Hatebreed drummer Matt Byrne lives to drum and drums to live. Judging by what heís done behind the kit for the past decade, it comes as no surprise that he is one of the most accomplished, most dedicated, and well-respected drummers in the heavy metal scene today.

 

Q
Hi Matt.  You have been using Evans equipment since 2003.  Please briefly explain how you get your sound and why Evans is your preferred choice.
A
Evans makes a great product and Iíve always found that their quality control goes above and beyond.  Iíve been using the G2 clear batter heads and the ebony bottoms on my toms for a good amount of years now.  They are punchy and provide great attack but also are warm enough to where they make any sized tom sound massive.  Those are the important sound characteristics that I go for.
Q
Who were your greatest influences when you were first starting out in the business?
A
A lot of drummers influence me.  New players.  Older players.  Thereís something to learn from everyone.  When I first started playing, my biggest influences were Dave Lombardo, John Bonham, Gar Samuelson and David Garibaldi.  I took something from all these guys to focus my style into what it is now.
Q
In September, Hatebreedís DVD ĎLive Dominanceí on Koch Records debuted at #1 on the Billboard Music DVD chart.  Were you surprised at such a positive response?
A
I was surprised.  This was a goal that we set for ourselves and were very confident that we could make it happen.  However, with the record industry in the constant turmoil that itís in, you never know how the ďnumbersĒ are going to turn out for you.  At the end of the day, our fans came through and gave us the support that we needed.  We owe it all to them.
Q
Covers album "For The Lions" has been pushed back until Spring 2009, why is that?
A
We decided to push it back a few more months to give us time to record a couple more songs.  In reality, we probably have enough cover songs to do 3 albums.  Haha.  But, we want this album to be a perfect tribute to the bands that we enjoy and that influenced us growing up, when we were learning to play, etc.  So, we are going to sort through the songs and pick the ones that we think best fit that idea.
Q
Your version of Sepultura's song Refuse/Resist is on the Punisher: Warzone soundtrack. As youíve already had other songs featured on movie soundtracks, do you think it opens the door for new audiences?
A
Yes, I do.  Soundtracks, video games, etc. are all great ways to market your material because they encompass such a wide audience of all age levels.  I canít tell you how many people hadnít really heard our music until we were on the ďTriple XĒ soundtrack some years back.  And now, they are huge fans.  Soundtracks are a great means of exposure.  You just want to make sure you are on a soundtrack to a movie you actually like.  Hahaha.
Q
What would you say is the best thing about Wacken?
A
There are 2 things- 1).  The crowd.  Itís massive.  The biggest festival that Hatebreed has played to date.  And- 2) the beer.  You know a festival is huge when they have their own beer!!!
Q
Tell me more about your other projects outside of Hatebreed?
A
Currently, Iím not in any other bands or anything like that.  I jam with some people here and there.  Nothing serious.  Hatebreed is my main focus and energy.  I just tracked a drum solo/instrumental.  Itís called ďThe Last Man On Earth.Ē  You can listen to that via my myspace page- www.myspace.com/mattbyrnedrummer.  It was really exciting to do and it definitely showcases my drumming outside of Hatebreed.  Anyone who gives it a listen- let me know what you think!!!  Also, I am working on an instructional/performance drum DVD.  Iím putting it out myself so it is taking some time to complete but it should be out some time next year.  Updates on that can also be found on my myspace page.  It is in the last stretch of production so it will be done soon.  Keep an eye out for it!!!
Q
For the last 4 years or so, you have been writing an instructional article for monthly Drum magazine, not necessarily metal but other influences. Do you enjoy having another platform for your creative flair?
A
I do.  Iím addicted to the drums.  Any outlet that I can use to be creative through drumming is well worth it.  Fortunately, Iíve been writing for DRUM! Magazine for about 4 yrs now.  My lessons have covered everything from metal to funk.  To me, Itís very important to be a versatile drummer and being able to contribute lessons for other people to share and learn from is another way for me to broaden my horizons.
Q
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming drummers?
A
Itís very hard not to sound clichť when asked this question because a lot of guys say the same things all the time.  But in actuality, most advice is basic yet very true.  My main thing is maintaining a humble charisma.  I feel that I am a good drummer, but Iím definitely not the best and I donít act like I am.  Always remember that there are plenty of guys out there that will blow your doors off so there is no reason to act like some hot-shot prick.  Nobody cares.  Keep your ego in check and no matter how good or bad you are, you will get a lot more respect from your peers.  Reputation is a big thing, bigger than most care to realize.  Work your ass off to be as good as you can possibly be and treat your fellow musicians with the respect that you would want from them.
Q
Iíve met loads of underground bands who all say the same thing -  Drummers are like henís teeth.  Why do you think that is?
A
I am thinking that I donít know what the hell that meansÖ..hahahaha.  If itís a statement that basically says that drummers donít get the respect that they deserve, then yes- I agree.  Itís all about the singer and the guitar player when youíre in a band.  Hahaha.  Drummers arenít considered to be as  important as they are.  However, the drummer is the one thing that holds the entire band together.  Without us, thereís nothing.  So, I donít understand how that works.  We need to form a workerís union or somethingÖ..hahaha. 
Q
Whatís next for you?
A

Well, after Iím done with this interview Iím going to attempt to make my own spaghetti sauce.  I love to cook but Iíve never done this before.  Maybe itís because Iím Irish and that culture isnít really linked to having a good sauce recipe.  I donít know.  Either way, it will be interesting.  Musically, Iím looking forward to hitting the road and touring again.  I love being out on the road, playing and meeting all the people who dig the band.  Itís a great experience and I donít see myself doing anything else with my life.

Q
And lastly, in a nutshell, your philosophy is...
A
**see the question about ďtips for upcoming drummers**

 

To check out more about Hatebreed and Matt, visit

http://www.myspace.com/mattbyrnedrummer
and
http://www.myspace.com/hatebreed
and

www.hatebreed.com

 

I would like to thank Matt very much for this interview.

Keep It Loud!

 

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