English Version


The next MEINL drummer interviewed on the blog is Tomas Roitman, drummer for the Mexican heavy metal band Split Heaven! I had the opportunity to share the stage with Tommy back in 2010, when  Hellish War toured together with Split Heaven and Enchanter (US) on the American Old School Attack tour, which included several shows throughout Sao Paulo state. Below, we’ve talked about Split Heaven’s brand new album, Tommy’s cymbals set and also about the peculiarities of being a left-handed drummer, in a world where everything is usually thought and created for right-handed people. Hope you enjoy!

D. Person: Hey Tommy! It has been almost 2 years already, since our bands toured together here in Brazil. Time really flies! What are the good memories you have from that tour throughout Sao Paulo state? Any plans for another international tour with Split Heaven?

R: Hello Daniel, nice to salute you again! Well, I have a lot of good memories of our Sao Paulo trip, we always talk about our great experience in Brazil and how the fans reacted to our music, we can’t be more happy with it. Yes, we’re planning a new international tour, this time we’ll hit the road in Europe!

D. Person: You are the first left handed drummer interviewed here in the blog, so let me take this opportunity to ask some things I've always wanted to ask to a left handed! In your early days as a drummer, did you already start playing as a left-handed, or did you first tried to play as a "right handed" like most of the musicians?

R: Well that’s funny because I started playing as a right-handed drummer, but I never felt comfortable that way. I remember thinking, “what if I turn the drum kit like if I were left handed”? And that’s how I started playing better, haha.

D. Person: Some left handed drummers switch the positions of their entire drum kit, and that includes you. While being a drummer is not an easy task at all, do you think that being a left handed drummer makes things even more difficult? What are the pros and cons of being a left handed drummer?

R: It sucks if you want to get a left handed bass drum pedal!! Imagine that my sister was in England and brought it there, because here in Mexico I couldn’t get one!!! I’m using the same drum pedal since then, I was like 13 years old... if something of being left handed sucks, that’s it, haha.

D. Person: Did you have influences of other left handed musicians on your drumming style?

R: That’s interesting because I don’t and I never thought of that!

D. Person: In your MEINL profile, power and precision are listed as some of your drumming strengths, and anyone who sees Split Heaven live won't have doubts about that. What do you do to make sure that your drumming will be "ready to rock" on every performance?

R: Wow, thanks for that! Well I just prepare like a professional, many drummers smoke, drink and are partying before a performance but I really do the opposite, I like to rest and concentrate in what I’m about to play with my band or alone in a rehearsal!

D. Person: Split Heaven has recently released a new album, Street Law. Please tell us more about it and about the amazing videoclip being prepared for the song "Vuelo Noturno".

Tommy: Well as you may know we signed with Pure Steel Records for Street Law, we have received a lot of good critics and now composing new songs for another album.

Talking about Vuelo Nocturno, this is our new single and as you said it will be a music video too. This song talks about a wrestler and it is going to be the official musical theme for his fights, this is really amazing! And there will be two versions, one in Spanish (a lot of people wants songs of us in Spanish) and the other in English for the international market. We’re looking forward to the premiere!

D. Person: What raised my attention at first while looking at your MEINL setup was that it includes Byzance Extra Dry Medium Hi hats, which are some amazing B20 cymbals, however most commonly seen on other music styles, such as jazz, funk, RnB and also on studio sessions. Why did you decide to incorporate these hi hats into the heavy sound of Split Heaven and how do they sound on studio and during live performances?

Tommy: The sound is great, but as you said those hi hats are made for other kind of music. I chose Byzance Extra Dry because at that time I wanted a classic sound, not too shiny, in order to improve something new with the Street Law album and it worked! The thing is that I hit drums and cymbals like an animal and I don’t want to broke those cool hi hats, that’s why now I’ve changed to Sound Caster Custom :D

D. Person: You had the chance to attend the MEINL Festival in Mexico, back in 2011, right? How was it to be there, and how was the repercussion of the festival in the country?

Tommy: The festival was amazing, I had the chance to share experiences with some of the best drummers worldwide and of course to watch them perform live! And I think one of the important things about all of them is that they are very humble people despite of their success!

I think it was a great chance for Mexican drummers to have this in Mexico, it was the first one and I hope is not the last one!

Ghost Notes (quick questions)

1. Drum recording which you are most proud of: The Obscure
2. One album that changed your life:   Rush – Moving Pictures
3. One album that you have been listening to recently: Battle Beast - Steel
4. Favorite Meinl cymbal: Extra Dry Byzance Medium Hi Hats
5. Drum idol: Neil Peart

D. Person: Tommy, thanks for your time, looking forward to share the stage with you again!
Tommy: Thanks to you Daniel and I hope we can meet soon again! All the best!

Check out Tommy playing "Vuelo Noturno" by clicking here



Hi everyone, first of all, let me wish you all a great 2012. I'm very happy to start this new year interviewing PETTER KARLSSON! Besides being the drummer on such an innovative band like Diablo Swing Orchestra, Petter is a very respected musician not only because of his creativity on the drums, but also for being an amazing composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer - and being all of that at the same time on some projects, such as on Therion's Gothic Kaballah album, one of the best rock / metal albums of last decade. 
And that's it by now! I would also like to thank PRIME MUSIC for their amazing work with MEINL Cymbals in Brazil and I'd like to thank them as well for their trust and support. CYMBALS AHEAD!

Daniel Person

D.Person: Petter, first of all, thank you very much for dedicating some time to talk to us. You had a very important role on Therion's 13th album Gothic Kabbalah, which is considered by many  - including myself - the best Therion album of all times. What do you think about this album, are you proud of your work on it?

Petter: Thanks! When you look back at something you did almost six years ago, it’s easy to focus on what one should have done different. I guess that’s a part of improvement, to learn from your mistakes and do it better the next time.
I am very proud of the work I did on that album. It felt great to be such a big part of the writing and producing. I am very thankful for that.

D.Person: You've been playing with the Diablo Swing Orchestra for almost two years right now. I imagine it is the kind of band that fits perfectly to such a creative drummer like you. What are the main differences of being a drummer in DSO, compared to a band like Therion?

Petter: Therion is a basic metal band that ads symphonic sounds and vocals. But most of the music is actually rather simple. They also always use prerecorded orchestra live. Which is super boring for a drummer like me, cause I always had to play with a click track.
DSO has so many more dimensions. I think the music is more fun and creative in almost every aspect.  It is not traditional metal. We mix all sorts of styles like, jazz, samba, tango and just add that heavy touch. So it is very fun, cause I really need to use my whole register of styles as a drummer. And we never use click track live.

D.Person: Petter, please tell us more about your band Holocoaster. By when should we expect the debut album to be released?

Petter: I actually don’t know. I haven’t been able to get a label for it yet. And it takes a huge amount of time. But I really hope I can release something next year.

D.Person: You have several MEINL Byzance cymbals in your current setup, including some of the "Dark" series which are not seen so often on drum kits from rock / heavy metal drummers. Why and how did you get to this setup?

Petter: I don’t really see myself as a metal drummer. And when it comes to sounds and playing I mostly listen to progressive/jazz/fusion drummers from the 70’s. For me a drum kit should sound like Billy Cobbham’s or Bill Bruford’s did back in the days.
The Byzance series are more dynamic and have more “vintage” feel.

Ghost Notes (quick questions)

1. Drum recording which you are most proud of (one song only): “Voodoo, mon amour” from the new DSO album.

2. One album that changed your life: Frank Zappa: Roxy and Elsewhere

3. One album that you have been listening to recently: Union Station: Paper Airplane

4. Favorite Meinl cymbal: I have a Byzance 15” crash that is very nice. I also like the dark china 20”

5. Drum idol: Steve Gadd

D.Person: Petter, thank you very much for spending some time answering to these questions and hope we can meet personally in February when you come to Brazil for the Diablo Swing Orchestra gigs!

Petter: Yes, I really look forward to go there. Unfortunately the gig in February recently got canceled, but I hope we will come in April or May.

Click here to check out Petter's MEINL Profile!


Have you ever heard about Heavy Metal „A Capella“? Van Canto is THE heavy metal band that represents this musical stream, and is formed by five vocalists and one drummer: Bastian Emig. The band has a huge number of fans around the world. Van Canto performed some gigs in Brazil back in 2008; played in Germany at the largest and most important world metal festival (W:O:A - Wacken Open Air) and constantly plays in Europe together with other great bands such as Nightwish and Blind Guardian. Join us on our chat with Bastian Emig, who besides being Van Canto’s drummer and MEINL endorsee, is also the frontman and plays the piano in the „Piano Metal“ band In Legend. Enjoy the interview with this creative and wide-ranging musician. Cheers!

D. Person: Hey Bastian! You’ve lived some years during your childhood in the african country of Burkina Faso, and also lived in China after that. Did you have the chance to absorb anything related to the local culture and music, both in Africa and China? And how did you get involved with the drums?

Bastian Emig: Absolutely! The african understanding of rhythm and groove is something you can only internalize by living there - I cannot explain it but it helps me a lot when doing a solo. They somehow stretch the time and fill it with unthinkable grooves - awesome. My dad used to work in the middle of nowhere and - well - it was there that I got in touch with a drum. I remember fires, masked dancers and rhythm... During my time in china, I gave djembe lessons with Sunny, a guy from Ghana - this was hilarious! He wanted the chinese girls to put the drum between their legs and roared at them:“Slap the drum, you got to slap it! Like you want to be slapped hard when lying hungry in bed waiting for your slap to come!“ I was supposed to translate that but I was just gazing at the scenery and told myself - all right, that‘s cultural globalization...nobody understands the other, but everyone wants to be a part of it!
But for China - you know, it still is an ambivalent country - after just one week I ended up in a russian-american-canadian and german punk-rock band. What a freak-show :-) We had two shows and came very soon to the conclusion to split up. After some weeks I got in touch with Yang, a chinese guy who had spent half his life in Germany and worked for a music magazine - it was due to him that i got my chance to play in different chinese bands - and ended up with Narakam (Mingjie). A great thrash metal band. We had many shows in both the big cities and the back country - in 2007 we played the Midi Festival - a big music festival in Haidian Park/Beijing...
You know, as a Chinese - to aim at a thrash metal career or being a musician in general is not as simple as it is over here in Europe - before doing so, you got to struggle through a totally different web of social education or expectations. With a one child policy, the children carry much more weight on their shoulders to fullfill their parent‘s duties. And still - there are so many skilled people out there with a strong indomitable will not to give
up, meaning the rock‘n‘roll shows or music events are much more intense - since you know: this is real. This band made a decision against the conventional customs and walk their way. Great!

D. Person: We always listen to people complaining about how hard it is to create something new, not only within the heavy metal scenario, but in the music industry as a whole. However, sometimes new bands come up with innovative proposals, and that makes the music scene to continuously grow. Van Canto is one of those few bands, and really brought up new concepts to the rock / metal scene over the years. This is something to be proud of. Please tell us, what do you think about the importance of innovating in musical environment, also considering the Globalization changes that lead music to the Internet and MP3 era?

Bastian Emig: Thank you! First of all: It was never our aim to first and foremost be innovative. It was always about good songs. I think innovations go by, cause human beings get used to almost everything - but a good song is timeless. You can listen to it once, twice, ever on... It‘s true though - it‘s much harder to get attention for a rather conventional band instead of something new - all of our band mates had different bands before but never got as far as we are blessed to get with Van Canto - still the songwriting did not change much - But it was not always that simple: Van Canto had many difficulties to manage - at the beginning we had to face some rude opinions about being gay or not being metal or even make fun of the genre we‘re performing in... and by now - people understand our intention.
When Nightwish came up with Tarja, and mixed metal with a classical opera voice many people felt offended as if being on a mission to protect the „real heavy metal“. Today, we know how successful this band got and well - not few people wish her to reunite with her former band. (I think Anette is a great singer as well, though). If you do what you love and what you‘re good at, people will notice - but most important: it should be you you‘re making the music for - than it is worth the effort.
The internet has its own rules - if you know how to use it, it can be very useful. In nowadays it is much easier to be noticed by just uploading the thing you think anybody might be interested in. But those guys who „invented“ the cyberspace did not care too much about intellectual property. That totally sucks. It almost seems to be common to get any music for free. Anybody who downloads music shall write a song by his own and try to produce it in a competitive way. It‘s a dilemma: Making Music costs money. But when i first played the piano it was not about the fascination of all the money i could make by playing it - it of course was about the instrument itself - the music...so music exists to listen to it. With In Legend we decided to offer our music for free and if you like it you can donate us as much as you think it‘s worth it. That was quite the right decision to do.

D. Person: One of the highlights of Van Canto’s albums are the cover songs of classic heavy metal bands. Among others, you’ve already recorded Battery (Metallica) and Kings of Metal (Manowar). In the last album „Tribe of Force“, there was a version for the song „Rebellion – The Clans are Marching“ where Grave Digger’s frontman Chris Boltendahl even participated in the vocals. How was it for you to have Chris participating in Van Cantos‘s version for this song? How were the general feedbacks from other artists related to the songs that Van Canto recorded its own version?

Bastian Emig: Well, we‘re still waiting for any reaction of James Hetfield, but i suspect we‘re simply not big enough to be noticed - We‘ll see how many songs we got to cover of them until they only realize that we exist... :-) But Chris was quite taken with our version. He invited Stef an me to their Choir Session of their latest album. I will join the Grave Digger support band Orden Ogan on their european tour as a drummer - i am very looking forward to it! And as for Rebellion: i think the version is very powerful and Chris voice fits in pretty good- His voice is rather unique - so it would have been pretty hard for Sly to imitate his way of singing...We joined Grave Digger on their last Wacken show as background singers and this was awesome... Wacken main stage, friday night in front of 90.000 people... that was quite a view :-)

D. Person: Let’s talk about your MEINL cymbals set up. You use two Byzance Dark Crashes that sound amazing, along with your MB20 set! How did you choose this interesting cymbal set?

Bastian Emig: Well - it was pretty difficult to find a solution for our live-setup. The hardest part of Van Canto is the fact, that there are at least 5 mics in front of me, meaning my drums got some more overhead - mics, and worse: moving overheads, since everybody is running and performing like Bruce Dickinson! Therefor it was necessary to find a combination of cymbals that allows a wide dynamical range - the bigger the stage, the better. Not only cause it feels better on bigger stages, but because of the Overhead-massacre as our
sound-engineer would call it... Ike for example uses a special phase-modulating microphone, since the level of him cant stick with the loudness of my cymbal. In smaller areas i would prefere the Bycance Cymb. - and moreover they‘re doing great in pure a‘capella parts. The combination of the Dark Cymb. with Ike, our Bass Voice and the choirparts of Stef and Ross are in perfect harmony. The MB20 again are state of the art - especially when coming brand-new from factory, they produce an amazing impact - with a brilliance without equal. The combination with the Byzance covers exactly all the musical approach I am looking for with Van Canto. For In Legend, some songs contain electronical parts, for what reason I fancy some more effect cymbals in the setup...

D. Person: The fact that Van Canto doesn’t use any instruments other than the drums at the gigs for sure results in a higher visibility of your performance as a drummer during the shows! How do you experience the responsibility of being the band’s conductor?

Bastian Emig: Well, I assume by being taken much more serious than all the others! :-) No, of course it is quite a unique thing, being the drummer of the only a‘capella metal band - but it still is hard work - even harder, since voices don‘t work as simple as guitars... Playing in an A Capella Metal Band is clearly an exceptional thing - on the contrary it is much more elaborate: It‘s not just plug `n play! All the singers got a piano track with their own voice as an in-ear mix running along the show- I got that piano as well as the click track - so... it‘s about keeping everybody together, playing pretty tight and still rocking our asses off... it is challenging. But in the end - you got to visit one of our show - i think a Van Canto live-show is pretty unique - because everybody brings his instrument with him: His Voice. It‘s not just us singing on stage - the entire audience is more than welcome to join us and sing along with us. And then - being a drummer - the only „real instrument“ that can be seen on stage... yeah - I do love it :-)

D. Person: Van Canto is already working on the new album. How does the composing process works out? Would it be possible for you to you give us any tips about potential cover songs that will be part of the new album?

Bastian Emig: Oh - I am afraid I cannot do that, I am sorry - but I assure you there will be some special tracks and features worth waiting for! Most of the songs are composed by Stef, our Band-founder, the upcoming album will contain songs from me and Ike as well, though. Stef then translates all the song-ideas into the patterns for the singers, like „randandan“ or „mommommomm...“ It is actually the hardest part, cause those patterns define the dynamical range of the song as well as my drumming. You would think that the syllable „m“ of „mommommomm“...is used in rahter softer or slower parts - but it‘s quite the opposite: we often use those patterns in fast parts when i play high-speed double bass sixteenth patterns - the pattern „dun-do“ for example is often placed at the end of a riffing - since, sung in a „Hetfield-manner“, it piles the pressure and puts emphasis on the entire part.

D. Person: You are also the front man of the piano metal band In Legend, which is a heavy metal band as innovative as Van Canto. Please tell us more about it.

Bastian Emig: Yeah - In Legend stands for the music I do. Many of the songs i wrote over the past years were born on the piano. Since i dont play the guitar, i was forced to find a way to make my bandmates understand what i want them to play - During my time in china I took my time-out and worked on the sound I had in mind. The result is the Pandemonium-EP i recorded in 2009. I was pleased to work together with Charlie Bauerfeind who got into the sound at once. We recorded the entire drumsession for 15 songs, they will be released on May, 20 under Steamhammer and Oblivion of SPV. In 2010 we toured with Van Canto twice, meaning that i would support my own band with my band :-) That was tough, though - first singing and hitting the keys and then change clothes and get behind the drumset - but it worked out very well and was a first attempt to look if it woks „live“ as good as it does in the studio... We call our sound: „Hand Hammered Piano Craft“ and to all you guys who dont know what the hell that means: check out www.inlegend.de - there you will find the answer :-)

D. Person: Bastian, thank you very much for your time, my friend! I wish Van Canto comes back to Brazil soon, and hope you can also bring In Legend to show Brazilian fans your talent as vocalist and pianist, besides the great drummer you are. Cheers!

Bastian Emig: I thank you and I want to thank all our brazillian fans out there - you are an amazing folk, we definitely want to come back again! Thanks for those days and check out our webspace from time to time, there might be some more news! Cheers

Ghost Notes
1. Drum recording which you are most proud of (one song only): Jester‘s Funeral: „Wolves of the plateau“
2. One album that changed your life: Iron Maiden „Life after Death“
3. One album that you have been listening to recently: Andy McKee „Joyland
4. Favorite Meinl cymbal: MB20 Rock China