Alot of music in this world gets improperly labeled “unique.” The Locust, however, truly deserve that categorization in the most complimentary way possible. They are completely, and wonderfully strange.
Gabe Serbian, drummer for the Locust, is an incredible talent. His drumming is celebrated for its incredible speed, effortless flow through manic odd meters, and lightning fast cymbal catches. A while ago I sent Gabe some interview questions that my private students had wanted him to answer, and he was kind enough to respond. Below is that back and forth.
I’m also adding two live videos of Gabe doing his thing with the Locust, and a note-for-note transcription of the song AOTKPTA. Download and enjoy! If you learn a few Gabe Serbian licks from the video or the transcription, make a youtube video of yourself and I’ll put a link on this blog.
**Q: Can you describe your drum and cymbal setup?
**Gabe: The drums I’m using now are the same drums I used on the recording.
They’re Ludwig drums my friend and manager gave me like 5 years ago. I
use a 24″ kick drum with a remo pinstripe head. The rack is deep 14″
and the floor is an 18″. The video you have I’m using pinstripe heads
but I just changed them to coated ambassadors. When we record I use
pinstripes. I use a custom snare by Orange County Drum and Percussion
which has a 14″ coated powerstroke head. The drums we’re made in the
90’s but they were replicating kits made in the 70’s…bohnam style. As
for cymbals I usually use whatever I can get my hands on. Crash cymbals
don’t usually last that long but right now I’m playing Zildjian Z custom
rock crashes. I got a 16″ over my rack and a 17″ over my floor. I like
larger crash cymbals but that’s all the shop had and I needed ’em before
I left on tour. I have 14″ Zildjian quick beats , they’ve lasted a long
time. And I use a 20″ Sabian calhoun (not sure the spelling) that I’ve
had forever. It just won’t break.
When we recorded I had the same cymbal set up except for the crash’s
which were Zildjian a customs.
**Q: What type of controller is behind you in the videos?
**Gabe: The thing behind me is just a cheap Dr. Boss sampler. I control the
samples between songs with an A\B switch.
**Q: Do your band mates discuss or think about how your music is changing and where it will go in the future?
** Gabe: I’m not sure where music will go next. That question is going to
require more time.
**Q: Amazingly, the album version and live version of AOTKPTA are exactly the same length, to the second. How is that even possible with the incredible amount of complexity in your songs?
**Gabe: That’s news to me man! It’s great the first song was the same time as
the cd. It’s not something we talked about or anything. Song’s are
usually a lot faster live vs. The recordings. I think in the live
setting songs are faster for a few different reasons. 1 would be the
excitement of playing in front of people and 2 would be the fact that
we’ve played these songs more and are more comfortable than when we
**Q: How often does the Locust practice as a band?
**Gabe: When the band’s not on tour we practice like 2 times a week. Saturday
and sunday afternoons. We usually play anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. I
wish the practice space was closer to my house so I could play more.
**Q: Did you take any drum lessons or formal instruction as a kid?
**Gabe: No not really. I never practice rudiments or anything like that. I was
in a marching band my freshman year of high school. I played 2nd or 3rd
bass drum. It sucked. I hated it. I sometimes will practice
paradiddles however on my kick drum when I’m warming up before
Thanks to Robin Laananen @ redhedpictures for the following photographs.