Opeth bassist Martin Mendez was recently interviewed, and talked quite a bit about the band's working methods in the studio, particularly the way his bass and Martin Axenrot's drums were recorded during the sessions for 2011's Heritage. He also contrasted Axenrot's playing with that of his predecessor, Martin Lopez, who left the group prior to 2008's Watershed.
Says Mendez, "I think in the band we’ve always had great players, drummers especially. [Lopez and Axe] have different playing styles, but both managed to play the drums the way the music demanded. It is different. On Heritage, [Axe and I] recorded together, the whole album from beginning to end. That was the first time ever in the band [bass and drums were recorded that way]. Really long songs, complicated songs, and we’d be [tracking] for fourteen hours or something."
He also says, "I’ve always been a fan of Jaco Pastorius, but when it’s time in the studio to record bass I’m not thinking about anything else. I think I concentrate most on the music and how to fit my playing into that particular song or part or whatever. I really pay attention to the drums, as well as the melodies and the vocals. I do not want to clash with anything. I think the bass has to be solid with the drums. Metal music uses the bass playing to go with the guitars. The bass needs to function for the good of the music."
Opeth will be on tour in North America starting April 18; find a show near you!