$6 | € 6 | £ 6 DISPLAY FALL 2016
Bloc Party | Las Pinas | Weird Habits | Power Up Your Drums | Sandunes | Guide to Rio | Chelsea Wolfe
CONTRIBUTORS FOUNDER | PUBLISHER Mindy Seegal Abovitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) MANAGING EDITOR Liz Tracy CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marisa Kurk REVIEWS EDITOR Rebecca DeRosa (email@example.com) TECH EDITOR JJ Jones
ILLUSTRATOR Jenny Tang
WRITER Aiko Masubuchi
WRITER Miro Justad
WEB DESIGN INTERN Lindsey Anderson
INTERN Pippa Kelmenson
PRINT WRITERS Shaina Joy Machlus, Liz Tracy, Aiko Masubuchi, Valerie Veteto, Gemma Fleet, Miro Justad, Lorena Perez Batista, Julie Sousa, Cynthia Tsay, Lisa Henderson, Zoë Brecher, Sandra Vu PHOTOGRAPHERS Tanya Prasad, Priscilla C. Scott, Noah Feck, Shawn Ryan, Conner Lyons, Lauren Kallen ILLUSTRATORS Jenny Tang, Na'gee Ray, Lola Wilson-Kolp, Jee Young Sim TECH WRITERS Vanessa Dominique, Morgan Doctor, JJ Jones, Lindsay Artkop, Kristen Gleeson-Prata MUSIC & MEDIA REVIEWS Carolina Enriquez Swan, Stephen Otto Perry, Kate Hoos, Nick Gordon, Sto Len, Linnea LaMon, Krishanti Daryanani, Katherine Gerberich GEAR REVIEWS Elijah Navarro, Lindsay Artkop, Shaina Joy Machlus
WEB WEB MANAGER Maura Filoromo TOM TOM SHOP MANAGER Susan Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) WEB CODERS Capisco Marketing WEB WRITERS Miro Justad, Aiko Masubuchi, Shaina Joy Machlus, John Carlow, Sophie Zambrano, Christine Pallon
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ON THE COVER: Bianca Richardson by Shawn Ryan of Salt Drums
THE MISSION Tom Tom Magazine ® is the only magazine in the world dedicated to female and gender non-conforming drummers. We are a quarterly print magazine, website, social media community, IRL community, events, drum academy, custom gear shop and more. Tom Tom seeks to raise awareness about female percussionists from all over the world in hopes to inspire women and girls of all ages to drum. We intend to strengthen and build the fragmented community of female musicians globally and provide the music industry and the media with role models to create an equal opportunity landscape for any musician. We cover drummers of all ages, races, styles, skill levels, abilities, sexualities, creeds, class, sizes and notoriety. Tom Tom Magazine is more than just a magazine; it’s a movement.
Photo by Lauren Kallen
The unshakeable in-your-face teen band Badmouth, based out of Brooklyn, New York, put together a mixtape for us (p.11), while our prolific Barcelona contributor, Shaina Joy Machlus, begins with a conversation with her own mother and grandmother as part of a larger investigation on what it takes to be heard as a female and being “loud in a world that anticipates our silence” (p.38). Plus, don’t miss “Tips to Power Up,” your essential guide to playing louder on your drums, put together by our trio of adept tech writers Kristen, Lindsay, and JJ (p.62). In other Tom Tom news, we have a new tagline! You may have noticed that our cover now reads: Drummers | Music | Feminism. We made this change to be inclusive of our trans and gender non-conforming friends and communities. We added in “Music” to loosen our tight grip around discussing drums exclusively and added “Feminism” to remind ourselves and our readers that our principle goals in creating this magazine lie in social change, politics, and activism. Let us know what you think. And before I sign off, I need to pay a special thank you to our incredible managing editor, Liz Tracy. When we went into production for this issue, Liz was six months pregnant and living in Miami with the new threat of Zika percolating literally at her doorstep. While working on this, Liz packed up her house, left her day job, and moved out of state to secure the future of her child—and throughout all of this, she didn’t miss a single Tom Tom deadline. I have no words other than thank you and WOW. Hope she can hear our virtual round of applause from her new home. And wishing her the easiest of labors! To a future filled with all voices heard loud and clear,
Mindy Seegal Abovitz (Publisher / Creator)
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
THE THEME FOR THIS ISSUE IS LOUD. We chose it, partly because drums are inherently loud, but mostly because we, as women, are taught to be seen and not heard. And so, in this issue, we celebrate the loud women who both beat the drums and beat the odds in life. Women who live loudly and play loudly with intention.
BADMOUTH MIXTAPE 11 CHICK QUEST 14
HIBISCUS REFRESHER ROAD SODA 16
WEIRD HABITS 18 LAS PINAS 24
GUIDE TO RIO 32 GETTING LOUD 38
BLOC PARTY 44
JESS GOWRIE OF CHELSEA WOLFE 54
TIPS TO POWER UP 62
CARDBOARD DRUM 72 Photo of Hoop by Conner Lyons
SHOW US UR KITS 74
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR I was recently in Portland and visited Drum Revival store on the eastside. I was lucky enough to get chatting with one of your staff and suggested I get in touch with you. I am only new to drumming however I have a few contacts in the industry which I may be able to use. My day job is a public servant for the government so I know how to navigate systems! Btw love your philosophy and love what you're doing! I have two girls 4 & 6 who are keen beginners too which makes Tom Tom even more important to my family. Cheers Janeene Preston-Bennett
I love drums, the loud sound that is created by the drum is as if someone breaks the walls that separates us humans from one another. For a woman to play the drums is power. The loud sound makes one look and here on the drums we are strong and bold. Love, Itta Abovitz
Thank you! Tom Tom is, by far, the best drum magazine around. Thanks again. Brandon Moss
As a drummer—albeit a dude—love Tom Tom. Good stuff :)
$6 | € 6 | £ 6 DISPLAY SUMMER 2016
Hi Tom Tom,
T H E H E A LT H I S S U E
Carla Azar by El-P | The Voice’s Gisella Giurfa | Ty Braxton | Guide to Philly | Karen Carpenter
—Andy Gehrz Hi all! Thanks for creating such wonderful issues and for showing the world one print magazine at a time that women are just as badass as men. Just kidding. We're better. :) Thanks,
Hi, I love the magazine and the great writing in it. All best wishes! Clementine
CONTACT US 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 email@example.com hi@tomtommag
YOUR TICKET TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Introducing the New Jen Ledger Signature Stick
When we sat down with Jen, she said her stick needed to deliver the power of an “extreme” model, with quick feel and clarity. Starting with a 3A, we beefed up the length and diameter, and created a unique medium-length taper that flanges back out into a bold tear drop tip, providing great response, power and clarity. Because next-level music requires next-level thinking. Try something new. See where it takes you. Jen Ledger | SKILLET
Be sure to check out Skillet’s new album RISE. VICFIRTH.COM ©2016 Vic Firth Company
Compiled by Tom Tom Web Staff For more log on to tomtommag.com
PLAYLIST TANGERINE'S CURRENT FALL PLAYLIST INTERVIEW NISENNENMONDAI by Aiko Masubuchi
Tokyo-based instrumental trio of drummer Sayaka Himeno, bassist Yuri Zaikawa, and guitarist Masako Takada, Nisennenmondai, dropped its newest EP, #6, on September 2, 2016. The limited edition vinyl features an exclusive bonus cut from their latest fulllength #N/A sessions along with a remix by the underground legend Chris Carter, best known for his role in Throbbing Gristle. Watching Nisennenmondai in action, it’s hard not to hold your breath in awe of the musical communication that happens between the three musicians as they create tightly intertwined music that grooves and grows and shapeshifts over time. You asked to be interviewed via email specifically so that you can all answer together. What is your working relationship like? What are each of your “roles” in the band beyond your instruments? You have been playing together since the ‘90s, do you think that there is a secret to how long you guys have lasted as a band? Sayaka: Other than being the drummer, I deal with the administrative work. The secret to lasting a long time, probably that everybody in the band is a hard worker. Yuri: We're probably lasting a long time because we didn't gather to start a band but rather, we were drawn to each other by each of our unique personalities that extend beyond music. The band Nisennenmondai is a result of that. Masako: I mainly compose and in regards to creating, I work with sound editing and am also involved in mixing. I think that our very different personalities are the secret to our longevity as a band. When you create music together, what are the things that you agree upon and what are the things that are left unsaid? Sayaka: Usually, we begin by deciding on a rhythm on the drums and bass and then the rest is free-for-all. Can you talk specifically about #6? Masako: #6 was created as a song to play before ”A” in our live shows. We decided on the rhythm and progression together. We discussed the atmosphere and feelings we wanted to evoke and through that decided on a rhythm that fit these ideas. *Excerpted from full interview on tomtommag.com
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
Tangerine is a trio from Seattle, Washington, that makes pop-infused rock ‘n’ roll. Justad sisters Marika and Miro met guitarist Toby Kuhn in high school and the three reunited in 2013 to found their current group. Obsessed with ‘80s inflected guitars, complex instrumentals, and pop melodies, Tangerine exists at the crossroads of indie and mainstream, influenced as much by fashion, film, and pop culture as by their favorite musicians -- The Clash, Sky Ferreira, and Mazzy Star to name a few. We asked the band what was in heavy rotation on their playlists right now, and this is what they shared. Miro is listening to: "The Noose of Jah City"- King Krule "Plastic"- Moses Sumney "1973"- Fauna Shade "Evening Star"- Fripp and Eno "So Far To Go"- Common With D'Angelo Marika is listening to: "Kids"- Stranger Things Soundtrack Vol 1 "Friendship"- Stranger Things Soundtrack Vol 1 "Age Of Consent"- New Order "I'm A Man Too"- Death Valley Girls "Show Me"- Kristin Kontrol Toby is listening to: "Goodbye Old Friend"- The Devil Makes Three "I Don't Know You Anymore" - Bob Mould "Hardcore Days"- Aqueduct "Get Enough"- Ivy "I Can't Help It"- Royal Flush This past spring, Tangerine released its EP, Sugar Teeth, and embarked on its first full U.S. tour. The band will also be joining SALES on a West Coast tour in November 2016.
RECIPES FROM THE ROAD
VOMITFACE DRUMMER PREETMA SINGH ASSAULTED AT OSHEAGA MUSIC FESTIVAL
DANISH MAC 'N' CHEESE WITH VELVET VOLUME
While incidents of police brutality have been occurring on a daily basis in America, a similar instance of overly aggressive, irresponsible and highly apathetic cops targeting black and brown bodies can be seen at the OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival in Montreal.
Velvet Volume is a Danish band comprised of three Lachmi siblings: twins Noa and Naomi and their little sister Nataja. Since their first show in 2013, the three sisters have been making an entrance on the Danish music scene with their cool attitude, authentic old school rock’n’roll songs, and their unique, raw sound.
During the extremely popular festival, Preetma Singh, drummer in the band Vomitface, was physically assaulted by festival security. The incident began when OSHEAGA security threw her bandmate and boyfriend, Jared, down stairs. Upon the realization that he was in danger, Singh urged security not to hurt Jared and proceeded to help him. Her approach was met by festival security putting her in a headlock, causing her to black out. The band called 911 with hopes of having a non-OSHEAGA police team at the scene, but their 911 call sent more festival security who refused to report the assault and threatened to arrest the band. Singh recounts the aftermath to i-D Magazine, “I remember being so scared trying to find our way out of that hell. Meanwhile the security guard was immediately whisked away and protected. No one at all even let us speak. I have bruises all over my arms, my neck is still sore and my voice is hoarse. No one has been in contact with us since to address the issue let alone apologize.” Singh’s experience has brought OSHEAGA’s silence in the face of her assault and countless others to light: Melanie Doucet, for example, was drugged at the Montreal festival in 2016. OSHEAGA representatives finally addressed Singh’s assault by talking over her, questioning her version of the story, and finally hanging up on Singh after telling her to call back when she wanted help. Preetma Singh’s assault at OSHEAGA makes it clear that the festival is more known for its hazardous conditions than its musical lineup.
GEAR DIARY GEAR ADVICE FOR SUBJECTS OF MANSPLAINING By Sandra Vu, Drummer of Dum Dum Girls and SISU
As women, we develop a keen radar to constantly gauge the intention of people who approach us. This is a thing women have to deal with constantly, but the silver lining is that if you can learn to navigate it, it’ll make you stronger. If you can pick up the patterns of what’s going on in your radar, you’ll feel empowered too.
We asked them what their favorite food to make on the road is and Noa sent us her “Classic Wannabe Macaroni and Cheese with a Danish Twist” for two. It’s a beautiful symphony of macaroni and creamy cheese sauce with a special Danish ingredient. INGREDIENTS: 100g cheese (preferably cheddar and parmigiano) 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 3-4 tbsp butter, 2 cups cold milk, 1 cup macaroni, more butter, 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper and salt and a handful of ramson leaves (a Danish herb that combines the flavors of garlic and spring onion) 1. Cook the macaroni in a small pan according to pack instructions, then drain (save some of the pasta water!). 2. While the pasta is boiling, rinse the soil from the ramson leaves and blend until it has a lighter liquid consistency. 3. Make the cheese-herb sauce: Heat the butter in a thick bottomed pan on low heat. Add the flour while using a wired whisk to stir. While stirring, pour the milk and boiled pasta water in a gentle stream. Keep stirring until no lumps remain, and the sauce is thick and creamy. 4. Add cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper to the sauce and mix until the sauce looks amazing. 5. Mix the pasta in the sauce and serve. 6. Enjoy!
We typically strive to feel like colleagues rather than students. If people come at me all drum Yoda, or talking down, it can definitely be annoying, but my advice is to try not to let it make you feel small. Be respectful but always stand your ground. If sometimes it’s over the top and aimed to cut you down, then hey, you can’t help it. A “fuck off” may be in order. You can choose your battles and decide what’s petty. If you cultivate your own power and confidence, people will take notice. It’s rare that a guy’s intention is to “mansplain” the virtues of drums, or tell you what you’re doing wrong. What’s more common is someone who wants to broadcast that he himself is a drummer, usually in a manner like a peacock. Great, dude! You did it! For example, some venue crew once remarked that my minimal kit was like a “girl’s drum set.” We had a laugh to ourselves and talked some shit. If you live in a world where these types of distinctions still matter, I ultimately feel more pity than anger. It crossed over from being offensive to absurd, and funny! It can be a bonding experience to gang up against the world. No one will mess with you if you project an “I got this” energy. If you own it with a professional attitude, brush off the awkward conversations and tear it up on the kit. You won’t have to say anything verbally. Mic drop. P.S. Whatever you do, try not to piss off the sound guy until after you perform! Check out tomtommag.com to see Sandra Vu’s full kit!
INTERVIEW HOOP MUSIC by Shaina Joy Machlus What do you do? How do you identify yourself? We're people and artists who make honest music about the way we feel. Do you feel “heard” by society? Why or why not? To be “heard,” do you think you or society must change? If so, how?
Photo by Conner Lyons
We feel heard by our friends and fellow artists around us, probably because we've made space for each other intentionally. We're lucky to be a part of the Seattle music community because it makes an effort to make space for marginalized or silenced voices, unlike society at-large. Mainstream media focuses so much on money and is often unwilling to represent projects led by queer women and people of color, since to them, it feels financially risky. Is being “loud” a physical or mental process for you? Why? Being loud is more of a mental state for us, right now. When we play shows, we're tuned into the space the audience occupies and what our music might be doing to their brains and feelings, which in a sense, echoes much louder than decibels alone. How do you define success? We think our realest success has been in being very present in our music, in playing music that feels relevant to these exact moments in our lives instead of creating around an idea of future relevancy. Forming friendships with people who are receptive to our music and art is also a success, and a reason alone to keep playing. Let us know if being “loud” is an important part of your identity. And if so, how and why? If it's “loud” as in meaning to be heard, we think singing about emotional process and movement like we do gives listeners the opportunity to feel and heal something as well. It's also powerful for us since performance is a way to assert our existence.
CLOCKING IN BRANDY RETTIG: ENGINEER BY DAY / DRUMMER BY NIGHT Brandy Rettig, a 39-year-old woman from Las Vegas, Nevada, living in Seattle, Washington, spends her days working in the field of transportation engineering and her nights playing on the used 5-piece drum set in her basement. Fifteen years of experience as a senior road engineer in construction and inspection for local government has led Brandy to design and build roads in King County, Washington, and to be intricately involved in the public relations and communications local projects. Brandy spends her time and effort at work helping create technological efficiencies in local government to effectively and economically preserve critical road systems. Brandy is also a strong and vocal supporter of women and people of color in the field of engineering as well as in music. After ending her decade long speed skating career as a founding member of the Rat City Rollergirls roller derby league in Seattle, Brandy picked up a used kit and a few pairs of sticks for the first time. For the past three years she has been learning how to play drums, and hasn’t stopped banging since. Brandy finds that the leadership skills that drummers have—to set the tempo of the music and help guide their bandmates through a song’s structure—transfer into her work life, when she is called on to lead teams in construction projects. Both engineering and drumming have a need for establishing a basic solid foundation upon which creativity and imagination can be built in endless combinations. Check Brandy out in her band, The Pissing Match.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
M I X TA P E
BADMOUTH LISTEN TO WHAT BADMOUTH SPINS Illustration by Na'gee Ray Badmouth is a sharp indie band of raging teenagers from Brooklyn, New York. To say they have a whole lot on their minds is an understatement. The band includes Frankie Euringer on guitar, Isabella Reyes on drums and ukulele, guitarist Hale Sheffield, bassist Annaliese Rozos, and drummer-guitarist Isabelle Oleksiuk. This new band formed in the summer of 2015. It just released its first single, “Resting Bitch Face.” It directly addresses street harassment faced by many girls in New York and elsewhere around the world. Badmouth's approach to this threat is to lead with a middle finger first. The members are unapologetic about their right to be who they want both musically and personally. We asked them to put together a mixtape of music that’s on their radar right now so we can get more immersed in their incredibly badass world.
"Is This It" - The Strokes "Heartbreaks + Setbacks" - Thundercat "Have Mercy" - Eryn Allen Kane "Mansion Song" - Kate Nash "Lips Like Sugar" - Echo & The Bunnymen "Mexican Radio" - Wall Of Voodoo "Unfucktheworld" - Angel Olson "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" - Lauryn Hill Anything by Girlpool & Mitski
Photo by Noah Feck
I THINK IN LIFE WE GET IN TROUBLE TOO MUCH FOR BEING LOUD AND MAKING NOISE. DRUMMING IS THE PL ACE WHERE I CAN GO TO DO THOSE THINGS AND IT IS APPROPRIATE. SOMETIMES IT IS HARDER TO BE QUIET THAN TO BE LOUD. RESTRAINT IS OFTEN MY CHALLENGE. I AM CONSTANTLY ACCIDENTALLY SL AMMING DOORS AND DRAWERS IN MY APARTMENT. SOMETIMES EVEN WHEN I KNOW IT IS GOING TO SL AM, AND I HAVE TIME TO GRAB IT, I LET IT SL AM BECAUSE IT IS JUST SO SATISFYING. IT’S LIKE A TINY MOMENT OF SATISFACTION AND REBELLION.
—JUDE MIQUELI, TENDERFOOT
CHICK QUEST Name: Iris Rauh
Age: 31 IN 2014, RYAN WHITE, AN AMERICAN EXPAT LIVING IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA, and Iris Rauh, equipped with an electric drum and no experience, started making jams in Gear Set-Up: Gretsch Catalina Club order to hook their friends up with some dance music. Thus, they created the band once Street kit, Dixon Artisan snare, Sonor called Lee Van Cleef, named after a star of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. They mixed SpaArmoni cymbals ghetti Western sounds with post-punk, indie goodness. Eventually, the group settled with a City where you live: Vienna, Austria more feminine moniker, Chick Quest, a nod to â€˜60s B-movies. Rauh kept her chord proCity where you were born: Feldbach, Austria gressions simple and drum beats repetitive, letting all of their good energy make the song stick. They debuted Vs. Galore in 2015, and added bassist Magdalena Kraev to their duo. During the mastering of the album, they rounded out the foursome with trumpeter and keys man Marcus Racz. The band is all about DIY promotions, which worked well for them, getting Chick Quest mentioned in Pitchfork and garnering them an honorable mention as one of six best albums of the year by Austrian paper Der Standard. We asked Rauh to draw her responses in this Chick Quest visual interview. [Disclaimer, we borrowed this concept from The New York Times. Check out their incredible illustrated interviews of Grimes when you can.]
Draw the members of your band and color yourself in.
Where was your favorite place to go as a child?
What was your first instrument?
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
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What is the most important thing to you?
What is your favorite thing about tour?
Who is your favorite musician?
What inspires you?
What is your favorite animal? ISSUE 27:
RECIPES FROM THE ROAD
hibiscus refresher Recipe by Wharves' Gemma Fleet with illustrations by Jee Young Sim
"This is my favourite party drink as I'm a teetotaler. It makes a good mixer too!" —Gemma Fleet
INGREDIENTS One cup of dried hibiscus flowers Two limes 3/4 cup of sugar Fizzy water Ice
STEPS · Add 1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers to 3 cups of water in a pan with the juice of 1 lime and 3/4 cup of sugar. · Bring to a boil then turn off heat and let it steep for 10 mins. · Leave to cool and serve with fizzy water, ice, and more lime.
Wharves’ drummer Marion Andrau, bassist Gemma Fleet, and guitarist Dearbhla Minogue are talented female musicians that hail from France, England, and Ireland. This international crew makes up a rocking threesome with no Brexit in sight. In fact, they have a new album coming out on Gringo Records on October 28, 2016.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
HERE ARE FIVE WEIRD HABITS THAT KEEP US CREATIVE ON THE DRUMS by Miro Justad Illustrations by Lola Wilson-Kolp
SO MUCH OF THE STORYTELLING that goes into an album or a song comes from drumming dynamics and changes. This includes a lack of changes, which can be a creative statement, as well. Itâ€™s important to convey stories in original ways through our practice. There are the standard ways of staying inspired to create new material, like watching other drummers perform, taking lessons, or reading notation from a groovebook. But the random moments in life when you are not necessarily drumming can be when the magic happens. Sometimes, I subconsciously click my teeth together while I am driving and realize that I am doing a variation of a bossa nova song that I have yet to play. One time, a beat even came to me while I was sleeping. I woke up with a strange rhythm ingrained in my brain. These experiences made me want to ask different women I had the pleasure of drumming with on the road or playing with in Seattle about their unconventional ways of keeping things weird. I love watching each of them explore their unique styles live and make each moment on stage better than the one before.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
LEENA JOSHI HOOP (SEATTLE)
As a self-taught drummer, a lot of my inspiration comes purely from making mistakes and having no real 'book' knowledge of what beats and fills come standard in rock. I feel like this lets me play more, since I don't have impulses to do certain fills at certain parts of a song. Right now, I'm inspired by sounds of old plumbing or pipes, booting up sounds of modems, and cooking rhythms like chopping or stirring. I've also been letting beats bleed over from whatever genre of music I find myself listening to most; right now that's a lot of top ‘90s rap, hip-hop, and trap. It's especially fun rolling those beats around into a sound that works for an amplified alt-rock band and seeing where that can take you.
KAYLEE PRESTON BLEACH PARTY, RABBLE RABBLE (CHICAGO)
There are many ways in which a drummer can be inspired to create beats or rhythms that are new to them. Other than the obvious method of looking through drum books and practicing what’s written in them, there are a few ways that I get inspired to go straight to the drum set. At work, I do a lot of walking. I use the rhythm of my steps as a 4-count, and I kind of just let my hands go crazy on the tops of my thighs. The cool thing about this is that it’s very private. Any onlookers just think that I’m dilly-dallying randomly with my hands, but in my head, I’m working out some new beats that I might just debut later at band rehearsal. I live in Chicago, so I do a lot of driving, and that means I sit in a lot of traffic. I try to keep my music fresh while I am driving, listening to as much new music as I can. One of the best ways to find inspiration is to listen to new musicians express their new ideas. What’s different about listening in the car by myself is that I can tap it out on the steering wheel. I’m pretty high-strung, so I always need something to do with my hands. I can really go crazy on that steering wheel if I’m in bad enough traffic, or if the music is just too good!
KELLY FLEEK SPIDER FERNS (SEATTLE)
Now that I play a Wavedrum rather than a standard kit, I find myself listening for the spaces in between the larger beats in the music and my vocals to push the mix further. Downsizing the Spider Ferns to a duo enriched my opportunities to influence our beats more than I could have imagined. I have an intrinsically rhythmic manner of dropping a vocal that often guides the tone and timbre of my drumming. I see the beats I create as an accent to my voice and the layers of heavier beats in our mixes as the scaffolding I build from. The result is a great marriage of rhythmic harmonies that are fantastically challenging and exciting.
MARA APPEL CANDACE (PORTLAND)
For me, inspiration for drum parts and rhythms is all about attitude and the song at hand. It sets my soul on fire when I see or hear something with a distinctive strut, attitude, boldness, or truth. And that is something I’ll be searching for for the rest of my life with drums and songs. I see it in weirdo people, piles of garbage, great jams, bad paintings, natural phenomena, anything that encapsulates the ridiculous patterns of life. “I feel like in my drum arrangements, it’s my job to highlight, support, and be honest so the song and the vibe can exist and flourish.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
FRANKIE MARS DUNNER FLESH PANTHER, MR. MA'AM (CHICAGO)
I really enjoy listening to different accents from all over the world. I find myself analyzing the rhythm and flow of phrases and words when spoken. When I hear an accent, I can hear the beat to it. The sentence can be so rhythmic. Sometimes words are slurred sometimes they are sped up and mashed together. Take a group of people from different areas and have them recite the same sentence. The flow and the rhythm of that sentence is going to be different but the phrase is still the same. Imagine that sentence is a measure and the words are the beats. Imagine all of the variations of beats! I really like to manipulate my vocals and the rhythm of the words around my drumming when I am singing. Hearing the flow of words in different accents really inspires me to create my own accent with my music.â€?
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IN THE GARAGE THE BUENOS AIRES-BRED GARAGE DUO LAS PIÑAS’ NAME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PINEAPPLES by Lorena Perez Batista photos courtesy of band
Argentine twosome, Las Piñas, is made up of twenty-somethings Sofia Cardich on guitar and singer Antonela Périgo on drums. They first started making their surfy sounds together in Cardich’s brother’s garage. They were just having fun, but Périgo says, “I’d never thought about playing drums, but when I sat there, I immediately felt a connection with the instrument. Since that moment, I have never stopped playing.” We spoke with the duo from Buenos Aires about their origin story, singing about romance, and their return to regular life after a chaotic tour.
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DESPUÉS DE TOCAR VARIAS VECES NOS DIMOS CUENTA DE QUE HABÍAMOS COMPUESTO ALGUNAS CANCIONES. PENSAMOS QUE TAL VEZ PODRÍAMOS FORMAR UNA BANDA ISSUE 27:
Is there a story behind the name Las Piñas? We started the band and didn’t know what to call ourselves. Every name we’d chosen was used. After thinking for almost a week, we had an idea, to open Google Maps and write in the search every letter of the alphabet, like A, B, and look for every city with that letter. Finally, we put the L and Las Piñas appeared, and we loved it. It’s a city from the Philippines, and that’s our name now. Comenzamos a tocar, teníamos las canciones y nos faltaba un nombre para ser una banda. Estuvimos pensando muchísimo tiempo pero cada nombre que elegíamos ya estaba utilizado. Hasta que un día se nos ocurrió abrir google maps y poner cada letra del alfabeto en el buscador. Es así como al poner la L apareció Las Piñas que es una ciudad de Filipinas y nos quedamos con ese. Tell us a brief history of your band. We started the band in the summer of 2015. We had a lot of free time at that moment, so we spent our evenings playing music in Sofia’s garage. After playing for too many weeks, we realized that we had made lots of songs. We thought, “Maybe we can be a real band!” We didn’t start playing to make a band, but we liked what we were doing and so decided to start a serious project. And that how Las Piñas was born. La banda comenzó en el verano del 2015. Teníamos mucho tiempo libre en ese momento así que pasábamos las tardes tocando música en el garaje de Sofia. Después de tocar varias veces nos dimos cuenta de que habíamos compuesto algunas canciones. Pensamos que tal vez podríamos formar una banda si bien no habíamos comenzado a tocar con esa idea, se estaba formando de a poco. Así que decidimos embarcarnos en un proyecto más serio y así fue como nacieron Las Piñas.
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Have you had any obstacles as female musicians? Not at all. A female band, it’s just a band, the same if there are only women in it or whatever. It’s the same as an all male band. Para nada. Tener una banda de chicas es exactamente lo mismo que una banda de hombres o lo que sea. Es simplemente una banda, no importa el sexo de sus integrantes. Who are your musical and non-musical influences? We listen to everything. When the band started, we were listening to surf bands, some garage music, and indie rock from Argentina. That’s maybe our influences, but can't say a band in particular. We love La Luz, Las Robertas, Shannon and the Clams. A decir verdad escuchamos de todo. En el momento en el que la banda comenzó estábamos escuchando muchas bandas de surf, bandas garaje e indie rock de Argentina. No tenemos la influencia de una banda en particular, si hay algunas que nos gustan muchísimo como La Luz, Las Robertas, Shannon and the clams. Who writes the songs? And what are they about? We make the songs together. Sofia makes the guitar melodies and Antonela the lyrics. Lyrics are about landscapes, moments, and pictures. We try to leave out the romance or personal feelings, but we can’t do it at all because we are people and can’t escape that. But we try to make fun letters. Hacemos las canciones juntas. Sofia hace la melodía de la guitarra y Antonela las letras. Las canciones hablan de paisajes, momentos e imágenes. Tratamos de dejar afuera el romance o los sentimientos personales, si bien no podemos hacerlo del todo porque somos personas y no se puede escapar de eso. Pero tratamos de hacer letras divertidas.
What’s a typical day in the life of Las Piñas? We are back from a U.S. tour right now, and our life is in chaos. Let's talk about how it was before this experience. We have other jobs, we work in the morning and twice a week in the afternoon, we play some music together. We listen to lots of music every day, in the car, in our house. Sofia is addicted to discovering new bands. We spend lots of time together. We eat pizza and asado on the weekend. If we have time, we go to a concert. Uf, recién volvimos de una gira por EEUU y nuestra vida está hecha un caos. Muchos cambios a partir de esto. Vamos a hablar de cómo era antes de la gira. Solíamos tener otros trabajos, a la mañana estamos con eso, por la tarde como dos veces a la semana ensayamos. Escuchamos mucha música por día, ya sea mientras vamos en el auto, en nuestras casa. Sofia es adicta a escuchar música y descubrir bandas nuevas. Solemos pasar mucho tiempo juntas. Los fines de semana comemos pizza y asado y si tenemos tiempo vamos a algún recital. What are the band’s goals, future projects, tours? We are going to record a new EP with three or four songs, and we start playing again in Argentina in May. Then we have lots of shows in our country and we’d like to play in Latin America again like last year. Vamos a grabar un EP con 3 o 4 canciones nuevas y en Mayo comenzamos con los shows en Argentina. Tenemos varios acá y nos gustaría volver a tocar en los países de América Latina que tocamos el año pasado y los que nos faltan.
Iâ€™D NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT PLAYING DRUMS, BUT WHEN I SAT THERE, I IMMEDIATELY FELT A CONNECTION WITH THE INSTRUMENT.
BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH SOUND LADAMA BRINGS SOUNDS OF THE AMERICAS TOGETHER TO AFFECT SOCIAL CHANGE by Shaina Joy Machlus photos courtesy of the band
Though music has infinite parts, it manages to come together as one powerful thing. The range of notes are played on variety of instruments, manipulated by the hands and mouths of players. Lyrics are sung through pitches and tones with the lips of singers. Galaxies from the past, present, future seem to coalesce in a few moments to create song. Musical foursome LADAMA is also many things in one. It is a group comprised of women of many backgrounds: Venezuelan Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, Brazilian Lara Klaus, Colombian Daniela Serna, and New Yorker Sara Lucas. But LADAMA is doing much more than creating songs together, these women are initiating and facilitating global workshops that inspire others to create their own music. LADAMA calls itself “an international ensemble of women building community through sound.” Each member is putting her own personality, personal history, and musical talents on display with the intent of nurturing others’. Attending a concert means being an actual part of the music-making. And not only that, their ideas about the ability music has to change and bridge communities is actually working. LADAMA itself follows the infinitely inward folding complexity of a song by creating music which teaches us about how to teach music. This allows us to learn ourselves and pass along this skill. “Through workshops and public performance we encourage all to express their humanity by building community through music,” the group’s website states. It is especially interested in reaching out to women and youths to empower them. “We aim to address gender inequality and unequal representation of women in all aspects of music education, industry and business.”
Tom Tom had the privilege to speak with LADAMA about how exactly they plan the achieve such enormous aspirations. LADAMA joined forces to use music to affect social change. Can you please share your own personal recipe for musical activism that you bring to the group? Daniela Serna: It is interesting how you can see the world when you try to see it through other people’s eyes, especially when they are from other countries, cities, or even another neighborhood. I met the women of LADAMA in the fall of 2014 at OneBeat, a fellowship that brings together 25 musicians from around the world to create original work and incubate global, socially-engaged music projects. This one-month experience changed how I think about music in a huge way. Back then, I was already a musician committed to tropical and traditional Colombian music styles such as cumbia, bullerengue, and gaita. However, after OneBeat, I realized how powerful it was to collaborate with communities around the world. To stay creative, remain receptive, keep an open mind, and share and develop ideas with people that do not necessarily speak the same language as you. What do you hope to achieve with this form of musical activism? Lara Klaus: In our workshops, one of our goals is to create and produce original music composed by the students. One of our major goals is to connect the communities that we work with with each other—potentially giving young people an opportunity to exchange experiences and collaborate between different cultures and countries. Sara Lucas: We would like for all people to feel that they can create music. That sound surrounds us, and can be used to foster personal expression, that it can serve as catharsis for a community, shared histories, and shared visions of the future.
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DS: To create is to exist, we say all of the time. We have found that a community can be built when you recognize and share but especially when you create something together out of what is seemingly nothing. Our goal is to inspire young people in our countries to follow a professional career in music, arts or any kind of profession that they feel passionate about.
How do you make sure your work is sustainable within the communities you work? DS: We want our project to create an “echo” in young people, so after our workshops, we hope that they continue their paths as creative musicians. We plan on growing the LADAMA network in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and the U.S.
Empower participants in their own creativity and ability to improvise while getting the community involved in doing activities that sensitize its members to the arts.
LK: We are fortunate to be a band that, in addition to playing music, is committed to disseminating our unique cultural experiences of each of our countries to the world by connecting musicians and young people in the communities we have been to. This way, we get to build our own way of working, always connecting our concerts to the the workshops and vice versa, aiming to make a bond between our music and our concerts with our work with young people in the countries we travel to.
SL: I think our activism is not just about music, but also about trying to work for social justice in whatever you do—regardless if you are an artist, teacher, etc. As artists, we seek out and hope to cultivate the humanity in what we do in all aspects of writing music, facilitating workshops, and creating community. And as Dani and Lara said, stay creative, remain receptive, and listen.
How do you plan to pursue the group’s own music-making with the workshops? SL: For us, the two are inextricably linked and breathe life into the other. We ask of and facilitate others in creating original work. We feel that we can do this only if we are actually doing it ourselves. Therefore, our workshops and our original compositions or performances, each represent half of our process as an ensemble.
Maria Fernanda Gonzalez: [Empoderar a los participantes de su creatividad y capacidad de improvisar y al mismo tiempo lograr que la comunidad intervenida se involucre en la realización de actividades que sensibilicen a sus integrantes en las artes.]
WE AIM TO ADDRESS GENDER INEQUALITY AND UNEQUAL REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN ALL ASPECTS OF MUSIC EDUCATION, INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS.
What’s your practice routine? LK: I try to practice at least one instrument per day. Even when I don't have time to really play, I try to watch videos, read, and talk about music. I believe it is one of the best ways of learning. Nowadays, I practice from two to three hours per day, plus breathing music for the rest of the day. DS: Honestly, I’m not that kind of musician that spends eight hours per day practicing. However, I love to have fun when I practice, so I prefer to have group studies or what we called ruedas. This means “circles” and is like groups of people playing drums and singing while improvising. Ruedas can be as long as you want and often last from three to eight hours. But when I have to perform, I really like to stretch and breathe and try to feel chill and relax before the show. How do you feel when you play your instrument? LK: It is my therapy and my way of connecting with the spiritual. It's when I feel healed, fulfilled, and deeply happy. DS: I don’t think. I have discovered that a really deep side of myself comes out. It is almost like a sensation of giving wings to my heart—to feel free to dance with other people’s hearts, as I feel a strong connection with people. I can feel what other people feel in their bodies when I hit my drum, and as a concert continues and I hit harder, I can sense as people get really into it. I simply feel like myself: free. We plan to pursue both in a touring capacity while maintaining roots that will grow deeper within our home communities. LK: First of all, we are musicians who play music from all over the world but are still very connected to our own cultures and musically committed to our communities. Even before LADAMA, some of us were already acting as facilitators in musical institutions, schools, and other groups making the project a continuation of what we have already been doing. In a very natural way, we use music as a tool to promote connection between people, self-knowledge, the discovery of new life paths, and the opening of new possibilities. That's what motivates our lives and our collaborative way of composing and working, and workshops. DS: Music brings the world together for one reason—we are all the same at the end, humans. We are living in a creative era, and as LADAMA, we are rediscovering ourselves in this process. But at the same time, being facilitators for youth in communities is part of our job and is fun and specially rewarding, you know, because we are learning from them all the time. As a band, we have our own search for that sound that has no label.
I would say our music is “free music” in that it allows us to feel open to experiment but also to all kinds of people to feel free with our music. But both parts of the project are as equally important for us.
HACKS FOR ADVENTUROUS MUSICIANS TO BE LISTENED TO BY THE MASSES AND TRANSFORM THEIR MINDS
What is your message and advice to young musicians? SL: Listen! Listen all the time to everything that you have access to. See every show. Write down every song. Contact your musical heroes if they are alive! Ask questions of yourself and your musical community. Try to understand what makes music special to you. Don’t be afraid of what you find. You will discover your “voice” through curiosity, exploration, openness, and practice. Music never ends and age doesn’t matter.
· Always have other musicians as reference— it is super cool and important.
LK: In addition to studying the instrument, of course, it is very important to know people in the music industry, to make contacts and especially play with musicians from different cultures and styles. The more versatile you are, the more possibilities you will have!
By Daniela Serna
· Be unique, be bold, be risky, be crazy sometimes, be passionate and always always... · Keep it simple. · Don’t become self-involved, and do try to have different kinds of influences in different genres. · Listen carefully to your partner’s ideas. · If you want to travel and tour outside of your country, it is important that you have knowledge of the roots of traditional music in your own country. This is such a powerful tool. · Discover what makes you special and unique as a musician. · Be open-minded so that you can engage with other musicians from around the globe and around your community, to build a better you. ISSUE 27:
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JENNY TANG Compiled by Julie Sousa (Hi Hat Girls Magazine) and Cynthia Tsay (Scatha)
The original “Girl from Ipanema” may not have made it to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, but her mysterious and entrancing spirit was certainly still felt all over Rio de Janeiro as the world watched Simone Biles and Michael Phelps rack up the gold. The Brazilian mountainous beach town continues to nurture people and a culture that inspire both gym memberships and songs so romantic that even your future grandchildren will embrace them with passion. For this issue of Tom Tom, we looked past the hard, tanned bods and Olympic hype to find the real Rio. In this guide, you will find authentic spots in Rio where rhythm and beats rule in a city that inspired Antonio Carlos Jobim, Os Mutantes, Carmen Miranda, and frighteningly impressive capoeira dancers.
Fortunately, there are many bands with girls on the drums. Here are just a few that Brazil has to offer. Felizmente são muitas as bandas com mulheres na bateria! Segue a lista!
161 - facebook.com/161oficial Canto Cego - cantocego.com Catilinárias - facebook.com/catillinarias Indiscipline - indisciplineofficial.com Melyra - melyra.com Odonata - facebook.com/odonataBanda Rose Red - facebook.com/officialrosered Trash no Star -facebook.com/trashnostar Scatha - facebook.com/ScathaBand ISSUE 27:
It's impossible not to mention Carnival in the city of samba, right? Impossível não falar de carnaval da cidade do samba, né? BLOCO MULHERES RODADAS
Created in 2012, in reply to a meme which said, “I don't deserve to be with a runaround woman.” Bloco das Mulheres Rodadas criticizes sexism through art, music, and Carnival with characteristic irony. Criado em 2012, em resposta a um meme que dizia “não mereço mulher rodada”, o bloco das Mulheres Rodadas critica o machismo com arte, música e a ironia características do carnaval.
DAMAS DE FERRO
facebook.com/damasdeferroband The first feminist festival in Rio de Janeiro, these girls play Musica Popular Brasileira classic tunes, rock, jazz, and more. Primeira fanfarra feminina do Rio de Janeiro. As meninas tocam clássicos da MPB, rock, jazz e outros mais.
The following highlighted festivals are all free and take place in public parks. Destaquei aqui dois que considero mais incríveis, por serem gratuitos, em praça pública! ROQUE PENSE !
This festival promotes anti-sexist culture. It's annually put on by the collective of Roque Pense in Baixada Fluminense and intends to make bands with women in them noticed. Gratuito e em praça pública, o festival Roque Pense promove a cultura antissexista. É realizado pela coletivo Roque Pense anualmente na Baixada Fluminense, com o intuito é dar visibilidade às bandas femininas, ou bandas que contem com ao menos uma mulher.
facebook.com/RoquealizeSe This is a free festival for independent rock and metal bands. It is presented every four months in Praça XV de Novembro, Marechal Hermes, a northern region of Rio. É um festival gratuito de bandas independentes de Rock e Metal. Ocorre de 4 em 4 meses na Praça XV de Novembro, Marechal Hermes, Zona Norte do Rio.
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Rua Felipe Camarão, 130 - Tijuca calabouco-bar.com.br Directed specifically to attract metalheads, Calabouço offers a nice structure to present authentic bands in their finest form. Voltado especificamente para o público metalhead, o Calabouço tem uma boa estrutura e recebe bandas covers e autorais para se apresentarem no bar.
Rua Pinheiro Guimarães, 79 - Botafogo saloon79.com This bar is super cozy and presents new and independent acts.
Rua Iguaperiba,155 - Brás de Pina facebook.com/SuburbioAlternativo
Seguindo uma vibe country, bem condizente com seu nome, o bar é super aconchegante e apresenta bandas novas e independentes.
Created by DJ Terror (a.k.a. Dailson Sabino), Subúrbio Alternativo is near Avenida Brasil, a well known Avenue that goes all the way around Rio’s periphery. It offers a large range of beer brands to suit all tastes. Rock fans crowd the sidewalk, promoting underground concerts with the volunteer help of the public. This is a meeting place for those looking for some rock ‘n’ roll on a suburban night. Criado pelo Dj Terror (Dailson Sabino), o Subúrbio Alternativo fica bem próximo à Avenida Brasil, conhecida via que corta a periferia do Rio. Tem um grande acervo de cervejas para todos os gostos, e reúne a galera do Rock na calçada do bar, promovendo shows undergrounds com colaboração voluntária do público. É um ponto de encontro para quem busca Rock’n roll nas noites e madrugadas suburbanas,
Rua Ceará, 104 - Praca da Bandeira facebook.com/heavydutybeerclub Heavy Duty is legendary. Founder Zeca Urubu is proud of the title “the worst service in Rio.” This rock bar is already part of the Rio underground scene. Between its open bar and concerts by independent acts, the weekends get much more interesting for those who decide to visit. A Heavy Duty é legendária. Com orgulho de ter “o pior atendimento do Rio”, não é só no visual que a HD e seu fundador, Zeca Urubu, vivem o Rock. O bar, já faz parte da história do underground carioca e entre “open bar” e shows de bandas independentes, os fins de semana ficam bem mais interessantes para quem decide dar uma passada lá.
Rua Mem de Sá, 61 - Lapa laesquina.com.br
audiorebel.com.br Rua Visconde de Silva, 55 - Botafogo
Ending the Lapa trilogy, La Esquina is parked just across from Odisseia. There is such a variety of parties hosted in this impressive space, including notable underground concerts.
A nice option in Botafogo. Although it's a studio, it opens for underground concerts. Uma opção bacana em Botafogo. É estudio, mas já abriu e abre para vários shows undergrounds.
Fechando aqui a trilogia Lapa, o La Esquina fica em frente ao Odisseia. É um espaço bem bacana, e geralmente recebe festasdas mais variadas. Já estive em três shows undergrounds lá, e foram ótimos.
Rua Riachuelo, 20 - Lapa rockexperience.com.br/rio
Formerly Rio Rock Blues, this is in Lapa, the most bohemian neighborhood in Rio. It's all decorated inside with rock icons and presents independent bands weekly, mainly ones related to the bar’s theme. Antiga Rio Rock Blues, a casa fica no bairro mais boêmio do Rio, a Lapa. Internamente, é toda decorada com ícones do Rock e semanalmente apresenta bandas independentes, principalmente relacionadas à temática do bar.
Rua Mem de Sá, 66 - Lapa facebook.com/teatroodisseia Also in Lapa, Odisseia is one of the best concert spots in the city with a cozy structure and great sound system. Every weekend, it is open for concerts featuring foreign bands and independent ones. Don’t miss the parties that are always happening there, too. Também na Lapa, o Odisseia é uma das melhores casas da cidade. Estrutura aconchegante, som maravilhoso. Todos os fins de semana a casa abre e recebe desde shows de grandes bandas gringas até bandas independentes. Isso sem falar das festas que rolam por lá.
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lonacultural.com.br/site/outras_lonas.asp These are public theatre houses spread around the city. Besides offering concerts of all genres and types, the spaces also house classes and courses focused on arts and culture. Most of the concerts are free of charge. São teatros públicos espalhados por bairros da cidade do Rio. Além de shows de todos os gêneros e porte, esses espaços oferecem oficinas e cursos voltado às artes e cultura. A maioria dos shows é gratuita.
Drum School / Escola de bateria baterasbeat.com.br/riodejaneiro Rua Comandante Prat, 15 - Tijuca.
ESCOLA DE BATERISTAS JORGE CASAGRANDE -
Studio and Drum school /Estúdio e escola de bateria jorgecasagrande.com.br Rua Conde de Lages, 23 - Lapa
Non-governmental organization directed at serving poor communities in Rio / Organização não-governamental voltada para comunidades carentes do Rio afroreggae.org Rua Santo Antônio,11 - Vigário Geral Rua Carlos Seidl,1281 - Caju Rua da Democracia, 17 - Parada de Lucas
School and Percussion store / Escola e loja de percussão maracatubrasil.com.br Rua Ipiranga, 49 - Laranjeiras
OFICINA DE BATERIA RUI MOTTA Drum school / Escola de bateria l oficinadebateria.com.br Rua Fonte da Saudade, 171 - Lagoa Rua Conde de Bonfim, 106, Sl 210 - Tijuca Av. das Américas, 500 – Bloco 20 – Sala 203 – Barra
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DRUMMERS SHARE OUR EXPERIENCES ON BEING LOUD IN A WORLD THAT ANTICIPATES OUR SILENCE
The unsung hero, Jennifer Lopez, will always be remembered as saying, “Let’s get loud.” For whatever reason, even in my most stubborn moments of writer’s block, Ms. Lopez is constantly there with that impossibly ‘90s catchiness. She taunts me with that same obvious advice: Just get loud. How difficult is that? Despite Jennifer’s simple guidance, I find myself constantly questioning my own ability to be loud. My intense love for and devotion to writing comes largely from marveling at the powerful way others can manipulate combinations of lines and dots on a page to create a living body. Each person inhabiting the anatomy in their own perceptible way. With only the swift addition of a line, we can turn a tranquil statement into an audible yell!
of experiences and seek out what working and contentment mean to different people. The interviews are diverse and scattered, but somehow, through them, we find some larger truth about the human experience. Everyone is working toward finding their own answer.
In true Terkel style, I decided to seek guidance in the brilliance that surrounds me. My current situation feels slightly precarious, a balancing act between many worlds. When one can This urge to use my hands to create meaning has also lead me to not rely on their own wisdom to steady themselves on the tightmaking music. I began playing drums out of what felt like necessity. rope of life, we must seek stability in the wisdom of others. My body had an aching for a different manifestation of loudness. I slowly learned to focus and combine a different set of lines and dots Consider this my own adventure into the dialectic thought process. to create something greater than notes. A thing that resonated Socrates created the modern thinker by asking questions about louder than a single beat; movement that could be heard and felt. questions that question questions. And here I am, little old me, contemplating this voice which I regularly use. A white, American, More recently, my movement has also included becoming an U.S, cis female who is sometimes too loud at the risk of deafening othexpat. Now in Catalunya, Spain, I still find myself struggling to be ers, and other times not loud enough. a loud ally, as a white, cis female, to the queer community and to those involved in the Black Lives Matter crusade back at home. I No matter the age or identity, as women we have all shared momust simultaneously contain the privilege I have as a white person, ments where we have not felt heard. These moments look grossly which always encouraged me to be loud with the understanding that different for each one of us, but in these differences, perhaps that my voice must be heard. I seek to be more powerful as a listener is where we must seek solutions. Combatting this forced silence, and learn how to use this privilege as a tool to further amplify mi- that is a battle we can all share. nority voices that are being silenced at a terrifying rate. At first my questions about being loud were ironically met with siAnd as I try my hand at playing in the indie scene in my new home lence. My mother suggested to start with those I know best. “Well, of Barcelona, it is glaringly obvious there is a gross underrepresen- why don’t you interview me? Your grandma is here too,” she joked, tation of women here, or anyone who is not a straight white male, sounding sweetly like Fran Drescher in her nasally Brooklyn accent. playing music. No matter how hard I beat my drum kit during shows, “What are we, chopped liver?” I continue to hear from both men and women, “It doesn’t matter if there are less women playing music, as long as people are playing My mom comes from a long line of strong women. “I do life. I'm a music.” It is a challenge to be heard in my new languages of Spanish mom, nana, daughter, wife, friend, survivor of ovarian cancer, psyand Catalan while explaining the idea that in our society some lives chiatric nurse practitioner. I'm an idealist. I'm Jewish. I'm chubby. are valued over others, so unless we want to further this inequal- I'm filled with gratitude,” she said. I was by her side, watching her ity, we have to actively uplift the people who are being persecuted. fight for her life as she received double chemo for almost a year. For this and many other reasons, I see my mom as a fierce fighter While searching for resolution, I found a dusty old copy of Studs and was totally surprised by her resoundingly placid answer, “PeoTerkel’s Working on the shelves of a second hand bookstore. I was ple hear me more when I am soft and deliberate and thoughtful. immediately comforted by the weight of millions of words in my Soft and strong.” mother tongue and purchased the book with glee. I now constantly navigate the skinny passages of Barcelona happily carry around this five pound paperweight of a novel. The author interviews a variety of people about their jobs, on a quest to both share a rainbow
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My grandmother’s family is from a tiny Jewish village in the former U.S.S.R. called Yumpil. It was burned down during the Jewish Pogroms. Because they were lucky to have a sponsor, my grandmother grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, taught herself English, became a teacher, and remains the matriarch of our family. She describes herself as “a retired teacher and a liberated and independent woman.” When I asked what it was like being heard in a new language, she said, “My success has been with talking softly with eye contact, understanding, compassion, and love. One must not necessarily be loud in order to be heard and respected.” Ah, the first lesson. There is a difference between being loud and heard, an important distinction that sometimes has little to nothing to do with volume. I spoke next with a college friend, Jess S., with whom I had been involved in many a loud protest. Jess describes herself as “a white, deaf, hard of hearing, class and educationally privileged white queer, dyke, trans woman, who is a feminist, prison abolitionist, and antiauthoritarian socialist who works as a community organizer and social justice communications strategist.”
the voices, experiences, stories, wisdom, strategies and solutions from people directly impacted by white supremacy, antiblack racism, patriarchy, capitali—when we transform those systems, we build a world where we can all be heard in our full dignity and freedom.” Both personally and in her professional experience, Jess believes being heard is directly equated with being able to tell one’s own story. “When we break down the core assumptions underlying [the above mentioned] thoughts, cultures, and systems—we can actually change what’s in people’s frame of references, which can make it easier to be heard, and be heard on our own terms.” So, all we have to do is break down the core assumptions underlying white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal, transmisogynist thought, culture, and systems?! So, um, where do we start?
Jess presents a model of using two separate systems of raising voices; the two amplifying one another. “I’ve been in movements, spaces, where there have been a beautiful inside-outside strategy—with our folks being loud and beautiful and sending She said, “As a hard of hearing perso—I think there’s a way that all that powerful energy our way outside, and a smaller crew hearing and speaking is prioritized as a tool of power over d/Deaf of us inside being unapologetic, firm, and making clear, direct folks in ways that are exclusionary. To add on to that—I think there’s demands that shift power.”
BEING HEARD IS DIRECTLY EQUATED WITH BEING ABLE TO TELL ONE’S OWN STORY. a difference between being heard and being listened to. You can be ‘heard’ but if you’re not listened to, if people don’t care about what you are saying, then is being heard good enough?” Jess and I marveled over the fact that my mother and grandmother, who despite the difference in age and background, had similar notation on the important distinction between being loud and being heard. Despite how much had changed in society in the years between them, they had the same struggle: to make sure, as Jess eloquently stated, “folks are not just hearing what you’re saying, but hearing what you are saying as valuable.”
Jess has previously also been part of a radical drum core group called Cakalak Thunder, where they used their loudness to support political and social causes. The group often goes to demonstrations and protests to provide noise. When effective, it can draw immediate attention, disrupt traffic, or inspire an entire crowd to break out in jubilant song and dance.
Cakalak Thunder member Rachel Hester shared her thoughts. "I grew up in a home in which, in a myriad of ways, I was discouraged from being loud. Being loud is vulnerable for me. As a Afro-Latinx femme, Cakalak Thunder gives me an opportunity to take up space in a public that is critical of black girl loudness. Providing a space where femmes can play loud and publicly for the purpose of being heard and received is radical in itself.” Where else can we find a rhythmic oasis, a safe space for noise-making of this sort? And if it doesn’t already exist, can we find ways to create one ourselves?
Shana Falana, a musical hero of mine, plays layers of floating guitar rhythms guided by strong, vocal harmonies. The music is powerful in all its fluctuations between loud and soft moments. She currently is sober and living in San Francisco. She calls I asked Jess how society would have to change in order to make her herself “a spiritual person having a human experience, highly words feel valued: “I think it’s really important to hear and center motivated, musical, lover of podcasts and peoples' processes, committed to living everyday with intention and focus.”
Throughout Shana’s career, she’s played a variety of music from a Bulgarian women's choir to solo ambient to punk. It seems clear that making noise is an important part of her being. But I wondered if she considers herself a loud person. “My very first thought here is that being loud is an important part of my identity because my mother always said when I was young that I needed to be the center attention! But the irony is that I was also very afraid of attention, I was very insecure, and so being loud was tricky for me,” she explained. “I think today because I'm sober, because I'm present everyday, because I have a musical outlet, because I am somehow transmitting myself in a balanced way, my loudness comes through only on stage (in volume, not personality) and in my laughter. I love my life and my loudness is in expressing the humor I find in the most mundane things we all do.”
by speaking from my heart about who I am and what I aspire to do in this world. Not everyone is going to accept what I say, or be on board with my perspective, but people who are open to the truth respect me beyond my expectations and, in turn, actually inspire me to continue to speak, act, and be who, what, and how I aspire to be in this world.”
Learning a sliver of personal truths on the matter of what it means to be a loud voice left me surprisingly settled. I didn’t find that there was anything near a single solution, no perfectly punctuated conclusion to solve the mystery of the oft too ignored voices of women. But, there was something concrete in giving space to simply hear people’s stories in their own voices, using their own words. The world is inhabited by an infinite number of beautiful voices, all glowing in their unique diversity and wavelength. This inspired me Shana’s musical loudness comes from being able to create inner to continue to seek my own story. exuberance. So we seek that same inner and outer loudness within ourselves that Jess mentioned, each of us creating a system to both Being loud doesn’t always get you heard, but acting with intent listen to and hear our own voices. I consulted Dawn L., a mother, seems to work pretty well. This process of sharing and receiving self-perpetuates. The more you ask people to share their stories, sacred birth professional, and yoga instructor on this matter. the more opportunities you will have to listen. While it seems Besides using her body to birth a child at home, I have witnessed daunting to think about an entire culture that so unfairly spotlights Dawn doing incredibly physically challenging yoga positions and the voices of white men, I found that we can always maintain our poses, as well as communicating and teaching them to others. own spaces for our own internal and external sounds—be it in muDawn’s strength is so easily apparent and her presence so bold, all sic, safe and/or spiritual spaces, within our given or chosen families, while remaining almost always silent. “For me, being loud is much etc. It is possible to create all types of rooms to amplify a person’s more physically challenging. Physically, I seem to have a quiet voice, their stories, their feelings, and make them louder than the voice. I often have to be consciously loud in order to actually be highest decibel imaginable. physically heard. Mentally, I work towards listening since my inner voice can be quick and overpowering.” She concluded, “I think that I speak loudest when I speak my personal truth, by being myself. I find that people see me as being powerful and inspiring just
I THINK THAT I SPEAK LOUDEST WHEN I SPEAK MY PERSONAL TRUTH, BY BEING MYSELF. I FIND THAT PEOPLE SEE ME AS BEING POWERFUL AND INSPIRING JUST BY SPEAKING FROM MY HEART ABOUT WHO I AM AND WHAT I ASPIRE TO DO IN THIS WORLD.
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DRUM SOLOS HAVEN’T BEEN COOL SINCE 1969.*
So only the guitarist and that prima donna singer get to show off? That seems debatable. But one thing isn’t: the new Evans UV1 10mil single-ply drumhead. * REALLY? 89% of the drummers we asked said it gave them the exact sound they wanted. They also said it was more versatile and durable than their old heads (thanks to its patented UV-cured coating). And yeah, we think a solo would sound pretty good on them. If you’re into that sort of thing.
DISAGREE TO AGREE? JOIN THE DEBATE AT UV1.EVANSDRUMHEADS.COM
a t n t e o l n si
by Lisa Henderson Photos courtesy of the band
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BLOC PARTYâ€™S LOUISE BARTLE IS BRINGING HER DISTINCT KIND OF NOISE TO THE SOUND OF THE BRITISH INDIE ROCK BAND
“Do you want this last piece of pizza?” Bloc Party’s Louise Bartle teases. “You want it, don’t you? I’m having it. F you.” Dressed down in khaki sweatpants, bleached-blonde hair swept purposefully over one shoulder, Bartle is lounging about in her West London flat, inhaling pizza and beer, relishing the rare opportunity to be an average 21-year-old. Sprawling tours, gargantuan festival performances and perpetual press requests are only half of the Londoner’s hectic schedule in her role of Bloc Party’s new drummer. Sitting down with the new recruit, we discussed her first year as a member of the popular British indie band. Following the tumultuous departures of drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes in 2013 and 2015, respectively, Louise received a call in May of last year to replace the former sticksman. “I was driving and their manager called me and he said, ‘Would you be up for touring the world?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure,’” she shrugs, feigning indifference. The call came after a friend who worked at Bloc Party’s management company recommended Bartle to the band. “He’d heard that they were looking for a girl drummer. They liked the woman vibe,” she muses. Some of Louise’s YouTube videos were sent to remaining original members Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack, and that’s all it took. Although this may sound like another Justin Bieber YouTube story, Bartle’s success was by no means overnight. The drummer spent several years honing her craft at a London music college, regularly playing jam nights and filling her time with as many projects as possible. Her hard work paid off and she landed a one-episode appearance in popular British teen drama Skins, playing a hostile drummer named O’Malley. The TV stint was followed by a number of gigs for highprofile artists including Eliza Doolittle and Selena Gomez, before Bloc Party recruited her. So, was it a dream come true for the 21-year-old? Not exactly. Due to the fact that Bartle was only 12-years-old in the mid-noughties when Bloc Party’s iconic debut Silent Alarm was released, she was more likely to be found chasing crushes than idolizing indie-rock bands. “It’s a good thing in a way because it would’ve been weird if I was like, ‘Oh my God, your track, blah, blah, blah.’ If I’d have been a mega fan, I definitely wouldn’t have got it.”
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Mega fan or not, there’s no denying that filling the shoes of muchloved former drummer Matt Tong is a tough bill to foot. “Replacing someone is a weird position to be in,” admits Bartle. “It’s a band, so it’s not just one person you’re attached to, it’s everyone.” Fortunately, she hasn’t been weathering the storm alone, as Moakes’s replacement Justin Harris was unveiled at the same time. The new line-up made its first outing at two intimate California shows last August with evident confidence from Okereke and Lissack. “Both Russell and Kele have been really welcoming to me and Justin. [Kele] is definitely very aware of how we’re both feeling.” Winning over band members seems like a piece of cake in comparison to convincing the million-strong fan base that has collected over Bloc Party’s ten-year-plus life span. Did she receive a warm reception from the fans? “At first no, but it’s totally normal when that happens. I hope people come to the show and think: Okay this isn’t a bad thing. It could be a good thing. You never know.”
With Louise’s remarkable gusto and superior precision behind the kit, it’s hard to believe that anyone might walk away from a Bloc Party show feeling less than enthralled. But that’s not to say that behind her cool exterior she didn’t feel the pressure, especially at the beginning. “My first festival was the third gig we ever did together. It was FYF festival in front of 30,000 people, and I actually think to myself: I don’t know how I got through that,” she shares. “There was such a big pressure, I don’t think I was aware of it, but I’m almost glad I didn’t know the magnitude of it all. I just did my best, I warmed up, and I was in my zone.” It comes as no surprise that half of the pressure Louise felt came from the unspoken expectation that she should emulate Matt Tong rather than bring her own style to the stage. “With the old stuff, I certainly wanted to play it the way it was played. I have a lot of respect for all the parts he wrote in the past. It’s been such a pleasure to play them, honestly. But going forward, I’m just trying to bring me into the mix and show people what I can do. I wanna put my own stamp on something.” And that’s exactly what the keen drummer is doing for Bloc Party. The band (Okereke and Lissack at the time) released their fifth studio album Hymns at the beginning of this year, but it’s clear that Bartle is itching to move forward as a four-piece. “I don’t know what’s happening, if there’s an album or this or that, but we’re definitely writing music. I’m most excited about people hearing what we’re doing now, I think that’s really important, for people to hear how us four sound together and get a reception.”
Full Name: Louise Bartle Age: 21 Hometown: Twickenham Lives in: Isleworth, London Past bands: Terri Walker, Eliza Doolittle, Selena Gomez Current band: Bloc Party Day job: Bloc Party drummer and official member Kit Setup: Red Sparkle Natal Ash Fusion Kit 10” 12” 14” 16” 22”
GOING FORWARD, I’M JUST
The next Bloc Party release will be the band’s sixth effort and the first to which Bartle and Harris will contribute. Undoubtedly, there will be concerns as to whether the new additions to the line-up will mean a different musical direction for the band, but Bartle was quick to put any fears to rest.
TRYING TO BRING ME INTO THE MIX AND SHOW PEOPLE WHAT I CAN DO. I WANNA PUT MY OWN STAMP ON SOMETHING.
“I think it sounds like Bloc Party, and it sounds different. It always does. Through every album, they’ve always done something new. I don’t want to give the game away but it’s a bit of both” So what’s next for Louise? “Just writing, creating, playing more drums, practicing. Seeing what happens,” she says. “The exciting thing about doing this is that you don’t really know. It’s kind of terrifying too but you know…” Whatever is next on the drummer’s agenda, you can bet it won’t look anything like that of an average 21-year-old.
Downtempo Stream SANDUNESâ€™ SANAYA ARDESHIR ON THE BOMBAY SCENE AND LEARNING TO LIKE HER OWN MUSIC by Liz Tracy Photos by Tanya Prasad
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Sanaya Ardeshir grew up in an industrial town in India listening to her parents’ Beatles, B.B. King, and Miles Davis albums, absorbing their rhythms and styles. “It sounds pretty commonplace in the West,” she says, “but here, it was music that wasn’t playing in other households.” Another uncommon factor in the development of the musical life of this pianist-turned-DJ known as Sandunes is that her parents were very supportive of her decision to pursue her passion as a career. Perhaps it’s because her father was a musician who couldn’t follow his own instrumental talents on bass and piano. When he was in college, making music full-time wasn’t an option and his band’s business went beyond jamming to making their own amps. Instead, as an adult, he worked at a steel plant while her mother was a business travel agent. Ardeshir started taking private piano lessons at a very young age, transitioning from classical to the blues and jazz her parents enjoyed. “Our concept of ‘family fun time’ was always music-centric. There was always a guitar around. We would get on the piano and do these three-hand ragtime blues jams. It definitely got me into the mindset of playing with somebody,” she recalls. “They have a lot of respect for music.” At first, Ardeshir studied economics at Saint Xavier’s College. “That’s kind of what you do here,” she explains, “you either study sociology, psychology or economics.” Toward the end of college, Ardeshir started doing session work and earning money through her skills. She was in Mumbai, “the media hub of the country” where Bollywood was booming and “slowly things started happening” for local acts. “Music festivals became a thing, music venues started sprouting up across the city. It was super new and there was a lot of opportunity.” At the time, she remembers, “I don’t think I was very good… It was a different time. The quality of musicianship has gone up, for sure." It was around 2008 when her place at the keys making funk, jazz, and classic rock turned more personal. She started writing original material with her band Untitled. Playing covers was the norm before that, at cultural college festival competitions that encouraged a scene to burgeon in Bombay.*
“London is just that kind of a city,” and for that reason, it didn’t last. They all had to leave. But it was there that the DJ realized she enjoyed electronic music with a live element and wanted to pursue it herself. “I could see how I would find a way to present my music in a live setting,” she relays. Ardeshir had access to synthesizers in London, which became her gateway drug to DJ-ing. “It was a really game-changing experience for me. I was like, ‘Wow I can shape the sound! That’s obscene!” There was a fateful moment at the Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards, a curated night of underground acts named after the DJ’s BBC6 show. “I had just discovered synthesizers,” she remembers. Her class was covering them. “I was losing my mind over these bits of gear that I had only heard about, and I didn’t have access to back home, I was thinking: How will I ever own one of these things? They’re so expensive… The way that the music was being presented, the way that there was this seamly fusion of, integration of, pure tones that are electronically created from synthesizers and these impure tunes created by guitar players and singers, I was so blown. It was a distinct moment where I got it.” She realized, “I can do it, and I can do it by myself.” In 2011, she went back to India because her visa was expiring. It was there that she “hit the ground running,” developing a DJ set, had an EP ready to drop. She linked back up with friends that were active in this new Bombay music scene that had exploded in the year and a half she was gone. “It’s been nonstop since.” There was a surge in the number of bands that were making original music there, maybe it was the internet that enabled it and new access to disposable income. The scene went from about two dozen people making live electronic music to a real and growing group. Not only was there a scene for musicians, but filmmakers, comedians, and chefs. The shift started with the first independent music festival that popped up there the year she was leaving for England. She attended it before she left. “It was very indicative of what would come,” Ardeshir recalls the big stages, professional
I FOUND THE PROCESS [PRODUCING
She graduated and tried to decide whether she wanted to go to a jazz conservatory— which she still would like to one day—and she started to dabble in production. That was when, the musician says, she realized, “I know what I want to do.” She began hanging out in studios and was mystified by the guy behind the laptop. So she decided to not continue pursuing piano and to “pick up a new skill that might be more relevant.” She’d been listening to British trip-hop acts like Zero 7 and Portishead. “Electronic music wasn’t something I was consuming. It was bubbling in there but it was outside my comfort zone.”
MUSIC] REALLY SEDUCTIVE. I AM ABLE TO PUT DOWN MY THOUGHTS AND RECORD THEM. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING.
Though the idea was to maybe pursue public relations, a year of working a variety of jobs that included being a travel writer and working for Channel V, the MTV of India, she committed to full time music by spending a year at the London School of Music to study production and sound engineering. “I was in an educational environment, and I was so into what I was learning,” she says. Ardeshir was obsessed with the resources the school provided and used them more than any of the other students. Also, she notes, “being in London is an education in itself.” She was exposed to many different sounds and joined a post-rock band, Stop-motion, which she calls a multicultural outfit made up of visitors to the U.K.
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production, and really good original content. The crowd started at about 1,500 and after five years, has grown to 25,000 in six cities. It’s called the NH7 Weekender and it’s sponsored by Bacardi. Club nights at affordable venues that young people were interested in started appearing and “it set the ball rolling,” she says. “It was whatever was happening in the ‘60s in the U.S., but with technology and the internet and like, four decades later,” she laughs. As the scene evolved, it brought her and others up into the spotlight. This gave her perfect forum for creating her own beats in her homeland. “It all happened very seamlessly,” she says. She was always writing songs with lyrics and arrangements and developing harmonic structures. In college, she had to submit songs regularly and she had access to resources, studios, equipment, and committed teachers who did this themselves. *Ardeshir still calls the city by its former name, Bombay.
One was a touring bassist with Zero 7. Producing let her make all the music she had in her head without writing anything down. ”I was really thirsty to learn,” she admits, because she was only there a short amount of time. “I found the process really seductive. I am able to put down my thoughts and record them. It was a beautiful thing.” Back in India, she was able to make money from her gigs. She was clear on her intent and played her first gig the day she landed in Bombay. She also felt that there was this perception game that worked in her favor that her time in London automatically made her good even though she’d only done about three gigs there. At first she was playing a mix of mashups, DJ-ing live sets that included her own music. She wasn’t sure people in Bombay would be into the music she was playing. “It was slow, but it was getting aligned. I was away and getting my education, but what was happening in India was gigs were being played a lot more, experimental music was being played more, people were deciding that it was OK to listen to stuff other than house and techno in a club setting.”
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The independent scene in Bombay is very encouraging of its members. She says, “We’re in a very pure stage here now. The whole objective is to support each other.” Supply is less than demand, she says, and so, “It’s a very good time to be making music in India.” As a woman playing in a scene with almost all men, when Ardeshir was younger, she didn’t think much about gender dynamics in music, though at times she felt undermined, her technological knowledge questioned, because she is a woman. But over the years, she thought more about her experiences with it. “What I feel now is a distinct feeling of responsibility as a woman who is making beats in this country, and as someone who probably has—though there is one other girl—I have no other peers of my gender. And I realized, I didn’t have any role models of my gender until I went to the U.S.” A tour of the States opened her eyes to the lack of women DJ-ing in India and introduced her to other women in the game.
In India, there is a market for “Playboy DJs,” women who dress sexily and play pre-recorded mixes. Often people hit up her managing agency to book a female DJ. When they see Ardeshir’s portfolio, they don’t get what she’s trying to do. “Now that’s beginning to set in with me as a realization that I really want to be doing more to build something that enables a healthier representation of women in music and I want to be maybe mentoring or doing something to increase the number of women who are engaged in this. I think it’s important and there’s a need,” she says. “We’re years behind the West in the way I see amazing communities built around supporting other women. Like women-only production workshops, or womenled meetups. The fact is, here, there are very, very few -- less than five in the whole country.” She sees more and more women coming to gigs. Some even bring their parents to show them that this is something they can do professionally. The parents ask, “Is this a vyable career for my daughter?” And Ardeshir answers with excitement, “Yes, it is!” In 2015, she opened for Pretty Lights at home. He invited her to open for him in the U.S. This was a game-changer for Sandunes. It got her motivated to get a Visa and do two independent tours. They weren’t profitable in a monetary sense, and they were challenging. It’s tough to tour the U.S. as an independent artist. But they added value to her work. She also had residencies. She mentioned OneBeat exchange program in particular. It was “life changing,” working in public diplomacy through music by coming together with musicians from all over the world. They make and then tour with their music. It opened avenues outside of gigs to Ardeshir like teaching music and community building. “I have finally found the road to hip-hop,” she says of her newer sounds. “Which I was probably always looking for.” The genre, she says, is adding “another layer, really digging deeper into beatmaking.” She feels her beats have been her weakest endeavors, since melodies come easier as a synth player. In September, her album Down Stream is released. “It feels a lot bolder than anything I’ve done. I’ve always been considered a downtempo electronic artist. It’s been a challenge to play in clubs, because those are the only avenues where I can play music, yet I’m playing for people who come to party. So, I have to DJ and play uptempo, high energy music and then the people who come to see me ask why I didn’t play any of your own music. And I say it’s became the manager would chuck me out of the club!” she laughs. Finally though, the DJ feels like she has separate live sets—one that is an authentic representation of where she’s at with her music and a dance party set. “The music that I’m making now is somewhere between beats, hip-hop, electronica, but it feels like the boldest, most aggressive that I’ve allowed it to be.” She’s now also collaborating with producer and designer and drummer, Jiver, (Jivraj Singh) on Perfect Timing. They play keys and drums facing each other and have gained some real momentum, even releasing a new single and video with Red Bull Music Academy.
THE MUSIC THAT I’M MAKING NOW IS
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BEATS, HIP-HOP, ELECTRONICA, BUT IT FEELS LIKE THE BOLDEST, MOST AGGRESSIVE THAT
I’VE ALLOWED IT TO BE.
Typically, she says, she’d hated the music she put out, but did so because of a need for gigs. But after touring the U.S., her confidence boosted thanks to a good reception to her new music, she says honestly, “For the first time, I’m almost afraid to say it, but I like this, and I’ve liked it for a few months now. It feels good. I’m not second guessing myself… I’m figuring it out.”
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Full Circle CHELSEA WOLFEâ€™S NEW DRUMMER, JESS GOWRIE, MAY BE SMALL, BUT SHE GETS HUGE BEHIND HER KIT by Valerie Veteto Photos by Priscilla C. Scott
The diminutive Jess Gowrie is fiercely focused behind a drum kit, reserved in groups, but direct in her approach when speaking one-on-one. The career musician in her thirties is already decades strong with experience. She recently scored the role of drummer for doom-folk siren Chelsea Wolfe. We meet at noon in midtown Sacramento, California, in over one hundred degree heat. Gowrie wears sunglasses during the interview, but I still feel like she is looking me dead in the eyes. We both grew up in nearby suburbs, so griping about the summer heat isn’t an ice breaker. A year ago, I interviewed one of her former bands, Happy Fangs, in a utility closet at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco after a show. On that day, she didn’t talk much, though streaks of black and white paint were smeared on her face by sweat. This time, she spoke about how she had joined bands on the precipice of success, starting up with Chelsea Wolfe over ten years ago, and how drumming has always been her most passionate pursuit. It all started when she was six, she explains. “I was just driving my mother insane by beating on everything I possibly could and then she was like, ‘That’s it. We’re getting you a drum set.’” Aside from a yearlong stint of drumming in junior high, she is completely self-taught. After deciding the school’s band wasn’t for her in her freshman year, she formed an actual band, Glist. “We wanted to be Smashing Pumpkins so bad,” she admits. She often traveled the half hour from home to catch the action in downtown Sacramento. “We just played every place locally you could think of: the Cattle Club, Capital Garage. There was also the Boardwalk in Orangevale. Places that mostly probably aren’t even around anymore, unfortunately,” she laments. After high school, the members of Glist drifted apart and she began working at Rocket Shells—a high-end carbon fiber drum manufacturer. She still works there 17 years later. The more Gowrie describes it, the more obvious it is that she found the perfect job for a touring drummer. The owner is flexible with her schedule, she believes in the quality of the gear and uses their kits onstage, and it provides an added musical community. Her own drum kit is black with red sparkles with a 6x14 snare, 12” rack tom, 14” floor tom, and a 20” bass drum. “I love it because carbon fiber is a really light material, so I can carry my own kit. It doesn’t weigh a ton. It’s also very durable so it’s perfect to go on tour with. It can get all banged up, and it’s not a big deal,” she explains. “At the time, Rocket Shells was endorsing bands like Papa Roach, Deftones, and Marilyn Manson, so even though we were small time out of this little city, the word was spreading and we were getting our name out there to bigger bands,” she continues. “So that came with, for me, more of a drive to actually be successful at it rather than for it be a hobby or something I just did when I was young.” Her next band, the Drama, was a more serious endeavor. Gowrie explains, “When I started, keep in mind small pond here, but that’s when I started making a little bit of a name for myself, because the band was taking it way more seriously.
We were trying to make it and we played a lot so I think people started to say, ‘Who’s this girl drummer?’” She describes the Drama’s sound as hard rock but more goth than say, Deftones. It feels right that she keeps bringing up Deftones. They’re local legends with international acclaim, something that Gowrie is finally beginning to experience. Picking up buzz, the band moved to Florida to be closer to New York and to showcase for labels, but right after Hollywood Records offered them a deal, the band fell apart. “We sacrificed so much to get to that point, but because of that, we couldn’t keep it together. That’s the hardest part, right before you get what you want, because you’re just clawing your way, and you’re so close,” she says. “By that time you’re getting on each other’s nerves and you’re desperate to a certain degree. You’re so close you can almost taste it, and once you get it, you realize, ‘Oh, we have to be a band for another 10 years. Now we have to put the money where our mouths are.’ So, I knew right away that I wasn’t going to be able to stay in the band and I left. I didn’t sign the contract.” Without Gowrie, the label pulled the deal off of the table. She was only about 21-years-old and living away from family and friends. “[I was] totally putting it all out there, and I definitely grew a lot because of that situation. I became a lot stronger of a person and more understanding of what it takes to make it.”
When she returned to Sacramento, she met Chelsea Wolfe through her best friend who pushed them to jam together. Quickly, they found a bassist and Red Host was born. If you’d like to hear Wolfe’s vocals over thrashing metal, you can still find songs on MySpace. During that time, Gowrie got Wolfe into Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and Black Sabbath. “The thing I loved was we’d write a rock song, but the melody she would bring wasn’t your typical rock melody so it made it very different and very cool,” Gowrie explains. “I think that’s what made us stand out so much, was that not only did you have these two powerful girls owning it, and a powerful dude, but the music wasn’t predictable.” For three or four years the trio played shows locally and in Los Angeles, but then Chelsea decided to refocus on her solo act. “She moved to L.A., and I stayed here. We went our separate paths, and honestly we didn’t really talk for seven or eight years,” Gowrie admits. “She wrote a lot for us, but I’m sure there were songs that she set aside that just weren’t going to work for the band. If you have this burning desire to explore all of you as a musician, she was probably only getting fulfilled a certain amount. [Her leaving] obviously wasn’t easy, but it was clearly the right thing for her. Look at what she’s done.”
Gowrie joined the duo I’m Dirty Too, but her bandmate, Zac Brown, left to form Tycho, which got off the ground quickly. Mike Cobra from San Francisco act Happy Fangs called the drummer just in time. The band oozed riot grrrl glam and was already beloved in the Bay Area. “They’re so positive and so full of drive,” she says. “They were healing in a way.” The trio released Capricorn in 2014 and Jess frequently drove to San Francisco for shows. On what seemed to be the precipice of success, the lead singer called it quits. “This was the time to make the decision. Like I said, once one person gets off track of the direction that we all saw, it’s not going to work,” she says of all her near hits. “You have to be smart enough to identify it and move on. It’s like any relationship, honestly, and it’s so hard. But, when it’s working, it’s the best feeling in the world, and it’s so emotionally fulfilling that I wouldn’t do anything else. This is it, and I’ll be doing it until I’m really old and probably have arthritis in my hands.” Wolfe reached out to Gowrie while visiting friends and family in Sacramento. Their friendship fell right back into place. They started to kick around the idea of starting a side project but when Wolfe’s drummer, Dylan Fujioka, stepped down, Gowrie was the obvious fill-in.
THIS IS IT, AND I’LL BE DOING IT UNTIL I’M REALLY OLD AND PROABLY HAVE ARTHRITIS IN MY HANDS.
Less than a year later, she’s already gone on a nearly sold out six week U.S. tour with Chelsea Wolfe’s current lineup, she’s spending the summer playing music festivals in Europe, and in 2017, she’ll be recording on the next album. “I’m really grateful for how life works in the weirdest ways.”
I wondered if people peg her as a drummer immediately when they hear that she’s a musician. “No way. I mean, I’m a little girl. It’s kind of a double edged sword, because I find myself having to prove myself a little bit more. Yes, it’s a male dominated industry, but I’m also small and you don’t see a lot of female drummers, though you are seeing a lot more now. I’ve gotten pegged as the merch girl. I’ve gotten pegged as setting up my boyfriend’s drums for him. It’s pretty frustrating, but then I play, and they usually feel bad.” But her actual personality isn’t as loud as her instrument might suggest. “I think that’s what surprises people when they see me. I’m very different on and off stage. I’m confident on there.” Back in 2011, Wolfe tweeted, “jess gowrie, gaahl, metalocalypse #thingsthattaughtmetobemetal.” The reunion of these two rising stars seems to have provided a full circle destination for Gowrie on her meandering musical journey. For certain, there is guaranteed so much more to come.
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HAND - HAMMERED COWBELLS
HEX - JAM SHAKERS
Dynamic Dirt Doubler
Wide Range Harmonic Tremolo
by Morgan Doctor
There are 40 basic rudiments known in the drumming world. 40 rudiments can seem like a lot to master. The secret is that all are variations on only four basic rudiments: single strokes, double strokes, flams and drags. For example a paradiddle is a combination of single strokes and doubles. A Five Stroke Roll is a combination of two double strokes and a single stroke, a Flam Tap is a flam and single stroke. I have picked up all kinds of combinations of rudiment warm ups and have my on going regular warm up practice, but no matter what â€œnewâ€? rudiment combination I learn, I realize is just a combination of these four basic rudiments. Why not create your own then? You can create any rudiment combination practice for yourself that will challenge your stick work and speed.
SINGLE STROKE: R OR L DOUBLE STROKE: RR OR LL FLAM: LR OR RL DRAG: LLR OR RRL
TRY YOUR OWN:
The following is a worksheet that you can fill out to create your own challenging rudiment practice. Make any combination of the four following rudiments.
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R L LR LR
L R RL RL
PARADIDDLE WARM UP by Vanessa Domonique
In this exercise we’ll take a look at the single, double, and the triple paradiddle.
WHAT IS A PARADIDDLE? The single paradiddle is one of the more popular rudiments combining both single and double strokes. To be precise, it is made up of two alternating single strokes (pa-ra) and a double stroke (did-dle):
Now with the double paradiddle, the word “double” doesn’t mean we play two paradiddles, it simply means we double the “para” in paradiddle like this: .
para para diddle or RLRL RR
Naturally then, the triple paradiddle will be:
para para para diddle, or RLRLRL RR As always, build your muscle memory and play this slowly with a metronome before moving on to the next bar or speeding up. When you’re ready, add the accents where notated and move them around the kit!
*Keep the snare notes nice and low when accenting other parts of the kit.*
FIVE TIPS TO UP YOUR POWER AND VOLUME Knowing when and where to play loudly may set the good musician apart from the great one, but we can all agree that it’s the most fun way to play! Here are a few simple changes that can increase your drumming volume.
1. HIT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HEAD
By Kristen Gleeson-Prata, with Lindsay Artkop and JJ Jones
This may seem like a given, but it wasn’t until my teacher pointed it out to me that it really sunk in and made a difference in my playing. By mindfully hitting hard in the middle of the head, you allow the drum to speak to its full volume and potential. I find this to be true especially with toms.
2. PLAY RIMSHOTS There are many different ways to play the snare drum, from ghost notes to rimshots. Rimshots give a satisfying “crack” that can deepen the backbeat and make the snare drum sound and feel so good. The rimshot involves two points of contact between the stick and the drum. The bead (tip) strikes the center of the head as usual at the same exact moment that the shaft strikes the rim. In order to develop the muscle memory that will create comfortable and consistent rimshots, begin by mindfully and slowly placing the stick in the correct place on the drum, and then slowly bringing the stick up into the air and back down into the same exact spot. It’s a process that may take some time, but will add a lot of power and volume to your playing. 3. PLAY HEEL-UP ON THE KICK DRUM PEDAL There are two basic bass drum techniques: “heel-down” and “heel-up”. The heel-down method is much lighter and is generally used in genres like jazz and other light playing styles. It involves keeping your heel on the footboard while just the ball of your foot lifts up and down to create the bass drum striking motion. If you want to up your impact and play louder, the heel-up technique is the better way to go. This method uses the force and weight of your entire leg to strike the bass drum. Keeping your heel lifted and the ball of your foot on the pedal, you raise your leg from the hip and push down on the bass drum pedal. You can bury your beater into the head if you want a dead sound, or if you want a more open tone, slide your foot back immediately after you strike the drum to allow it to resonate fully. With both of these techniques, never lift your entire foot off of the pedal or you’ll lose control. 4. USE LARGER STICKS The larger the sticks, the heavier they are, and the more sound they’ll produce. Most drummers are picky and particular about the exact kind and size of stick they use, but it’s good to experiment and change things up once in awhile. Choosing a larger (whether it be thicker or longer, or both) stick will automatically up your power and volume, but make sure you’re comfortable with the size. If you can’t use them comfortably, you won’t be able to produce a good tone. 5. USE A COMBINATION OF YOUR WRIST AND ARM It is common to be taught to play only with your wrist, especially when you first start learning. You should always, always, always use your wrists to play, but adding in a bit of arm movement allows more wind-up and therefore more force in hitting the drum.
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LEFT HAND BOOTCAMP
by Lindsay Artkop
By far, one of the most common challenges a drummer faces is strengthening their less dominant hand. You’ve probably noticed it when listening back on your playing or trying to work out a new groove or fill that requires a lot of input from your weaker side.
BEAT IT, NERD
If you’re right handed, the reason why your left hand isn’t as strong or coordinated is simply because you aren’t working it as much as the right! This applies to both drumming as well as everyday life. In drumming, the right hand quickly becomes accustomed to handling the majority of the work. This includes the right hand hitting more accents, carrying the weight in stickings, leading a groove or phrase and playing a higher number of notes in general. In everyday life, it includes activities like using scissors, writing, brushing your teeth or using utensils. Try using your weak hand for these activities to improve strength and coordination away from the drums. You may find it’s a lot harder than you think! With time, your coordination will improve and those tasks will become much easier with your left hand, which will also spill over to your drumming. On a similar note, be sure to work out your left side just as much or a little bit more as your right when working out at the gym. The Left Hand Boot Camp series turns the tables by focusing on your left hand rather than your right to strengthen your muscles and improve your coordination. Everything that your right hand has been responsible for in the past will now be the left hand’s duty. It also includes alternative workout tips for your hands in general. All exercises are notated with stickings.
EXERCISE #1: Left Hand Accent Workout #1: This first challenge works out your brain as well as your limbs. It progresses from eighth notes, to triplets, to sixteenth notes, accenting every possible permutation within each rhythm. This gets your left hand to build up endurance as well as the ability to accent within different rhythms and speeds.
HOW TO PRACTICE THESE EXERCISES: Each exercise should be played at a slow tempo to start, especially when using them as warm ups. Do not push yourself, as you don’t want to cause injury. Gradually increase speed, as you feel comfortable. For the absolute minimum results, you should practice every exercise every day, at least five times through. To increase your results, increase the amount of time spent practicing. In time, it’s guaranteed you will see a huge improvement in your left hand. If you happen to be a lefty, don’t worry! Simply reverse the stickings in the exercises provided.
In the next segment, we explore a new sixteenth note based workout that gets your hand burning even more! Supplamental videos for each exercise are coming soon. For more detail on the Left Hand Bootcamp series, check out tomtommag.com.
MULTI-PART TECHNIQUE SERIES:
FOCUS ON THE BASS DRUM Greater stamina, control, speed, and precision on the kick drum can provide us with so many options as drummers: complex grooves, faster tempos, more interesting fills, a wider variety of musical styles, not to mention improving our timing and ability to lock in with a bass player. In Part I of this series on the bass drum, we examine the multitude of techniques that can be used on the kick drum pedal, and, as you might guess, each one is appropriate for specific styles, applications, and situations. by JJ Jones
PART I - PEDAL TECHNIQUES HEEL-UP: By far the most common method used on the kick drum pedal, it typically provides the most power, speed, and volume on the bass drum. It involves using the entire leg to move the pedal up and down, meaning the force behind the beater is being provided by the largest muscles in your body. To play heel-up, place the ball of your foot about a quarter of the way down the pedal footboard and keep it there while lifting your leg from the hip (see pic. 1.) Use the leg muscles and the weight of your leg to push the pedal down (see pic. 2.) The heel-up method is highly versatile and can be used in almost every musical style. And if you’re looking for LOUD, this is the method to use!
HEEL-DOWN: This is often the default way beginners play the bass drum, since their muscles are usually not yet developed enough to move their whole leg up and down (as in heel-up) and still have control. Heel-down involves resting the heel on the bottom of the footboard and moving the pedal up and down by bending at the ankle (see pics. 3 and 4.) This method is employed mainly for jazz and lower volume settings, since using only your foot and calf muscles usually means less power is translated to the beater. A nice application for heel-down is something called “feathering” in jazz and swing styles, where the drummer keeps very light quarter-notes going on the bass drum throughout.
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BURYING THE BEATER: a somewhat controversial issue in drumming, whether to “bury the beater” is a topic of debate. This technique involves letting the beater rest on the head of the bass drum on every strike (see pic. 2, above.) It creates a dead sound with more emphasis on the attack, and allows the leg to rest briefly between each hit (which can be a blessing when playing fast!). On the converse, pulling the beater back after every stroke (by pulling the foot back or bending the ankle), allows the kick drum to fully resonate in the same way toms resonate after being hit by a stick, and both attack and sustain are heard. Many studio engineers prefer this method as it can give a better bass drum sound on recordings. Knowing how to do both techniques, based on what the musical situation calls for, is ideal.
GET A GRIP
Finally, THE SKIP (SLIDE) technique and heel-toe technique, are used for very fast doubles and triples on the bass drum. The slide involves “skipping” the foot across the pedal to get two or even three hits with one downward movement of the leg. The heel-toe method is similar, but the multiple hits come from first the heel coming down on the pedal, then the toe, producing, again, two hits out of one downward movement of the leg. (Look for an entire article on these methods in Part 3 of this bass drum technique series, “Speed.")
Be sure to check out tomtommag.com for a more in-depth look at each of the above kick drum techniques, including videos, demos, diagrams, and links to additional resources! And, stay tuned for the next issue of Tom Tom for Part 2 in this technique series: “Focus On The Bass Drum - Control and Stamina,” which will include kick drum warmups, drills, exercises and song/groove transcriptions for the development of control and stamina in your leg and foot.
THE CABIN PROJECT
Blush Graveface Records / June 2016
Habit Sister Polygon Records / July 2016
Featuring catchy songwriting, a deft use of vocal harmonies, and smart lead guitar lines, Night School’s first full-length album, Blush, is a treat for fans of both radio-friendly throw-back melodies and modern fuzz-laden indie-pop. From driving hip-shakers like “Casanova” to the beautiful slow-dance worthy “Misty and Blue,” this Oakland, California, trio shows they can rock out hard, while dialing it down occasionally for touchingly sentimental moments.
Following The Cabin Project’s album Heliotrope and EP Sine, their latest full length album, Unfolded, comes to us more refined and even more impressively orchestrated. The trio composed of Katie Sawicki (vocals, guitar, piano), Rebekah Hanson (viola, vocals), and Zanny Geffel (drums, vocals) are sure to lure you in with the cliff hanging hook in the album opener, “Chain.” Adding more synths into their music, the album’s fifth song “Focus” forces you to feel the music in your chest. Unfolded is full of melancholy three part harmonies of longing lyrics and energetic drums Listen to this: When you feel like making-out that are respectively comparable to Bon Iver and in your parents’ garage, like the adolescent you Warpaint. With songs like the title track “Unwere/are. folded,” “November I Miss You,” and “Fingerprints,” this album will leave you heavily nostalgic —Carolina Enriquez Swan so much that you may need a nap to recuperate.
Like all great pop music, Blush is an album steered by well-crafted bass lines that effortlessly tie together sharp drumming and lush rhythm guitar playing. Surrender yourself to these infectious tunes and discover your next favorite song. Listen to this: While sipping from a flask in the back of an American car on a summer night.
Unfolded Indie / June 2016
Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Jordan takes you back to a frustrating time of being a teen in suburbia. Lyrics like, “even when it feels so seamless, don’t get caught in the dirt” on the Baltimore band’s debut EP Habit. It’s a softer, '90s style indie rock twisted with the relaxed, pop-y, surf-y SoCal beats. The drumming serves as a soft caress, holding you through the melancholy emotions brought by Jordan’s vocals. The album is deep, with songs ranging from solitude to selfrealization.
—Stephen Otto Perry
Listen to this: While drinking lemonade and writing a letter to a childhood friend. —Linnea LaMon
Femejism True Panther Sounds / July 2016 The famed duo of Lindsey Troy (vocals, guitar) and Julie Edwards (drums, vocals) spent two years writing, perfecting, and recording their new album, Femejism. In what may be the most raging album of female independence of the year, Deap Vally presents songs titled “Smile More,” “Little Baby Beauty Queen,” and “Teenage Queen,” amongst others, throughout which they condemn the globalized violence against women and girls and assert themselves as the rulers of their own lives. Deap Vally is seen shredding both guitars and double standards as they disavow centuries-long feelings of shame, expectation, and objectification of female bodies in one of Femejism’s music videos (filmed entirely on an iPhone) for the track, “Smile More.” Their forthright denouncement of misogynistic culture is not limited to the lyrics of their songs; rather it’s flouted in their styles of fashion, filming, and recording and is about as genuine as it can get. In other words, Deap Vally lives and breathes what they preach, which will positively inspire anyone who gives them a listen. Check them out as they embark on a cross-country US tour, stopping everywhere from the deserts of California to the stages of New York City and even the United Kingdom. Listen to this: While riding the subway as someone tries to tell you how to live your life. —Katherine Gerberich
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Update Your Brain Dovetown /September 2016
Princess True Panther Sounds / July 2016
The Tuts are a trio of grrrls from the UK, and their album, Update Your Brain, is what we've been waiting for all summer. Singer/guitarist Nadia Javed's voice is saccharinely aggressive, weaving catchy melodies with staccato hooks (see: “Tut Tut Tut”). The riff-heavy track “Always Hear The Same Shit” will get you on your feet—we guarantee the bass-line from the verse will be stuck in your head for the rest of the year. The spirit of the album is captured in the single “Let Go of the Past,” featuring hard-hitting drums and fresh, feminist pop-punk energy.
Memphis' wild foursome Nots are back with their second full length Cosmetic and it is packed with plenty of raw fuzz and power. The nine songs in this collection don’t lack in energy and are amped up at frantic tempos, skirting the edge of pure chaos at several points along the way. The garage and punk influence is clear in the raucous guitar, backed by driving bass and drums along with weirdly wonderful synth lines at times taking the lead and at others adding bits of oddity to the compositions. Singer Natalie Hoffman’s voice is echoey and distant throughout yet on the first single “Entertain Me” the message is powerful, clear, and critical of entertainment and it’s role: “Entertain me/tell me what to say/Entertain me/tell me who to be.” Other stand outs are the bursts of “Rat King” and “No Novelty” quick fun romps each clocking in at less than two minutes. The band recently completed a European tour as well as a tour of the Southeast and will be appearing in September at Riot Fest.
With one EP, BLQ Velvet, and an album, Rose, under her belt, Abra’s latest EP, Princess, is more polished but still with a raw, fresh feel. As the “darkwave duchess” of Atlanta rap crew Awful Records, Abra creates music that resonates with women. Abra’s six track EP Princess begins with “Come 4 Me,” a short track with mesmerizing layered vocals that make you want to hear more. The '80s style R&B drum machine parts on “Vegas” and “Crybaby” are produced well and are reminiscent of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Her use of loops creates enticing harmonies that continue to draw you in even in the last track “Thinking Listen to this: When you feel like having an upof U.” all-night sleepover with your friends, and don't want the night to end. Listen to this: While getting ready for a night out dancing with your girlfriends. —Krishanti Daryanani —Linnea LaMon
Cosmetic Goner Records / September 2016
Listen to this: When you’re cruising around town on your skateboard and/or heading to catch some waves at the beach. —Kate Hoos
'Til You're Mine Asian Man Records / August 2016 Sibling rock ’n’ roll power duo Dog Party hits like a ton of bricks with their newest offering 'Til You’re Mine. Despite being “just” guitar and drums, their wall of sound is larger than life, and they don’t add bass or other instruments in the studio for an intense, no frills, full on rock just as you would get seeing them live. There are times they can stick a little too closely to the sound of their influences with the sound of the Ramones and pop punk palpable in many of the tracks, but they largely make the sound their own and there are plenty standouts to be had. “The Look” starts out as a fast punk rager but then takes a left turn to play with tempo and quarter note triplet phrasing in the chorus. Fuzzy surfy vibes abound on “Lay Back!!!” and it’s a fast echo-drenched hit. Following that is “Whoa,” another warp speed sing-along with a ripping guitar solo making it one of the most fun songs on the album. They also give nod to riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill with an awesomely crunchy cover of the classic “Rebel Girl.” Listen to this: When you need to pogo with your friends like there is no tomorrow. Make sure to sing-along till your voice is gone! —Kate Hoos
MISS SHARON JONES! Barbara Kopple Cabin Creek Films / 2016
Miss Sharon Jones! is a documentary about and featuring the enigmatic soul singer, woman, and cancer survivor of the same name, who has packed more living into the last 60 years than most people could hope to if they lived three lifetimes. Directed by documentarian Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA, Wild Man Blues, Running from Crazy), the film brings the uninitiated up to speed on the unorthodox career of Sharon Jones, whose “highlights” include working as a Riker’s Island prison guard, performing as a wedding singer, being turned down by major labels for entirely superficial reasons, and for over 20 years, fronting the Dap-Kings, arguably the greatest funk combo of the last four decades. At what seems like the height of the triumphant career arc of the Dap-Kings, Sharon is diagnosed with cancer, and the film captures the beautiful and inspiring story that transpires during the hardest points of her treatment, as well her rollercoaster return to the stage. What makes the film truly special, identifiable, and filled with emotion is the way Miss Sharon Jones! captures the hard working community of musicians, managers, caregivers, family members, and friends who are in Sharon’s life. Playing in a band is often compared to being in a relationship with several people at once. When “life” happens to one person in the band everyone is affected, both from an empathetic standpoint—and everyone who’s in Sharon’s life loves and treasures her as a person—as well as a practical one. Because Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings cannot exist without Sharon, and because the band has become the centerpiece of over 30 people’s careers, we get hints of key individuals’ experiences carefully walking the line between helping Sharon through a near-death experience and also guiltily considering what happens to them should their career as a band come to an untimely end. Kopple’s camera captures moments that must have been unbearably difficult to have a documentary crew in the mix on, but it becomes evident why creating this documentary was so important. Miss Sharon Jones! tells the story of a person who lives the type of life that truly uplifts us all. Jones takes the road less traveled every single time, never gives up, keeps her sense of humor through it all, and wholeheartedly trusts in the power of playing music to guide her to the light during the darkest tunnels of life. —Nick Gordon
THE SPITBOY RULE:
TALES OF A XICANA IN A FEMALE PUNK BAND Michelle Cruz Gonzales Cabin Creek Films / 2016 Michelle Cruz Gonzales was known as “Todd” when she started playing drums in the Bay Area punk band Spitboy in 1991. Her book reads fast and furious just like her drumming (I read the whole thing one afternoon at Rockaway Beach). She paints a great picture of what it's like to move to San Francisco and start a band with your friends, but this is not just another band memoir. It's really the story of being an outsider, of being a Xicana woman and figuring out what that means in a mostly white scene. Facing hostile audiences ("Spread your legs or play!”) with powerful comebacks and fierce songs, Michelle, and Spitboy helped pave the way for future female musicians and artists of color in the pre-internet DIY punk scene of the '90s. —Sto Len
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THE SWITCH KICK BY AHEAD STICKS By Lindsay Artkop
We take for granted how many options there are for hitting implements for which we can use our hands. Sticks, rods, brushes, mallets, and everything in between are available from a variety of different companies. Changing them is as easy as putting down one pair and pulling out the next from our stick bag. Drummers use all different types of tools made out of a variety of woods and plastics. We use them to spice up textures, lower or heighten dynamics and bring out different responses from our drums.
Now, an innovative creation allows us to have the same freedom with our kick pedals. Kevin Smith, inventor and percussionist, has teamed up with Ahead to create a tool called the Switch Kick. It’s a quick release bass drum beater system that allows drummers to flip, adjust and switch out their beaters, all without a drum key.
The shaft is installed like any regular beater, and the Switch Kick beaters themselves are inserted to the shaft. Currently, there are over 10 different beater options to choose from and more in the making. Each Switch Kick beater provides a different sonic quality. There are wire brushes, plastic brushes, hard beaters, soft beaters, plastic, and more. The Switch Kick gives us the freedom and convenience to change our bass drum sound to fit any situation on the fly. Unfortunately, you cannot use any existing beaters you have with this tool, which means you don’t have the option of using your current beater without reinstalling it manually. Thankfully, however, the Switch Kick itself can be installed on any standard kick pedal, and the options available are sure to come close in comparison to whatever beater you’re currently digging. Check out our interview with Switch Kick Inventor Kevin Smith below to learn about his background, how he came up with his invention, and more about how the Switch Kick works. For full info on the Switch Kick, visit aheaddrumsticks.com/switch-kick-landing.html L TO R: Felt Kick, Adapter Shaft, Switch Kick Quick Release System set up 70
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L TO R: 2-Way felt/hard head, Sonic Kick, Wire Brush, Boom Kick
KIM THOMPSON’S JAZZ STICKS By Elijah Navarro
As the product specialist at instrument-makers D’Addario, I collaborated with Beyonce’s drummer, Kim Thompson, on a journey to find the perfect drumstick for her style of playing.
As the product specialist at instrumentmakers D’Addario, I collaborated with Beyonce’s drummer, Kim Thompson, on a journey to find the perfect drumstick for her style of playing. At the start, Kim expressed the importance of finding the right balance and feel that would accommodate all types of players, both female and male. Since she has smaller hands, she further expressed that the stick achieve the right balance of weight and length to allow for a natural-feeling “throw” when moving around the kit, so she didn’t have to work harder than necessary. Through three iterations, the two narrowed their focus and made subtle tweaks. This made a big impact on the playability of the tools. Ultimately, the profile of the stick wound up being .535” (7A) in diameter with a bit more length at 16 ½” overall with a small round tip shape and a long taper. These elements combined help Kim maintain a centered, relaxed feeling while performing. It allows her a Buddha-like position. The energy she brings to the stage comes from the core and these sticks allow for an extension of that chi energy. The icing on the cake is the beautiful aesthetic of these sticks. It took some time to get it just right, but the gold metal flake paint makes the sticks shimmer under the stage lights and the deep red stick art helps create a rich contrast so that Kim can show her Promark stripes even when she’s swinging. It was a true joy making this stick with Kim. Besides being a wonderful human being, she knew pretty precisely what she wanted to achieve from the start. Together, I believe we made a stick that can help drummers take their playing to new heights. The quality, consistency, playability, and overall aesthetic are unmatched.As the product specialist at instrument-makers D’Addario, I collaborated with Beyonce’s drummer, Kim Thompson, on a journey to find the perfect drumstick for her style of playing.
PORTABLE CARDBOARD DRUMS EXIST AND THEY’RE KINDA GENIUS By Shaina Joy Machlus
I recently had the opportunity to try out Obilab’s set of portable cardboard drums. Yup, an entire drum kit made totally out of cardboard and fiberglass that packs up into a cute little backpack. The kit caught me at the perfect time. I live in Barcelona, Catalunya, a small city where walls are thin and essentially overlapping That means drumming at home is done on an electronic drum kit or, well actually, that’s it. Out of desperation for more time to practice, I had been surfing for used electronic drum kits for the past few days (against the pleading of my beloved and stylish housemate who, understandably so, finds them incredibly ugly and space consuming). And then I stumbled on this little number. Through work contacts I had been put in touch with two of Obilab’s bubbly, French creators. After helping them with some writing and translation, I revealed I was a drummer myself and immediately got to sit down and give the kit a shot. DOES IT SOUNDS LIKE AN ACTUAL DRUM KIT? The ‘snare’ and ‘hi-hat’ are filled with rice, which gives it a magical prrruppp similar to a traditional snare. The white markings all over the kit, which are fiberglass, have nice bounce and ping to them. You can play every single part of the drum and each has different depths (listen here). There’s even a pedal for the kick-drum and the stool (which is the outer backpack) doubles as a cajón. But, I wouldn’t sit down at this kit and expect it to reproduce the sounds of a traditional drum kit. My guess is, replication is not quite the point, because different types of drums should sound differently.
IS IT LOUD? When it’s hit a bit harder, it’s easily loud enough to be heard in an acoustic set. And played normally, it’s loud enough to be audible by you, and people around, but not neighbors or even folks a few rooms over. There is a lot of volume control, depending on the sticks you use (the set comes with light, bamboo sticks) and your physical force. And the kit feels surprisingly sturdy, so I wasn’t shy about hitting hard. 72
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IS IT REALLY PORTABLE? So, so, so portable. One of my favorite parts of this little baby is how easy it is to construct and deconstruct. It sits pretty in the corner of my room (yes, I got myself one) until I’m ready to play. In two minutes, I have it set up, and I’m sitting behind it. An important note would be that the drum layout takes a few minutes to adjust to, as it’s not exactly the same as a traditional drum kit. But the pieces are made so you can move and change them to what feels best. I imagine it being a really great tool for professional drummers who are constantly on the road and want something quick and easy to set up in their hotel rooms to run through their music. Or for those more street savvy than myself, a cool, eye-grabbing tool for making street music on the fly.
WHAT WILL I USE IT FOR? Practicing, learning, creating, making music, basically everything. I regularly use the kit to practice at home. I’ve also used the kit in teaching children’s music classes as a way to introduce the idea of a drum kit in a less intimidating way and prove that music can come from anywhere. And I’ve lent the kit to friends who want something different when it comes to recording.
Practicing, learning, creating, making music, basically everything. I regularly use the kit to practice at home. I’ve also used the kit in teaching children’s music classes as a way to introduce the idea of a drum kit in a less intimidating way and prove that music can come from anywhere. And I’ve lent the kit to friends who want something different when it comes to recording.
FAVORITE PART? Besides the kit being really fun to play, Obilab’s states that its philosophy centers around making music more accessible to everyone. The kit is its first endeavor to find a way to make an instrument that is typically expensive, cumbersome, and generally intimidating much more manageable. Which is pretty perfect for parent, school, beginner, and pro usage in workshops, classrooms, homes, and everywhere else. I personally dig the idea of people constantly redefining what an instrument can look like and finding new ways to make playing possible for everyone.
WHERE DO I GET ONE? Obilab just began its first ever Kickstarter filled with a bunch of swag and different drum kit models. Plus, they’ve started making an adorable miniature version, the DrumKID for little rock-stars, and have another version that is electronically compatible in the works. There is lots more info on the Kickstarter, including sound samples, measurements, and a video with a drumming cameo by yours truly.
WHAT WILL I USE IT FOR?
SHOW US YOUR KITS STEPH BARKER'S SET UP by Zoë Brecher
Who: Steph Barker, 26 Band: Coast Modern
DRUMS I am STOKED to now endorse and play SJC Custom Drums. They are a company based out of Massachusetts, and New England is my home region! My kit is currently being made, so I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. Here is the lineup: 4 Piece - Mint Washed Maple Kit with Brass Hardware. Bass Drum has natural wood hoops with a brass inlay. A BD - 14x22 B Floor Tom - 16x16 C Rack Tom - 9x13 D Snare - 6.5x14
CYMBALS I endorse Zildjian cymbals. My current set up reflects my heavy jazz background, these are the sounds and textures that I love. 1 Ride- 21" K Custom Special Dry Ride 2 Crash- 17" K Custom Dark 3 Hats- 14" Constantinople
HARDWARE My pedal is a dw 3000. I have had it for years, and it does the trick for me. Very durable and reliable for a very low price in comparison to other pedals. The saddest part is that the drum key clip has broken off, and that was my favorite! I tend to loose track of my drum keys, and that was always my back up plan. I have a variety of other stands including Yamaha, Tama and Gibraltar. I am hoping to get a cohesive set of Gibraltar hardware because they have been a favorite for me.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
HEADS Evans! I have been trying out the Black Chrome and Onyx heads on all of my toms. They both create a very deep and resonate sound. For my snare I use the HD Genera Dry. I have been using this head for several years now. Keeps my snare sounding crisp, warm and not too "pingy". The small holes are the edge of the head allow the drum to breath, creating a very full and rounded hit. STICKS Vater 7A Manhattan Jazz. LOVE THEM! I have been endorsing Vater for almost five years now, and I could not be happier. They make my favorite sticks. The 7A's have a rounded tip, giving me the articulation I want for my ride and snare sound as well as being light enough to crush a heavy set while keeping my wrists safe. I use these sticks for all genres!
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