Friday, 6 July 2012

INTERVIEW - Steve Asheim

Steve Asheim is the long-serving drummer and primary songwriter for the death metal band Deicide. Asheim is endorsed by Pearl, Paiste, Vater and Axis and in 2007 he joined the St. Petersburg, Florida-based death/black metal band Order Of Ennead as their drummer. Steve was kind enough to answer a few questions for Chamber Of Ages.

COA: When did you get interested in music and how old were you when you first started playing drums?

SA: I started playing at age 11 w/ rudimentary lessons, paradiddles and the "Synchopation" book. I started playing on a kit at age 12. I started in small bands w/ friends, at age 13. Then, did my first demo at age 13 or 14, at a studio one of my school teachers had in his basement in Freehold, NJ. It was around that age my interest in extreme drumming kicked in. It was '83/84 at the time and my former bandmates wanted to play Motley Crue and I wanted to play Slayer and Metallica. Needless to say, we parted company...

COA: When did you move to Florida and what bands were you involved with before Deicide came about?

SA: I moved to Florida when I was 15 ('85) and started playing w/ people immediately. I was in a cover band called  Carnage". We played Slayer, Exodus, Celtic Frost and Dark Angel songs. Around '86, Carnage was finished an I started writing the early "Amon" songs w/ The Hoffman Brothers (who were also in Carnage). In '87 we met Glen Benton and started demoing immediately, what were to become the songs from the first Deicide Record. I've played in "Deicide" ever since.

COA: What is the writing process like in Deicide? I've heard you have a pretty big hand in coming up with the band's material.

SA: It’s pretty cut and dry, I write all the music and Glen [Benton, bassist/vocalist] writes all the lyrics. It’s been that way for awhile now but works well for us. I don’t really have a problem writing riffs and songs, it comes pretty easy. In fact, I wrote all the songs for this new record in about three weeks.

COA: Deicide has always been strongly anti-Christian for most of your career as a band. Have you ever thought about introducing other views/concepts?

SA: Confronting Christianity is what we’re in the best position to do. I think that in this regard we’re fairly uncompromising as a band. It’s just what we know. I mean, we gotta do what we do as Deicide: be heavy, brutal, and anti-Christian. And keep digging at the Christians, you know? We’ve had a couple different lines as a band, but we are still very much the same and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. The anti-Christianity’s what the people want, and that’s what they get. We’ve still got records we’re going to put out, we’ve got shows we’re going to play, and, again, we’re just going to keep doing what we do and keep the following alive.

COA: You’re also a member of the band Council of the Fallen. How does that band differ, for you as a musician, from Deicide?

SA: Some of the music has a different feel than Deicide as it is not as twisted or evil sounding. But make no mistake, it is extreme metal with some of the fastest drumming I’ve ever done. Lyrically it’s different also, it’s not black or evil or hateful. Kevin from the band writes the riffs and lyrics and he just doesn’t have that type of personality.

COA: Who are your major influences within the drum world?

SA: Peter Criss, Clive Burr, Buddy Rich, Tommy Aldridge and Dave Lombardo.

COA: Do you warm up before shows? Any particular techniques you employ to get ready?

SA: Not too much, I just practice some rudiments and rolls on my knee or a chair or something. I don't like lugging around practice pads or extra kits or rehearsal tools. On the road, I like to traval light, It's less stuff to lose or to get stolen.

COA: Is there any advice that you would give to aspiring drummers?

SA: My advice would be to learn how to play other instruments and learn to write music. That has kept me in this business for 18 years and still going. w/ the ability to write music, you can write yourself an album to play on every 2 years. If I had not known how to play guitar or write music, I'd of been done by '93 and this interview would not be taking place.

COA: What are your views on music torrent sites and illegal downloading?

SA: Let me put it to you this way: If music were free, musicians wouldn’t get any money and we’d all have to get real jobs in order to live [laughs]. But from my point of view, nothing in this world is free, so why should music be? Just because the technology to obtain it for free is there, that’s not what that technology was meant for, though it’s what it’s being used for. A lot of musicians are getting the shaft, and a lot of bands are breaking up because they can’t afford to exist anymore. How is that helping the scene? It’s killing bands. So no, for me, music should not be free, it’s a ridiculous notion.

COA: Is there anything you can tell me about Deicide's future plans?

SA: Well, we plan on hitting the road some more in the U.S and Europe this summer and maybe start writing some new stuff. So keep on the lookout for that and thanks a lot for all of the fan support over the years. We couldn’t do it without you guys.

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