Bloody-Disgusting is excited to bring you an exclusive interview with Soilwork drummer Dirk Verbeuren! In the interview we get to hear about the upcoming double album The Living Infinite, which will hit US streets on Mar. 5th, 2013 via Nuclear Blast Records. Dirk also tells us his thoughts on social media and how bands utilize it to spread their music and how it affects the music industry. He also shares his favorite drum fills and chats a bit about his personal favorite horror movie Dead Alive. Check it all out below!
Bloody-Disgusting: Hey Dirk, this is Jonathan. How are you doing?
Dirk Verbeuren: I’m good Jonathan, how are you?
BD: I’m doing very well!
BD: How are you doing these days?
DV: Good, man, good! I’m stoked about the recording session. Just got back from that a few days ago, so yeah. It went really well!
BD: So you’re done recording your parts or are you going to have to go in and do a bit more?
DV: I’m hopefully done. I worked about eight days in a row pretty hard. Well, nine days technically. I started on the evening of the first day and ended on the afternoon of the last day. I think I got everything done and so far no one has told me that I have to come back in! [laughs]
BD: [laughs] Fingers crossed, huh?
DV: Yeah! [laughs]
BD: So tell me, how is the rest of the recording. Are you hearing what the other guys are doing or are you do you have something else coming on in the States?
DV: Yeah, so far I haven’t heard anything. I know that they’re all at work and I’m back here in the States because I have a bunch of other stuff that I’m working on too that I need to get done. I have some drum clinic tours coming up as well as some session recordings here in my own home studio. But I’m sure they’ll be sending me some stuff at some point and I hope it’ll be good! [laughs]
BD: I’m curious. Seeing as how The Living Infinite will be a double album, and it’s the first double album with Soilwork, did you feel any pressure going into the writing and recording aspect?
DV: Uh, well, you know it was an idea that came a while ago and so, at first, it’s definitely a bit intimidating when you think about it just because recording a regular album can be pressure and there usually ends up being some pressure in the studio to get everything done. So the idea [starts laughing] of making it harder for ourselves was kind of interesting at first.
But I guess we all had time to kind of, you know, get used to that idea and prepare for it. It was still kind of a germ until we realized that we did have a ton of material. If we wouldn’t have had enough good music, we would’ve just done a regular recording. But we decided let’s just all write and see what happens and, as it turns out, we had a ton of great stuff and worked on a whole bunch of demos. And listening to this, we had what we needed. We can do this. Then it was just a matter of working really hard. It was three songs a day for eight days straight which was pretty intense. Some days I did four, which is more than I will usually do in such a short time.
So we don’t really have more time in the studio than if we were doing a regular album. So, from that point of view, I guess you could say there was a little bit of added pressure. But it’s all fun and games. It’s all good! [laughs]
BD: For many bands, releasing a double album wouldn’t be something they would do. They would just release two separate albums. But Soilwork has attained such a strong and devoted following that releasing a double album is something the fans will accept and go for.
DV: Yeah, hopefully! In our minds, it’s really just that we have all these cool songs and [vocalist] Bjorn [Strid] has always wanted to do this because he’s a fan of a lot of different styles of music where people have done double albums, such as Kiss Alive and whatnot. There’s a ton of them. But, the bottom line is, we could’ve done that. We could’ve split it up. But why wait? It’ll be something different, it’ll be fun. It’s kind of exciting because, with so many songs, it’s going to be fun working out the song scheduling, which is something I’m looking forward to myself because with a regular album you only have one sequence. Now, we have two different sequences, which is fun because hopefully we can add some stuff that’s a little different, which we wouldn’t add on the regular album.
BD: Since the recording of The Panic Broadcast you’ve also recorded with Jeff Loomis, Devin Townsend, and some other musicians. With those two specifically, they’re both very heavy but in very different ways from the Soilwork sound. Do you feel that those experiences shaped your approach to drumming on The Living Infinite?
DV: Definitely! I think with both of those guys it was a big learning process. It always is. Each musician has their own style. Both Devin and Jeff are guys that have been around for a long time and have their own strong artistic identities. To work with them taught me a lot of good things and I’m always trying to have an open mind towards drumming. Of course I have my own style, but I’m always wanting to add in different things and learn different approaches. So, anything I do, any session work, even with some of the lesser known bands that I work with, it’s something extra. It’s an extra flavor or some new ideas that come into my playing.
But The Panic Broadcast was an album that I was extremely happy about drumming-wise. I think it was the first time with Soilwork where I really felt I was playing to my full potential with a sense of dynamics. So I tried to continue that on The Living Infinite. I tried to bring the best of the material. I haven’t heard all the results myself but I hope that it’ll be good! [laughs]
BD: What can fans expect from this album? Do you think there are any big surprises?
DV: Yeah! Like I said, we have a whole bunch of different material and some that I would personally qualify as “oddball” compared to regular, typical Soilwork songs. Since we had so much stuff, we decided to add some things that might not have made it onto a regular album per say. But there is also a lot of material that is, for me, reminiscent of older Soilwork. I personally hear a lot of A Predator’s Portrait era stuff. We have quite a few uptempo songs and a lot of very intense riffing and harmonies. I know people love that with Soilwork as much as we also have some of the groovier aspects of the later material. I think the fans of the older stuff will be super pleased with a lot of the material on this record.
BD: There is a clip on the Soilwork Facebook page of the guitars being recorded. And fans, as always, are clamoring for more. Do you think giving these tastes helps or do you think it takes away from the mystery of what’s to come?
DV: Well, that’s a good question. I think it’s a little bit of both, y’know? In this era, you kinda have to make your choice. Either you stay shrouded in mystery as a lot of bands did in the older days and have that mystique or you can take the means that are there with the internet and get people excited that way.
With us, we’re pretty normal guys. We’re music lovers. We’re not some mystical people that are versed in some occult stuff [laughs]. As much as I love that, I think it’s intriguing and awesome, that’s just not really who we are as people. So, for us, it’s kinda more natural to go the way where we use the internet to keep people posted.
It’s fun! I shot a bunch of my drum recordings, I just haven’t had the time to piece some stuff together. I don’t know how many hours I have. I have 24 DVD-R’s worth of drum videos, so I’m definitely going to, at some point, sit down in the next few weeks and edit something together so I can give fans a taste of the drums.
It’s fun, I think it keeps people excited.
BD: What are your thoughts about social media and how it’s affecting the music business?
DV: That’s an interesting question too. I think the whole social media thing is still trying to find its place. Recently, I was in China and Facebook is banned there, which, for me, it was very interesting to see their own version of Facebook. So, on the day when it will become available in a country like that there will be a barrier broken down that has existed for centuries if not millennia. I think that Facebook is on a worldwide scale. For the music industry, Facebook and other social media are world changing.
As far as the music industry goes, I’d say that it’s definitely a huge tool because it’s a way for people to find information right away, at their fingertips. If you use it the way people do and the way we do, it’s a way to keep them excited. The same thing goes for record labels. People know immediately when a new tour is happening or when a new album is being released. I think kids nowadays are used to that. They don’t want it any other way most of the time. I think it’s a massive tool, for sure.
BD: Jumping to a slightly different topic, I’ve got to know, do you have a favorite drum fill that you’ve recorded? One that you just can’t get enough of playing.
DV: [laughs] Oh man, now I have to think! A drum fill, eh? If it were a whole song I’d probably be able to pick something, but man! I mean, everybody loves that fill in “Distance”. It’s not an easy one to pull off so I guess that would be one of the good ones. Actually, you know what? There are some fills in “Let This River Flow” on The Panic Broadcast that I’m super happy with. They are very groovy in my mind and have nice dynamics and a nice melody to them. Yeah, it would probably be one or the other. [laughs]
BD: So, I have to ask, are you a fan of horror at all?
DV: You know, I like horror but I’m not versed in it and I don’t know much about it. I have a lot of friends who are and I’ll see the occasional movie every now and again. A personal favorite would be Dead Alive, which I think is awesome and hilarious at the same time.
BD: Dirk, thanks so much for your time! I can’t wait to hear The Living Infinite and I wish you all the best of luck!
DV: Thanks a lot Jonathan and thanks for your support! Best of luck to you as well!
Banner photo by Hannah Verbeuren