Brit rock post-grunge survivors InMe return this month with a new album, but they've gone and done something a little different. Drummer Simon Taylor and co have financed the record through Pledge Music donations, with some of the cash raised going to the Alzheimer's Society charity.
With that in mind we caught up with Simon to chat drums, good causes and a whole new paradigm for the music industry to get its head around.
The band is now 15 years and 5 albums in, how did you approach writing and recording the new record?
"This was the most collaborative effort we've done to date, it was a real enjoyable experience this time around. We generally rehearse at least once every week, so Either Dave (guitar/lvocals) would come in with either some ideas or a completed song and we would then attempt to turn whatever he had into something we were all comfortable with and could put our stamp on.Technology has played a massive part for us as we can demo ideas and send them to each other prior to getting together, this really speeds up the process and lets us focus on a song at our leisure before actually playing it together."
"The charity aspect is a really important part of it, we give 5% of everything that comes in to the Alzheimer's Society as it's a charity that is held in close regard to a lot of people including us."
Did you try anything new from a drumming perspective?
"My drumming perspective is always changing, day to day sometimes. I try and keep on top of who's out there and what's being tried. A real help in that was when I got the chance to work with some of the best in the business whilst spending sometime with the London Drum Company in South London. I was totally surrounded by all things drums and all sorts of drummers. Sorting out Kits and getting to go to sessions with some idols was incredible. It was during the time I had there I fell in love with Benny Greb's groove. Just getting a vibe from his playing and helped change the way I approach my kit.
"Groove has always been (as we all know) the most important part being a drummer, getting from each hit to the next in the smoothest possible way and even when pushing yourself with harder stuff, only laying down beats that you know you can play at your best consistently, not what you think you can get away with because it's more complicated or diverse. Drumming for me, is often what you leave out. I'm not adverse in anyway to million hits a minute drummers, as many of them still manage a real groove. But it's not the way I enjoy playing. I want the person listening to feel the beat more than listen to it."
What was behind the decision to go the Pledge Music route? And also to donate funds raised to the Alzheimer's Society?
"The way the music industry is at the moment it's become more difficult to use the traditional routes and actually make something of it unless your selling records by the bucket load. We found this company and immediately fell in love with their ideals and what methods they had in the ongoing search for getting music heard. In a nutshell it's way to pre-order the album amongst loads of other things otherwise not attainable from the band. Giving them a chance to fund the recording and promotion of the music without having to get into debt with record companies. At the same time it really put musicians in touch with their fan base, giving a real personal touch to the whole thing. The charity aspect is a really important part of it, we give 5% of everything that comes in to the Alzheimer's Society as it's a charity that is held in close regard to a lot of people including us. We hope that people will continue to pledge not only for us but also knowing that you're helping a lot of sufferers in the process."
Do you think Pledge is a route that more musicians will be looking to explore?
"I really hope so. You get to keep the rights of the recordings which is really important and do a bit for charity. It seems to be growing at quite a rate so I do think other artists will get on board the more that it's understood by everyone that you really get to help bands so directly."
"I fell in love with Benny Greb's groove. Just getting a vibe from his playing and helped change the way I approach my kit."
Do you have any favourite drumming moments/tracks from the album?
"We've dedicated this album to a woman that means so much to us who died last year. She was involved in the first steps we had as a signed band and really showed us what was possible. So for me the last song on the album 'Legacy' which is a kind of farewell and a thank you to her holds very dear to my heart. It's also one of my favorite songs, musically, we've ever done and it will be a great song to perform ever night on the upcoming tour."
What kit did you use in the studio?
"It's the kit I've been using for touring and recording for years now that I got from Tama mine is a Starclassic Performer. My first ever drum kit was a birch, and old BLX it was the kit learnt on as a kid and have always loved the attack you get from that wood. My cymbals will forever be Sabians, I'm generally and AAX boy but i do like to mix and match with the HHX and the Vault Range. The HHX Ozone crash will probably go down as my favourite cymbal of all time, the sound seems to balance somewhere between a crash and a china. I like riding from my main crash on to it to give certain sections a lift. Also sounds great when played softly on it's own."
What's coming up for the band?
"Loads of gigs! We've got our UK album tour starting mid February running through to the end of March, then a stint round Europe not long after. The festival season is fast approaching so as many of those as possible, Sonisphere has been amazing the last two years. There's been a few side projects floating about for a bit now so we'll being having some fun with them, and also behind the scenes we are starting to look at something quite big for the sixth project which will hopefully be something we can really sink our teeth into as soon as we get a chance."