In two weeks Chris Hornbrook will be back on the road with Senses Fail, but you probably also know him as one of the founding members of metalcore powerhouse Poison The Well. Since that band went on an extended hiatus back in 2009, Chris has played live and done studio work for a shitload of cool bands, including Trash Talk, Sleigh Bells, Big Black Delta,... In short, this guy basically gets around more than crabs. Here's an email interview we did with him... we promise you won't feel itchy afterwards.
PRT: Do you still remember the very first time you decided you wanted to be a drummer?
Chris: Yeah, I was around the age of twelve and I remember just wanting to beat the shit out the heads. See how long it would take for me to shred through them, totally preteen aggression. I also recall there being a kid in the neighborhood that owned a shitter drum kit that he wanted to sell. I got super exciting and ran home to ask my parents if they would buy it for me. Somehow they were cool with the idea and we picked them up. $200 dollars well spent, if you ask me.
PRT: You cite influences such as Matt Cameron, Dave Abbruzezese and Dave Grohl. What is about those three you admire exactly?
Chris: They were all huge influences when I was growing up and learning how to drum. Cameron had the groove and finesse, Abbruzezese had amazing feel and touch behind the kit, and Grohl had the power and this simplistic musical approach. I felt like those guys were great influences when it came to song writing within a pop/rock context. I feel like it’s really important to know what to put where and how much or how little to play to make the song work. All those guys possessed that in different ways that really appealed to me when I was first starting out.
PRT: Since Poison The Well called it a day in 2010, you have played live with and did studio work for a shitload of great bands. Do you prefer this way of working rather than being a permanent member of just one band?
Chris: Thank you! I do prefer that, to be honest. It allows me to jump around and work with different people in different musical situations. That, in turn, allows me to grow and learn more as a drummer and musician. Pretty paramount, in my opinion.
PRT: Because it provides more stability or because it’s more challenging?
Chris: The truth of the matter is that there isn’t too much stability in being a musician, especially when you jump around from gig to gig as a hired gun. You really have to commit to it for the love of the craft. If not, you’re going to leave for another line of work once things get real hard. It’s challenging for sure, different people want you to play different things and you’re constantly learning new songs to play. That can sometimes take you out of your comfort zone and make you learn new ideas and tricks.
PRT: When you are asked for a new project, do you bring your own style to the table or do you listen to the music and play what is needed?
Chris: I’ve generally been told that I get hired because they think how I play would be appropriate for the music. That’s super cool and, of course, very flattering.
PRT: How would you describe your own style?
Chris: That’s not an easy question to answer as I have a hard time looking at myself from an outside perspective. I guess I would say I have a very musical approach to what I do with a good feel what is needed. I have good groove and feel to add to songs and help the idea come across the best way it can to whomever is listening to the music. I guess, simply put, I give it exactly what it needs.
PRT: Poison The Well played two reunion shows back in May and at the time it was said that there were no further plans. Just curious… has that changed since then?
Chris: I mean, yes and no. Nothing is planned, but we aren’t opposed to anything if the offer and timing is right.
PRT: You released some incredibly good albums with Poison The Well. My favorite would have to be “The Tropic Rot”, which I feel is completely underrated. Why do you think it is that album never got the attention it deserved?
Chris: Thank you, I appreciate that. That’s actually my favorite record, too. I think it would be bold of me to proclaim that it is underrated, as I had a big hand in the writing and the making of the record. I think I’m a little too deep into it to really look at the impact the record had or didn’t have. All I know is that it’s my favorite one out of the lot and that arguably, it’s the best PTW we’ve released to date.
PRT: I read that you are working on a new side-project with Beau from Saosin. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Chris: Him and I started on something, but as of now, it’s pretty dead in the water. Maybe we will pick back up at some point, but nothing currently is happening.