Article by: Leanne Ridgeway
The Gear Assembly interview series is especially for the music gear addicts, or simply the curious like myself.
Each article in the Gear Assembly series features a different musician answering the same questions, highlighting both their varying preference in music gear, as well as their own music that results from using that gear. Hopefully, it brings some awareness to both the artists and their gear makers. You’re reading, so we’ve got at least one more. Find new music, learn about who’s making it and what they use to create it…
GEAR ASSEMBLY Series #19:
IMONOLITH / DTP’s Ryan Van Poederooyen
Ryan Van Poederooyen or “RVP,” which he is likely more known as, is a voraciously ambitious drummer from Vancouver, Canada. Among his quite notable list of professional distinctions are his times as drummer for Devin Townsend in both the Devin Townsend Project (as of 2009) and the now-defunct Devin Townsend Band (2002-2007). RVP has also played drums for the experimental metal band Terror Syndrome and the progressive rock act Ten Ways, among others.
His most recent band is the new hard rock/metal act IMONOLITH, which he officially started in 2018 with his fellow DTP bandmate Brian Waddell. Separate from his musical groups, RVP is also a professional live and studio session drummer and teaches drum lessons privately in Vancouver, BC, as well as online when on tour.
IMONOLITH released their debut album ‘State of Being‘ in March 2020, with tours set to support that album… right on the cusp of the world closing down. Let’s see what RVP has going on, as he’s here to be our nineteenth piece in the Gear Assembly! Rock on…
(Note: some responses may reflect a time frame of several weeks ago.)
Riff Relevant /Leanne: What instrument(s) do you play?
Ryan Van Poederooyen:
Drums / Percussion
Riff Relevant /Leanne: Give us a rundown of your current live gear set-up.
Ryan Van Poederooyen:
Sonor Drums and Hardware:
Sonor SQ2 Bass Drum 22 x 18
Sonor SQ2 Bass Drum 22 x 18
Sonor SQ2 Tom tom 8 x 8
Sonor SQ2 Tom tom 10 x 8
Sonor SQ2 Tom tom 12 x 8
Sonor SQ2 Tom tom 14 x14
Sonor SQ2 Tom tom 16 x 16
Sonor SQ2 Maple Snare Drum 14 x 6
Sonor Artist Bronze Snare Drum 14 x 6
Sonor 600 Series Cymbal Boom Arms (for rack)
Sonor 600 Series Two-Leg Hi-Hat Stand
Sonor 600 Series Snare Stand
Sabian 7” HH Radia Cup Chime
Sabian 9” HH Radia Cup Chime
Sabian 10” HHX Evolution Splash
Sabian 12” HHX Evolution Splash
Sabian 14” HHX Evolution Chinese
Sabian 14” HHX Evolution Hats
Sabian 18” HHX Xplosion Crash
Sabian 18” HHX Xtreme Crash
Sabian 18” HHX O-Zone Crash
Sabian 19” Paragon Chinese
Sabian 20” HHX Xplosion Crash
Sabian 21″ AA Holy China
Sabian 21” HH Custom Power Bell Ride
Snare – ST Dry
Bass Drums – EMAD2
Toms Batter – G2 Clear
Toms Resonant – Evans Resonant
Regal Tip Drumsticks:
Imonolith/RVP 2BX Sticks
Trick Pro 1-V ‘Bigfoot’ Pedals
Audio Technica Microphones:
Kicks – ATM250DE Dual Element Microphone
Snare – Audio Technica ATM350 Microphone (Top), Audio Technica ATM450 Microphone (Under)
Toms – Audio Technica ATM350 Microphone
Overheads – Audio Technica ATM2035 Microphone
Hi-Hats – Audio Technica ATM450 Microphone
Ride – Audio Technica ATM450 Microphone
Bass Drum Mounts:
The Kelly Shu Pro and FLATZ kick drum mounts
Pearl DR-503C Customized Drum Rack
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
I was 10 years old and started drumming because I was influenced by my father who was a musician in a cover band. I’d always jump up on stage after his sound-checks and mess around on the drums.
My father asked me if I would like to start drumming, and that’s when it all began for me. I never looked back.
At the time, my father was my biggest reason and influence to start drumming. it inspired me watching him perform with his band in front of people.
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
I’d say “The Reign“. The reason why is it shows my technical ability, feel, groove and creativity all in one song.
I think it’s important to be versatile and always play for the song. If you can include cool parts that compliment a song, you’re winning!
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
Nope. I use all the same gear in the studio as I do live.
I like there being a seamless transition from studio to live when it comes to my gear and the sounds I have access to.
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm up rituals?
Just me and a practice pad and the floor beneath me.
I really enjoy taking the hardest parts of a set and changing them into rudiments as a warm up. This gets me prepared for the upcoming songs in the set and also gets me loosened up for playing live.
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
I’ll sometimes change up my drum fills or maybe play ambidextrously to make things a little more exciting or challenging.
I’m a big fan of playing the song like the record, though. So, 99% of the time I stick to what I played on the album.
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
My cymbal work. All my supporters around the world compliment my cymbal work the most.
I love getting creative with cymbals in beats and fills. You can get so many cool sounds out of all the cymbals I have in my setup. I love to make things sound interesting while being able to groove!
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
Regal Tip Drumsticks
Audio Technica Microphones
The Kelly Shu
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
I’d have to say it’s my Sonor Artist Bronze Snare Drums. That’s just my sound. The crack it gives off is incredible and it has a consistent beefy tone whether you tune it high, mid or low.
It’s the most versatile snare I’ve ever played! I have so many people compliment my snare sound in the studio and live. Proof is in the pudding there, haha.
Riff Relevant: What do you enjoy doing outside of music, that you feel ultimately contributes to your musicality? (For example, a hobby that you turn to in order to stimulate your creativity.)
I love health and fitness. It helps greatly with my mindfulness, happiness and obviously health.
It’s also a big factor in helping me play 2-3 hour long shows around the world. Being in shape and taking care of myself, allows me to perform at my best night after night on tour and in the studio.
When I feel good, I’m also more inspired and my creativity spikes. It’s a win/win having health and fitness in my life.
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands who are currently influencing you (or you just enjoy)? If yes, how so?
I really got into Avatar a couple years ago. They’re an amazing band and have interesting sounds, riffs and ideas in their music.
I wouldn’t say they’re a big influence on how Imonolith sounds, but they’re influential in an inspirational way.
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming musician, what would it be?
Do what you love and love what you do!!!
Don’t follow trends. Be yourself. Be a first rate version of yourself not a 2nd rate version of someone else. Don’t give up, either. So many people talk the music biz down. It’s the people that give up that always fail 😉
At the same time be smart. Network, be versatile in your music and business dealings, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Adapt and evolve with the industry.
Be willing to learn from others and if you make mistakes, stop and take time to learn from them. All these things will help you in being successful in the music industry. These are the things I did and I’m very happy where I am now.
Riff Relevant: How has the pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
COVID-19 hit us hard, like every other band in the industry.
Our (Imonolith) first headlining tour ever of Europe/UK was canceled. We lost money like hundreds of other bands did. It’s being rescheduled now. [New tour dates found here.]
It also hit my session work and drum teaching, as well. While all of this was happening, I looked at what I could do to change with the times and adapt. Online lessons have been a big saving grace for me. I’m still able to make an income and get through this.
As for the band, online communication with our supporters is absolutely key. If there’s a will, there’s a way, you just got to want to find it.
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal set up?
Not being cocky here, but I literally own my dream drum setup. Sonor SQ2 laid out with Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Regal Tip Sticks.
I endorse all these companies and a bunch more and couldn’t be happier. I’m definitely playing my dream setup and own all the gear I’ve dreamed of playing. Pretty damn grateful!
Ryan Van Poederooyen (RVP)
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