21 Jan 2019
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Dave Rhodes Newsletter Interview

31 May 2018 // An interview by jdiddynz
Dave Rhodes is a music legend in his own right; drummer some of the most incredible bands to come out of NZ StylusStatic Era and 29 Blackbirds, and producer/engineer to a vast collection of bands and musicians from Blindspott and Poison Skies through to Metaract and The Rabble. Dave also manages Depot Sound in Devonport. James Donaldson spoke to Dave for muzic.net.nz, and here's what went down:


What do you have in your pockets right now?

Ear plugs and some loose change.

You have been in the industry a while now, care to tell us how it all began? 

The first time I was in a studio was with my Dad when I was about 10, I think I got hooked on the flashing lights immediately! I worked out how to recorded stuff on a cassette 4 track while I was a teenager and eventually went to SAE in 1995. After SAE I got a job in radio production where I would use the small studio to record bands in my spare time. The voice booth was just big enough to fit a drum kit in and that’s where I recorded Blindspott's first single Nil By Mouth in about 2000. I've been working in studios and recording bands on and off ever since. 

What are some career highlights so far?

Seeing the rise of Blindspott from the first little recording we did to the multi-platinum album was pretty cool. Since then I've worked with so many NZ bands, recently it’s been cool getting to record some of the bands I grew up listening to like Head Like A Hole and Push Push. I had a cool day in the studio a few years ago when James Burton, Ronnie Tutt and Glen D Hardin from Elvis’ 70’s backing band came in for a rehearsal. Just sitting in the room with those guys jamming was super cool.

You have made some significant contributions to NZ music, notably mixing Blindspott's debut album and also with your own band Stylus, which side of the glass do you prefer being on?

Neither! If it were up to me I'd be on stage playing the drums. But that’s a hard gig to maintain so recently I've been sticking to the studio. I love recording and mixing bands, I could do that any day of the week.

You have worked with some big names, who has had the most impact on you so far?

It’s hard to say, I think there is more impact from a young band that I don't know anything about that turns out to be amazing. It’s cool working with well known bands but you kind of know what to expect. When a new band or musician comes in and they just blow you away that’s really exciting.

You are now studio manager and head engineer at Depot Sound, care to tell us a bit more about that?

Depot Sound is part of the Depot Artspace which is a creative hub for artists in Devonport. There are always lots of cool projects happening around the building and it’s cool to be in that encouraging and creative environment. Since I started over 5 years ago we have made some significant upgrades to the studio. We built a new control room and upgraded most of the equipment. We now also have a smaller production studio, so we can cater to all types of work from bands to electronic musicians. We also do a bit of voice work and audio post production for video. We have created a friendly, welcoming and well equipped space where musicians can come and relax and enjoy the creative process.

Let's talk about Dave Rhodes the drummer, who are your influences? What sparked the fire? 

This started with my parents as well, when i was 15 I joined their rock ’n roll covers band which taught me a lot about how to be in a band, being prepared, having the right gear, how to deal with venues and drunk people haha. At first my influences were just whatever cassettes were around that I used to play along with, mostly old rock so Ian Paice, John Bonham, Steven Adler, Tommy Lee etc. Then as the 90's took hold drummers like Steve Gorman, Matt Cameron, Sean Kinney, Chad Smith, Dave Krusen, and Danny Carey. There are so many amazing drummers around!

What's next for Dave Rhodes producer, engineer, mixer, drummer? 

I'd like to start playing drums more so if anyone has a band that needs a drummer hit me up haha.... But my current mission is to keep Depot Sound running. It’s tough keeping the business coming in, musicians have less and less money and we still need to pay the power bill so we are looking at other options along side the music recording. I'd like to do more audio post work so I'll be looking into that over the next few months. I've mixed a few projects recently that were recorded elsewhere (one from as far away as Germany!) and that’s been fun so I'd be keen to do more mixing of other people's recordings too. 

Recently I’ve been getting into photography in my spare time. It started with wildlife photos but lately I’ve started photographing live gigs which is really fun. You can check out some photos here.

If you were a sausage, any sausage, which flavour would you be?

Chorizo.

Depot Sound Website

 

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