TOM TOM M AG A ZINE : HOW DID YOU GE T INVOLV ED WI T H CIR Q UE A N D W H AT AR E YOUR SUGGEST IONS FO R S OMEONE IN T ER EST ED IN L ANDIN G A SIMIL AR K IND OF GIG? Didi Negron: I didn’t really have to audition because I got scouted. He saw me online so he had all my information and videos set up for the board and directors. When I answered their email saying, yes, I’m interested, they considered me along with fifteen other candidates who had auditioned. So, I’m not really sure what’s involved with the audition process. I do know there are some pieces that Cirque requires you to perform and there are calls where you can actually audition for Cirque in person, but for me I didn’t have to do that. The only thing I had to do was send an mp3 of a song of my choice and my resume. The whole process took about two months and then I got the call. WH EN I SAW YOUR SH OW YOU TOLD ME T H AT YOU’V E NE V ER MIS SED A CIR Q UE PE R FO R M A N CE , IS T H AT ST ILL T HE C ASE ? Yeah, still! And I’ve been on tour for around two and half years now, so that’s over 720 something plus shows! We started with 8 show weeks, but we’ve had some 10 show weeks. When we have those I literally have to talk to myself, to pace myself throughout the week. And it’s weird, I lose track of the days. YO UR COST UME IS Q UI T E SP LENDID. YOU TOLD ME YO U USED TO H AV E TO WE AR A CR A Z Y WIG AS WELL? It was a lime green wig filled with spikes, and some yellow, purple and pink. I had to watch my clearance, especially going into my drum booth, it was pretty tight. With the wig as well I had this superhero looking makeup. I had lime green going across my face and some yellow, and it was pretty cool. But they decided, okay, let’s have more of a natural look to match the rest of the band. S O, T H IS IS T HE FIR ST IN C AR N AT ION OF AM ALUN A AND YO U’ V E BEEN IN VOLV ED WI T H I T FR OM T HE START ? Yes! And they have had female percussionists on other Cirque shows before, but it’s pretty cool to be the first female drummer. And in the first all-female band.
S OM E BAND M EM BER S FLY U P TO T H E CEILIN G WH ILE PL AYIN G . AR E YOU GL AD YOU D ON’ T H AV E TO D O T H AT ? Oh, I would love to do that! Trust me, during the creative I tried to convince everyone I could do like a Travis Barker thing, where I’m spinning. Or Buddy Rich used to do stuff like that. He’d be upside down and they’d spin him. I tried to pitch that out to them, but it didn’t work. It was pretty interesting, being part of the creation from the beginning, there have been so many changes. Originally I was supposed to come out on stage more, but the drum kit was too loud for the tent. At one point I did have a drum solo where they wheeled me out on stage, but it was so loud I would have blown everyone’s ears out. So then we just decided to stay in the back with the drumkit, I really don’t mind, because the sound is so much better. H AV E YOU LE AR NED AN Y CIR CUS T R ICKS WH ILE ON TOU R ? I’ve learned how to do handstands, I’ve learned how to walk on the tightwire. I’ve been working on my juggling skills, because my goal is to juggle with drumsticks, and it’s really hard! So, yeah, working in the circus I have learned a few tricks here and there. WH AT H AV E YOU LE AR NED AS A D R U M M ER FR OM T H IS GIG? WH AT ’ S D IFFER EN T A BOU T T H IS GIG AS O PPOS ED TO TOU R IN G WI T H A BAND ? D O YOU H AV E TO GO M OR E OF F OF S IG H T CU ES R AT H ER T H AN S OU ND ? It’s pretty cool actually. Being used to just performing with a band and that being the main thing, now I’m performing and also playing for acrobats. So I have to be in sync with them. Watching them every night, and catching their next move. For each artist, I kind of know their acts, I learn their tricks. I study their body movements so I know what their next move is so I can enhance it and do a nice little fill. Not only do I have to pay attention to the music and what I’m playing, but I have to be aware of what is happening on stage. They’re not worried about the music. They are following it to some extent, but they’re mainly focused on what they’re doing. They can be completely out of time when doing a trick. So I kind of have to split my brain in two: keep the tempo going with the music while catching their little changes every night. It helps my skills as a drummer and keeps me on my toes. I get asked this a lot, ‘so, do you get tired of playing the same music every night?’ And really, for me, it’s different every night. That’s what keeps it exciting. TO M TOM MA GA Z INE