You are involved in quite a few projects right now – some winding down, some just ramping up. Can you talk about those?
I am indeed involved in a few projects at the moment. Although I just finished recording the tracks for the next lostprophets album, I'll be the new NIN drummer starting officially in January, I have a solo project where I write and record everything called The New Regime, and I play drums in a band called ...Students.
Some people on our site might be familiar with all of your rather illustrious history as a drummer from a very early age. For those that might not be, can you run them down?
I started playing drums around the age of 7 or 8. By age 9 I was already playing in a band called F.O.N. which included my two brothers. I played Woodstock at the age of 12 with F.O.N. I then joined Denver Harbor at about 14 with my brother Aaron. The band was made up of us two and Will and Chris Lewis from Fenix TX. We made an EP and and album called Scenic which was put out on Universal. We toured across the US multiple times with bands like Sugarcult, Flogging Molly, Home Grown, Spitalfield, Lit, Halifax, Sum 41, Unwritten Law and many more. When Denver Harbor got dropped, my brother Aaron got a call from Lostprophets seeing if I would be interested in playing with them. I've been doing Lostprophets up until last week. During the last year I wrote/recorded The New Regime album and played on the ...Students record which is Mike Frey from The Transit War's new solo project.
Which of your past projects was most influential to you as an artist?
I wouldn't say that any of the projects I've played drums in up to this point have had an influence on me musically. I improved as a drummer throughout the years, but I can honestly say I'll be learning quite a bit while playing in NIN.
What did the lessons with Travis Barker consist of?
Mainly reading, snare drum rudiments and drum set stuff. The drum set part of the lesson was based around some jazz drumming, independence exercises, and same ideas he had come up with at the time.
How was it being involved with the Lostprophets? Was it weird seeing how huge they are over in the UK but still working to make a bigger name for themselves over here in the US?
Playing with lostprophets was a great time. Considering the only place I had played out of the US at the time was Japan, spending most of the time in the UK and Europe was awesome. The band only did one US tour when I was with them, but the shows on the other side of the world were a completely different level for me. I really enjoyed our own tours in the UK and doing all of the European festivals.
How much of a contributor have you been to the new Lostprophets record?
I wrote a song on the latest album and helped out with bits here and there musically. Everything else I did was solely drumming based.
How did you personally react to the news that you had been chosen as the new drummer for Nine Inch Nails? What about the guys in LPs? Do you have any fears about playing in the shadow of Josh Freese?
I have no fears about following up of Josh Freese. But I was very excited and proud when I found out the news about being the new NIN drummer. LPs took the news pretty well and I'm very glad that we were able to leave everything on a good note.
I know you can't say yet if you will play "The Perfect Drug" – but here's the real question…can you?
I honestly haven't gotten to it yet. I've got quite a back catalogue to learn...
It must be weird to have all this happening as you are just getting going with The New Regime and the release of Coup. Do you ever wish the timing could have been different to let you focus more on your solo effort?
I think the timing was fine. I finished "Coup" a couple of months before it was officially released, so there were no real time constraints besides my own goals.
How much of a pet project has The New Regime been for you? Have you been dreaming about doing it for a long time?
I'm very proud of The New Regime. I had always wanted to do something entirely by myself, so when I got the balls to sing, I felt a new sense of freedom that enabled me to do anything.
Was there ever any resistance to the project from the members of Lostprophets or anything?
Nobody in lostprophets ever had a problem with me pursuing The New Regime.
As you started to record the various tracks on Coup, were you ever self-conscious of your aptitude on vocals or any particular instruments? The end result certainly doesn't show any.
I was never self-conscious about recording any of the instruments on "Coup", but recording vocals was something that took a different kind attention to detail on my end. Since I had never done it before, I really wanted to make sure I got it right and even re-recorded some things a few times.
With the pre-release viral videos, the album cover art, and the overall sound on Coup, you seem to have been shooting for a certain aesthetic – what influenced the art and the sound of Coup?
I suppose that my taste in visuals, music, and lyrics all kind of coincide with each other. My interest in history influences the aesthetic and my love of classic rock and classical music influence the sound
The record feels like an extremely cohesive overall effort, but are there any single songs that you are more proud of than the others?
I'm proud of each song in a different way. For example, I'm proud of "Order Restored" because of its different structure and I'm proud of "Time Erase" because of the piano playing and intricate harmonies.
Do you have any plans or desires to take The New Regime on the road? If so, what duties would you cover?
I have played 5 shows with The New Regime so far and I'd love to continue with some in depth touring in the near future if possible. But live I play guitar, piano, and sing.
What does the future hold for The New Regime? Will Coup have a proper physical release? Can we look forward to other releases in the years ahead?
You will definitely see more releases from The New Regime in the years come. As far as physical releases are concerned, it depends on the following of the project. I'd love to release CDs, but at this point in time, digital releases are more efficient.