"Sonically, it may not seem as heavy as other stuff I play, but it's still intense," says drummer Cathy Marchese of her work with Kelly and the Kellygirls, specifically the new album, The Deep Ending. "Even the parts that seem laid-back, I'm still laying into it. I put my signature where I can."
Marchese worked with Kelly Clipperton previously in the hard-rock-flavoured project Merkury Burn. "Kelly has access to great drummers, but he wanted a more solid beat," Marchese says. "He knows what I'm like, and he asked me for a reason. He wanted something . . . more . . . more balls — well, that's not exactly accurate," she says with a laugh. "More of a pad to launch his ideas from? He described what he was going for and I thought, 'What am I getting into?'"
Marchese likes to hit hard, but she also treasures the creative process, and the Kellygirls offer her that. "Kelly tells me what kind of sound he's trying to get. He might send me some samples — not to emulate, but more in terms of an overall feel. For one song he referenced an Amy Winehouse song, and it brought out something in the feeling. He's not stringent, but there are definite points where he says, 'I need two floor-tom hits in this bar.' I crafted the parts myself, and he tells me what he likes and what he doesn't. I also play in Random Order, Crackpuppy and a couple of cover bands that don't really play in the GTA. Those three bands are my core. Playing original music is my favourite. Nothing beats it."
The arrangements on The Deep Ending are complicated and intricate, but all the parts are crystal clear. "The production is pretty amazing," Marchese says. "The drums sound fricking amazing. The band really captured it. I keep blasting it through my speakers. In between Slayer, I take a break to listen to myself. 'Going Going Gone' is my favourite track. I've got visuals like the cantina in Star Wars. It feels like it's falling apart, but it's all solidly held together."
The Deep Ending is musically ambitious and draws on a vast array of stylistic and artistic influences, and turning a complicated concept album into a live show can be a daunting process. "Kelly's live performances are a show. Not just a group of musicians playing instruments. It's an entire production, an enchanted multimedia show with lots of guest performers. I'm doing some fricking marching snare-drum stuff for, like, two minutes. I'm used to sitting behind a kit and just obliterating it, not standing out there with a snare. But drumming is who I am. It's not what I do any more. I'm either dead or drumming."
Read our review of The Deep Ending.