Evening Karl, last time I spoke to Tom just before the launch of your debut album Starting Gun. Lots has happened in the world of Bad Flowers since then. Thought I would take this opportunity to chat to the man with the sticks.
KS: Yes it has been pretty non-stop looking forward to chatting with you
BD It is lovely to talk to a drummer rather than vocalist or guitarist for a change. How important are your drums in creating The Bad Flowers vibe.
KS: In any band, drums are important despite drummers tending to be left at the back. Along with the bass they are the backbone to keep timing, as part of the rhythm section keeping things nice and tight. The Bad Flowers are a three-piece, yes there are only three of us. I need to know when to make enough noise and when to pull back. Like when Tom is playing a solo he is busy and loud so I compliment to fill where rhythm is needed we are lucky Dale on bass can play rhythm as well making the sound as interesting as possible. I am not the most technical but I like to make the drums interesting engaging the audience as much as I can. It is Amazing, I have been looking for endorsement I had heard of them but never had the opportunity to try London Sticks. When we were playing Camden Rocks I was approached, they were keen to work with me asking how I wanted my sticks. When on the road with James Jared Nichols, his drummer Denis said try a pair of these. I found the stick suited me the best I had tried, they were a lot longer I have tried others of the same weight but this extra length was brilliant. I said no endorsement unless you can match these. So they made me a custom stick, right diameter, weight and length with logo and my signature. I have played a few shows with them and they are really good. Sticks are very personal, my style is hard-hitting. If I had a thinner stick I would go through a pair with every song – the heavy duty stick the London Stick Company has produced is brilliant.
BD: Let’s start off with an insight into The Bad Flowers from behind your drum kit. How do the music heroes of your youth influence your drumming?
KS: My heroes in no particular order, Led Zeppelin’s Jon Bonham; he played with a simple kit utilized all that he had using his hands and the way he held his sticks. Dave Grohl back in the Nirvana days he was really passionate and thanks to my Dad, who took me to see Dream Theatre and discovering Mike Portnoy. I am not a technical drummer but love to create a good sound and be active on stage. Drummers tend to be sat behind their kit stationary for 90% of the time. I love to interact, stand-up from when I was a young teenager. My aspect of getting involved was definitely influenced by Portnoy.
I love my drum kit and loved playing drums since I was eleven. Started out using my uncle’s drum kit now turning 26 I have forked out a lot of money for my kit. I want to utilize my drums well doing what I love doing playing drums.
BD: What skills would you pass on to a budding drummer, and what makes your kit sound distinctively Karl Selickis?
KS: Depends on who I am working with. If working with children I would show them basic drumming knowledge, drumbeat and how to progress. Whereas, with young adults who play the drums but never played in a band I will show them what it is like in a studio, how to work as part of a band. My career is still young but I will pass on advice and help them by being true to my roots and authentic. Too many people in the industry ask for a small fortune for advice or makes everything sound good. Making everything sound upbeat and straight like any walk in life there will be difficulties.
Sound like me! I make a deep punchy sound, a bit grungy. I have two floor and one rack tom-toms which is fairly shallow. When with Jared James Nichols in Sheffield, I had a discussion with Denis about Dave Grohl feel and the big deep toms. The powerful deep sound when hit hard. I have standard 14” Snare, 14 x 8” very deep all very dark. I like to play noisy but have full control I am not timid! Cymbals, same brand Sabian all from AAX range with 14” hi-hats, 21”, 18” 19” Crash. I hit the kit hard and determined that is my sound.
BD: When playing the drums live you are very dramatic with the sticks flying in the air being caught, framing your face, makes for great photo opportunities, But more importantly how does this impact on your drumming and how did you develop this style and approach.
KS: It all stems from Mike Portnoy’s showmanship I saw him and how he interacts. My style came with experience, tried banging and felt natural gave me more confidence when playing in a covers band. They played rock & blues we played at a biker festival it was a really packed gig Northampton way. It just happened felt natural felt right. I take guidance from my Dad, it happened and now feels comfortable if I do not put on a show it does not have the right feel. If I didn’t do it now the audience would ask me what’s wrong? People know me for that showmanship.
BD: You are back out on the road after playing a number of festivals over the summer including a wet and at times thunderous Steelhouse. Now you are back headlining with Federal Charm and support from Those Damn Crows. How does it feel to be out on the road as the co-headline act?
KS: Headlining will be amazing, the last four years has been really hard, and also very rewarding and fun dedicated life. Whether we have been first support or first band of the evening we have loved every gig we have been treated with respect and received good feedback. Co-headlining with Federal Charm is very exciting a stepping stone also very daunting. When we were with Stone Broken every show was sold out. What are the shows going to be like? We have a killer Bad Flowers set lined up. We treated the festival goers with new music at Steelhouse, we have one new track and another six written. We do plan to focus on Starting Gun, potentially couple old numbers of previous EP’s they are definitely crowd pleasers. Starting Gun been playing live and have the songs honed. Playing 11 nights is nice we will probably have one set list including a surprise number! Looking forward to Pontypridd the crowds blew us away the noise it was loud the roar of the crowd is unforgettable. Unbelievable it was louder than the home crowd in Birmingham.
BD: You kkick-startthe eeleven-nighttour at The Thekla, how exciting is it to have the opportunity to play on a boat in Bristol.
KS: Thekla is definitely one for the books. Not heard a lot about the venue until this tour was announced. People all started talking about the venue. We will be joining a lot of iconic people including Myles Kennedy who can say I played a gig on a boat in Bristol.
BD: What would be the show/gig/festival you would travel back in time to see – and who would you take with you
KS: Led Zeppelin Knebworth Festival 1979. I would take Dad he is a massive music lover, he loves Zeppelin he missed this gig to pay the rent so he would be made up to get the chance to be there.