Zac h Coleman Khemmis
Beer-brewing drummer hops to it with the Denver doomsters’ latest album
Denver, Colorado’s Khemmis have been making, sludgy, doomy metal for a couple of albums now (2015’s Absolution and 2016 follow-up Hunted) but we’re particularly impressed with the skilled beats beer-brewing drummer Zach Coleman lays down on their latest record Desolation. Check out the track ‘Isolation’ to hear Zach, who is head brewer at Denver’s heavy metal brewers TRVE, summon up a heady mix of progressive metal beats and hard-hitting metal power.
What was your introduction to drumming?
”I first got a kit whenI was 13, I started taking lessons, and then formed a band shortly after.”
Who are your drumming heroes?
”Brian Downey, Frank Beard, Bernard Purdie and Gylve Nagell.”
Which Khemmis song perfectly captures your sound and style?
”Well, there’s one on the new album, Desolation, called ‘The Seer’ that has a bit of everything and is a total blast to play… that and ‘Hunted’ (from Hunted). ‘Hunted’ is rooted in a rock’n’roll framework with a good bit of swing, but it also ventures into some heavy metal and death metal licks.I try to blend everything, so it feels seamless. ‘The Seer’ is the opposite: it’s rooted in heavy metal and ventures into rock’n’roll.”
What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?
”Writing Desolation, and touring with Enslaved and Wolves In The Throne Room in the US; it was surreal to share the stage with bandsI admire so much.”
What gear are you using?
“Custom kit from C&C Drum Co: Gladstone shells 7-play maple): 24" kick, 14" snare, 14" rack tom, 18" floor tom. Paiste cymbals: 24" 2002 Ride, 14" 2002 hats (sound edge for bottom hat), 19" 900 Crash, 20" 900 crash, Pearl Eliminator Redline Single Bass Drum Chain Drive kick pedal.”
How do you approach playing live with Khemmis?
”I pour myself into the performance and give it everything I have. I know that our music means a lot to some people, and, generally, people paid money to come see us. I take that very seriously. I don’t really drink or do anything that would take away from my playing – and try to give as much of myself back to the audience as I can while playing as tight as possible.”
Do you work off the guitar or bass in creating parts and grooves?
”It’s a mix of both, butI mostly play off of the guitar parts and try to work with the rhythms under what they are doing, with diversions that follow bass here and there. In this way, the drumming is probably closer to traditional rock’n’roll or heavy metal than, say, funk.”
What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t live without?
”It’s not sexy, but I finally got a nice drum throne with plenty of cushion (a Roc-N-Soc). That thing has literally saved my ass.”
What’s the key to a great live performance?
”Be authentically yourself and give everything you have to the set (no feather dusting… you should be exhausted after playing).”
What was the first kit you ever owned?
”It was a Pearl Export – five-piece, all black – andI thought it was the best kit in the world.”
You’re also a brewer of beer… tell us about your heavy metal beers!
”I’ve been a professional brewer for seven years now. I’ve spent the last five years building the beer program at TRVE Brewing, which is themed around heavy metal. I brew a wide range of beers, though a lot of them are saison or mixed-culture sour ales. It’s not very metal, but I prefer subtle complexity in the beers that I make.”