Michael 'Moose' Thomas: “I’m back and happy to be here”

Since leaving Bullet For My Valentine in 2017 to spend more time with his young family, the Welsh drummer and BFMV founder member has found himself a new calling alongside vocalist James Clark, bassist Davey Richmond and guitarists Jordan Whelan and Travis Montgomery, in new band Kill the Lights. 

Given the happy smiles exhibited by Thomas in recent snaps, it felt like high time to find out more…

What have you been up to since the split from Bullet For My Valentine in 2016?

“I parted company with the old band and ended up sitting around, doing nothing really. I was still playing every day – I think once you’re a musician, you become a musician for life. 

“I knew I didn’t want to join another established band and play other people’s music. I’d rather take more time off to find the right way to be creative… it took a while! I ended up texting Jordan Whelan, the guitarist from Still Remains, and we began writing the music that would become our debut as Kill The Lights.”

You’re looking pretty chuffed in that picture of you back where you belong, behind your Pearl kit…

“Yes I am! That was taken on the video shoot for our first single The Faceless. When they took the picture, all I could do was smile. 

“Metal drummers usually look really angry, but I was there thinking, ‘Do you know what? F**k it man, I’m back and happy to be here!’ That Reference kit with a custom paint job was given to me by Pearl for what would be my last BFMV album [2015’s Venom].”

You don’t need too much stuff… you’re not an octopus

Tell us more…

“My snare is a 14"x8". It’s pretty deep and I’ve cranked it as much as it will go. Then I have 10" and 12" rack toms, an 18"x16" floor tom and a gong drum that’s 20". 

“Both kick drums are 24"x18". With the Reference series, they started mixing woods the bigger and deeper the drums got, from maple and mahogany. I don’t like my drums being wrapped like how some companies do, it can choke the drum almost a bit like muting a guitar string. 

“I want my drums to resonate as much as possible and Pearl are great for that. There’s a custom snakeskin sprayjob on there and I’ve always liked a black and white finish, it’s the Lars Ulrich colours from back in the day!”

What album do you think has the greatest drum sound ever recorded?

“Whenever I talk about this with my friends, because there are different generation gaps between some of us, there’s always the guys who go to John Bonham in Led Zeppelin. For me, it’s got to be Painkiller by Judas Priest… I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Scott Travis on that, before Rob Halford comes in!

“If an alien came down from space asking what heavy metal was, I’d hand them Priest. There are loads that come to mind. Obviously, The Black Album needs to be in there somewhere as well as White Pony by Deftones, along with Vulgar Display Of Power and The Great Southern Trendkill by Pantera. 

“What I don’t like is when bands over-trigger their drums and it just sounds like a machine… I really can’t stand that. Which is why I made sure none of it was like that for this Kill The Lights album!”

If you could go back in time, what gear advice would you give the teenage Moose starting out?

“Not a huge amount has changed in terms of setup between now and the early Bullet stuff, to be honest. But midway, around Scream Aim Fire and Fever, my kit started to expand and there were loads of drums. 

“So I’d go back to tell myself, ‘What are you doing you f**kin’ pillock? You don’t need all this stuff… you’re not an octopus, it’s too much!’ All I need is the classic setup so I can just shut the f**k up and play the drums!” 

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