Why You Should Play Drums to a Click
Bring Me the Horizon drummer Matt Nicholls offered a great interview recently, sharing nothing but honest thoughts and advice. Matt, who’s been in the group since they started in 2003, admitted that he barely knew to play drums at the beginning, and said that he hated playing to a click at first. However, he adapted and gave the click a second chance, reaching the point where he can’t imagine playing without it.
So, the man tells us “I’ve had to adapt. When the band started I never really learned the proper way to drum. “I just learned to play fast. I never learned chops or anything like that, I kinda got thrown into it. “I could barely play drums when we started the band, I was just scraping by. I was thrown into this whole touring lifestyle.
“We’d only been a band about two or three months and we did our first tour. It was crazy. On these last two albums the music’s matured and I’ve had to adapt my playing to suit the style of music.”
Matt further elaborated on how he adapted: “I’ve spent a bit more time learning new techniques. When I used to come back off tour, and I’d been out for two and a half months, I’d come home for three or four weeks and drums were the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to chill.”
He continued: “Really it’s been me knowing I had to adapt and just cracking on with it. I guess there was a bit more pressure on me to learn newer things and newer ways of doing stuff.
“It’s good having someone like Jordan [Fish, BMTH keyboardist since 2012] in the band who’s very musical and he knows a bit about drums. With these last two albums it’s not like we sat in a practice room and they come up with a riff and go ‘put a drum beat over that.’ It’s more thought-about now, more of a process. On the first few albums we did it like that, but these last two albums we’ve done it sat round a computer and written straight onto it.
“I like playing properly. I was playing drums before, but not necessarily as a proper drummer. I’m still not, I’m still very DIY, but now I’m playing proper stuff and learning proper techniques, whereas before I’d just go fast or go slow.”
Focusing on the click, Matt said that the band’s third album “There Is a Hell” proved to be the breaking point where he switched to fully playing to a click.
He said: “It’s made me better. I’d always get told ‘You’re playing too fast or too slow.’ It makes me feel more confident, everything’s a lot more precise and I feel like I’m playing better. It’s helped me a lot.
“I remember the first time, I didn’t even know what a metronome was. We went into record our first album and the guy was like we’re going to have to play to a click and I was like, ‘What?!’
“It was so frustrating. After a day and a half I couldn’t get it. I was like, ‘This is not happening, I don’t know how to do this,’ and I was close to tears, y’know. And then it just clicked. At one point I just got it.
“When it came to playing live, we had a production day and they said we’re going to start playing live to a click, whereas I’d only ever used it in a studio situation. The first time we did I was like, ‘This is great.’
“I hate playing drums without a click now. I love feeling like I’m on it. Our live videos are all mapped to the click, so it just pulls everything together and makes it tighter.”