Dale Schnettler chats to SA Drummer

Dale Schnettler is the powerhouse drummer for one of South Africa’s most successful Multi Platinum-selling rock bands, Prime Circle. Dale is an incredible drummer and not only great to listen to but to watch as well. He has incredible energy behind the drums.

Daniel Craig Johnston Photography

Hey Dale. Thank you so much for taking the time out to do this interview. How did you get into drumming, and what made you decide that you wanted to be a drummer?

I got inspired by watching the greats like Tommy Lee from Motley Crew and seeing how entertaining they made the art of drumming, and I wanted to be able to do that too.

Who are your influences locally and internationally, and which drummer would you say is responsible for getting you started?

Locally, Warren van Wyk, and Jason Oosthuizen. Internationally, Travis Barker. I have many idols in the drumming world, but probably the top of the list would be John Bonham.

Was pursuing drums as a fulltime career always a plan of yours?

Yes, have you seen my tattoos? I did that intending never to be stuck in an office working a day job.

You have played for a lot of bands before joining Prime Circle. Who are these bands, and how did you land up getting the gig with PC?

I’ve played with Skylar, Summit, Soul Proxy, Plush, Karen Zoid, and Saving Silence. I knew the guys from Prime Circle from my work in the cover gig scene, and always made a point of keeping in touch with them, I guess it was just meant to be that things worked out this way.

Prime Circle has toured a lot overseas and has been on the bill with some serious bands. Can you tell us where you have toured and what bands you have been on the bill with?

We’ve toured most of Europe, playing big festivals there. We’ve shared the stage with big bands like Limp Bizkit, Biffy Clyro, Three Doors Down, The Bosshoss, Alterbridge, and Seether.

How does it feel to have musicians of this caliber watching you perform?

Well, it’s an honor man, but generally, there is great respect among musicians from different bands because there is an understanding among us that only we can appreciate being full time, professional muso’s.

We definitely changed direction, we have a more modern sound, and in my opinion, I think this is our best album.

– Dale Schnettler

Prime Circle’s latest album, Let The Night In, definitely took the band to a new level. Can you tell us more about the recording process and how it was to work with Denholm Harding as a producer?

Denholm Harding has actually produced our last two albums, Let The Night In and out latest album due for release on the 15thof September, If You Don’t You Never Will. Denholm is a phenomenal producer and musician, an extremely talented guy.

Prime Circle just finished the latest record. Was the recording process the same as the previous album, or did you guys change the direction?

We definitely changed direction, we have a more modern sound, and in my opinion, I think this is our best album.

You are very active in terms of being a key songwriter for Prime Circle. Can you tell us more about that and how you approach your songwriting? I’ve been writing music for over twenty years now. I usually just sit at home with a guitar and go from there, it’s a very organic process.

You are a very energetic drummer, and you are not only great to listen to but also great to watch visually as well. How important do you feel it is for a drummer too not only work on his skill but his showmanship as well? The fact is we are in the entertainment business, and if I am not enjoying myself on stage, how can I expect the crowd to enjoy themselves while watching us.

One thing I love about your playing is that you do not overplay but always focus on playing for the music and staying in the pocket. How important do you feel this is for a working drummer?

That is the most important. It is crucial that one instrument does not overpower the stage or the song.

Click here to read the full interview

Author
Warren van Wyk SA DRUMMER
Warren van Wyk

Warren has worked with top South African artists, some of them having received Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum selling status. Artists include Dewald Wasserfall, Just Jinjer, Kurt Darren, Arno Jordaan, Lianie May, JAY, EDEN, Ray Dylan, Blackie Swart, Solly Mahlangu, Pieter Koen, Ampie de Preez, Anton Botha, Ryki, The Plain Truth, Nic Rush, Saving Silence and many others. He has taught a massive number of students over the years and has also helped drummers who play for top-selling artists to take their drumming to the next level. Keeping him super busy is the SA Drummer online magazine and movement that he launched in 2017.

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