Wednesday, May 27, 2020

BATTERY DRUMMER INTERVIEW : Constantin Tsimis (pronounced sihm-us) / Charred Graves

1.What is your name and what band do you play for?

My name is Constantin Tsimis (pronounced sihm-us). I play for an NJ band called Charred Graves, we come from Bergen county, nj. 

2.Who made you want to play drums and why?

My mom knew I liked music when my school had a string section in music class and I chose to play the violin. I actually experimented with what I wanted to play. So far, I’ve tried the violin, piano, flute, guitar and the trumpet. Until I saw a music video from Ill Nino, I didn’t think of playing the drums. My Dad always supported whatever decision I made that he felt brought out my talents and my Mom always knew that I had a knack for music and instruments so she brought out my musical side and made me realize my potential. The music video was “How Can I Live (Without You)” by Ill Nino. I saw Dave Chavarri’s kit and how Danny Couto was playing a modified drum kit with congas and no bass drum. This made me very interested in the dynamics of the drums and it all started from there. 

3.When did you get your first kit? Tell us about it…

I got my first kit when I was 15. It was a silver Pulse Drums kit including with cymbals made by the same company. I actually knew from the start they were going to sound terrible but I bared it because I didn’t have a job yet or money so I couldn’t complain. I had it for about a year then I sold it to my friend’s dad who brought it back to England with him. I got a feel for playing with the kit and that was about it. Until after I sold that kit, I didn’t think about what type of drums heads, cymbals or even drums to buy next until I got my next kit. 

4.Where your parents supportive of you and your loud / expensive new habit?

My Mom was at first but then as I played more, she became unsupportive of it because it got really loud. My Dad was different. I actually waited until my Mom left the house and then I asked my Dad to drum because he actually didn’t care for the loudness.

5.What drum performance on an album is perfection to you?

As of more recently, I think Alex Bent’s drumming on Trivium’s 2 latest albums are quite up to par what I have in mind for drumming. Travis Smith is also on that level as well. 

6.Tell us about your current kit and set up in DETAIL.

As for drums, I have a Pearl Export Kit 2016. It’s Sunburst fade. Originally it came with 14x5.5 snare, 12x9 and 13x10 rack toms, 16x16 floor tom and a 22x18 bass drum. Because I knew the owner of the music store I bought it from because I was friends with his son, he threw in a free small rack tom sized 10x8. I didn’t like the sizing of the 13” tom so I discarded of it and bought a replacement sized 14x11. I also added another floor tom sized 18x16. I prefer and use Evans Drumheads on all my drums. I use DW9000’s for my kicks because they are amazing. I also use a DW9000 hi-hat stand to match my kicks. As for all my other gear, I use Gibraltar. I currently have a double bass drum rack for cymbal placement and tom holding. Its carefully placed so that everything fits within my arm reach. Out of all the cymbals I own, only two have survived over a decade and I still play today. I have all Zildjian cymbals. The two that have survived over a decade are my 14” A Custom Mastersound hi-hats and my 18” A Custom fast crash. My main crash is a 16” A Custom Medium crash. My other cymbals include a 6” A Custom splash, 9.5” K Custom Hybrid splash, 21” A Mega Bell Ride, 10” Oriental China Splash, 17” K Custom Hybrid crash and a 19” K Custom Hybrid China. I want to switch out a cymbal or two to get some better ones and even add some more for tastes and special flavors. 
7.If you could have a dream kit tell us about it in DETAIL 

It would basically be my main kit that I have right now but with some modifications. First, instead of having a Pearl Export Kit, I would love to make a custom shell based off of the Pearl Reference series and how the woods are based on the size of the shell. I would have my drum shells the same they are now except the floor toms would be modified. Instead of having 16x16 and 18x16 floor toms, I would have 16x13 and 18x16. The 14x11 tom then would become 14x10. My fast crash 18” would be replaced by another cymbal of the same size and the 17” hybrid crash will also be replaced by a 16” crash of a different nature. I would add congas and tumbas on the left side of the kit since the right side is filled with floor toms and other cymbals. I would add one more china, probably the 16” Oriental Trash china. I would also add a drum pad or two to make bassdrops and other special effects that can be made by a drumpad. 

8.Name your top 5 drummers excluding Neil Peart and Mike Portnoy

Yea those drummers don’t even make the top of my list. In no particular order, I give these drummers more of a listen and I hone in on their craft when they play live or if I hear their drumming on a song they made: Dave Chavarri/Danny Couto of Ill Nino, Ex-drummer Andolls Herrick of Chimaira, Current drummer Alex Bent of Trivium, Ex-drummer Travis Smith of Trivium and recent Ex-drummer Chris Adler of Lamb of God. 

9. Do you prefer Live or Studio?

I honestly prefer to perform live. In studio is a hassle, everything has to be exact and there is less diversity when playing. Letting loose and playing live to people that move to your music is much better than recording. Although, recording new material is fun, but not as much fun as playing live. 
10.Do drummers really get all the chicks and if so how do we convince the guitarist?

Im not into the music to get the chicks, so this aspect doesn’t really matter. This is more of a bonus that goes with the gig. But because drummers sit behind a kit and don’t move from it isn’t all that sexy, while the guitarists are free to roam the stage and “make moves” while playing if they can

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