KJ Sawka Of Destroid and Pendulum Talks Bass
There are very few groups that have the stage presence that Destroid and Pendulum have, and there is only one man who can claim to be apart of both; KJ Sawka. Favoring drum sticks over CDJs, KJ has made a name for himself through his live drumming when he performs. Touring as a solo act as well, KJ will never be found without his sticks. In a world favoring live performance instrumentals over the traditional “press play” DJing, acts like Destroid, Porter Robinson, Pendulum and Pretty Lights have been gaining significant traction as venues world wide book them for performances as live acts and not DJ sets.
When it comes to bass music, few acts have more history and prestige than Pendulum. The electronic rock band took the world by storm and played a fundamental part in shaping bass music as a whole. With Rob Swire (now apart of Knife Party) providing vocals, Pendulum created a sound that stood apart from other artists of the time and is still regarded as some of the best electronic music ever produced. Featuring D&B rhythms and beats, KJ has played a vital role in the success of Pendulum as the drummer and orchestrator of beats. Now with Destroid, (the hard hitting dubstep super group featuring Excision, Downlink and KJ) KJ has once again helped shape the bass music scene by supplying the aggressive drumming for one of the most impressive touring acts in the electronic music scene. Destroid has given us track after track of dubstep perfection, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Now here is Only The Beat’s interview with legendary drummer and dubstep wielding alien invader, KJ Sawka.
Coming from your early days of playing in a rock band, to being the drummer for Pendulum, and now the drummer for the savage dubstep supergroup Destroid, what have been some challenges playing across so many genres of electronic music and music in general?
One challenge is keeping all life going while touring, practicing drums and working on the set design for hours each day. Playing these styles is something I’ve always done so its no biggie. But that said, its paramount to practice and keep up the dnb and jungle chops or they slowly go away..
Drum and bass and dubstep have such different styles; one blisteringly fast and one aggressively heavy. What about each genre entices you to it? What are the joys of performing each style?
They both have a groove I love. The dnb is etched in my bones and it gets me thinking about tons of inspiring things while playing or listening. I have to focus on the groove more than any other style. Dubstep is all about the bass or melodies so I just sit back and enjoy the ride. Of course its super fun to throw in the metal fills here and there. Both styles are about space.
Pendulum is regarded by most as one of the top drum & bass / electronic rock groups from all time. How has being apart of such a prolific group been for you and what was it like coming in to replace Paul Kodish?
I love Pendulum and I love being in Pendulum. When Rob asked me to join there was no hesitation that, together we would dominate the world. And we did! There is no better feeling.
How did your involvement in Destroid come to be? What was it like transferring from a rock band persona to one of alien invaders set on elevating the entire Earth through catastrophically brutal dubstep?
Well outside our alien suits we are about the same. But once the suits and helmets go on its time for total destruction. We really get into our characters on stage. Pendulum is the same musically but we are just humans on stage.
One of the most visually noticeable things of Destroid is your suits. How was the design for yours conceived?
The three of us spent months getting inspirations from various characters, movies and comics. We all had dreads in the original drawings and I was the only one to keep mine. We all wanted to be unique with our characters and different from each other.
How hard is it to perform in the full body battlesuit? What accommodations have been made in the design in order to allow you to slay the crowds to your liking?
Its very hard to play and pretty much do anything in the suit. We wait till the last minute to put it on and then immediately take it off after the show. We have to have 3 people help us get in and out of the suits. I’ve adjusted and spread my drum kit to accommodate the large leg pieces and big boots. My computer controllers have large buttons and white glowing stickers so I can see. My gloves have the left two fingers and thumb cut out to use the trackpad. Its like looking through the bottom of a fish bowl.
Destroid has released two albums to date; the original Invasion album and the remix album. Are there plans in the works for a second full length album anytime soon? Is there anything you can say about it?
Yes we are currently working on a new album and more singles. No release dates yet.
You are a local from Seattle. How is it to be returning to your home city to put on another incredible performance as a part of the Safe In Sound Tour?
I was super stoked to see that our last show ended in my home town Seattle. I love Seattle and still live here. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I want to thank KJ for taking the time to do the interview and being such a nice person to work with.
Links to KJ Sawka’s profiles can be found below.
KJ Sawka Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
Destroid Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
Pendulum Facebook | Twitter
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