Drum! recently had an exclusive interview with our columnist Gil Sharone who is no doubt a shred master behind the kit. Gil Sharone is like a mutant chameleon; often adapting his musical abilities to a plethora of bands including: Stolen Babies, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Puscifer, Marilyn Manson, and now Team Sleep. Check out his sweet ghost notes and odd fills in Team Sleep’s “Blvd. Nights” recorded during the Woodstock Sessions in New York! This intimate performance was unique in its own right because fans were able to purchase tickets to attend a two-day session and watch the band compose, perform and record the album. In this interview he talks about his recent collaborations with Marilyn Manson and Team Sleep.
Drum! How did you get the Manson gig?
Gil I originally got called to play on The Pale Emperor by Tyler Bates who produced and co-wrote the album with Marilyn Manson. When I was tracking in the studio, Manson dropped in to check things out. He asked me to be in his band on the spot. There wasn’t an audition or anything random like that.
Drum! Do you use separate kits for Team Sleep and Marilyn Manson? If so, what are the differences?
Gil Yea, I use different set ups for each band. My kit for Manson is a larger double bass set with bigger drums and bigger cymbals. I need that kit to project and sound beefy. The dynamic range for Marilyn Manson is loud to LOUD AS HELL!! For Team Sleep, I use more of a Jazz/Fusion set up: smaller drums and lighter cymbals. The dynamic range of Team Sleep spans from a lighter touch to pretty heavy so the set up has to make sense and fit the vibe of the music.
Drum! How early on have you been involved with Team Sleep?
Gil I started jamming with the guys in early 2013. Chino and I have talked about doing something since 2006 but our schedules never lined up for something to happen. A couple years ago, Chino introduced me to Chuck Doom (bass player from Crosses) and we hit it off. A week later all three of us were at Chuck’s house jamming. The vibe was great so the guys called Todd from Team Sleep to come by then DJ Crook started sending tracks. Once all that went down it was obvious we were all going to do something it just happened to become Team Sleep. Before that was official we were just writing and recording because it was fun and there was great chemistry. The main thing that really locked it in being Team Sleep was when we did the live Woodstock Sessions recording last year.
Drum! Zach Hill’s work with team sleep was very wild and sporadic, how do you approach these Team Sleep songs differently than Zach?
Gil I appreciate Zack’s approach to the early material so when we play those songs I keep his parts in mind. I always like to keep hooks and patterns that are unique to a song in any band that I join or fill in for. The fans want to hear that and they expect it; you just have to make it your own. I’ve done enough playing in situations like this where even if I’m playing someone else’s part note for note, I still make it ME. I talk about developing your own identity as a player a lot in clinics and when I speak to students.
As far as the new material, that’s stuff that we all wrote together so I built those parts from the ground up. I’ll play sporadic patterns and fast flurries when I feel it but I also like holding down a pocket for other instruments or vocals to have space. The guys like that I can hold it down but also play the crazy stuff.
Drum! Do you leave room for improvised parts in the Team Sleep songs or is it pretty much all planned?
Gil For sure. There’s plenty of room and freedom for improvisation with Team Sleep. That’s one of the things I love most about this band. There are still structured songs with arrangements and parts but we’re able to stretch out and explore. Jazz is a huge influence on us especially me and Chuck Doom. The fact that we can stretch and create things on the spot over a song is what we love doing. Not all gigs provide that platform.
Drum! Who’s idea was behind the Woodstock Session? What did you enjoy most about it?
Gil The guys at Applehead recording in Woodstock, NY are friends with Chuck Doom and they brought it up to him early last year. They’ve already done a few other live Woodstock sessions with some other artists and they mentioned doing one with Team Sleep. Several months later it just came together and worked out.
I enjoyed everything about that experience. The biggest part of it for me was that I was able to do it in the first place. Originally, Zack was going to play on it and I thought I was going to be on tour with Manson but at the last minute the guys called me to come and do the session. I’m glad it worked out that way. It was unlike any session I’ve ever done before. I think it was a first for all of us. We recorded live in front of a seated audience sitting a foot or two away from us. There were no overdubs on the record, everything you hear is what went down in the room. The guys at the studio did an amazing job capturing the vibe on the recording but you just had to be there to get the full experience. It was a special thing to be a part of for everyone in the room.
Drum! Aside from the recent Woodstock Sessions, can we expect a new Team Sleep album soon?
Gil Yes. We’re hoping to get an EP out by the end of the year. If not, something early in 2016 will come out. We already have a lot of material and ideas recorded it’s just a matter of getting everything finished. The goal is to keep releasing new music as often as possible once the EP comes out. At some point we’ll get to play live again which is what we’re all waiting for.
Drum! If you could be the drummer for any band, who would it be?
Gil’s Woodstock Session Kit
- 1990’s Gretsch (Belongs to Mackie Jayson of Bad Brains)
- 10″ Rack Tom
- 14″ Floor Tom
- 24″ Bass Drum
- 1980’s Yamaha Snare (Side Snare)
Gil When I flew out to do the Woodstock session all I brought was my own cymbals. The hardware was thrown together from whatever the studio had in a case.
- Zildjian Cymbals
- 16″ K Light Hi-Hats
- 19″ K Smash Trash With 10″ China On Top
- 24″ K Light Ride
- 18″ Oriental China
For more wicked beats please head over to Gil Sharone’s website.