedness.
Follow Brian on Instagram and Twitter: @Brianchase123, and Facebook: @brian.chase.39
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Follow Modern Drummer on Instagram and Twitter: @Modern_Drummer