New groove machine of BEAST IN BLACK
Atte Palokangas, drummer of Thunderstone, Agonizer, Wreck On, Among The Prey, Frustrated Bastards is now in tour with the BEAST IN BLACK as their new permanent drummer and worthy successor for former drummer Sami Hänninen who left the band recently. Planet Drum met him during the concert in Rome, Italy.
Marco Mammoliti – Hi Atte and thanks for being with Planet Drum. Let’s start from the beginning. How did you start playing the drums?
Atte Palokangas – Hi, and thanks for having me. Well I bet this is a bit different story than usually. As a kid around 8-10 years old I was first dreaming to have a electric bass. I don’t even know where I got this. Little after that it turned to electric guitar. Well, I never had bass or guitar but at some point my mom notice from newspaper that local music college were searching students for percussion line. So I applied and got in. That’s where I started drumming about 26 years ago.
MM – When and how did you get your first professional gig?
AP – Well, as a professional gig I’m thinking of gigs where to get some kind of salary. I think the first one have happened with Tiina Sanila band. Year have to be 2005 or something around that. I got asked to play in this band for their first gig after the first album. Drummer who played on their album wasn’t available for the gigs so they asked me to replace him. All that led for me to be permanent member in Tiina Sanila band for several years.
MM – You are in tour with Beast in Black in these days. How did you get in touch with them and how have you been selected to be their new drummer?
AP – Yes, we’re supporting Rhapsody on their 20th Anniversary farewell tour in Europe for about 5 weeks. Anton had been searching drummer for Beast In Black since it seemed like Sami was unable to join on longer tours. So Anton had asked from one drummer friend if he knows anyone that would be able to play drums on “W.A.S.P.” -tour. My name was one of the three names Anton got. And I think I was the first one who Anton contacted. Without any hesitation I just told that “I’m in!”. Well that tour was what it was. When our ways parted at Madrid airport, I told to Anton that if they’ll need a drummer in future I’ll be more than happy to do it. And here we are now. 🙂
MM – During this tour you are using a Pearl Reference drum set. Do you want to talk about it and when did you enter the Pearl family?
AP – Actually I’m touring now with my Pearl Masters Custom BCX. I got this kit about year ago as my secondary kit and really felled in love with it. I’ve always loved birch drums, that’s the one reason why I wanted to have this kit. And with Beast In Black I just couldn’t imagine my “eurovision” Ultra blue fade sparkle Reference pures on stage. So there’s a reason why I rather use this classic piano black BCX kit on this tour. Configuration for both of my kits is: 22″x18″ bd’s (x2), 10″x8″, 12″x9″ toms, 16″x16″, 18″x16″ floor toms. And in BCX kit I also have 13″x10″ tom for special situations. Snares I’m using on this tour are my old work horse Pearl Free Floating 14″x8″ with brass shell and Pearl Vinnie Paul signature 14″x8″ maple as a spare. And of course have to mention my great supporters: Impression cymbals and Balbex drum sticks.
I entered in Pearl family at early 2015. For few years I’ve had endorsement deals with few smaller companies. Nothing bad to say about their products but whenever there happened something that I need some spare parts it was just pain in the ass to try to find spare parts. So finally, when touring and having enough gigs, I just realized that Pearl is a best option for a workhorse drumkit. Really awesome drums and spare parts are available in almost every music store around the world. Funniest thing still that when I went back to Pearl, there haven’t been any need for spare parts.
MM – An how about Impression Cymbals? Is there any specific reason that you chose Impression?
AP – Impression cymbals really started to grow their name in Finland some years ago. All the time more and more metal drummers went to Impression cymbals. I had a deal with other cymbal brand and I was really happy with it almost 10 years. But something happened and I really hadn’t any other possibility than change my cymbal dealer. I had some discussions with few companies but at some point I went to visit at Impression show room in Riihimäki. Santeri, the Impression-guy of Finland asked me at first that what kind of ride cymbal I like. I gave short description for him about my dream ride cymbal, he picked this beautiful 22″ rock series heavy ride from his cymbal stack, I put it on to test drum kit and played a little… I was sold. Right away I knew that I’ve found my new cymbals.
MM – You are best known as a Rock/Metal drummer. But how does Atte Palokangas define himself?
AP – I think that Rock/Metal drummer is quite accurate. When I started playing, I mostly played rock-, funk rock, pop maybe even a bit blues kind of stuff. But I had always liked metal music. But when I finally heard Helloween’s Master of rings -album for first time I was like “What the f*ck, can drums be played like this?!?” and that actually started to forge my drumming more towards to metal. Still it took few more years when Stratovarius’s Visions album came out, that was like a final kick for me and I knew I have to have double bass drum kit. Soon I had my first double bass drum kit and by the way it was red Pearl World Series kit with 22 kicks, 10″,12″,13″ toms and 16″ floor tom.
MM – Who were/are you biggest influences on drumming?
AP – I think there pretty much were quite good hints at last answer. Uli Kusch have really been one of my great influences, even though my playing style might not be so close to his style but I’ve really listened carefully everything what he have done and… This guy is absolutely beast behind the drums. Another of my biggest influences have been Jörg Michael. I think Jörg is one of the drummers from who I have stolen lot of things for my own stage performance.
Thank you for an interview! It was nice to go through these things which I don’t usually bother to think too much. 😀