Morgan Berthet started playing the drums at the age of 3, when his parents, given his hyperactivity, had the brilliant idea of looking for a teacher to calm him down a bit, something that seems to have worked and marked his future! He continued his studies at the MAI (Music Academy International) in Nancy, where he graduated at the age of 22, with a special mention and congratulations from the jury. Part of countless bands in the past (Frontal, Eyeless, Headcharger, The Mars Chronicles, Eths, etc) before joining Myrath in 2011, to become the live session drummer for Klone (officially joined since early 2022) and also to join Kadinja in 2015. Here, a candid interview with a unique musician who exudes his talent in everything he touches, very kind and humorous corrosive, as we would like to meet more often.
OBNUBIL: Hello Morgan! Thank you for taking the time for the interview! For those who don't know you, could you give us a little introduction about who you are?
MORGAN: Hello, thanks for having me for this interview. I’m a French drummer and I play for Myrath (Tunisian Metal Band), Klone (French Prog Rock Band) and Kadinja (French Djent/ Modern Metal Band).
OBNUBIL: Currently, you are a drummer in several bands and as if that were not enough, you also teach drums. How do you manage your time to give drum lessons between concerts and compose? How do you do your classes (face-to-face or online)?
MORGAN: Well, for 3 years I tried to teach at Music Academy International which is the biggest school we have in France to guide future musicians but my agenda can’t allow me to continue anymore, it was easy during the Covid period but I’m back to being a bit too busy for that. I tried to teach when home to a very few professional drummers that I’d like to keep. I tried the online version during Covid but that’s not something I like to do, I kinda need the person to be with me or I feel like I’m not doing my job correctly.
OBNUBIL: Having considerably changed and evolved the technique used in Metal during the last 10 years, mainly thanks to styles like Djent and other derivatives of modern Metal, what do your drum workshops consist of?
MORGAN: Although students are often coming looking for very specific reasons (often the same), what I like to teach is basically how you gotta structure your work so even if you don’t have much time to work, it’s efficient. Too many drummers come to me and are a bit desperate cause they play like dozens of hours every week and they feel like they don’t really improve… the problem is they just play, they don’t work, they don’t have any plan, nothing is structured. I’m not a huge worker, like I’ve never spent hours and hours every day, but thanks to my teachers, when I decide to work on something, I know how to do that quickly. I see my students once every 2 to 6 months. They're already good drummers, once they know how to work, I give them a shitload of stuff.
OBNUBIL: You are quite a versatile drummer, renowned for your adaptability. You have become accustomed to combining between projects. The work between different styles of music has made you have a richer vocabulary. When you're not on tour, how many hours a day do you spend playing and practicing? And when it comes to practicing, do you play different styles or do you focus on one?
MORGAN: Hmm I shouldn’t answer that but very few, none even, I can stay weeks without playing and I’m fine with that. Not saying I wouldn’t need it cause I’d love to be better, I’d love to be more accurate, stronger, faster, everything… but I enjoy having free time once home to do different things. But when I practice of course it happens, it’s either I’ve something very precise to work on, new set list, new album, studio sessions, etc… or I just have fun and then I’m not playing Metal anymore, just what crosses my mind.
OBNUBIL: You have already traveled around the world several times, you have played in small concert venues and in large stadiums, you have met an incalculable number of musicians, each one more recognized than the other... Is there something you dream of doing in relation to your musical career and that you have not yet achieved?
MORGAN: I’m pretty excited each time I’m doing something new, new festival, new countries, so yeah I can’t name them all but there’s still a lot to do hopefully!
OBNUBIL: U.S.A, Australia, Japan, India, Turkey, Dubaï, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and more. Is there a concert in any of those places that you especially remember? Either for something positive or negative. Tell us about it!
MORGAN: I clearly remember a show with Myrath in Japan, Loud Park Festival. This was the biggest indoor festival I've ever done, I think, maybe 40000 people, we talked about it for years so when it happened it was quite magical, plus that was our very first show there. A weird thing happened to us as well in Sweden a few years ago while playing Sweden Rock Festival; we did our show in the middle of the afternoon, under a tent with 10000 people, which was great already, but right after, the boss of the festival asked us if we’d be willing to play again, mainstage, to replace Behemoth since they couldn’t make it due to flights delay I think, that was an amazing souvenir. More recently, right after Covid when things started to come back to normal, Klone did a US tour right after some cruse passing by the Bahamas, and Haïti, although it was difficult to organize everything, that tour felt like holidays, I actually came back rested, happy, which is not something I usually am for those who know me haha.
OBNUBIL: Besides drums and music, do you have other hobbies? Do you play any other instruments?
MORGAN: Nope I don’t play anything else, I know how much time you gotta put in something to be great at it and I’m still working on that for drums, I don’t have the patience to start something else, plus I’m surrounded by excellent musicians, even though they could teach me easily, they’re way to good that would be depressing to see how bad I am haha. I have some phases where I like to spend time playing video games, that’s the only thing that relaxes me and I can forget everything else, I kinda need that from time to time.
OBNUBIL: Marco Minneman, Dave Weckl, Joey Jordison, Mario Duplantier, Eric Moore… the last one being your favorite drummer, or at least that's what we've read. What especially caught your attention about him? Has he affected your way of playing?
MORGAN: They’re all drummers I followed a lot, but the last one traumatized me and I’ve been in love for over a decade now. I don’t know, the accuracy, the stamina, the groove, the ideas, the skills, how easy it seems when it’s not at all, the sound… I don’t spend a lot of time watching other drummers but each time I see a video of him playing it makes me wanna learn more or cry, I don’t know… He definitely did affect a lot, I tried not to take too much from others but I’ve seen so much about him it’s hard not to steal things; don’t have enough skills to steal much though 😊
OBNUBIL: You started your musical journey when you were only 3 years old. What led you to study drums? Are your parents also musicians and that's why you started at a music school so young?
MORGAN: My parents clearly, I was a very hyperactive kid and they thought maybe drum would calm me a lil, well it did. They were musicians and knew a teacher who accepted to take someone that young. Even though that career is not easy at all, I’m glad they pushed me in that direction. They’ve been and still are an amazing support system and I can’t thank them enough for that.
OBNUBIL: You have a contemporary music drummer graduate with unanimous special mention and congratulations from the jury. You are able to play many different musical styles, in which do you find yourself most accomplished and most comfortable? Why?
MORGAN: Metal for sure, that’s something I really studied for decades now but in general as long as it grooves, which isn’t the case in Metal usually, I’m ok with it.
OBNUBIL: What was your first important concert and your first recording in a music studio?
MORGAN: Well I think my 4th show was to open for Marilyn Manson in front of 7000 people. I was 21 or 22 back then, I was scared shitless like you have no idea. I think my first recording session was when I was 12, nothing I want to be remembered for but I’m glad I had the possibility to do that this young.
OBNUBIL: How well do you manage with improvisation?
MORGAN: I improvise a lot in every band I play, I have the chance to have musicians around me who like that and allow that, that’s not the case everywhere at all, even more in Metal music. Now how well I do that I don’t know, I do what I can but I like the adrenaline rush when you don’t really know where the fuck you’re going with your idea, I can’t play the same song 2 times identically, I can’t do that and it would bore me to death.
OBNUBIL: Right now you are on tour with Myrath, a big tour of about two months around Europe and North America. How's the tour going? Any anecdotes to tell us?
MORGAN: It’s going pretty well, more than that, I won’t go into details but since Covid everything got super expensive, renting a bus, gas, gears, merch, etc.. and we weren’t that sure we would make any profit out of this one, turned out we did after only 6 gigs, so we can actually enjoy that tour without pressure. People came to see us, a lot of new people discovered us, we’re pretty confident we’ll be coming back as headliners once the new album is out (September). No big anecdote but this is our first tour together since our previous one stopped in March 2020, when everything shut down so we’re very happy to be on the road again. As I’m answering you, we have 5 more shows in Europe, then we’ll start our North America tour with Brazil, the first time for us there, we already know it’s gonna be sick AF and I personally can’t wait.
OBNUBIL: How do you lead life on tour? What do you do to disconnect from being on the road? Do you prefer touring or being a studio drummer? What would you highlight on a positive level of both?
MORGAN: It’s always a bit hard to leave for a tour, you leave your family behind for weeks, months… but after a few days I’m always happy to be here, you start losing track of time, dates… like right now it would be for me to tell you what day of the week it is, I kinda like that, we’re in that lil bubble when nothing matters anymore. I prefer touring by far but both can be more or less cool. I like studio sessions cause it doesn’t take much time, you come back home quickly and you get more money for the time spent. On the other hand you’re facing your true self there and sometimes you wanna hang yourself and wish you spent less time playing video games… Touring is amazing when you want to travel, I’ve been to places I couldn’t even dream of, with a regular job I couldn’t have been anywhere financially speaking. As I said, on the road we’re out of time, out of reality, that’s really what I like. Plus you get to see people, which doesn’t happen in a studio where you only have the same ugly faces, your bandmates.
OBNUBIL: We have noticed that you are not one of those musicians on tour who are super active on their social networks, posting moments from the shows in each city all the time. Are you one of those who use social networks the bare minimum? We know that they take up a lot of time and are very addictive, but as a positive point they have to hook you more with your fans and you can visualize yourself as an artist. In the times we live in, what do you consider the best way to grow a band?
MORGAN: Yes, the very minimum, I kinda despise all that crap although I know it’s useful and can be interesting when the content is nice. The problem is I don’t like myself to the point I think I might not interest anyone, I don’t like posting pictures of myself, I don’t wanna share what I wear, what I eat, etc… I like to share pictures of crowds every night or beautiful landscapes, but then I know how tricky that whole shit is. Most people will see your profile and see how magical your life is but that’s not the case at all, and it gets really dangerous, even I got caught sometimes, watching stuff on insta wishing one had a better life than mine, it’s false, it’s wrong and even though it could be true, who gives a fuck. So yeah I post from time to time when I feel like it, mostly to say bullshit that I’m confident with. I do spend a lot of time talking with fans/friends though, this I like, as long as I can do it, I’ll do it, that’s part of the “job”. The best way is to have a good drummer, else your band will be less than it could be. Then, sadly, as music is more seen than heard nowadays, you gotta have a visual identity, something strong, different, anything but something. Then you gotta tale a breathe, put every fucking thing you got, time, money, rage, hope, everything, you put everything in for 15 years. Good luck with that, that’s a beautiful journey, it gives you every emotion you could possibly imagine, it’s really hard, but once it pays, and it will if you do everything, it is magical. It can destroy you but hey… what doesn’t.
OBNUBIL: What do you consider the typical mistakes that many bands make at the beginning of their careers? What about drummer mistakes trying to advance their technique with no progress?
MORGAN: Having a bad drummer haha, ok I stop with that bullshit. Problems with new bands, young musicians have no idea what you gotta put in your band, they don’t know the traps, they can’t even imagine the cost of everything. They forget that once you make an album, you gotta put twice more in promoting your shit. You gotta find people to record you, graphic designers, people to shoot your video clips, photographers, someone to handle your social media properly, etc… if you have qualified people around you who can help with that it’s cool, if you don’t, it’s gonna cost you everything. You’re gonna need a label, except if you’re rich enough already, booking agency, you couldn’t think you could do without it but try to do bigger shows, festivals without them… everything will be locked, imagine a mafia, you’re not far from the truth. You gotta have one hell of a solid team cause each time someone leaves the boat, everything can potentially fall apart… enough positivity for today.
OBNUBIL: How do you self-diagnose bad drum technique?
MORGAN: Well, take one hit. I can’t explain but just how a drum is set and you can potentially know. And then yes, first hit and you know if the drummer practiced it 1000 times or a million… it’s not about being fast, or a lot of notes, it’s how you make that shit sound and it requires only one hit to know.
OBNUBIL: Like everyone, we are always given something better and worse, although there are a few rare ones in the world who do well whatever they touch with their hands. Is there any technique that requires more effort for you?
MORGAN: I couldn’t list them all really, there’s so much to learn, even if you try to learn one instrument, one kind of music, it’s pretty much unlimited already. I will never be even close to being done with that instrument, I just started really.
OBNUBIL: What is a good resource for learning new drum patterns? What are your tips to improve the hands technique and to improve more speed on the drum kit?
MORGAN: Nowadays with Youtube, social media, you can find anything you want. I'd still recommend having someone to guide you, but you can find everything already. The tip is quite simple, the more you do it, the more you repeat it, as often as you can, the faster you’ll go faster… as long as you know what you’re doing which isn’t the case for many young drummers. That’s why you need someone to structure your work, to help you learn fast.
OBNUBIL: What is your current drum set up? We know you have some current sponsors, who are they?
MORGAN: I’m working with Tama for the drums and hardware, Murat Diril for cymbals, Evans for drumheads and Promark for sticks. My kit has nothing really specific, spec are 22’,10’, 14’, 16’, snare are 14’ or 13’, I don’t really care, I’m not a geek when it comes to gears. I’m very glad I have all these sponsors, I loved them before even working with them but talking about the size of my drums isn’t that exciting haha.
OBNUBIL: What are you looking forward to the most right now? What are your upcoming future plans?
MORGAN: Our tour with Myrath in North America, I really enjoy new places and I’ve never been there so I really can’t wait. Then we’ll have a dozen festivals this summer (Hellfest, Sweden Rock, etc…), probably another tour in October, it never ends, both Kadinja and Myrath should release an album in 2023, we’ll work on the next one with Klone for sure… again and again!
OBNUBIL: Thank you again for taking your time answering our questions and for giving us more information about you! Is there anything that you would like to say to our readers and your fans?
MORGAN: Thank YOU, I already told you in private that I liked the quality of your work and I thank you for the time you spent to ask interesting things, that’s not always the case, so thank you for that! Fans and friends, I hope we’ll see each other really soon, no matter where you are, we’ll come. Be safe, be happy!
Interview done April 2023. Photos taken by Léo Margarit.