Hot Victory is another atypical band from Portland. With the only use of two identical drumsets, and some electronic equipment, the duo build a dense sonic-rhythmic universe with long tracks of intense drumming.
Caitlin Love, on drums and Ben Stoller, on drums, played a short but energetic set at Vacation Vinyl on Tuesday night, putting the drums in front of their electronica-rhythmic soundscape, as some background experimental spacey-new-age-y synth melody was only audible when their furious drumming madness was giving up on its loudness a bit. Two drums could have been monotonous and boring, but it was not the case at all, as their rhythmic dialogue was setting the mood, a mood always changing during their long synchronized battles.
I don’t know much about drumming, but it looked like their style was constantly changing and evolving, from full attack-action, to marching band to almost metal? Or may be I was influenced by one of them, Caitlin, wearing a Motörhead t-shirt, or by the fact that she is also the drummer of metal band Northern Swords among several others.
Along their set I was wondering whether they were totally improvising or rather following a very precise and complicated path they were the only ones to preview. Focusing so much on the percussion, rather making the music almost all-percussion, was producing some drum-trance, the two playing as one giant drum machine, going into thunder-mode then calming down… In an interview, I read this description of their technique of drumming by Caitlin:
‘Since there are two drummers in Hot Victory, syncopation has become the name of the game lately. Ben (Stoller) and I strive to keep a complimentary style intact. We play off of what the other is playing, working within the open spaces created as opposed to mimicking and doubling up on the same notes and rhythms. This approach was heavily inspired by the time we both spent playing with Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers (a Portland marching band). Individually, the parts can be quite simple, but when layered with multiple rhythmic variations, the outcome can be complex and heavy. This same mentality can be applied to playing with multiple drummers or assigning individual limbs to alternating notes and rhythms.
If I am faced with an obstacle, I usually try to stay with it and slow it down dramatically to really feel my way through it. It’s easy to get lazy and locked into what I’m comfortable with, but there is no challenge in what I’m already adept with. Usually if something feels awkward or difficult, I know I’m in an area where some time can be spent.’
One thing is sure, they should seduce any drummer and drumming fan, as they put all the emphasis on rhythms and,… what did she say? Syncopation!
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