Some of you may know of 25 year old Chason Westmoreland and his drumming with Burning The Masses, or some fill-in gigs with bands like Fallujah, Enfold Darkness, or most recently Oceano. If you have not yet heard this name, you're in for quite a surprise.
We first heard Chason when he was touring with Burning The Masses/Last House on The Left/Rose Funeral (2009 I believe), and he instantly became a favorite. He was 18 or 19 at the time and was simply killing the drums. Every other drummer on that first tour we heard him on would stop whatever they were doing each night and go watch him play. They said... "Wait until you see this kid play." No triggers, small kit, I thought I'd seen it all, then he started playing. It was just raw talent from the first note to the last. Speed, power, precision, creativity, ease of motion, and meter. Triggers were not needed, nor were they missed! Chason was then someone we knew would make a name for himself, and now he has proven that true.
Chason has already laid down his tracks for the forthcoming Hate Eternal album and will be behind the kit with the band for the albums ensuing tour cycle which begins in spring 2015.
Some recent tour footage of Westmoreland can be viewed on our YouTube Channel, and below you will find a collage of some recent behind-the-scenes studio footage from his tracking sessions with Erik Rutan, in Mana Studios, Florida.
Westmoreland comments: "I am extremely honored to join Hate Eternal. The new material is very challenging and has a lot going on. I put everything I had into this album and I'm very excited about the results. I cannot wait to see what the future holds and get on the road with our new album!"
SDM: How excited were you when we got in touch about this gig being a possibility?
Chason: I was in disbelief. Didn't feel real and still doesn't.
SDM: How nervous were you when you met Erik/JJ and had to play for them?
Chason: Erik and JJ were so nice. I wasn't really intimidated until I saw the studio (lol). Then I got the sweaty palms and tight chest and all of that haha.
SDM: How many songs did you have to learn before flying to Florida, and how long did they take to learn?
Chason: I had a list which consisted of 9 songs I believe. They took over a month to get down.
SDM: What was the hardest to learn, and why?
Chason: The new album was definitely the hardest to learn. There are lots of odd-timed riffs and some very long blast stretches.
SDM: Were the drum parts for the new record already mapped-out, or did you get to have input? How much, if you did?
Chason: The drums were actually mapped out, but I did have some input on a few things like fill sections, and intro setups... stuff like that. We also changed a few things during recording.
SDM: What other exercises or situations did they put you through during audition?
Chason: We did a blind click setup for about an hour a day. It jumped up 5 bpms every minute, and it really helped to break the mental barriers I had set on myself. Also lots of meditation.
SDM: What can Hate Eternal fans expect from this next release, and from your drumming?
Chason: They can expect lots of chaos with some slower-tempo thrown in. I just hope I laid a different element into Hate Eternal's foundation.
Erik Rutan (guitar, vocals) comments: "Chason is such an amazing talent and a very determined guy. He came down to try out in June and literally blew us away! We bonded instantly musically and personally, and JJ and I knew he was the right guy and drummer for Hate Eternal. Chason has a high motor, hits hard, plays fast and is a very diverse and dynamic player. The drums on this album have a very primal and visceral feel to them and I think he did a tremendous job on the recording. I cannot wait for us to get on tour and deliver the goods. We wanted to make sure we announced this in conjunction with you guys (Ian and Anton) at Sick Drummer Magazine, as thanks to you guys, this is actually happening. We cannot thank you enough for all your support and help finding the right guy."
SDM: How quickly and accurately was Chason able to pick up on older Hate Eternal material?
Erik: Chason picked up a lot of the older material very quickly. He came down here for 5 days in June to try out and by the fourth day he was nailing songs like Behold Judas, The Eternal Ruler, King of all Kings, Servants of the Gods, Lake Ablaze, etc… I want to say we were jamming on like 8-10 songs within 5 days. After jamming with him for those days the vibe and chemistry was clear as day and everything just felt right to JJ and I, both musically and personally. We just knew he was the man for the job. Chason is just an all around great guy and amazing drummer. Everything will just get better and better as time goes on. It was crazy that on the 4th day everything just gelled together. Chason was like on fire! He just went for the gusto man! I kept telling him the whole time that this was his spot for the taking, and he took it! Chason said there was no way anyone else was getting this gig but him, and he was right!
SDM: What are some of the characteristics about his playing that stand out to you, as both a guitarist, and recording engineer?
Erik: Chason is an incredibly gifted and dynamic drummer. I feel the sky is the limit for him. He has so much potential and I really feel like his drumming is way beyond his years. Chason has a flair, a certain swagger to his drumming that I loved instantly. The power he conveys with his drumming is fantastic. Of course he can play fast as hell and consistent, but that is only part of what he is capable of. Chason is a very versatile drummer. His cymbal work is really killer. He hits the drums with power and consistency, and for an engineer like me it just makes my job so much easier. I knew that I would be able to capture amazing organic drum tones and keep them that way. He hits his snare and toms with conviction and authority and he seems to always hit in the right place, plays with tremendous groove and is always in the pocket. It is really easy to lock in with him when we jam together. Getting drum tones with him on the Pearl Reference kit in the studio was just incredible and we were really able to capture some amazing performances.
SDM: In the incredible list of previous Hate Eternal drummers, how does Chason compare?
Erik: Chason is right up there with them in skill, creativity and talent no doubt about it. He fits right in with the legacy of fantastic drummers that have played in Hate Eternal. Chason is a very original and unique drummer. It is really impossible to compare all the drummers that have played with us, because they are all incredible in their own ways. I have always felt so fortunate to have had such amazing drummers in this band, hence why we took our time in finding the right guy to sit behind the kit after Jade departed. Chason I feel is a drummer that people will instantly feel his energy on the record and are going to be amazed by his skills and performances on the new Hate Eternal album. I am sure you can tell I am just a bit enthusiastic about Chason ha ha ha!! Hell yea \m/
SDM: What does Chason bring to the fold in regards to the newly written Hate Eternal material?
Erik: Chason brings a certain energy and vibe to the album and the band. Chason really brought this beastly primalistic power to the album and it is infectious. He is a very accurate and hard-hitting drummer, and has an arsenal of ideas and ability. Chason has a great sense of timing and groove, as well as the ability to create great fills and cymbal work, along with helping craft new ideas. He is also a very technically skilled drummer as well, lots of chops! After the June tryout I gave him all the finished songs with click tracks and scratch guitars to practice to. Then Chason came in Aug/Sept and we did a month of practicing/pre production, working together on ideas and recording them until we felt ready to roll, then we started recording the album. It was an amazing process. I think people are gonna be very pleased when they hear what Chason has brought to the Hate Eternal album, and I am looking forward to what we will create together, and what the future holds for us as a band.
SDM: What's next on the agenda?
Erik: Right now I am finishing up all of my rhythm guitars and melodies/overdubs for the album and then onward to my vocals and solos. Then take a few days off to clear my head and get ready to mix the album to finish off the year. Then look forward to the release of our new album in 2015 and getting back on the road with Chason and JJ. I am super excited for Hate Eternal and the release of our new album and the touring to follow. I think people will be ecstatic with the new album and the stellar job Chason did on the record.
A few words from Phil: "I was really excited to start tracking "Deathless", because aside from the huge amount of time I spent preparing for the record, this was the first time I got to record using my brand new custom Pearl Reference kit. I stuck with my usual 10", 12", 14", 16" tom sizes, but I had each one made an inch shallower, and I was blown away by how punchy they sound!"
"My secret weapon was my new 14" x 6.5" brass reference snare. Words cannot describe how good that things sounds. It's by far the nicest piece of gear I've ever owned. I was adamant about getting an organic drum sound for 'Deathless' which Zeuss was totally into as well, and aside from the kick drum being sound-replaced, everything else is completely natural. It's by far the best drum sound I've ever gotten on a record and I couldn't be happier with it!
Phil's Other Gear: Meinl cymbals (from left to right) 17" Byzance crash, 17" Mb20 crash, 14" Mb10 hi hats, 10" Sound caster custom splash, 12" Byzance splash, 14" Classics custom extreme metal hi-hats, 18" Mb20 crash, 20" Mb20 heavy bell ride, 18" Classics custom extreme metal china, Axis pedals, Evans drum heads, and Vic Firth Sticks.
25/10/14 ES – Madrid – Arena 27/10/14 FR – Toulouse – Le Bikini 28/10/14 FR – Paris – Trabendo 29/10/14 FR – Strasbourg – La Laiterie 30/10/14 BE – Antwerp – Trix 31/10/14 UK – London – Forum 01/11/14 UK – Leeds – Damnation Festival (only Cannibal Corpse) 02/11/14 FR – Lille – Splendid 04/11/14 DE – Frankfurt – Batschkapp 05/11/14 DE – Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik 06/11/14 DE – Osnabrück – Rosenhof 07/11/14 DE – Hamburg – Klubsen 08/11/14 DK – Aalborg – Metal Festival 09/11/14 DK – Copenhagen – Amager Bio 11/11/14 DE – Berlin – C-Club 12/11/14 CZ – Prague – Club Roxy 13/11/14 DE – München – Backstage 14/11/14 DE – Glauchau – Alte Spinnerei 15/11/14 CZ – Brno – Fleda 16/11/14 PL – Cracow – Fabryka 17/11/14 PL – Warsaw – Progresja 19/11/14 AT – Graz – Explosiv 20/11/14 HU – Budapest – Club 202 21/11/14 SK – Zilina – Klub Smer 22/11/14 AT – Wien – Szene 23/11/14 SI – Nova Gorica – Mostovna Club 25/11/14 IT – Treviso – New Age 26/11/14 IT – Milan – Alcatrazz 27/11/14 CH – Lausanne – Les Docks 28/11/14 CH – Pratteln – Z7 29/11/14 DE – Bochum- Matrix 30/11/14 NL – Uden – De Pul
From Daniel: "A couple things I would like to share about this video... I decided to only have in front of me a very minimal set up for this track. There is not one single tom hit in this song, fill or riff-wise, so I figured there was no point to have them in the tracking/filming. Also, I played all the thrash beat riffing in a straight noting-type feel, as opposed to the way Paul Mazurkiewicz of Caninibal Corpse plays. He does a very unique/strange approach to his thrash beats, where his lead hand is playing in a triplet feel. Almost making it a sort of strange polyrhythm type feel to all of his thrash beats. It was a bit more of a challenge doing the straight noting, so why not right!?! Hope you enjoy and please check out all my other videos, especially from my band Reaping Asmodeia. Also, we wanted the drums to have a very real, yet punchy and natural sound. Thus, no sound replacement was used on the audio."
Ellis custom kick drum 22' x 20' Tama slp bubinga snare drum 14' x 6.5' 14" Sabian HHX evolution hi hats 16" Sabian AAX stage crash 17" Sabian AAX dark crash 22" Sabian AAX dry bell ride Pearl Eliminator hi-hat stand Pearl Eliminator double pedal
Reaping Asmodeia 'Bodies in Barrels' music video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdVK8giL6y0
Poison of the Earth album stream/purchase (also available on Itunes, Amazon, and all other media outlets) http://reapingasmodeia.bandcamp.com/
Upcoming Tour Dates:
10/25/2014 Mason City, Iowa - Francis Lauer Residential Treatment
Select dates on 'As Blood Runs Black' - Album Release Tour:
11/1/2014 Iowa City, Iowa - The Blue Moose 11/2/2014 St. Paul, MN - The Amsterdam
Spreading The Poison Tour:
11/13/2014 Waterloo, IA - The Jet 11/14/2014 Chicago/IL - Cobra Lounge w/DECAPITATED and MISERY INDEX 11/15/2014 Indianapolis, IN - The Emerson Theater w/King 810 11/16/2014 Muskegon, MI - Port City Tavern w/King 810 11/17/2014 Akron, Ohio - The Empire 11/18/2014 St Louis, MO - The Mad Magician 11/19/2014 OKC/Tulsa - Vanguard 11/20/2014 Amarillo, TX - The Wreck Room 11/21/2014 Albuquerque - The Gas Works 11/22/2014 Denver, CO - The Trailside Saloon 11/23/2014 Omaha, NE - The Hideout (Capillary Fest)