Marmozets' Josh McIntyre
Fusing math-rock with Paramore-esque melodic emo and energetic punk-pop, West Yorkshire’s Marmozets blew the roof off the Pepsi Max tent at this year’s Download. Rhythm photographer Adam Gasson was also at their recent Bristol gig to document one of the band’s incredible, spontaneous live shows which involved drummer Josh McIntyre taking his kit out into the moshpit and playing from there.
McIntyre, whose sister Becca fronts the band while brother Sam plays guitar, was one of Rhythm’s 10 British Drumming Newcomers in the May 2014 Great British issue, and with an album due out soon, it’s looking like we were right to back his considerable drumming talent.
We caught up with Josh backstage at Download…
Josh on his Gretsch set-up
“The first three years of my drumming was pots and pans – I could never afford a kit. So pretty much when we’ve been gigging it’s just turn up with some sticks and just play the kit that’s there. I remember I won a kit when I was younger, it was a Mapex kit – but that wasn’t actually the kit I’d dreamed of having. But then I did get a Tama kit for my 18th birthday, which was just at the price I could get. Tama are good, but Gretsch and Ludwig are my favourite drums – they’re the best out there for me personally. So I have a Gretsch now.”
“My set-up is a Gretsch Catalina, 12 rack, 16 floor, 24 by 16 kick drum, it’s really wide so it’s got that really massive boom but because it’s short it’s also got that punch, and then I’ve got myself a 6.5”x14” brass Gretsch snare, 22” Zildjian K Ride and Avedis 20” crash ride, 15” New Beat hi-hats. It’s really simple for me, I usually just use a ride and a hi-hat, a pretty simple set-up. But I will add some stuff like a tambourine or cowbell which we have on the recording, but I like to keep it simple.
Giving an energetic performance behind the kit
“When I’m going crazy that’s just me – there have been some shows where I’ll be sick straight afterwards because I’ve been going so hard. It’s actually not something I’m trying to do, it’s just my brain told me… I’m just in my own little world. I have started to get myself healthier like drinking lots of water and exercise… to be honest I wont say that, I don’t normally exercise before shows – I just roll up and play. But if you’re into that, exercise but don’t wear yourself out. And don’t do any energy drinks before because you think, ‘Oh it gets you hyped up,’ but then sometimes you’re clicking too fast and then you’ll get a massive comedown afterwards. So stick to water.”
Recording with Marmozets
“Now we’re getting our own sound, we do try out different stuff like different cymbals and snares for each track, like we used a Ludwig snare which was originally owned by John Bonham, and that sounded incredible. So it’s always been the same stuff for me, ’cos I’m just comfortable.
“For me I’m always learning and finding stuff, ’cos I just drum and that’s it. But Larry Hibbert who used to be in Hundred Reasons was our producer, and he gave so many good tips, like I usd to sit really low and now I have myself sat up quite high, and now I hardly ever do rim shots anymore. I keep it at the same tone and when you hear the record, literally all the snare hits are as it is, there’s no overdubbing. Rimshots are great but for a sound guy, if you keep away from the rim shots and hit the head nicely you’ll get the same punch every time, the same tone.”
Getting the best out of the kit you have
“It depends where you are with budget or what you’re doing but this is how I see it, it’s not the kit you have – it helps – but it’s the drummer behind it. You could have the worst, crappy, falling-apart kit in the world but focus more on what you’re playing. Then when you get better and more budget, reskin the drums, tune up and make it sound good, but just focus on what you’re doing, the drumming mainly.”
Josh's drumming influences
“Taylor Hawkins Dave Grohl, they’re cool, there’s a guy Darren King from Mutemath, I love him ’cos of his feel, he’s really cool. There’s not many drummers…
"It’s weird, I’ve always been in my own little world because I’ve wanted to do the best that I can do. I don’t know any drummers’ names, I’ll just know the band and if I like the drummer I’ll know because of the groove. But mainly my uncle, he’s the main one – he’s the one that showed me drumming, and brought me up, so he’s my biggest influence.”
Writing with Marmozets
“With our writing it’s crazy every time. Mainly Sam [McIntyre] or Jack [Bottomley] will have riffs they’ve been writing at home or on iPads and they’ll bring it to the rehearsal, then we’ll structure it there.
"Sometimes I’ll play a beat and then maybe they’ll have a riff that will go with it. It’s different every time. They’ll come up with a riff and initially I’ll just close my eyes and like feel it. I don’t ever think, ‘Oh should I play this beat,’ I just let my hands and my feet go with how the rhythm’s going and then I’ll know, because I feel it right. The guitars and the bass are clicking together then I’ll open my eyes and see the guys like, ‘Yeah, that’s the one.’ For me when I’m putting down beats it’s always the feel of it.”