Matt Greiner is the drummer in August Burns Red, a phenomenal metal band, from Manheim, Pennsylvania.
Formed in 2003, the group began their first performances while most of the members were still in high school. Matt brings a unique take on metal drumming with some of the most innovative playing in the business. He is also a strong advocate of hearing protection. We were lucky to grab some of Matt’s time and chat about everything from his start in music to his work with emerging artists.
Hi Matt, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us about how you got your start playing music?
I started playing piano when I was 10 years old. I took lessons for 4 years and quit to start playing drums. My first drum was a snare drum, which I practiced on for a year before getting a 5-piece drum-kit.
You bring a really cool flair to metal drumming, how did you develop your style?
I was friends with a guy in Anneville, PA. named Joe Walmer who played for a metal band named Blind Influence. I would go to his band practices every Sunday and would be so inspired to go home afterwards and practice drums and progress as a musician. Over the years I’ve honed that style and made it my own.
It’s really loud behind the kit, especially with the kind of music you play. What are some ways you protect your hearing?
It is really loud! I used to wear earplugs but switched to IEMs and haven’t looked back since.
When did you start using IEMs?
I started using IEMs in 2007 when I purchased a set of UE7s from Ultimate Ears
Did you use any kind of hearing protection before IEMs?
I used earplugs before IEMs but wanted to start performing to a metronome and so I made the switch to Ultimate Ears headphones.
Do you feel like IEMs affected how you play?
IEMs allowed me to cut out some of the external volume and allow me to hear what I needed to hear. In the beginning I was focused on playing along to a metronome. Today we have a 20 channel mixer and have the ability to listen to every single instrument being used on stage!
I see that you also teach drums, do you talk to young drummers about their hearing?
It’s important to me that young musicians know the importance of quality headphones/ear protection when performing. Playing drums is a more enjoyable experience when you can hear what you’re doing and have your hearing tomorrow and next year to continue doing what you love.
What are some of the other benefits you think IEMs bring to the table?
IEMs help me feel comfortable on stage. If I don’t have them I feel stripped down and weak as a musician.
You work with a lot of emerging artists, do you think it’s important to give back?
It’s very important to give back. In fact, I always tell people that it’s always better to give than to receive. There’s no greater joy than to pass on your gift to others around you.
Who are some of your favorite new bands?
I have been listening to Cassadee Pope, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Switchfoot, and Christmas music
Thanks Matt. And Merry Christmas! You can check out some of Matt’s incredible drumming work here and here. Visit the August Burns Red Website, and be sure to catch them on The Frozen Flame Tour this winter.