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On the Beat

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On The Beat with Matthew Hayden

Matthew Hayden is one of the coolest, most laid-back drummers in Kansas City. He makes up an important third of Molly Picture Club, and this week he talks to us about his approach to the group, as well as other projects he has going on. Catch the beat right here!

On The Beat is a weekly interview brought to you by drummer Sergio Moreno (of Hillary Watts Riot and Alacartoona), and features some of the many talented drummers in the Kansas City area.

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On The Beat with Matthew Hayden


It seems we can't get enough of Matthew Hayden these days, but that's because he's doing a lot of cool stuff. Hayden and his Molly Picture Club cohorts are this week's Artists on Trial, and today we get to spend a bit more time with him.

The Deli: First things first—how did the drums find you?

Matthew Hayden: My dad was a drummer, so when I was young there was always a drum set around. He would jam with friends in a special room dedicated to music in our house growing up. We referred to it as the band room.

The Deli: A lot of drummers talk about locking in with their bass players, but Molly Picture Club doesn't have a bass player. What do you listen for?

Matthew: When we started MPC the idea was to make pop tunes with an electronic element. I had programed electronic music for awhile but had never incorporated it into a live setting before. After the writing process we had to figure out how to perform these tunes. We decided to embrace technology and use a laptop running Ableton Live with some backing tracks, mostly bass and some electronic elements. Mike [Tipton], our guitarist, plays very rhythmically; I lock in with that and the track. Plus, as a drummer you certainly have to listen to the vocal lines to determine your dynamic approach and changes.

The Deli: It takes a great deal of talent and coordination to run backing tracks and play drums, but you make it look like a walk in the park.

Matthew: So far it has seemed to work pretty well. When we first started, we were kind of doing MPC on the side as we were all working on other projects. We practiced for 6 months before we ever played a show. During that time we figured out how we could make it work. This is my first project incorporating that aspect so I am still learning and trying to figure out new ways to do it. Sometimes it can be tough because I can never really tell how we sound at the front of the house, from behind the kit, but usually the response is positive. With backing tracks you rely on the sound man a lot to get the mix right. Also, it can be easy to lose the groove if you're not feeling the tune. I am huge on dynamics so when playing with a track you must have good dynamics to control the mood or how a song feels. We have been playing for over 2 years now so we have definitely had some fuck ups, but for the most part it's been pretty smooth sailing.

The Deli: Besides keeping MPC on time and on groove, do you have any other musical projects?

Matthew: Yeah, I have been playing drums in a Talking Heads tribute band called Found A Job. It's tons of fun. The music is right up my alley, incorporating funk, rock, pop and African rhythms. Plus, playing with a big group of people is always fun. As of now we have seven members and we're adding a second guitar and a sax/accordion player.

The Deli: Studio or live?

Matthew: I am sure everyone says this, but I enjoy both. Recording with friends has always been an important part of my creative process, so I decided to build a studio in my house. It's convenient to be able to walk downstairs and be creative anytime I want. Since it's soundproof, I can bang on the drums or crank a bass at 5:00 am if I want to. On the other hand, performing music you have been working on in a live setting is pretty incredible. Just getting that vibe from everyone on stage and all the people in the room, when everyone is feeling it, it can be pretty exhilarating.

The Deli: Obligatory question: favorite drummers?

Matthew:Zigaboo, Ray Barretto, Steve Jordan, Clyde Stubblefield, Stewart Copeland, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Steve Gadd, Tony Allen, Jack De Jennette, Keith Carlock. Oh yeah, and Tommy Chong. He was a drummer, too.

The Deli: What keeps you happy when you're not drumming?

Matthew: I like to make music, for sure, but I also make other things. I am currently enrolled in a sculptural welding class at the Art Institute.  I also support a lot of art and cultural events in KC. Oh yeah, and traveling the world… "El mundo es mi ostra."

The Deli: Oh, I know what that means! Well, thank you very much for your time!

Matthew: Thanks. Paz y música.

Dude, this is America. Cut it out. Just kidding, amigo.

If you like dancing and if you like good music and if you like Matthew Hayden (and, really, who doesn't?), then be sure not to miss him in action with Molly Picture Club at the recordBar this Saturday, September 22 and then again at The Riot Room on October 4. You can also find him with Found a Job at recordBar on October 30.

--Sergio Moreno

Sergio is a drummer drone for The Hillary Watts Riot and a contraption set buffoon with Alacartoona. He wishes he could get paid to practice meditation, do yoga, and drink white tea all day long. But in the meantime he earns his keep making greeting cards in Spanish.

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Matthew Hayden

Photo by Chad Cogdill

Molly Picture Club - Molly Picture Club





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On The Beat with Kriss Ward

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

This week's On The Beat features one of Kansas City's most longstanding and voracious drummers, Kriss Ward of Federation of Horsepower. Kriss will be playing his last show with Federation of Horsepower this Friday before he relocates to Austin. We sit down with him and find out where he's been and what's coming next. Catch the beat right here!

On The Beat is typically brought to you by Sergio Moreno, but has been overtaken this week by drummer and The Deli - Kansas City editor-in-chief Michelle Bacon. This weekly interview features some of the many talented drummers in the area.

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On The Beat with Kriss Ward


Kriss Ward has been one of the toughest, most animated drummers in Kansas City for several years. This Friday, September 14, he'll be playing his last show with Federation of Horsepower before he moves to Austin. We talk to Kriss about his rock n roll career in town and see what's ahead.

The Deli: How did the drums find you?

Kriss Ward: My first instrument was bass guitar, then I dedicated a lot of time to vocals before finally doing what I always wanted to do. I started playing almost 20 years ago and went right to work.

The Deli: Besides Federation of Horsepower, what other bands have you drummed in?

Kriss: I've played with The Last of the V8s, The Lustertones, Ramalamas, Phaze II, Savage 7, Bloodfeast (Misfits tribute), Funhouse (Stooges tribute) and various cover bands.

The Deli: You're one of the most powerful, emotive drummers I've ever seen around here. Where does all that energy come from, and what's your approach? 

Kriss: I'm a show drummer. I want people to get off on the beat! I just play every show like it's my last, and at my age I never know! Haha! My approach to drumming is to let fucking loose!

The Deli: What type of kits do you use?

Kriss: I play Pearl drums, always have since I started. They're durable and tough-sounding drums.

The Deli: Obligatory question: favorite drummers?

Kriss: Eric Singer, Tommy Aldridge, Cozy Powell, Bill Ward: old-school drummers that swing hard.

The Deli: Do you have any big surprises in store for the big Federation show on Friday?

Kriss: FOHP has been really busy this summer, probably busier than ever. Even though the band has released only one studio release in 10 years, we have been asked to play all over the Midwest and Texas so we don't have a lot of time to bust out many surprises. But if you've followed the band over the last 10 years, you will not be disappointed this Friday.

The Deli: What will you miss the most about playing with the guys in Federation?

Kriss: We are one big family and that's what I'll miss most.

The Deli: Do you plan to join other projects once you're settled in your new home in Austin?

Kriss: I always find myself in a project no matter where I go, it's just natural. There's no doubt that I will play in Austin, but nothing lined up right now.

The Deli: Say Gregg [Todt] calls you up in 10 years for a 20-year Federation reunion. You up for it? 

Kriss: Gregg is my big bro. We have the same rock heroes and take the same approach to the stage. The connection between the front man and the drummer is what the "rock show" is. We will play together again, I know we will.

The Deli: Is there anything you'll miss about KC music?

Kriss: I will miss Davey's Uptown. The KC scene has always been modern and artsy; Federation of Horsepower is neither one of those.

Kriss will be pounding out the beat with Federation of Horsepower at The Brick this Friday. The lineup will feature The Buddy Lush Phenomenon, followed by an evening of songs by every former and current member of Federation. This show and Kriss's brilliant drumming is definitely not to be missed.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. Her favorite food is Laksa. Ever had it? Probably not.

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Kriss Ward

Photo by Todd Zimmer

Federation of Horsepower - Stay Down




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On The Beat with Lennon Bone

(Photo by Redwall Photography)

This week's On The Beat features Lennon Bone of Ha Ha Tonka, a band born in the Ozarks that has gained considerable buzz around the nation. Lennon tells us about his touring schedule in the US and soon, Europe, as well as his solo career and his KC record label Sharp County Records. Catch the beat right here!

On The Beat is typically brought to you by Sergio Moreno, but has been overtaken this week by drummer and The Deli - Kansas City editor-in-chief Michelle Bacon. This weekly interview features some of the many talented drummers in the area.

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