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CONTRIBUTORS FOUNDER | PUBLISHER Mindy Seegal Abovitz (info@tomtommag.com) MANAGING EDITOR Liz Tracy (hi@tomtommag.com) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marisa Kurk (art@tomtommag.com) REVIEWS EDITOR Rebecca DeRosa (hi@tomtommag.com) TECH EDITOR JJ Jones (tech@tomtommag.com)

BLOGGER Mayra Cortez

TECH EDITOR JJ Jones

PHOTOGRAPHER Alison Brady

TECH WRITER Lindsay Artkop

PRINT WRITERS JJ Jones, Kelly Rae Tubbs, Sassy Black, Kiran Gandhi, Miro Justad, Fer Fuentes, Debbie Knox-Hewson, Nick Gordon, Shelly Simon, Kristen Gleeson-Prata, Danz Johnson, Leah Bowden, Shaina Joy Machlus, Jelsen Lee Innocent, Lauren Camarata, Lisa Henderson, Lindsey Anderson, Nick Zurko, Lisa Shonberg, PHOTOGRAPHERS Alison Brady, Keka Marzagao, Omatseye Ajagbawa, aka Africanist, Bex Wade, Shelly Simon, Xavier Bailey, Wolfgang Heermann, ILLUSTRATORS Amber Vittoria, Lola WK TECH WRITERS Vanessa Dominique, JJ Jones, Lindsay Artkop, Kristen Gleeson-Prata, Zoë Brecher MUSIC & MEDIA REVIEWS Chantal-Marie Wright, Matthew D'Dabate, Sarah Landeau, Emily Nemens, Mariel Berger, GEAR REVIEWS LaTreice V. Branson, Marisa Kurk

WEB TOM TOM SHOP MANAGER Susan Taylor (shop@tomtommag.com) WEB CODERS Revival Agency WEB WRITERS Miro Justad, Aiko Masubuchi, Shaina Joy Machlus, John Carlow, Sophie Zambrano, Christine Pallon DESIGN INTERN Lindsey Anderson TOM TOM TV Mayra Cortez

DISTRIBUTION NYC Segrid Barr BARCELONA Shaina Joy Machlus EUROPE Max Markowsky PORTLAND Shanna Doolittle, Haley Flannery LOS ANGELES Adrian Tenney

EVENTS Miro Justad

BRAIN TRUST Rony Abovitz, Lisa Schonberg, Kiran Gandhi, Sean Desiree

THANKIES

Matt Dianella (Red Bull), Ross Asdourian (Red Bull), Anna Geiger (Red Bull), Shantell Martin, Alison Brady and her team, Ima, Rony, Shani, Scoot, My Husband Chris J Monk, George Ferrandi, Angel Favorite Santo, Rico, Pitz Patz CORRECTIONS FROM ISSUE 27 · Sorry to the band The Spider Ferns we left out the “The” of their name in the last issue! · Apologies to Elijah Navarro and D’addario/ProMark for repeating a paragraph twice in the review of Kim Thompson’s specialty sticks. · Left-handed bootcamp part one we didn’t print the exercise. You can see it in this issue in the tech section.

GET IT Barnes & Nobles (U.S. & Canada), @Urbandistronyc, Ace Hotels, MoMA PS1, and hundreds of other drum and music shops around the world. Find out where at tomtommag.com Read all of our back issues at issuu.com

CONTACT US 302 Bedford Ave. PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 info@tomtommag.com @tomtommag TO SUBSCRIBE: shop.tomtommag.com TO ADVERTISE: info@tomtommag.com ON THE COVER: Rachel Trachtenburg shot by Alison Brady, makeup by Takashi Ashizawa using MAC

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

Photo by Drew Gurian

Welcome to the Winter 2016 issue of Tom Tom Magazine! As the year draws to a close, while seismic political shockwaves continue to reverberate across the world, it’s more important than ever that we be vigilant in our communities, mindful of our progress and scrutinous of our media.

In the past few weeks, we have received message after message that we’re needed now more than ever. We promise to continue to bring you undoctored free press that covers strong women, girls and gender-nonconforming folks who have beaten adversity and are diverse in their backgrounds and stories. We promise to never compromise our values or adapt our views and convictions due to fear, pressure or compliance. Because being yourself should never feel like a risk. The only way forward is with confidence, courage and risk taking. And so to this issue’s theme. While the highest reaches of government are being filled with a corporate elite, in this issue we take a look at what money means to all of us on the ground. Like politics, money affects us all. It often determines how much of our creative life we can partake in and what ends up on the back burner. Within these pages you will find out about buying a drum set on a budget, applying for grants, when to play a gig for free, how to best manage your money on tour and more. Enjoy the read. In love, drums, civil rights, and solidarity,

Mindy Seegal Abovitz

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

The state of affairs in the U.S. and overseas has felt like the largest setback for gender, race and sexual equality we have ever known. Rest assured, the good fight continues here in this magazine. As media makers we have been rolling around some key questions. Why was the media itself so divided about this election? Why did one half of our country not feel heard then—and one half feels unheard now? How can we be better listeners? Better communicators? How can we lead without fear and give strength to the underserved minority?


KILLER KIT FOR UNDER $500 Get a Great Set for Cheap

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WISH GRANTED How to Get the Perfect Grant

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REMINDER When to Play a Gig for Free

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#F*CKTHEWAGEGAP Ladies Get Paid

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PENNY PINCHERS Staying Afloat on the Road

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BANG FOR YOUR BUCK The Best Drumsets for your Money

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KNOW YOUR WORTH A Guide to Knowing and Getting What you Deserve in the Workplace

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WUNDERFUL WUNDERKIND Rachel Trachtenburg from Child Drummer to Model

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CHA-CHING.COM Raking it in on the Web

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TAXING QUESTIONS How Musicians Should do their Taxes

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MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS Transcriptions of Money Songs

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Photo by Alison Brady


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR I just wanted to say I think you are awesome. Everything you are doing for the drumming community, and for female drummers specifically is wonderful. I've been a drummer for 15 years studied percussion in college, and taught for 5 years. Your magazine, and the events you've held are all about genuinely caring about fellow drummers. Keep your head down, the work you are doing is incredible. Keep up the phenomenal work. Have a wonderful day.

You have a beautiful and well-voiced message. Thank you for existing, Tom Tom, and much love. —Laura

Hello! I’m a drummer from Liverpool. Thanks and love the work you are doing!

—Robert C $6 | € 6 | £ 6 DISPLAY FALL 2016

—Grace Bloc Party | Las Pinas | Weird Habits | Power Up Your Drums | Sandunes | Guide to Rio | Chelsea Wolfe

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For what it’s worth, I’m a big fan of Tom Tom. You guys have an absolutely wonderful model; it really is authentically impressive, and I’m often bowled over by the outlets and distribution you have. Very well done on a genuinely engaging, beautifully conceived, and wonderfully put-together magazine!

9/12/16 11:31 AM

Hey Tom Tom, I've been a drummer for 16 years. I’m reaching out to tell you how much I love your magazine. I sincerely appreciate the work you guys are doing and I am constantly inspired by seeing so many rad lady musicians being highlighted. —Natalie

Your focus may well be on the drummer/feminist community you’re speaking to directly, but your influence goes far beyond, I can promise you that. Let’s not allow the civic wrongs of a country that just elected an arrogating monster to diminish the values and strength of any journal that serves to enlighten. I, for one, count Tom Tom among that number. In solidarity, David

Thank you for your magazine...and everything you do for drummers. My best, Jim

—Vicky and the GRL! team

Hey lovely Tom Tom Mag! I'm Phoebe, and I think you're amazing.

CONTACT US Hi!

Hey,

We (and our members) are big fans of Tom Tom.

Thank you for all that you do. You are such an inspiration! —Valerie

302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 info@tomtommag.com @tomtommag


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MINDY ABOVITZ OF TOM TOM PUT together another iteration of The Oral History of Female Drummers at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey. The one-day event was an immersive sound installation performed by ten female-identifying drummers, each set up in different locations throughout the one million square foot cultural center during their Fall 2016 Open House. Designed to explore the undocumented history of female drummers, the participants were both hidden (an empty studio space, a distant corridor) and visibly featured (the BSMT courtyard and outside on the grass). They played simultaneously, out of sight and sound range of each other. The performances began short and quiet, and grew longer and louder throughout the day to reflect the growth of visibility and presence of female drummers. This event seeks to inspire and challenge viewers through their engagement with the musicians. Women and girls are traditionally seen and not heard; here, in these art spaces, they are both seen and heard. The artist Itta painted the drum heads and the drum sticks graciously provided by ProMark and Evans with a drumset sponsorship by DW Drums. All photographs by Keka Marzagao. See a documentary of the movement on Red Bull TV. This event was first performed at NYC's MoMA PS1 in January 2013; a similar piece, titled First Beat, was presented at Miami's Perez Art Museum Miami in December 2013. Most recently, The Oral History of Female Drummers was performed at the Brooklyn Museum in March 2016 to an audience of 10,000. I S S U E 2 8:

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Drummers: Chloe Saavedra, Kiran Gandhi, Pippa Kelmenson, LaFrae Sci, Sean Desiree, LaTreice V Branson, Aiko Masubuchi, April Centrone, Paola Viteri, and Riesha Fayson.

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HOW TO HAVE A KILLER-SOUNDING DRUM KIT FOR UNDER $500 by JJ Jones WE ALL KNOW PLAYING DRUMS CAN be an expensive endeavor. If you’ve done any drum shopping at all, you’ve probably realized that buying high-quality new drums—and the requisite hardware and cymbals that are sold separately—can quickly add up. Fear not! Here is the cost breakdown of putting together an awesome-sounding kit for less than $500:

$200–$300 A used drumset on Craigslist! There’s a reason this tip is the first on this list. While we all love getting new things, buying brand-new drums can mean paying two or three times the cost of getting them used. Buying anything used is always cheaper, but the critical factor here is that used kits on Craigslist often include the hardware and cymbals, which can save a huge amount of money from buying them separately. I regularly see Tama Imperialstar, Pearl Export, or equivalent mid-range kits, with decent hardware and cymbals, for around $300. And often the seller can be talked down in price, especially if you go in person (with a friend!) and offer cash. (Absolute requirement of buying on Craigslist: Always bring someone else with you to a seller’s house, and if possible, meet the seller somewhere in public, like a shopping center parking lot.) I’ve also seen these kinds of mid-level used kits include high-ticket items like a boutique snare, a DW 5000 kick pedal, an expensive hi-hat stand, or an old vintage cymbal. Items that are worth the entire asking price of the kit. So take your time and check the listings on a regular basis to find some great deals.

$100 New heads! I can’t stress this one enough. Even the lowest quality drums can sound good to great with the installation of new heads that are

properly tuned and muffled (more on this below). Even replacing just the top heads on a drum kit can make a huge difference and will only run you about 100 bucks (be prepared to spend almost $50 of that on the bass drum head—they are expensive, but worth it!).

FREE Tuning! We’ve all heard how important tuning is in making your drums sound good, but as anyone who has tried knows, it’s often easier said than done. If you’re unsure how to tune your drums properly, take them into your local percussion shop or Guitar Center and ask the drum staff to help you—as long as you also buy your new heads from this same place! Almost any drum shop will want you as a return customer, so they’re usually willing to put new heads on your drums and give them at least a basic tune for free. Go in when you’re not in a rush, since they’ll have to help other customers during the process. Find a no-attitude sales associate, ask nicely, and be willing to wait while they take the time to help you and explain what they’re doing.

$10 OR FREE Muffling! I cannot stress enough how important this step is. Unless you’re playing jazz, almost all drums need some kind of dampening to get rid of unwanted overtones. Dampening gels called Moongels or Drumdots are cheap and work well. Or, go the old-school route and fold strips of paper towel into squares and apply to your heads with tape on each edge. Place near the rim and apply as many as you need until the drum sounds good. I S S U E 2 8:

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LEARN HOW TO GET GRANTS, A GREAT WAY TO FINANCE YOUR DREAMS

by Kelly Rae Tubbs Do you aspire to learn new skills, compose a masterpiece, or introduce a new music festival to your hometown, a place that doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities for live music? Ever wonder how to make it happen on a tight budget? Inspired projects like these can be funded by an elusive, time consuming, but highly rewarding source: grants. By investing a few hours of your time, you can learn that grant projects are as varied as the individuals and organizations that apply for them. The project you dare to achieve may be an application form away from actually coming to life. Some grants support individual artists, some offer supplementary funding to government or private organizations, and others help nonprofit organizations invest in artists-in-residences or equipment, training, and support that allows them to offer high-quality programming to communities.

TYPES OF GRANTS While no two grant offerings are exactly alike, the following types of awards are common: Artist Development—A project that answers the question: “Does this drive the artist to another level?” Public Art—These projects might take place in frequently visited areas like public parks or libraries or may be a focal point to bring more visitors to a location. Sustaining—These grants help an ongoing program become selfsufficient in the future. Programmatic Support—These grants typically cover supplies and equipment to help a program succeed in its day-to-day business. Arts in the Schools—This funding brings artists and educational programs directly to the students. Research and Development—These awards pay for the behind-thescenes “homework” that leads to a future project.

Photo by Omatseye Ajagbawa, aka Africanist

Seattle’s Catherine Harris-White goes by the name SassyBlack when she touts her talents as a singer, songwriter, and producer. You can comfortably compare the singer’s voice to Ella Fitzgerald or Erykah Badu and her production style with that of Roy Ayers and Herbie Hancock. Her roots are in classical and jazz, having graduated Cornish College of the Arts with a bachelor’s in music. However, SassyBlack gained real attention for her work with R&B and hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction and Sub Pop Records’ Shabazz Palaces. Her more recent solo efforts have garnered attention from publications like Pitchfork, The Fader, and Noisey. The musician recently returned from a successful European tour and is currently preparing her second album as SassyBlack slated for a 2017 release date.

“Bitch Better Have My Money” —Rihanna “For the Love of Money” —The O'Jays “Money Trees” —Kendrick Lamar “Diva” —Beyoncé “Super Rich Kids” —Frank Ocean “Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)” —Pet Shop Boys “Money” —Michael Jackson “Money Don't Matter 2 Night” —Prince and the NPG “Mo' Money Mo' Problems” —The Notorious B.I.G. “Bills, Bills, Bills” —Destiny's Child “Just Got Paid” —Johnny Kemp


HOW INDIVIDUAL FUNDING WORKS Some programs require that 100 percent of the money is spent to improve upon or add new skills to the applicant’s creative toolbox. From a drummer’s perspective, this might include lessons to study with an expert in world percussion or early jazz styles or might allow an equipment purchase, without which the musician cannot pursue greater opportunities. Other programs provide an established artist with funds they can use to pay their regular living expenses for a few weeks or months, allowing them to concentrate solely on the art they’re creating. There is a certain level of responsibility that a grantee must accept when awarded a grant. This typically includes basic bookkeeping, the submission of a summary report that assures the grantor the project that was promised was achieved, and the responsibility to pay taxes on the grant money. A public event may also be required. These may be as simple as a lecture or Q&A session, a video documenting the project, or a live demonstration or performance.

TAKE THE FIRST STEPS · Expand your definition of art! Writing, sculpture, dance, music, drama, and many more fields fall under the “art” umbrella. Do not allow your definition of the word “art” to limit your thinking. Then start searching for family, private, and corporate foundations that are interested in funding artists. · Perform an online search for “art council” and the name of your city, state, province, or country. Learn what grants are offered and the eligibility requirements. Follow links to other grant agencies. · Create a resume showing the range of your music education and training, compositions, and breadth of experience. · Obtain high-quality audio or video recordings of your best performances. · Make an appointment at an arts council office to read grant applications. It does not take long to understand which applications were well-constructed and which should have included more detail.

· Take action to strengthen weak areas. · Search successful grant projects in other regions to get ideas. · Ask people you know who have successfully received grants for their guidance. · Think about what the funder is interested in supporting, then make sure you fit the mold. · When writing the grant, make sure you answer all of the questions the way you think they want them answered. Think like the funder! The same goes for reporting. Grant writing requires solid preparation and organizational skills and is a great way to open new doors in your career. Good luck!

“Money, for many, is a sign of success. With a sustainable amount of it, we are able to put a roof over our heads and food in our bellies as well as finance hobbies and aspirations. It is also a drug that can spearhead corruption and bring out the worst in humankind. I choose to see it as a tool to get what I need and want for survival and otherwise. This song selection is a playful reminder of what money can embody and how it can be used.” —SassyBlack I S S U E 2 8:

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DECIDING WHETHER TO PLAY A GIG FOR FREE by Kiran Gandhi

Photo by David Becker / Getty Images North America

When deciding whether to accept a free gig, consider if there is value being delivered to you in other ways beyond just a paycheck. Value is defined differently for everyone, which is a great thing. Something that might really benefit you might be something that is easy for a gig to provide. We often have to think as creatively on the business side as we do on the artistry side! If you cannot receive any other form of value, then it is not fair to play for free and you should reject the gig! Below are different ways I think about giving and receiving value and how I make my decisions whether or not to play a gig for little or no money:

It is important to recognize that there are always financial costs associated with playing a free gig such as transportation, which can be offset by either asking the event organizer to cover any incurred costs, or to have something to sell at the event. When the number is exact, I have found that gigs are more willing to cover the costs than when I ask about cover my expenses hypothetically. It’s important to also recognize that each show you play provides different types of the above value, so that you are always growing and not staying stagnant. Make sure to rally your bandmates

behind the vision as well. Let them know that you have money in mind, but are thinking about other ways the band can grow, so that you operate as a team and are all on the same page without resentment. Finally, as your project grows and more opportunities come in, have a menu of options ready with prices attached, so that you go in knowing what dollar amount makes a gig worth it to you if not many of the other forms of value can be delivered.

On a personal note, I do believe that women are socialized to be intimidated to ask for money, and most people take advantage of this social norm. We have to be better about standing up for ourselves and not exploiting each other. If you need a certain dollar amount, ask for it. If you are booking other women, make sure that you are delivering value to them in some way if you cannot afford to pay. And real value. The more we stand up for ourselves and each other the more we reshape norms around how business is conducted in the music and arts world.

VALUE RECEIVED Receiving Value: This makes playing the gig more appealing to me when there is a lack of funds.

· Getting better at performances and playing out in various settings and growing with your band and team

· Having audience members in the crowd didn’t come for you but now are turned on to you

· Building credibility in the spaces you want to continue to operate in (like playing a charity event for a cause you care about or opening for a band whose music is similar in style/sound)

· Having powerful people in the crowd who then book you for future, bigger events · Playing on a stage · Capturing strong footage and press photos that can then be used to pitch future shows

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· Receiving free gear so that you save on buying it in the future · Receiving free press because the venue or promoter might know a local blog who is down to cover the event · Dinner


LADIES GET PAID ARE LOOKING OUT FOR ALL OF US by Mindy Abovitz

Ladies Get Paid is a career initiative that provides education and community for women to advocate their value and gain the skills they need to advance their careers. Their mission is to see more diversity in leadership in every industry. We talked to the founder, Claire Wasserman, to find out more about their incredible mission. Claire, thanks for talking to us. How are you hoping to implement your mission? You mean, how are we going to topple the patriarchy?! Yes! How are you going to topple the patriarchy? It certainly won’t come from the top. I made a decision early on to focus on building a community, growing it grassroots style and provide education around career development. One woman, one raise: if each of us gained the confidence and the skills to take the next steps in our individual careers, it would move the needle for all of us. I think the quote, “A rising tide raises all boats” is a good analogy. Because of my previous roles at Working Not Working and the Art Directors Club, it made sense to focus on career development. Now in light of this election, I’m figuring out how we can take this grassroots movement we’ve started and use it as leverage to hold lawmakers accountable and get wage equality and female-friendly workplace practices into place. What have you defined as a success you have had already? Success to me are the emails I receive on a daily basis from women in the community who have negotiated big raises, left jobs that didn't value them, and found the confidence to speak up and get what they deserve. I’m also proud of myself for quitting my job—as much as I loved it—to give myself the time and space to nurture this thing.

THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT THE WAGE GAP IS TO BECOME A ROCKSTAR NEGOTIATOR. What can a girl do right now to prepare herself for this wage gap? I think the number one thing you can do to fight the wage gap is to become a rockstar negotiator. It’s also crucial that you support other women whether it’s being a mentor or simply an ally. We all know Madeleine Albright’s famous quote, “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women," and I can’t agree more. Tell us about your hashtags. Our hashtag is #FucktheWageGap because that’s exactly how I feel. I’m pissed off and you should be too.

taking my town halls on a roadshow across America. My goal in 2017 is to work with our global community to bring our programming to their cities sort of like TEDx or Creative Mornings. I’d also like to hire a team to build out more media offerings like Lady Talk (our podcast), as well as video. What would need to happen for Ladies Get Paid to be done?! Honestly, I’m not sure our work will ever be done. If we achieved equal pay tomorrow, that might dampen our fire a bit but since our overall mission is about helping women recognize and advocate their value, I don’t see an end in sight.

What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now? So many exciting things! Right now my main focus is organizing a conference in New York at the end of May (in collaboration with the Sydney-based women’s conference, Make Nice), as well as

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by Miro Justad

The life of a touring drummer is often as changing and fluid as the scenery that flies past the bug-splattered windows of the tour van. Most of the time, there is a loose rhythm to it all. You drive, play, eat, sleep, repeat. But just going on tour is one thing; breaking even and surviving financially is a whole different element beneath the surface of it all. Drummers are not only creative with their music, but also with their ways of staying afloat on the road. We asked drummers who have clocked many hours on the road the best ways to save and make cash on the fly.

BAND: ORYX Denver’s stoner doom sludge metal two-piece band that is ORYX has spent its fair share of time on the road, playing in 36 states just this past year. Drummer Abbey Apple plays heavy hitting technical beats on their new split LP with Languish. She suggests being realistic while setting up guarantees with venues ahead of time about your draw and to plan ahead for how much money you will need to get to the next city.

“We’ve definitely encountered some weird moments when getting paid at the end of the night. We had one instance where the promoter was on mushrooms and couldn’t figure out how much money he was holding in his hands. ABBEY APPLE He would add random numbers in and the total would be different each time he counted, but he wouldn’t let anyone else help him. He then realized it was only about $60, which would be split between us and another band, and he started acting really sketchy. It’s a funny story now, but looking back at it, I remember feeling pissed off at how this guy was handling an already awkward moment! “Avoid hotels if you’re trying to stay on a budget. On our most recent tour, my bandmate and I built a loft in our van, complete with memory foam and comfy pillows! We slept on that every night of tour. Our van become our tiny home.”

BAND: BRAINFREEZE, OBERHOFER, SAD13 New York City’s Zoe Brecher tours with numerous bands of different genres. Her punky, upbeat drumming in Brainfreeze (NYC/Madrid) encapsulates her optimistic street savvy style of surviving on the road. She knows to be friendly with the person who is responsible for paying her band out at the end of the night and to save that bag of potato chips from the green room for later.

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“On tour, I get a per diem and get paid electronically at the end of the tour for all the shows/days. If it’s a gig, I usually get paid in cash after. It’s always awkward for me to ask, but I’ve learned the hard way that, especially or maybe exclusively in Manhattan, if you don’t ask, no one’s going to chase you down to give you the money you earned. They just keep it. “If it’s free, take it. If you know people in a town who are willing to host you, allow them to. In exchange, buy them a gift, give them merch, or put them on the guest list. Always make sure there’s no buy-out or meal deal “for the artists” before buying yourself dinner. Some of the best meals I’ve had on tour are from the kitchens of venues. What you don’t eat, drink, or finish from your rider, take with you.”


BAND: DEATH VALLEY GIRLS The dark satanic glam rock band from Los Angeles known as Death Valley Girls has a strong rhythmic backbone, and her name is Laura. This is a well-known fact, but the band has another girl who is their key to touring and that is their van deemed Judy. She takes them around the states bringing “doom boogie” music to all while saving them money. From those long drives on the road, Laura has picked up healthy eating tricks to survive.

“Eggs and avocado! We get diner breakfast almost every morning and never get sick of it. I just try to keep meals simple. I also stock up on probiotics and vitamins to supplement the weak moments of Hot Buffalo Bugles. We have air mattresses in Judy (our van) at all times so that we can get away with one hotel room if we have to find one. We have made friends all over, too. It’s amazing how many people are nice enough to let us crash at their place for the night.”

LAURA KELSEY

BAND: GENDERS Genders from Portland makes beautiful '90s rock ‘n’ roll soundscapes fitting the northwest scenery. Katherine plays groovy drums and sings backup for this hardworking band that tours America, even opening for Built To Spill on a national tour. Planning ahead is a way that she saves money on the road—having food provided in the green rooms, packing oatmeal for breakfast, staying with family in various places, and having pre-approved deals with the venues for their pay out.

KATHERINE PAUL

“Normally we play shows where the production manager pays us at the end of the night. We’ll take a look at ticket sales and make sure our booking agent’s deal for us is on file. "We’ve made friends around the US where we can have someone to stay with most nights, but there were some times that we slept in our van in the Walmart parking lot, because they are cool with overnight parking. Not the most fun but we’ve had to take these last resort options, especially if our tour budget was tight. We have a lot of family around the US, so we usually stay with family members and get to take showers and have hot meals, plus the time we get to spend with family is great.”

BAND: HELMS ALEE Hozoji of Seattle’s dark nautical rock band Helms Alee is a trooper when it comes to touring. She has learned how to eat healthy for cheap and to save on sleeping arrangements. The band’s 2016 release, Stillicide, features strong fuzzed-out guitar lines and tom-heavy, unforgiving rhythms, which perhaps reflects her no-bullshit way of traveling.

“I have slept in the van on every single tour I've ever been on. I have slept at truck stops and gas stations. I've camped, crashed on strangers couches and floors, and even slept in people's front yards. “I have found that when the band can afford it, giving ourselves per diems actually saves both the band and ourselves a lot of money. Some tours, when I'm feeling extra disciplined, I actually come home with leftover per diem money. I do that by eating most of my meals out of the van snack box and cooler that I keep stocked with grocery-store foods. “Buy food at grocery stores as much as possible. Convenience is queen.”

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WHAT DO DRUMMERS SPEND THEIR MONEY ON EACH MONTH? by Fer Fuentes

The Chilean-born and raised Fer Fuentes may now live in Los Angeles, California, but she’s still regularly intoxicated by the sounds of her homeland. Cumbia, cueca, salsa, and corridos are influential to 30-year-old, versatile drummer and rear their rhythmic heads in her work. She has recorded with Latin funk act Mamma Soul, toured with cumbia band La Banda en Flor, and performed with Debbie Gibson, Abraham Laboriel, and Oscar Hernandez. To get an idea of how a female working drummer spends her dough, we asked the Latina percussionist to share some of her finances with us. Note: Don’t forget the dog food!

IS IT OK TO SELL YOUR SONGS FOR MONEY? by Debbie Knox-Hewson Photo by Bex Wade British drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson most famously plays with pop star Charli XCX, but in the ten years she’s spent excelling at her profession, she has also sat behind the kit for plenty of other well-loved acts. She even performed as a pandemonium drummer and drum marshal at the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, showing off her skills to two billion people worldwide. We asked the prolific musician what it’s like to sell her music to a company, for instance, to appear in a commercial. We wondered what ethical issues arose in the process.

expense that could potentially help elevate you to a level with more opportunities, where you can start to get selective with who you work with. So it’s a tough one.

“Firstly, I don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘selling out.’ As an artist, you have the right to decide what to do with your art, and, whilst it is a shame if others don’t agree, it is ultimately your prerogative. Plus, to put it bluntly: It’s nice to pay rent.

“I do think that the concept of selling your songs for money is fundamentally a good one though. I think there should be less criticism on artists that ‘sell out.’ ‘Good for you for getting that pink Beats Pill placement in Anaconda, Nicki,’ et cetera.

“Ethically, it would be preferable to only work with companies you agree with, but even that realistically has to fall somewhere on a spectrum. One extreme sees you associating yourself and your music with companies you don’t believe in. The other sees you turning down opportunities at your

“The scrutiny should be on companies that use music and pay in the currency of ‘great exposure.’ Musicians should be able to make a living from their work, and if you find yourself in this situation, congrats! Just be confident about what you want and what you are offering.”

“There’s also the issue of creative control. I think this is the most important factor. If someone buys your song for a commercial and edits the track in a way that you feel takes away from the music, you’re going to feel pretty crap. So make sure that the end product presents your music in a way you’re happy with.


THESE ARE THE BEST DRUMSETS FOR THE MONEY by Nick Gordon

Buying a new drum set is one of the most important investments we make as drummers. Because of the cost of drums, their influence on our sound, and how long they have the potential to last, making sure the right purchasing decision is made is of paramount importance. We’ve tried to help you do that by talking to drum shop managers, doing our own research, and assembling a short list of our favorite kits at different price points. When you go to browse for the drums of your dreams at your local percussion proprietor, don’t be afraid to sit down and really play the drums you’re interested in. Ask for a drum key (or bring your own) and experiment to see if you get the sounds you like at high and low tunings. And don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Here are fives important things to consider when shopping for a new kit. Brand/model | Wood type | Drum Sizes | Aesthetics | Cost

BRAND There are many different drum manufacturers, both large and small. Do your research into the brand, and determine which one represents the values that are important to you—where they make their drums, what the aesthetics of the brand are, and which artists you admire use them.

WOOD TYPES AND BEARING EDGES Different woods create different sounds and combinations of those woods within a drum shell create even more variables. What might be desirable to a jazz drummer may be the opposite of what a metal drummer is looking for. To make things easy, here’s a cheat sheet of the most common wood types: maple, birch, and mahogany. There’s an abundance of information online on this if you care to obsess about the characteristics of wood and the sounds they create.

Maple is a very versatile wood for drums and offers the greatest tuning range and produces a long sustain, which makes it the most common shell type you’ll find. Birch drums are bright and punchy with shorter sustain. Mahogany is a warmer, earthier sounding wood that accentuates lower-end frequencies and limits sustain. Bearing Edges Besides wood type, the biggest variable that can change the way a drum sounds is how its bearing edge is cut. This technique is regarded by drum makers as the “secret sauce” of a brand or model of drum. The bearing edge is where the end of the drum comes into contact with the drumhead. Depending on how the bearing edge is shaped, it can change the attack and length of sustain of a stroke. There are a number of different styles out there, but the basics are that a sharper cut (45 degrees for example) creates a pronounced attack with a quicker decay, whereby a rounded edge will create a softer attack but with a longer sustain.

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AESTHETICS This of course is a totally subjective choice. Some drums are “wrapped,” i.e. silver sparkle, marine pearl, or solid colors. Others are stained to bring out the natural look of the drum. While wraps can sometimes offer a level of protection for your drums to prevent dings, neither route changes the sound of the drums much.

PRICE Over the last few years, drum companies have gotten very competitive with each other in the low end of the price range, as the majority of drum sets purchased cost between $500 and $1000. This has been good for drummers, as we’ve seen the quality go up on lower priced kits. However, all of them are imports from China, rather than hand-crafted in the U.S. As the drums get more expensive, the quality and combinations of wood types will get better; they’re made locally, and the quality of the lugs and hardware increases.

VINTAGE OR NEW? If taken good care of, drums can last decades. In fact, some of what are considered the best sounding drums were made in the 1950s and 1960s. Buying vintage can mean getting a set of drums with a real story to tell, though it can also mean elements of the kit that have seen better days. Do your homework about the quality of the kit to make sure it’s in the shape you expect.

WHEN BUYING A NEW KIT, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!

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We’ve assembled a few of our recommended picks from the low and medium price ranges, based on tips from drum shops and our own experience.

RANGE: $500-$1000 Ludwig Breakbeats What you’re likely to pay: $399 Ludwig is perhaps the most well known drum brand in the world and for good reason. Their wildly popular entry level kit is called Breakbeats and was designed by Questlove with the city drummer in mind. Its shells are small—a 16" bass drum, 10" tom, 13x13" floor tom, 14" snare. The drum sizes are not ideal for rock drummers wanting big sounding drums with a lot of low end, but great for funk and jazz players or anyone looking to fit a kit in a small space. They’re made of poplar wood (soft highs and mids) and made in China. Comes in one color. Does not include hardware.

Sonor Safari 1 What you’re likely to pay: $389 Sonor is a legendary drum company and this is their entry-line kit. Safari is priced similarly to the Breakbeats but has a slightly bigger floor tom—16" bass drum, 10" tom, 14" floor tom, and a 14" snare. Listed as “hardwood”—a combination of different types of wood— this kit sounds a bit fuller bodied than the Breakbeats and is compact for apartment living. Comes in two colors. Made in China. Does not include hardware.

Tama Imperialstar 2 What you’re likely to pay: $550 Highlighted by multiple drum shops as the best drums for the price, the Tama Imperialstar is a five-piece drum kit that comes with Meinl cymbals, hardware, and a bass drum pedal. The drum shells are 100 percent poplar wood and are made in China. Comes in five different colors. Though it’s a bit more expensive than the Ludwig or the Sonor, the Imperialstar comes with everything you need to sit down and play.

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RANGE: $1000-$2000 Gretsch Catalina Club Classic 3 What you’re likely to pay: $749 Up there with Ludwig as most sought-after drum brand, Gretsch’s drum sound is highly coveted. The Catalina Club Classic is the highest price of the new entry level kits we’re highlighting, but also has the most versatile drum sizes for all styles of music. Made of 100 percent mahogany with shell sizes that include a 20" bass drum, 12" tom, 14" floor tom, with a 14" snare. These drums look higher quality than the other picks, and this series is a good appetizer to the higherend Gretsch drum series.

Vintage Options A quick scan of Reverb.com reveals that, for under $1000, there are multiple kits available from Ludwig, Rogers, and Slingerland—some of the most sought after vintage brands. In many cases, these are drums from the 1960s and are in great shape. You can have American made, premium quality drums, from the golden era of drum manufacturing, that sound incredible, have character, and will give you a distinctivelooking drum set to begin your collection of drums, however, some of these sets will have replacement (non-original) hardware for close to the price of a Chinese-made, lower-quality kit.

Ludwig Club Date 4

What you’re likely to pay: $1399 Made in North Carolina, the Club Date is Ludwig’s “working drummer” kit—which means the drums are professional quality but not so fancy that you don’t want to gig with them. The new versions of the Club date are made of 100 percent maple and sound incredible. This kit that will last a lifetime if you take care of it. The Club Date is available in many different colors and in multiple size configurations so you can personalize your sound.

C&C Player Date II 5

What you’re likely to pay: $1779 C&C Drums are a father/son run business based in Kansas City, Missouri and are widely considered the top “boutique” drum manufacturer around today. Their drums are best known for an earthy sound with accentuated low end and warm attack that decays quickly. Their Player Date kit is made of seven plies maple with mahogany sandwiched in between—creating a warm, tubby sound beloved by rock drummers. The Player Date line often comes in natural wood finishes for a vintage look.

DW Performance Series 6

What you’re likely to pay: $1943

TIPS FOR BUYING VINTAGE: The 1960s is the best decade. As long as the drums are “in round”—not warped in any way—don’t worry about “battle scars” that are cosmetic only. Do make sure the hardware is all in good shape, and wherever possible, play the drums before you buy.

For certain drummers, there’s nothing sweeter than the sound of DW Drums. Known for their rich tone with soaring resonance (opposite of the C&C Sound), DW is often referred to as the Cadillac of drums. These 100 percent maple drums come with the unmistakable round DW lugs and come in a rock configuration of a 22" bass drum, 12" tom, 16" floor tom, and a 14" snare. Made in Oxnard, California, in a variety of finishes.

The Vintage Option At the high end of a $1000–$2000 budget, you may be able to find 1960s Gretsch “round badge” vintage drums, which are the indisputable gold standard in drum collecting. It’s worth looking around for these, as their value keeps going up year after year, and their sound is unmistakable—warm, earthy, with a lush tone that can be cranked for jazz tuning, or dropped low for a deep rock sound.

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BROOKLYN’S BOYTOY GIVES SOME QUALITY TIPS ON HOW TO TOUR RESPONSIBLY. Photos and words byShelly Simon

Brooklyn trio boytoy consists of Saara Untracht-Oakner, Glenn Van Dyke, and drummer Matthew Gregory. These rock and rollers have been banging out catchy tunes since 2012 and released music on Burger Records and PaperCup Music. Homoground’s Shelly Simon spoke with them after their show in Paris in the basement of the diner Olympic Cafe in, she says, “the heart of the city on a typical rainy yet mystical kind of night.” The topic of conversation revolved around making money in music. “It seems like most of the money in music these days flows around touring and sync placements. It's viable to tour throughout the year, but you run the risk of burning out, while landing a sync deal is mostly about luck and having an agent that stays hungry. So it's a balance between money you can predict and money you can't. Both make you a little crazy. To make money, you have to be patient and persistent and crazy. “Right now we're on a monthlong run in Europe, where, even when the guarantee is modest, the promoters will also feed you and put you up. A burden of logistics are lifted on a European tour, leaving you (or your manager) more time to figure out weird shit to do. “A recurring challenge for fly-in dates is transporting your equipment. Checked-bag fees add up quickly. If you're going to rent, always ask for photos. I (Chase) was offered some gear that was described as ‘shitty’ but free, so I went for it. And now I'm touring with these cymbals that feel like plastic Fisher-Price toys. The drums are beyond shitty. My hi-hats are seriously two different sizes. It's hilarious, but spare yourself the spectacle.”

DIY Super Tip: “Find a used hardshell case for a marching band snare and some cheap eggshell foam. You can use the extra depth to stack your hi-hats and crash between sheets of foam, and save your band the cost of checking your cymbal case. I use any extra space to squeeze in the essentials that don't fit in my carry-on; like a jar of Nescafé, a boot, a jump rope, and a growing collection of cool clothes and records I’m constantly finding overseas. Ziplock bags help keep everything nice. If your merch box isn't big enough to hold a ride cymbal, you may need to rent one. You'll probably still save money, just remember to ask for pics!”

BOYTOY FINANCIAL PLAYLIST “Money”—Barrett Strong “Bills Bills Bills” —Destiny’s Child “Makin’ It” —Natural Child “Opportunities” —Pet Shop Boys “She Loves My Automobile” —ZZ Top “Bitch Betta Have My Money” —Rihanna “Money & Friends” —Desmond Dekker “Eat the Rich” —Aerosmith The Jefferson's Theme Song “Love Don't Cost a Thing”—Jennifer Lopez “Money for Nothing” —Dire Straits “Money, Money, Money” —ABBA “Get Munny” —Erykah Badu “The Man Who Sold the World” —David Bowie “No Deposit, No Return” —Black Flag


ALWAYS...

by Kristen Gleeson-Prata

Saving money is a valuable skill regardless of career, but it’s extra important for freelance musicians like us who jump from gig to gig, often with little or no income in between. Therefore, we have even more of a reason to be extra conscious of saving money while we are making it on tour. Here are ten tips I’ve learned for saving money on the road.

PACK CAREFULLY...

PLAN AHEAD...

to avoid unnecessary purchases. I’m not suggesting that you buy nothing on the road, because that’s no fun, and collecting souvenirs is a great part about touring and traveling! However, if you pack carefully, you can prevent clothing purchases that could have been avoided. For example, check the weather in the cities you’re playing before you leave and pack a rain jacket or warm socks so you don’t buy them out of necessity when you get caught in a downpour or snowstorm. Prepare for different scenarios and pack anything you may need. Similarly, sometimes laundry facilities are hard to come by, so, depending on how long the tour is, pack enough socks and underwear to last you so you don’t have to buy any.

to avoid extra phone bill charges when touring abroad. The first few times I toured outside the US, I kept my phone on airplane mode and relied solely on Wi-Fi. I think this is risky, because it’s not a good idea to explore new cities without the use of a map app, and it makes it difficult to stay connected with your crew in the case of getting separated, or even worse, in the case of an emergency. Look into getting an inexpensive SIM card or talk to your crew about the splitting the cost of a Wi-Fi hotspot device. If you want to use your normal phone, contact your cell phone provider to set up a travel option that works for you and your budget. Using your phone will always be more expensive to use when outside of the country, but planning ahead with one of these options will be far cheaper than incurring ridiculous charges in the case that you need to use your phone out of necessity in an emergency. The peace of mind is a plus, too.

BE STRATEGIC... with your rider requests. Having your favorite snack and drink on the rider is always a joy, but in an effort to save extra money using your rider, try requesting foods that don’t require refrigeration. This allows you to stock up your van or bus with non-perishable and long-lasting leftovers and opt for eating those whenever you get hungry instead of buying extra meals or snacks. Also, request healthy foods that will keep you fuller longer so that you eat less often and spend less money. Some of my favorites are oatmeal (which you can make even with a crappy hotel room coffee maker), nuts, granola, PB&J sandwiches, and non-refrigerated fruits and veggies like apples, bananas, avocados, and oranges. Also, if you’re a coffee addict like me, request coffee or even bottled local cold-brew to get your fill while keeping your coffee shop trips to a minimum. 26

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INVEST IN... reusable feminine hygiene products. The price of tampons can really add up. Instead, make the switch to a reusable form of feminine hygiene products like menstrual cups or period panties.

take advantage of buyouts/discounted meals/catering. Personally, buying food unnecessarily on the road is one of my weaknesses. No matter how good or bad the provided food may be (if it’s provided at all), it can be tempting to get away from everything and have a nice solo meal at the delicious Korean spot down the street. Don’t get me wrong—sometimes I need to do that to stay sane—but every meal you eat out could be $10–$15 of unnecessary spending, and that adds up quickly. Depending on the size and nature of the venues you’re playing, you’ll have some different food options, but every one of these options gives you the opportunity to save money. If the venue gives you a “buyout” (a small amount of cash per person to use on a meal) in lieu of providing catering, spend only what you need to eat and pocket the rest. If the venue serves food, they might offer discounted meals to the band. If that’s the case, always take advantage of it, and be sure to save your leftovers. If the venues have catering, be sure to partake, and to go a step further, opt for healthy food. Healthy food will keep you fuller longer, which can prevent those late-night snack shopping trips.

USE A... blender. If you can afford a blender, you can blend together and use up lots of miscellaneous remaining rider items into smoothies. To avoid needing refrigerated or frozen ingredients, substitute avocado for yogurt, apples or bananas for frozen berries, and greens powder for fresh greens. Add nuts and a scoop of protein powder for a boost.

SAVE YOUR... per diems. If the tour budget allows for per diems (meaning “for each day” and referring to an extra daily allowance meant for covering expenses while traveling for work), you have the great opportunity to save money right off the bat. Set aside a certain percentage of your per diem as soon as you receive it and save it. Do your best to only spend the remaining amount when you need it, and you’ll see your savings grow!

*IMPORTANT TIP: If you’re playing in a different country, clarify whether you’ll be receiving your per diems in your local currency or the foreign currency and make sure you’re getting the correct amount considering the current exchange rate. For example, if your normal per diem is $20 USD and you’re touring Europe, $20 USD won’t take you as far as 20 Euros.


INVEST IN... some quality protein powder and a blender bottle. Even if you don’t have a blender, you can get a blender bottle from the grocery store for a few bucks. With just protein powder and water, you can make a healthy and filling protein shake to keep you going between meals and prevent excess snack purchases.

USE... all-purpose soap. All-purpose soap like Dr. Bronner’s can help you save money and suitcase space. Not only does it smell good and fulfill all of your showering needs, but you can also use it to do laundry for free in a sink or shower.

TAKE YOUR... bike. If you’re touring in a bus and it has a bit of extra room in the bays or trailer, see if anyone minds if you take up some of that room with your bike. Having a bike can prevent racking up Uber costs when you’re exploring new cities on days off.

“The most expensive piece of gear I own is the Sequential Prophet 6 Desktop Module. It used to be the Moog Voyager, but unfortunately, I had to sell that a few years back to make rent. I think expensive gear is worth it if you use it enough. If you are a singer-songwriter and rely heavily on your voice, you might invest the money in an amazing microphone. If you're a producer and rely heavily on sound aesthetic, you might invest in a warm sounding analog synth like I have! The Prophet 6 is worth it and I use it often enough. I think my dream piece of gear is a Neve Mixing console, so I'll have to start saving.” Electronic musician Danielle "Danz" Johnson goes by the very appropriate title, Computer Magic. The Brooklyn artist works on this project totally solo, singing, composing, and producing her own “cosmic-pop” songs. She started her own music blog at 15 (zdanz.com) and began DJing around New York City at 18. Since teaching herself to play by ear, she has released seven self-produced EPs, one studio release with White Iris, put out her Davos LP in 2015 on her own label, Channel 9 Records, and four other LPs in Japan. Her recent 2016 release, Obscure But Visible, premiered on Stereogum. Johnson is also the face of Milkfed, Sofia Coppola’s clothing line.

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RHYTHM CONVERSATIONS IN AN AMSTERDAM COFFEE SHOP WITH BLACK MARKET III'S RHYTHM TURNER by Leah Bowden Photo by Wolfgang Heermann

RHYTHM TURNER is an American drummer, singer-songwriter and Reiki healer who travels the world seeking to reach people and raise the positive vibrations of the universe. She is currently on a four-month European tour with the Southern California-based band Black Market III. We met up in the Netherlands to discuss the different roles of economics and personal relationships in making this ambitious endeavor possible for an independent band. She relates what she's learned about the social element of music-making and her experiences connecting with people all over the world. In thinking through the theme of this money issue, we also consider musical labor and the survival tactics of artists and their projects. Tom Tom: Briefly tell us your story. What is your relationship to drumming, American roots music, songwriting, and world travel? Turner: Ever since I can remember, I've been surrounded by art and music. Growing up, there was always music in the house, whether it was being created or just listened to and appreciated. At age twelve, I took a strong liking to drums, thanks to some musical mentors and my dad setting up buckets, pots, and pans for me to bang on while he strummed the guitar. It felt natural and healing to create and hold space through rhythms, so I banged on. I became fascinated with musical expressions of different cultures and styles. I studied concert and marching drums, Taiko, jazz, and AfroCuban percussion whilst collaborating and jamming with my guitarist brother on funk, rock, and blues-based grooves. My songwriting started later, in my early 20s, inspired not only by American roots and folk artists, but politics, nature, and of course, heartache and angst. My addiction to travel started even later than that, but once I knew I could thrive on the road, there was only one option for me as far as living out my dream and fulfilling my mission: traveling the world and healing myself and others through music. How do you define your personal vision? Can you speak to the intersections of musical creativity, live performance, and healing in your work? My personal vision encapsulates the creative, spiritual, practical, and sustainable aspects of music as a trade and a lifestyle. Everything is made of vibrations, and we as humans respond to and reflect these vibrations, both negative and positive. I believe that the vibrations born 32

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from music-making have the ability to heal, thus giving musicians the ability to be healers. I see this as a blessing as well as a great responsibility. Live performance is both selfish and selfless. It allows musicians to connect with people and transcend differences on very deep levels. Herein lies the place in which we can do our most profound healing, toward feeling oneness of self, community, and environment. I continue to learn and strive toward balance through these experiences. Scottie Blinn (guitar, vocals) and Roxanne Coverdale-Blinn (bass, vocals) founded Black Market III in 2011. Since then, they’ve hosted a myriad of accomplished musicians, toured widely, and self-released four albums. Scottie and Roxanne recruited you to join Black Market III earlier this year, just weeks ahead of a studio recording and European tour. A four-month European tour is an ambitious endeavor for an independent band like that. Tell us about the labor involved in setting it up and carrying it through. Honestly, I came in at a point when Scottie and Roxanne had already laid the groundwork and had a system in place. Scott told me it takes about the whole year prior to organize a tour like this. By mid-tour, he's spending his “off” time planning for next year. Since I can't contribute to the logistical side of things just yet, I do my best to help in other ways: driving, lugging gear other than my drums, selling merch, and cooking for the band when possible. The whole thing is really a team effort requiring interpersonal skills, tenacity, awareness, and flexibility.


I GREW UP WEALTHY IN TERMS OF LOVE AND SUPPORT, BUT OTHERWISE MY FAMILY OFTEN STRUGGLED TO MAKE ENDS MEET. I HAD THIS FALSE IDEA THAT FAME AND FORTUNE MEASURED SUCCESS AND WAS OFTEN DISCOURAGED BY HOW FAR AWAY THAT SEEMED.

How has the kindness and generosity of strangers made a difference both economically and spiritually for you and the band? Not only is this my first long-haul tour experience, but my first time in the European region. Everything is new and beautifully different, and everyone's a “stranger.” Strangers with open arms, supportive spirits, and welcoming hearts, who quickly become friends. The two founding members of the band have spent years developing professional and personal relationships everywhere they go, so it feels as though we are visiting family members. This is very helpful when planning for accommodation costs, sure, but the best part is, you get to see a more real and personal side of a foreign country, its culture and people. How do we undo cultural associations between drumming and masculinity without reinforcing gender binaries? What have your experiences as a drummer revealed about how people perceive gender? I consider myself fluid as far as gender is concerned, and I often don't see myself as one or the other until someone points it out. “Wow! You're a good drummer for a girl!” is not always the exact verbiage used, but you can feel the tone as such. Others apologetically explain that when they first saw me playing, they thought I was male, then were intrigued further when they realized otherwise. I think we've got to steer away from the concept that masculine means “manly” and feminine means “womanly.” Breaking down and reinventing traditional gender roles when it comes to making art and the way you make a living is becoming more valuable in this shifting, increasingly global world. We can't let the confines of gender, status, or background prevent us from pursuing our dreams and effecting change.

American roots music is historically interwoven with race, gender, and class struggles in the United States. Cultural constructs of the twentieth century are, to a certain degree, embedded into the sound and performance practice. How do these issues and tensions resonate with you and your work? I grew up wealthy in terms of love and support, but otherwise my family often struggled to make ends meet. I had this false idea that fame and fortune measured success and was often discouraged by how far away that seemed. But what makes for better songwriting: more dedicated efforts and more heartfelt performance, the overcoming of obstacles in life? American roots, folk, and blues music were born from the mixing of humans, their conflicts, and the healing which has and still is taking place as a result. The music translates these lived experiences and emotions into lyrics, progressions, melodies, and rhythms. What does your practice routine look like on the road? On the road it's been an “all in” kind of learning experience. Practice rudiments in your off time, and aim to improve your cohesiveness with every performance. You guys plan to return to the U.S. in December. What’s next for Black Market III? In the plans are some local shows in the San Diego area and a couple smaller tours in California and the Southwest, eventually hitting the East Coast later in the year, then preparing for Europe again. I hope to continue creating and record some new material with the band. Most of all, we'll be spreading love, raising the vibration, honing our collective skills, sharing our gifts and passion, and laughing until our faces hurt and our abs are sore.

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A GUIDE TO KNOWING AND GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE IN THE WORKPLACE by Shaina Joy Machlus Illustrations by Amber Vittoria

REMEMBER THAT MATH CLASS where you were taught to sing the quadratic formula to the tune of “Row, row, row, your boat?” x=-b+-sqrt b2-4ac/2a (sing it with me now). Because for whatever reason, schooling teaches you how to find the properties of a rhombus (important!) but not the basics of how to talk about wages, ask for a raise, and simply know if you're being paid enough and what actions to take if not (also important!).

And since we’re on the subject of math, let’s look at a few stats. In 2015, women working full time in the U.S. were paid just 80 percent of what male workers were paid. Yup, that’s a 20 percent wage gap for simply being a lady. And if you think that’s tough, try being a woman of color. According to the American Association of University Women, “Among full-time workers in 2015, Hispanic and Latina, African American, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian and other native women had lower median annual earnings compared with non-Hispanic white and Asian American women.” Hispanic and Latina women were paid only 54 percent of what white men were paid in 2015. Followed closely by Black women, who received only 63 percent of the salary that their white male coworkers received. There’s also a severe wage gap when it comes to the queer community. The Center for American Progress found that “the earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third following their gender transitions.” And that’s not even mentioning the fact that being hired as a transgender woman is much more challenging than being hired as a cisgender female. So what can we do? Education does generally boost women’s pay across the board for all races and ethnicities. But, white women are still paid more than African American and Hispanic women of the same education level. Plus, student debt tends to be significantly higher among all women and highest among African American women. While we're optimistically waiting for our male coworkers to take action, let's not hold our collective breath. Instead, let's get information. Here to help is Elodie Tomson, a Human Resources Generalist II at Miami International University of Art & Design.

to gauge the value of their contributions, and their salaries should be a direct reflection of the value of their resume. It’s important to determine your market value and make a salary request with a realistic expectation in mind. The employer/employee relationship should be mutually beneficial. What's the best way to ask for a raise? As with any situation, there is an appropriate place and time to discuss certain items. Catching your manager while walking the hallway is probably not the best time to discuss pay. Give yourself the proper opportunity to highlight your achievements and contributions to the organization.

Tom Tom had the opportunity to ask Tomson a whole lot of questions about knowing your worth as a woman in the workplace. Think of this as a crash course on how to take equal pay into your own hands.

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager, and come prepared! Know your worth. Know exactly what you bring to the table. Highlight your accomplishments and contributions to the organization to strengthen your case. Be assertive but keep in mind the relationship between employee and employer should be mutually beneficial.

Tom Tom: How do you evaluate if you're being paid enough for your job?

Some good vocab or phrases for negotiating payment, salary, and raises?

Tomson: Depending on the organization you work for, they may or may not have a standardized salary grid or labor grade chart with pre-determined salary ranges for various positions. Typically, it’s the larger organizations that have far less flexibility. But, don’t be discouraged. I always encourage employees to do some digging and research what the market standard is for their position. Various websites (like salary.com and payscale.com) provide salary reports based on position and geographic location. Employees should learn

It’s not so much about what you say, but how you say it. Deliver your request with confidence, diplomacy, and professionalism. When should you ask for a raise? Take into consideration your organization’s financial outlook when planning your request for a raise—timing is key! The best approach for deciding when to request a pay increase is to ask yourself if you think your work merits an increase. Evaluate yourself, honestly and


truthfully, through the eyes of your organization. Ask yourself if you are deserving of the pay increase. Because if you can’t defend this to yourself, chances are, your employer won’t be able to either.

culture and dynamic. They are well versed in company policies and procedures and serve as your go-to for guidance and assistance throughout the course of your employment.

Various organizations have policies in place regarding how often performance evaluations are completed. Typically, formal performance evaluations are completed on a yearly basis. These evaluations help employees gauge themselves. Performance goals are objectives set for specific work completed in the employee’s position. These goals help set clearly defined expectations for the future success of the employee. Performance evaluations also provide constructive feedback on items an employee could improve on.

If you are under the impression that you haven’t been paid fairly or accurately—document the pay period, and seek the advice and guidance of your Human Resource professional.

If you are denied a raise, what do you do? When can you ask again? Do not be discouraged by a “no.” Just because the organization declined your request for an increase, does not necessarily mean you can’t negotiate for things outside of your salary. Perhaps there are bonuses, company incentives, or development opportunities that you would like to take advantage of. Your salary is one piece of the pie, find out what else is important to you and discuss those options. Be flexible and consider perks outside of a monetary raise. There are far more bits and pieces that go into building employee morale and keeping employees happy than a salary. What happens if you find out you're being underpaid, should you quit? What are your other options? With various compensation database websites like (Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary), it has facilitated the manner in which employees receive salary data. The salary information obtained should serve as a guideline—ultimately, an employee should present the evidence they’ve collected that proves they’re being underpaid. Know your worth. Know the value you bring to the organization. Highlight the ways in which you’re an indispensable asset to the organization and engage in a diplomatic conversation with your employer. Understand that from an employer’s perspective, it is much more cost effective to provide incentives rather than recruit, and replace a new employee to perform your job. Don’t make an emotional knee-jerk reaction, take the time to discuss and come to a mutual understanding. When's the correct time (during interview, after interview, call a meeting, send an email) to negotiate a salary? Prior to negotiating a salary, you want to make sure you’ve got the job. Salary negotiations should be done once an offer has been extended. As a rule of thumb, and a basic rule of negotiation, you have much more leverage when you know they want you. An employer is not concerned about your bills—using your monthly expenses as a means for negotiating an increase is unprofessional. What an employer is concerned about is what you’ll deliver. So, once you receive an offer, put together your best pitch that demonstrates why you are the extra investment and confidently make a counteroffer. How do you document if you think you're being paid unfairly or you think your paychecks are not correct? What do you do next? Human Resource professionals serve as advocates for employees—the greatest asset of any organization is their human capital; meaning their employees. A company is only as good as the talent they recruit and retain. HR professionals are neutral ground and play an integral role in the advocacy for people. HR professionals help align company goals with individual goals and establish the company

Are there different complaints between men and women in the workplace when it comes to pay? In my experience, the complaints I’ve received have always been regarding the pay gap. Have you found men to be more confident in their salaries? There is definitely a difference in the challenges that men and women face in the workforce; however, I don’t necessarily believe that it’s because of a woman’s “lack of confidence.” I think that the perception of a woman’s lack of confidence is a cold reality of what the underlying dilemma is. The disparity between the salary of men and women is not a woman’s fault per se, but the fault of the employer for allowing the disparity to occur. Can you ask your colleagues how much they're being paid? Aside from this potentially turning into an awkward conversation, this has traditionally been an industry “faux-pas.” The focus should be directed to your value as an employee of the organization and what it is that you bring to the table that sets you apart from other candidates. I encourage staff to do their research and see what the market value is for their position. But I would not recommend discussing their salaries with their colleagues. There are various other reasons that employees’ salaries may differ. Side note: More and more organizations are opting for a more transparent pay schedule to avoid any potential dilemmas. Any personal experience with women and their worth in the workplace (good or bad)? I’ve progressively seen more and more women advance their career paths. Knowing your professional identity and what you bring to the table helps you navigate the workplace effectively, despite workplace bias. Side note: Check out catalyst.org, they’re a non-profit organization committed to making strides in accelerating women’s progress in the workplace. What's the best way to use HR? There has always been a bad rap about “Human Resources” and kind of a dark cloud that hovered over. However, utilizing your HR Department to your advantage can propel you in the right direction. HR professionals are not only responsible for recruiting, interviewing, and placing employees, but they also handle employee relations, payroll, benefits, and career development and training. Furthermore, they assist in the strategic planning of an organization. They touch on all aspects of an individual’s employment lifecycle—building a rapport with HR is to your benefit.


by Shelly Simon

IDGY DEAN BELIEVES IN THE ABUNDANCE OF SUCCESS IN THE UNIVERSE Photos and words by Shelly Simon

ON HER WEBSITE, IDGY DEAN calls herself a “feminist loop artist, mystic, yogini, witch, surfer, lover.” The one-woman psych rock act from Brooklyn is also known as Lindsay Sanwald. She released her debut LP Ominous Harminus in 2015 on the Village Voice, which garnered her plenty of great press. She also crafted and performed the live soundtrack for ETLE Universe, “a queer feminist cyborg time-travel” dance show. Dean recently spoke with us from her station at Montreal’s Red Bull Music Academy. We asked if she could share any personal financial tales with our readers and whether or not she’s faced money-related issues in the past. She responded with plenty of positive thoughts fitting of a mystical yogi who is on the up-and-up. “In recent years, I've had the revelation that the most detrimental ‘issue’ associated with money is regarding it as such, a problem, a challenge, a burden, the negative enemy, the unattainable, dirty and evil. It's a negative psychology most of us carry, especially artists. We're brought up without many role models or structures that demonstrate the natural and healthy flow of energetic and tangible abundance. Instead, we're confronted continually with the image of ‘the starving artist,’ the indebted troubadour, the bootstraps hero pitted opposite of the villainous corporate sellout, and so that's what continues to perpetuate. Frankly, I'm over it. “I've been told for most of my life that while it's great that I make music, I shouldn't anticipate being able to make a living or a career out of it. I recently had to say goodbye to a great relationship because of existent fear about my ability to make money as an artist and the great investments I've made in the process of becoming one.

“Money is an energetic tool, and I'm 100 percent in agreement with the metaphysical ideas that we attract what we mindfully manifest. If you're constantly in the mindset of not having enough money, needing more, and feeling trapped and panicked by debt, that is precisely where you will stay. Instead, if you operate from a place of feeling abundant, wealthy, generous, grateful, and receptive, it's mindblowingly dramatic how money then begins to flood into your doing. The mantra in my song ‘Pantheon Punk’ goes, ‘Don't be sorry, be excited/You don't need money, just get started/Don't be sorry, be inside it/You don't need money, just get started.’ “It's the truth. Start with feeling good and believing in yourself, and trust that everything you need is already accessible and within reach. All you need to do is ask, believe, receive, and let it happen. Crowdsourcing campaigns are a perfect example of how this can manifest. ‘I need thousands of dollars to make a record! How is that even possible?!’ Well, set a number, ask for it, and then get other people onboard in believing in your vision, and more likely than not, you will be successful in raising what you ask for, so long as you stay invested in believing in the outcome. I'm 3-for-3 with raising money via Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and PledgeMusic campaigns to make an EP, go on tour, and then make an LP. I'm not perfect at it, but there is proof in this work. “I'm always navigating and learning how to re-calibrate the terrain of creative finances, but I stand by keeping an optimistic and positive attitude and believing in the magic of manifesting (which by the way, musicians, y'all already know how to do this—you create atmospheres and realities out of thin air all the time).

“My favorite story of this in action was when I was consumed with the desire to go to SXSW for the first time. I kept thinking, ‘OK, I need to get to Texas. I'm going to go to Austin! That means I'll need a car.’ A few days later, I was at my aunt's house and she was like, ‘Ugh, I have to get rid of Granma Luke's Chevy.’ I was like, ‘Uh, I'll take it off your hands!’ And then I drove that baby all the way to Texas and back to play my first SXSW. “This past summer, I was thinking, ‘If only I had a few days in a beach house to record some new material. I just need a few days. I'd make it happen.’ No joke, the very next day, my yoga mentor asked if I could house-sit his beach house for three weeks and offered me the option to turn it into a music studio. So, you see, it's not so much about the money itself, but about how you want to navigate through life, and once you're clear on that and believe in it, all the rest—dollars, cars, opportunities and all—magically begin to meet you. I write this from my luxury four-star hotel room during my all-expenses paid participation in the Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal, a dream-come-true opportunity to be able to create freely and luxuriously as an artist. “I've heard many of my fellow participants comment in the recent days, ‘This is too good to be true. This is too much.’ Y'all need to relax and receive. You are exactly where you belong and where you want to be.”

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rucyl mills By Jelsen Lee Innocent Photo by Alison Brady | Makeup by Carissa Swany Hey Rucyl! Your latest album, Caveat, was developed in a very organic way. You took your time with it; letting it breathe, allowing it to evolve alongside the changes that came and went with your life through the years. What made you decide to approach this particular project this way and how do you feel it's affected the end result compared to other projects that have had a rigid, time-sensitive structure? Time sensitive projects have their own excitement—since most of my work is about experimentation process as performance, I also enjoy the occasional time limitation. Great moments can be captured when you have hard deadlines. Caveat took five years to complete. I really lived with it. Caveat represented the letting go of a way of being, and seeing the beauty in ugliness and doubt, and living in the constant state of change that the last few years have been for me. I had to care for it and respect it because I didn’t know what it was going to be. And I wanted to be as honest with my sound as possible. I created the concepts in my mind over a very long period of years, and then recorded all the tracks in a series of days over two weeks. Then I took months to edit and arrange, and rework. I created the record in a way that I could re-create it live, which meant a lot of pre-production work of creating presets, mapping midi, and choosing an equipment system of controllers. I recorded all the tracks in a series of days over two weeks. Then I took months to edit and arrange, and rework. The bulk of the work was facing myself, and figuring out how to turn self-realizations into sound. Only a few of the songs on the record have lyrics. I wanted to focus on production and soundscapes—some of the emotions I was investigating felt right as sound mantras, soundscapes, and repeating patterns without vocals.

Creating in a 'safe place' is important for most artists. You produce music in your own studio mostly, but your performance at Organizmo Interactivo involved inventing and building instruments for creating new sounds while in a completely foreign environment—rural Colombia. How challenging was that experience for you and your creative process? I had been ruminating on the idea of the Sound Prism for a couple years, and I wanted to partner again with Justin Downs, who is an anthro-engineer and solar panel expert. I knew we were going to a location where we couldn’t control several elements—we had plenty of resources but the project had to largely be built and designed once we were there on the land because we wanted it to feel natural to the environment. It took us a few days to adapt to space. It was deeply vibrational, and it was a bit of work for me to recalibrate there after being in New York. It was a very safe place as the land there is sacred, and managed by Ana Maria Gutierrez and her family. She cared for us deeply as artists. We slept in adobe earth huts at night, and woke to the most beautiful clear mountain air. The challenges of the seemingly unknown are the best kind, because you really learn what you’re made of.

My part of the collaboration was mostly a lot of thinking, processing the energies of the utopian village Ana has built, and trying to understand what I could learn from it. While we had designed the piece together back in NYC, Justin preferred to do most of the building, while I worked on the tonal scale, and thought about the significance of creating a solar powered speaker system with a color prism sound scale. It was an extremely ethereal and grounding experience to perform with the final solar panel systems. I used a mic to create feedback loops, while blocking the panels to create distortion and control volume on the resulting 7 solar panel sound systems we built. The ability to block a sound with your body is a very physical way to immediately understand energy, force, and vibration. The final installation was installed on the land the last few days of our residency, and we left the panels there for people to use as portable mini sound systems, powered by the sun.

There were a few key elements of this project you've never done before. How difficult was it to budget for? Budgeting was easy—we had made arrangements with Ana months ahead of time so I could spread out the costs for the electronics over months, and work with Organizmo on what resources they had available at low cost to them. We had full room and board, and could pick a spot on the land to install our work, and we had resources to help us build, and other artists to talk to. Quite a perfect residency. I didn’t think about money once while I was down there.

Futurism and innovation have long been of great interest to you. How did you arrive to the idea of using solar energy to create sound? Has that particular technology been a part of your life in some way beforehand? The sun is a powerful symbol for me. The sun holds my father. He’s from Tobago, and West Indian culture is a quiet foundation of my work and way of being. The sun represents respite, renewal, power, warmth, fire, the burning of the ego. And it’s free. And it creates renewable energy in an incredibly affordable way. I see future tech as a way to revisit the most ancient of our technologies—sun power. With the Sound Prism I wanted to create a tactile representation of the unseen. Pure energy transmuted into sound.

Has monetizing your sound experiments ever been of interest to you? I’m interested in creating spaces that inspire and explain sociocultural and emotional perspectives. I also work as a producer at a creative agency, and the merging of art with advertising is the singularity of the marketing future. Brands are starting to understand that you can have truly authentic narratives when an artist creates a genuine experience supporting the brand vision, rather than being a brand-led directive. It helps if the artist truly appreciates the brand. Artists create the most valuable of currencies—humanity, culture and perspective. Brands would be wise to take the lead from those who are experts in reflecting the most authentic of use cases and perspectives—the human condition.


lauren camarata

Photos by Alison Brady Makeup by Carissa Swany

“I got involved with Dharma Swara, because I was always curious about gamelan music and the experience of playing in a large ensemble excited me. The group consists of about 20–25 members. The teaching and learning approach—which emphasizes iteration as well as contextual understanding—was a good fit for me, since I don’t have much formal musical training. We are a 501 c3 organization, supported primarily by gig revenues, grants, workshops, and membership dues. The group members are incredibly dedicated and work very hard at writing grant proposals, coordinating rehearsals, and teaching workshops. Membership is diverse and comes from all over the tri-state area and beyond to rehearse together every week. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts with a group as large as this!!” I S S U E 2 8:

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RACHEL TRACHTENBURG IMPRESSIVELY TRANSITIONED FROM CHILD DRUMMER TO MODERN-DAY MODEL.

By Lisa Henderson Photos by Alison Brady Makeup by Takashi Ashizawa using MAC

RACHEL TRACHTENBURG’S WIKIPEDIA READS more like the ultimate bucket list than a 22-year-old’s accomplishments. Musical wunderkind, Elite management model, indie-movie actress, animal rights activist, radio host, this girl has more titles than Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Of course, the fact that she kick-started her portfolio career at six helps explain this, at least a bit. “When we were living in Seattle, one of my dad’s drummers bailed on him for like the fifth time, and he was like, ‘Maybe we should have Rachel join the band.’ My mom thought he was kidding,” Trachtenburg laughs. Sure enough, her father Jason enrolled her at the Seattle Drum School where she was instructed by tutor and musician Steve Smith. In a matter of time, the then six-yearold took up hitting duties and backup vocals alongside her father (vocals, piano) and mother Tina (slide projector, backing vocals) to form Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

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occasionally, which kept me goofy and young. That helped a lot. I had several school friends that would pop on tour with us for three months at a time, all over Europe. That was a good call on my parents’ end of just making it less of a working situation.” Whether it felt like a working situation to the young artist or not, touring for eight years is one mean feat. Considering her bandmates were her parents, she didn’t get cut biweekly checks, but we wondered how she was compensated. “I don’t know how much I got paid. I remember thinking it was a lot, but it was probably like $20,” Trachtenburg laughs. Of course, being a six-year-old meant that she wasn’t likely to blow her money in typical rockstar fashion. So what did she do with the money she earned? “I’d go to the dollar store in our neighborhood in the East Village, and I would buy like squishy toys or random things, and I would sell them at our shows for three times as much,” she laughs.

Although Jason and Tina raised the young talent in the musical city of Seattle, it wasn’t long before the band left their local gigging circuit and moved to New York in 2002 to reach a wider audience. “I have a lot of fond memories of Seattle,” Trachtenburg relays. “I consider it a second home next to New York. I have a lot of family that lives there and a lot of my closest friends from growing up.”

The young drummer would spend her time manning the merch table, and, as she puts it, “running around and thinking I was the shit, basically.” That entrepreneurial mentality proved just as useful during the rare times the family were off tour and back home. “I’d do lemonade sales and chai and stuff on the street with my friends and was always thinking of different ways to make pocket change and stuff.”

But how much of a childhood did Trachtenburg actually have in Seattle? In case you haven’t been tallying up the years in your head as you’ve been reading, she was on the road for eight years through some pretty crucial growing-up stages. “It was a very unique way to grow up, but it’s all I knew, so I didn’t really look at it as being different,” she shrugs. “I was allowed to bring a best friend on tour

Despite the band’s extensive years on tour, the family only made enough to cash to keep them going (something musicians know all about). “We were on an independent label and we had to tour a lot. We’ve only had one family vacation, but we’ve travelled the world together,” Trachtenburg says.

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It’s hard not to wonder how fun it really was for the musician to tour with her parents, especially between the ages of ten and fourteen. And vice-versa, surely it’s every parent’s nightmare to be in an enclosed space with their teenage daughter. But the sticks woman insists it wasn’t so bad being around her parents day-in and dayout, due to the closeness of their small family. “It’s rare and I’m very grateful for it. We have similar taste in music and film and my parents’ friends were my friends.” The band was successful in its own right, appearing on Conan, TED Talks, and doing several runs in America and Europe before disbanding around Trachtenburg’s fourteenth birthday. She then went on to play in several projects including Supercute! and The Prettiots, both of which she tells me were fairly low-key and earned just enough money to pay for rehearsal space. However, one area she did save money was the expense of playing drums. “When I got older, I was like screw this, I’m going to start playing the ukulele—the easiest instrument ever! I was playing ukulele for six years and only broke a string once. That decision was definitely on purpose. Drums are so hard to manage,” she exclaims. But does she miss playing drums at all? “Emotionally, I have the biggest connection with drums, and I can hit out so much energy, and I feel so at home sitting behind the kit, even if I don’t get to play that often. Sadly, living in New York has made it so I don’t even have my own at this point.” At the time of the interview, Trachtenburg was moving into a new place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with her boyfriend, right around the corner from her parents. She’s still not sick of them yet!

TAKE IT AS IT COMES. IF YOU JUST EXPECT MONEY BACK FROM THINGS, THAT'S NOT WHAT IT'S ABOUT EITHER. I DO MY FAIR SHARE OF STUFF THAT'S JUST FOR THE LOVE OF IT, AS A FAVOR TO A FRIEND OR JUST FOR FUN.

Her parents aren’t the only draw of New York. In case you happen to have missed the doe-eyed, baby-faced starlet’s spreads for Lanvin Paris or Redken, Trachtenburg is currently signed to the NYC agency Elite Model Management. “Nowadays the industry’s profession is more so based around people who are more individually talented and unique and have something different to represent,” she shares, “and that’s helped me support myself and stay busy and make me feel like I’m not just posing for nothing.” And surprisingly, the modeling world and the music world collide more often than you think. The artist says that modeling has helped her raise her profile as a musician as well. “People on shoots will be like, ‘Oh, I saw you play!’ It’s another creative outlet and occasionally a nice way to support my music.” It’s not hard to guess which profession is earning her more money, but she’s by no means rolling in it yet. “It’s occasionally a way for me to make some money and it all just feeds into the same thing.” Needing to have your hands in several pots is something all creatives can relate to. A lot of the time, it’s necessary in order to just make rent, and there’s no denying there are times when it tests us. Was there ever a time that Trachtenburg thought about giving it all up? “It’s not easy. I do have really bad stress issues, so I get stressed out about finances a lot, even when I have a little bit of savings. So that’s something I just try to work on daily and know that it’s just a number. In general, I just try to keep myself busy, and even if it comes down to that, then I start doing babysitting. There’s always a way to relieve that stress.”

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FULL NAME: Rachel Trachtenburg AGE: 22 HOMETOWN: Seattle LIVES IN: Bushwick, New York PAST BANDS: Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Supercute!, The Prettiots CURRENT BAND: Wooing Band DAY JOB: Musician/Model KIT SETUP: “Vintage random pieces I put together”


To add to her already long list of talents and income sources, Trachtenburg is also a keen sewer. In former band Supercute!, she made embroidered covers to sell with the band’s EPs. “My grandma was a seamstress, so she used to make all the costumes for the family band, and she was very, very talented. I learned a little bit from her and also my mom, who makes art and does a lot of sewing stuff for a living now. It’s always been something I’ve loved doing and only recently started kind of figuring out my own style. It’s very rewarding creatively and perfect for where I’m at right now.” Do her survival instincts come from her early experiences on the road? “I learned a lot through those years and how to survive in those situations and how to make the best of it and have fun. Travelling in a van and sleeping on couches was definitely roughing it.” And her stellar work ethic? “We were never wealthy, so I guess it just instilled in me wanting to work hard. Being a musician full-time doesn’t really make you much money, unless you’re at a certain level and at that point you have no time to do anything else.” Despite offers to play drums full-time for bands, Trachtenburg says she’s happy focusing on her number one priority, Wooing Band, a project in which she sings and plays guitar. “For a little while, I was in four bands and it got to the end of last year, and I decided I need to figure out what I was doing,” she laughs. It’s been the first time in five years that she’s in one project. Is there as much work out there for other female drummers? “Maybe it’s just from like Tom Tom mailing lists and stuff, but I feel like I do see a lot of adverts looking for a female drummer. I think

that’s really amazing. If there are girls out there that are questioning whether they could make it a full-time thing, I think if you really set your heart to it and things are happening, you can do it, at least to put bread on the table.” There may be plenty of experience for female drummers, but how much of it is actually paid? There’s been a growing debate over the controversial subject of unpaid experience, especially in the music world. Should drummers play for free in return for exposure? Trachtenburg offers advice to those in that situation. “Do what makes you feel comfortable. There’s a certain line that even I kind of… It’s easy to say yes to things. It’s easier to say yes than to say no and to respect that your time is worth it. I think I'm definitely guilty of doing that and just being like, ‘Oh, I'm wanted!’ So, I'm just gonna show up and give it my all, even though I'm technically not getting anything in return. Take it as it comes. If you just expect money back from things, that's not what it's about either. I do my fair share of stuff that's just for the love of it, as a favor to a friend or just for fun.” If Trachtenburg’s success is anything to go by, all it takes is a killer work ethic, a super sweet attitude, and a love for whatever you’re doing. When asked what’s the secret to success, she answered, “When I look back on stuff, I just feel proud about multiple accomplishments, and I try to stay grounded in what I wanna be doing, as opposed to thinking about what I haven’t done.”

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Will play Drums for Food

by Lindsey Anderson Photos by Alison Brady Makeup by Takashi Ashizawa using MAC

Tom Tom: Savannah! You started drumming at three, who got the drumsticks in your hands at? What kept them in your hands?

bit longer. Spend the extra money on durable jeans because pants are typically the first to go in drumming! Buy less but, buy higher quality items.

Savannah: My father is a classically trained pianist as well as a drummer. When I was really small, I was breaking stuff by drumming on Tupperware and dishes, so they put me on the drums, and I've been playing ever since. My stepfather's a musician as well and has led several programs and bands in Oakland. Growing up, I'd play with my dad and stepdad in their respective bands and programs.

Great advice. Ok. What iconic figures would you like to see on U.S. currency?

If money weren't an obstacle, what dream drum gear would you invest in? I'd turn my living room into a drum heaven! I'd have tons of cymbals, sampling pads, keyboards, and Ableton. I write and produce as well, so I'd set the room up with gear that'd allow me to make music in my living room all day. As a drummer, where do you feel most of your money goes? Most of my money goes to my car, which includes tolls, gas, and parking tickets. I don't take my drums on the train (I live in NYC now), and I don't say “no” to gigs that are further out. With Jazz at Lincoln Center, I travel to Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn through their program Jazz for Young People. At the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, I'm on faculty for the Jazz for Teens program, so I'm also in Newark all the time. After carbased expenses, my money goes to food, shoes, rent, and other expenses that come with living life. That makes sense. Seeing as you are spending a lot on transporting your drums, when it comes to saving for gear and things, do you have any tips? Yes, I do! If you're just starting, don't say“no” when your phone rings. When you're getting established in any scene, you have to put yourself out there to be heard, to meet people, pay your dues, learn music etiquette, and acquire paid gigs. Second tip, is to learn how to cook and bring your food with you! Third tip, buy better quality clothes. Instead of stocking up on cheap items, consider buying the more expensive items that last a

I want to see Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder on U.S. currency. Michelle Obama, too! You'd want to look at your money all the time, because she's so beautiful! Lastly, I would like to see Erykah Badu on money. Seeing her on currency would inspire me to keep my money in my wallet! If you were able to change the currency system, what would people exchange for goods and services? It would be cool if I could exchange food for goods and services! I know that's not how it works, because services like auto repair take so much time and energy that people need to get paid real money, but in a fantasy world, I'd like to offer up a big pot of gumbo in exchange for car repair. If you're food shopping in a market, offering up a back massage in exchange for fresh vegetables. Or even inviting people to come to my shows for free in exchange for them making some good Ethiopian food!

AGE: 22 HOMETOWN: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, NOW RESIDES IN NEW YORK MAIN STYLE OF MUSIC YOU PLAY: ALL STYLES, BUT 80 PERCENT JAZZ

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I WOULD LIKE TO SEE ERYKAH BADU ON MONEY. SEEING HER ON CURRENCY WOULD INSPIRE ME TO KEEP MY I would take you up on that!! Ok. You've played quite a few jazz festivals. Imagine if you organized a festival, which performers would be on the bill?

MONEY IN MY WALLET!

This is a great question! If I had my own festival, I'd invite Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Travis Scott, Jack DeJohnette, and Chronixx. My best friends Elena and Samora have groups I'd like to have play the festival as well. Which would be your top five food vendors at your festival? The first place I'd call would be Barrio Chino in the Lower East Side. They make the best Mexican food! I would also have a Jamaican spot, Ethiopian take-out, African cuisine, and lastly, some top-notch soul food. All the best food and music in one place! Do you agree with the statement “more money more problems.” Why or why not? I do agree with the statement. The problems that you have when you don't have money are major; it hinders your ability to survive. The problem that you have when you do have money is that it's hard to trust the people around you. Our whole society is based off of acquiring more money, so if you're the one with the wealth, you have to deal with different sides of people that weren't showing up when you didn't have money. It's also difficult to finesse the government when you have money, but you don't come from money. If you're old money, you know how to finesse the government very well, but, if you're new or brand new money, navigating that can be challenging. I know Kendrick Lamar talked about this in “Wesley's Theory,” where he touches on the fact that many young entertainers aren't taught how to manage these large sums of money they're making and I think that's a different level of challenge. Do you have any final thoughts you want to leave with the readers? There's a lot I've been working towards. I've been very blessed to work with the people I've been able to work with. I want to continue to do this work, because it's deep work to me. Music is what'll essentially keep us from killing each other. I feel that as musicians, we have a lot of work to do to set aside our differences by genre and learn how to collaborate on a deeper level, and I feel that's really needed right now.

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TOP 3 DREAM ITEMS · Zildjian Spiral Trash Effects Cymbal 18" · More Constantinople & Istanbul Cymbals · Ludwig Downbeat 1966 Pink Champagne Sparkle


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THE INTERNET HAS CHANGED HOW DRUMMERS MAKE INCOME. TOM TOM EXPLORES THE MANY OPTIONS FOR RAKING IT IN ON THE WEB. by Nicholas Zurko

When it comes to being a professional drummer, it’s easy to think that it’s all gigs and recording and, well, the fun stuff. Only a road-tested player really knows just how hard, time-consuming, and exhausting it is to “make it” as a drummer. And of course, there are so many different levels and types of success, from touring with Beyoncé to doing the DIY circuit. Which brings us to the question every drummer asks herself: How do I make a living from playing music? The answer to that question is more complicated and different than it was But there is no denying that the Internet offers more opportunifor drummers to earn an income from the comforts of their even 10 years ago, due to one major force: ties homes or studios and will continue to do so in many ways we can’t yet imagine. Tom Tom examined these different avenues for making the Internet. The Internet has changed how drummers can and do make money. There is no one “right” way or time-tested formula for making money online. And there are so many options for procuring income on the Internet, like streaming services, online lessons, and YouTube channels. The Internet is evolving daily, so what holds true today might not be so in a couple of years, let alone a couple of months. But for now, there are plenty of drummers making money on the web in particular ways that are worth exploring. Tom Tom spoke with drummers actively pursuing financial success on the Internet, ranging from ambitious millennials using social media to grow their brands, to seasoned Gen Xers who have witnessed the effects of the digital revolution first-hand and transitioned successfully. From these evolving and ambitious minds, we uncovered the most popular and proven means for making money online as a drummer today.

A NEW WORLD Although the Internet has been around for a couple of decades, musicians only began looking at it as a source of income in the past decade. But the Internet is also just one channel through which they can rake in dough. In conversations across the board, each drummer noted the need to keep a number of different plates spinning at once to feel financially secure. While each plate, or channel, likely won’t generate enough for them to live off of by themselves, once these musicians started setting up multiple channels, stable income from the drumming profession started to become more realistic. 50

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cash online and broke down the main methods and the pros and cons of each.

As former 4 Non Blondes drummer and professional Dawn Richardson says, “We know the Internet is not going to stop, it’s going to just keep getting more complex. Don’t get bogged down in technology and have it serve you in what you want to do.” We are here to help you follow her lead.

INDIRECT VS. DIRECT INCOME: DIRECT SOURCES It’s important to recognize that using the Internet to help grow your drumming career tends to take two major forms: direct and indirect. Direct is any other form of online activity that directly results in you making money (such as online lessons and session work). Indirect covers the entirety of social media, which you can utilize to solidify and build your fan base. Other activities like blogging, podcasting, and generally anything that serves to promote your brand might not put any cash in your bank today, but does indirectly serve to help build your career and can one day translate into actual money. Let’s survey the primary “direct” options available to drummers of all ages, types, and genders.


STREAMING AND LICENSING Ah, revenue from streaming services, the unicorn of the music industry. There has been plenty of grumbling about the amount services pay musicians for each time a track of theirs plays, because it is microscopic. As an artist gets paid per stream through services like Spotify, Apple, and iTunes, that amount actually lowers the more streams an artist receives. And if you’re in a band, that money is getting split amongst whomever has a writing credit. So as most professional drummers have learned, making a salary off of streaming is something unlikely to happen soon. Still, drummers like Richardson, who scored several hits in the 90s with 4 Non Blondes, receive monthly royalty checks from streaming services. And while she’s certainly not buying a boat off of streaming money, she’s also quick to note that it’s just a piece of the overall pie that makes up a drummer’s sources of income.

ONLINE LESSONS As more musicians are able to reach students anywhere with a decent Internet connection and Skype, there has been major growth in companies and drummers offering online lessons in the past few years. Back in 2012, The New York Times reported on this growing phenomenon and found that many music instructors were setting up online sessions, even those who had previously resisted the practice. In 2016, it is impossible to quantify the number of lessons that occur online, but it’s clear that the numbers are growing. It allows students to study under teachers that might otherwise be out of reach geographically. It is also becoming more common for drummers to incorporate video in self-promotion. Educational drum videos are a great way to advertise your abilities as a teacher and player. You can choose to reach out to an established company like Rockfactory.us in Newtown, Pennsylvania, or Artistworks.com. Another option, you can start offering online lessons via your website or social media. Start with posting on Facebook and other networks where you have a decent following, and let your audience know you are available for lessons.

WRITING As any professional writer will tell you, it takes a lot of work to make money off of writing articles, especially on topics in which you might actually be interested. You can be sure that there are 100 other writers jostling to pen these for an esteemed publication. That said, for drummers who are as adept behind the kit as they are on the computer keyboard, you have a couple of things working in your favor. As a professional drummer, you are an expert in your craft and thus you have a specialized knowledge. This makes you stand out from other writers. Whether you are interested in writing reviews on gear, interviewing other drummers, or writing about a tour experience, every drummer has stories that outlets like Tom Tom and many other music sites will be interested in publishing. For more experienced drummers, like Richardson, more complicated options are available.

“I have written drum method books and now more recently have been doing eBooks and also a full-length book for Online Drummer.” She shares, “So that’s a bit more of an equitable situation.” Fresh content like articles, blogs, and videos are also a popular marketing tool. There are frankly more opportunities for writers and creatives to find platforms to publish, though it might not be in a well-known outlet. There are plenty of drumming and music sites that are interested in publishing a guest piece by someone with a unique perspective. This practice, known as “guest blogging,” is an excellent way to find additional writing gigs. You can also ask the webmaster of the site to let you include a link to your website at the bottom of your article for some solid self-promotion as well.

ONLINE SESSION DRUMMING You might know the drumming of Matt Laug, if you’ve ever airdrummed along to Alanis Morissette’s classic “You Oughta Know.” What you likely don’t know is that Laug is one of a growing number of online session drummers who are taking to the Internet to supplement the decreasing number of studio gigs. As advertised on his site, Matt is an “online remote recording studio session drummer.” What that means is that Matt receives inquiries from around the world to lend his decades of drumming talent to their tracks. “It’s fun, gratifying to work with someone halfway around the world,” Laug says. Just a quick Google search of “online session drummer” brings up pages of both individual and group services that use the power of file transferring to play with musicians who can’t find the right local drummer. Clients simply send the drummer the original track and, using either a professional or home studio, she then lays down her parts and sends them back. Of course, there are considerable costs in investing in setting up a home studio or paying an engineer to record you in a professional studio, so think about how you can deliver professional quality drum tracks that can be used in everything from commercials to an Italian prog rock band’s digital album.

INDIRECT SOURCES After speaking to a wide variety of drummers at different stages in their career, there was one thing they all agreed about when it comes to making money online: Marketing is essential. While there are more and more ways to directly make money online, much of it is contingent on drummers already having an online presence and an online brand. Social media, personal websites, and content marketing are all crucial marketing elements in establishing your professional credibility. YouTube in particular has become one of the premier platforms for achieving a degree of online celebrity that a drummer can then parlay into online session work, paid writing, and video gigs. Here are some of the best ways to plant the seeds for online financial success. I S S U E 2 8:

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YOUTUBE After videos of cats doing endlessly cute things, music performance videos have become a seriously popular section of YouTube’s content. Artists and bands even get signed to major labels based on their cover videos. Making videos of cover songs is arguably the most popular form of performance videos on the web. Clara Townsend of Brighton, U.K., and Klaudia Czerwinska of the Netherlands, are two young drummers in their early twenties who have both used YouTube to get into drums and then start their own channels.

WE KNOW THE INTERNET IS NOT GOING TO STOP, IT’S GOING TO JUST KEEP GETTING MORE COMPLEX. DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN IN TECHNOLOGY AND HAVE IT SERVE YOU IN WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.”

—4 NON Townsend is 20 years old and has been a drummer for eight years and uploading videos onto YouTube for seven years. She cites Anika Nilles, a popular YouTube drummer who now leads drum clinics all over the world, as a big inspiration when she first saw her online five years ago. While she used to just upload covers as a fun way for her friends and family to see what she was doing, she’s since begun to use the service for audition videos and getting, she says, “people to know I exist in the drumming community!” Her most successful video to date earned her over 6,000 views and she’s since been getting gigs with her band Veni Vidi Vici and other offers as her audience continues to grow. Like Townsend, Czerwinska has been uploading drum videos almost as long as she’s been playing. And before her drum videos, she made gaming videos as, she relates, “creating YouTube videos has always been a hobby of mine.” After seeing a drum video by South African Cobus Potgieter, she was inspired to start posting her own videos of drum covers. At first, they were getting a few hundred views on average. To expand their reach, she and her boyfriend Kevin decided to channel their shared love for cinematography and narratives to create what she calls “Drum Film Covers.” The videos pair dramatic shots of Czerwinska playing the drums intercut with a narrative inspired by the song she’s playing, not unlike a music video. As she puts it, “To stand out, you have to do something different. It doesn't have to be completely unique, but different enough to make more people curious about your work.” That intuition paid off when one of her videos hit 2.3 million views, establishing Czerwinska as a rising YouTube star. But as she points out, the people watching her videos aren’t who you think they might be. “Our audience is people who enjoy music and also enjoy watching drum covers. Which makes it so much broader than just having a drum audience.” For both drummers, YouTube is primarily a way to build an interest in themselves as players, which they hope to parlay into professional gigs. But YouTube also offers a way for drummers to monetize their videos by enabling ads to play before their videos. And while there are some, like popular Israeli online drummer Meytal Cohen, who are thriving from their YouTube careers, both Czerwinska and Townsend are quick to stress its promotional aspects, especially for younger drummers.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND BEYOND YouTube, of course, is not just for drum covers. Musicians and bands use it and other social media platforms in seemingly infinite ways, intent on building up their fan base and using online communities to help them strengthen careers.

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BLONDES’ DAWN RICHARDSON

Ever wonder how much musicians actually make from streaming services? The website Information is Beautiful compiled the average money signed and unsigned musicians make per stream. GOOGLE PLAY Signed: $0.0073 Unsigned: $0.0179 PANDORA $0.00137 APPLE MUSIC $0.002 during free trial DEEZER Signed: $0.001 Unsigned: $0.013 RDIO $0.00692 RHAPSODY Signed: $0.0019 Unsigned: $0.0121 SPOTIFY Signed: $0.0011 Unsigned: $0.007 TIDAL Signed: $0.007 Unsigned: $0.043 YOUTUBE Signed: $0.0003 Unsigned: $0.0018


As Duncan herself notes, face-to-face communication is a thing of the past and thus the Internet is more and more becoming the means through which musicians break out to independent or even mainstream success. Breaking out is something Duncan and her band are trying very hard to do in Philadelphia’s Black rock scene. She is seemingly on her smart phone 24/7 doing the million tiny things that building up a fan base online takes. But ultimately, social media is just the delivery system by which you share your music and opinions of the world. Simply put, you need content to put up on social media, which can range from a personal letter to fans, lessons, music videos, or whatever works to your strengths. For instance, Angiolini realized early on that being a touring musician wasn’t for him, but he still wanted to be a prominent member in the drumming community. He started the podcast, he says, “to continue to push myself and the audience to explore different topics and points of views.” And he soon realized that to stand out in the crowded world of music podcasts, he would benefit from deviating from the white males that constitute the majority of guests. “There aren't a lot of drumming podcasts that feature interviews with female drummers,” he notes. He adds an important point about the need for drummers to network online as well as promoting themselves, saying, “Never be afraid to reach out to companies, podcasts, and other drummers. You will be amazed that most of them will answer you back.” He and Richardson also point to Instagram as the next platform where a lot of drummers are flocking and flourishing. In the end, there is one crucial concept in online marketing: seeking out a vacuum. The Internet abhors a vacuum seemingly more than nature, and thus, when you are trying to come up with content ideas to get your fans excited and draw attention from the press to your project, do what no one has done yet or hasn’t done as well as you can.

GOING FORWARD

Social media is literally how some careers are born, but it takes time and it takes patience to get these growing. As successful podcaster Daniel Angiolini of The Drums Heads Podcast, which boasts 50,000+ listeners, puts it, “Having a social media presence is super important these days, but you would be amazed how many drummers don't utilize social media and the Internet to promote themselves. Just having a Instagram account or Twitter is not enough. You have to be posting all of time.”

Just like the Internet represents the full variety of the human experience, it also offers infinite opportunities to the ambitious drummer who wants to take control of her financial destiny. After all, while serving coffee or beers is a time-tested means of employment in between gigs, some people prefer working from home and being on their own schedule. The Internet is quickly increasing the number of options by which to do that, moving at “the speed of light” as Duncan puts it. Richardson notes, “I think everything is just moving towards freelance, independent contractor… Everyone is working from their house.” Whether drummers will be able to tour less as technology advances or uncover new means of direct and indirect income, it’s certain that the Internet has permanently become a part of how a drummer makes a living in 2016.

Barbara Duncan, drummer for the pop-rock-jazz fusion group JJX, is a one-woman online marketing team who creates the band’s videos, online content, posts, and all the other things that an active band needs to do to keep its fans excited. “I [also] use the Internet for myself in finding new auditions and/or gigs and [JJX] has used it to find a fill-in bass player,” says Duncan.

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TAXING QUESTIONS A BEAT-MAKING TAX PREPARER ANSWERS QUESTIONS ON HOW MUSICIANS SHOULD DO THEIR TAXES.

by Lisa Schonberg Illustrations by Lola WK

Emily Kingan is known in the music world as the drummer for Lovers and singer/ guitarist for homocore band The Haggard. Her bands have toured the world, spreading empowering feminist messages to audiences for years. Around Portland, Oregon, though, she is also known as a lifesaver for artists and musicians, when it comes time to file taxes. Kingan is an enrolled agent with the IRS and a licensed tax consultant in the state of Oregon. She also has her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Reed College. Her company, Math LLC, provides tax preparation, accounting services, and financial consulting for individuals and small businesses. Kingan specializes in serving working artists and musicians and has first-hand knowledge of how to best serve their financial needs. Tom Tom got down to business in the following interview to explore the sometimes overwhelming details of finances with Kingan. For more information on Math LLC, visit mathllc.com. To listen to her bands, check out loversarelovers.com and search for The Haggard concert videos online.

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Tom Tom : What percent of their income does an individual have to earn through music to file taxes as a musician? Kingan: If you are playing shows and/or selling your music, chances are you are required to report your music income on your tax return. According to the IRS, if you earn $400 or more, you are required to report it as “self-employment” income on a form called a schedule C, which you attach to your federal tax return. You will report your income and your related expenses on the schedule C. The good news is that musicians tend to have a lot of expenses associated with writing, recording, touring, and performing their music, and you only pay taxes on your profit (i.e. your income minus your expenses).

Can a drummer write off expenses related to their music if most of their income is made through non-music related means? This can be tricky! My recommendation is to only write-off music-related expenses against music-related income. For example, if you bought a drum set, write it off against the money earned playing shows, rather than the money earned at your non-music related day job. The IRS pays special attention to income and expenses related to creative pursuits, such as musicians, photographers, and writers. They may consider these to be hobbies, in which case expenses are not allowed. If you claim music related expenses against zero music related income it will look like you had a business loss.

Is it legit to keep some show and merchandise earnings “under the table?” At what point should you start tracking that as After three years of losses, the chances of being audited greatly taxable income? What is the best way to keep track of this? increases. During an audit the IRS will assess if you are legitimately pursuing music professionally. Things that can help As a licensed tax consultant, I cannot advise to keep any earn- legitimize your music career include a website, history of shows ings “under the table.” All income must be reported. If you make less than $400, you would report it on line 21 of your form 1040. If you make $400 or more, you would report that on a schedule C. If you were audited by the IRS or state government, they will take a look at all your trackable income on bank statements, Square, Paypal, etc. You should also be prepared to explain how you track cash. If there is a discrepancy between your income calculated by the IRS, and what you reported on your tax return, you may face penalties and fees.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF WORKING WITH A TAX PREPARER THAT SEEMS LIKE THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU OR YOUR BUSINESS, IT WOULD BE BETTER TO GO ELSEWHERE.

As far as tracking your income and expenses, I recommend opening a dedicated bank account for your music business and running all income and expenses through that account. At the end of the year, it simplifies the process to figure your total income and parse out your expenses when they are localized to one account. I have also seen people use spreadsheets or logbooks to track income and expenses. Quickbooks is useful too, but there can be a steep learning curve with learning that software.

and touring, music releases, and established business bank account and/or LLC. If you accumulate a lot of music related expenses in a year without any music related income, do not fear! In a year that you do make some money playing music, you have the option of writing-off those previous expenses as What are the pros and cons of establishing an LLC for your “start-up costs.” Definitely track your music expenses and keep band? At what point should a musician start thinking about your receipts because they can really help you in a year where that? you earn the big bucks!

When it comes to taxes, there are no direct benefits to being Can an individual group together music and art-related earnan established LLC. However, establishing an LLC now can save ings as one self-employment position? you money and lots of energy down the line if your business grows and you decide to incorporate. You may consider incor- Yes, in this case you would call yourself simply an “artist.” porating if you anticipate making a profit of $30,000 or more within the current tax year and future years to come. Remember that your profit is your income after subtracting expenses. The cost of establishing and maintaining an LLC is about $100– $200 per year, depending on the state.

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Let’s say that I am about to tour as a hired gun for a pretty well known indie artist. How much of my income should I expect to be taken out in taxes? What's my best approach for filling out the income-related forms they might give me?

My friend’s band has started to make a little more money at gigs, about $600–800 a show. If they take turns filling out W-9s at shows, how do they ensure that their tax burden is equal in the end?

This depends on whether you will be treated as an employee or an independent contractor. The best deal is to be treated as an employee. In this case your employer will share the tax burden with you, and, generally, you will not owe too much tax at the end of the year since taxes will be withheld from each paycheck throughout the duration of your contract. Your employer will ask you to fill out a W-4 where you will list your exemptions. Exemptions are based on your life circumstances, such as the number of children you have, if you are married, et cetera. If you claim zero exemptions, you will have more money withheld for taxes during each paycheck. Conversely, if you claim one, two, or even three exemptions, less money will be withheld from each paycheck. My advice to filling out the W-4 is to get as close to zero exemptions as possible to avoid having to pay a lot at the end of the year.

The most legit way to handle the rising success of a new band is to set up the correct business structure as early as possible. If you and your bandmates are all equal stakeholders in the project, form a partnership or partnership LLC and get a tax ID number for your band. Use your tax ID number on all the W-9s you sign. At the end of the year, you will file a partnership tax return (form 1065) and each band member will receive a K-1. You can write off band expenses on the partnership tax return and personal music-related expenses on your personal return.

If you are hired as an independent contractor, you can expect to pay an average of 25–30 percent tax on your income (this percentage varies depending on your income tax bracket). Your employer will most likely be covering all expenses, leaving you with few expenses. To makeup for this, keep track of your itinerary and claim the per diem meal expense for each travel date (these can really add up! Find the rates at gsa.gov). Also keep track of any other music-related expenses you have during the year, even when you are not under their contract. These can be written off, too.

If you choose to forgo the partnership formation, another option is to have one band member claim 100 percent of the band revenue and expenses and then share the tax burden with that individual by having the band pay the tax on that income. The risk in this arrangement is for the one holding the financial responsibility, because if the other bandmates bail that person will be stuck with the bill.

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Do I have to file a 1099 if I hire musicians for my band? Do I have to file 1099s for my publicist and website manager? The IRS regulations require you to file 1099s to anyone you pay $600 or more within the tax year and who is not a corporation. Be aware that since an LLC can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, you will need to clarify if any of the LLCs you hire are incorporated or not. My friend is a drummer in a rock band, and they make most of their income through performing music. What kinds of things can they write off? The IRS says you can write off anything “ordinary or necessary” for someone in your line of work. Ask other musicians what they write off for more suggestions. For those who are totally clueless about where to start, here is the short list:

· Music equipment · Travel expenses: such as transportation, fuel, lodging, etc. · Meals and entertainment shared with other industry professionals or while traveling

IRS WRITE OFF SHORTLIST

· Office supplies · A percentage of your cell, internet, and computer (generally 80 percent or less is considered reasonable) · Legal and professional services · Research: going to shows, buying music, music-related publications · Education: such as coaching and lessons · Rent: practice space or equipment · Contract labor: such as hired musicians · Advertising: website, business cards, posters · Merchandise

Another friend is a drummer who makes most of their income through teaching private students. What kinds of things can they write off? You can write off the same things as written above! I would also add to keep track of your mileage if you teach at a location outside your house. You can also write off a percentage of your rent and utilities as a home office expense if you work from home.

How much does it cost to hire a tax preparer? At what point should a drummer consider hiring one? In a typical musician/ artist scenario, would the amount they can save me be worth the additional expense? What kinds of things can they help with? At Math LLC, we charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $200–350 to prepare a tax return for someone who is selfemployed. Prices may range depending on what city you live in, and if you go with a CPA, which tends to be more expensive than a licensed tax preparer. If you feel overwhelmed or like there are terms or concepts you do not understand while preparing your own taxes, it is probably better to get help. I have seen tax preparers save their clients hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars because they know the tricks of the trade. On the other hand, I have heard from some of my clients that their previous preparer disallowed them legitimate expenses, because they didn't understand the music business. Most of the tax preparers I know really enjoy saving their clients money. Look for someone who is familiar with your field so that they are knowledgeable about the types of things you can write off. If you find yourself working with a tax preparer that seems like they do not understand you or your business, it would be better to go elsewhere. Are royalties taxed at the same rate as performance income? What about marketing placements in ads? If you are currently a working musician, then royalties and placements are all taxed at the self-employment tax rate. If you are no longer working as a musician and are still receiving royalties for prior work, those are taxed at the lower, ordinary income tax rate.

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HANNAH WELTON

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LEFT HAND BOOTCAMP by Lindsay Artkop

Welcome to the second installment in the the Left Hand Bootcamp series from Lindsay Artkop, founder of lindsayslessons.com, which focuses on an issue every drummer faces (and often becomes a lifelong quest): building strength and control in their non-dominant hand. The exercises in this series are designed specifically to help you strengthen your muscles and improve your coordination in your left hand (or, your right hand, if you’re a lefty!). All exercises are notated with stickings, and alternative workout tips for your hands in general are also included.

LEFT HAND WORKOUT #1: ACCENT EXERCISES

TECHNIQUE

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 builds up endurance in your left hand, as well as the ability to accent within Left Hand Accent Workout #1 different rhythms

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HOW TO PRACTICE THESE EXERCISES: © Lindsay's Lessons 2016. All Rights Reserved - Licensed for Personal Use Only. Each exercise should be played at a slow tempo to start, especially when using them as warmups. 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.

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LEFT HAND WORKOUT #2: STICK CONTROL EXERCISES All stick control exercises are designed to help internalize unconventional patterns and increase endurance. In our case, we are working specifically on the left hand.

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MO' MONEY MO' PROBLEMS AND OTHER MONEY SONG TRANSCRIPTIONS

by Vanessa Domonique

TECHNIQUE

Vanessa Domonique, one of our staff tech writers, put together these three money-themed song transcriptions for your drumming pleasure. Each is the main drum beat of the song that is repeated throughout with occasional slight variations. If you don't know drum notation, use the legend to decode the symbols, then listen to the song while reading along with the transcription. Then try playing!

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HIT HARD I S S U E 2 8:

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ANYWHERE WARMUPS

TECHNIQUE

by Kristen Gleeson-Prata

Warming up can often fall by the wayside in the busy, anxious, and exciting moments before playing a show. Failing to get blood flowing to the muscles in your arms and hands (before you’re about to give them a workout!), however, can cause injury over time. Here are a few quick warmups that require only your sticks and any soft surface you can find— be it your tour suitcase, a green room couch cushion, or even your leg. Pay close attention to the sticking and accents, and take it slow at first to correctly internalize the patterns. As you get familiar with them and your muscles start to loosen up, slowly increase your tempo. Carve out five minutes pre-show for warming up and stretching. Your body will thank you later!

WARMUP #1: The Triplet Accent warmup consists of straight triplets. The sticking goes from alternating to two on a hand, to three, and finally to four, always accenting the first note of the group of strokes. Since by the end you’ll be playing four strokes in a row per hand, be sure to start slowly.

Triplet Accents

> 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > >3 > 3 > >3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 >3 3 > 3 ã 44 .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œœœ œ œ œ œ RLRLR LRLRLRL

RRL LR RLLRRL L

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RRR RL LL LRRRR

> 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > >3 > 3 > >3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 > 3 >3 3 > 3 ã œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ .. L R L R L R L R L R L R

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WARMUP #2: The Paradiddle Permutations warmup starts with a bar of alternating paradiddles with an accent on the first note of each. In each of the following bars, those alternating paradiddles are shifted later by one 16th note, with unaccented left hand strokes filling the space in between. Essentially, you’ll be accenting the beat/quarter notes at first, then the “e”s, then the “and”s, and then the “a”s. Using a metronome is key here, as it will help you internalize where the beat is, and help keep your place, since you’re shifting around the accent.

Paradiddle Permutations

> > > > > > > > 4 ã 4 .. œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL > > > > > > > > ã œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œL œR œL œR œR œL œR œL œL œR œL œR œR œL ..

Throughout the Paradiddles in 4, 5, and 6 warmup, the second note of each note grouping should be accented. The first bar contains single paradiddles, the second bar adds an extra stroke to each paradiddle creating groups of five, and the last bar adds yet another stroke to each paradiddle creating 16th note triplets. The sticking at the end of the last bar sets you up to repeat the exercise starting with the left hand.

BEAT IT, NERD

WARMUP #3:

Paradiddles in 4, 5, and 6

> > > > >5 >5 >5 >5 4 ã 4 .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ R L R R L R L L R L R R L R L L L R L L R L R R L R L L R L R R

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SHOW US YOUR KITS

LULI ACOSTA QUINTAS'S SET UP by Zoë Brecher

DRUMS:

CYMBALS:

HARDWARE:

Gretsch Catalina Maple

1 Sabian 14" AAX Hi-Hat

Gibraltar 6707 Hi-Hat Stand

A Kick Drum: 22x18"

2 Sabian 21" AAX Ride

B Snare: 14x5'5"

3 Paiste 18" 2002 Crash

Gibraltar GI-9609BT Cymbal Boom Stand (x2)

C Floor Tom: 14x14" PEDAL:

HEADS:

Tama HP30 Bass Drum Pedal Evans G2 Standard rugoso

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Gibraltar 6706 Snare Drum Stand STICKS: Vic Firth


WHO: LULI ACOSTA QUINTAS AGE: 28, FROM: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

What band are you in?

Why did you start drumming?

Toco en una banda de garaje/punk/rock de Madrid, Los Nastys.

No creo que haya un porqué, creo que se dio de manera natural. Siempre me llamaron la atención los ritmos y es algo que siempre han destacado de mí. Me armaba sets de batería con cualquier cosa que encontrara por el camino.

I play in a garage/punk/rock band from Madrid, Los Nastys. What was your first kit? El mismo que tengo ahora. The same one I have now. How old were you when you got it? No he podido comprarme mi propia batería hasta los 22 años porque mi madre se oponía a tener una en casa, supongo que ese es el típico problema que tenemos todos los baterías, que no tenemos un lugar en dónde poder tener nuestro instrumento y poder practicar a gusto. Me lo compré a los 4 años de haberme ido de casa. I wasn’t able to buy my own drum kit until I was 22, because my mom was opposed to having one at home. I guess that’s the same problem all drummers have, that we don’t have a place to put our instrument and practice comfortably. I bought it four years after moving out of my parents' house.

I don’t think there is a why, I think it naturally happened. I was always attracted to rhythm, and it’s something people have always pointed out about me. I made drum kits with any objects I ran into. How many drum sets have you had? Sólo uno, jaja. Just one, haha. Where did you buy your current kit? Por Internet, en thomann.com jajaja.

Luego estéticamente me gustan las baterías con purpurina, con brillo, cuanto más horteras, mejor. Mi sueño sería tener una batería de las tortugas ninja. Something simple. I like playing on basic sets, not too many parts. Snare, floor tom, and not much more. The music I make is pretty simple, so I like to have few drums and work with what I have. And aesthetically, I like sparkling kits, the tackier the better. My dream would be to have a Ninja Turtles kit. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only keep one part of your kit what would you save? La caja, sin lugar a duda. Podría practicar muchos ejercicios. The snare drum, no doubt. I could practice a lot of rudiments.

On the Internet, on thomann.com hahaha.

Are there any unique things about your setup?

Do you have a dream kit or cymbal?

No, nada.

Algo simple. Me gusta tocar con sets básicos, con pocas cosas. Caja, tom base y poco más. La música que hago es bastante sencilla, con lo cual me gusta tener pocas cosas y apañármelas con lo que tengo.

No, nothing.

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BODY/HEAD

THUNDERA

MADAME GANDHI

No Waves Matador Records / November 2016

Thundera Self-released / September 2016

Voices Self-released / October 2016

Body/Head is the minimal experimental duo formed by Kim Gordon and Bill Nace in 2012. Their recent release, No Waves, is a live recording of a 2014 show. Fans of the group's debut, Gordon, and early Sonic Youth will find much to love here. Nace and Gordon's duel guitars, at one moment swirling, the next stuttering, draw you into the slow whirlpool of noise, while Gordon's breathy voice is captivating as ever, managing to emote through her deceptive monotone while blending with the mix. Although songs such as “Abstract” and “Actress” appear on earlier releases, they retain an improvisational quality live. Only four dates have been announced for their tour this year, so this may be the best way to check out the show.

“Hey angel/why are you taking drugs on the side?/ Hey angel/you know it’s not gonna be all right.” A sweet PSA on the sour side of life? This should be Thundera’s campaign slogan. This band’s first self-titled release reminds me of an act you’d be lucky to catch opening for Veruca Salt in 1998. Bruni Lee’s drums provide the proper use of clean energy, and Rissa Aponte’s vocals are both a warning and a promise, delivered simultaneously. This trio has also been known to break into Beastie Boys and Metallica covers at their live shows. One thing is for certain; Thundera, much like their Thundercats reference, are ready to pounce.

It’s nice when the 808’s got a message. Forget that Kiran Gandhi was M.I.A.’s touring drummer. Forget the fact she’s got an MBA from Harvard and graduated from Georgetown University. Forget that she’s been the darling of SXSW and Bonneroo. Begin your own Madame Gandhi education today. Go online and listen to her track “Her.” The video’s visually stunning low-fi aesthetic is just the start. Her hypnotic brew of songs; part Afro-beat, part dub, part spooky rap, haunts me like a ghost bent on sick beats.

Listen to this: while slow cooking warm soups in the winter.

Listen to this: when you’re ready to unleash your claws and go full feline in a sweaty, underground party in punk heaven. —Matthew D’Abate

Listen to this: when you need a spiritual breakdown, like on a dance floor. The future is female, folks, and Madame Gandhi is your tribal ambassador. —Matthew D’Abate

—Chantal-Marie Wright

RUCYL

Caveat Self-released / October 2016 Caveat is the second album release written, produced, and performed by experimental electronic soundstress and multimedia artist Rucyl. Equal parts rapturous and empathic, Caveat showcases her new lovingly crafted arrangements—some instrumental, some with a tinge of R&B vocals—on this album of subtly powerful intimacy. In her attempt to be vulnerable, she actually does the opposite, in fact; the dreamy gorgeousness overtakes the listener, and we feel its confidence, a nuance hushed, never screamed. There’s even a pleasant throwback to 80’s synth electronica via a Stranger Things-esque soundscape on the track “New Windows,” but a tad more uptempo and with a whole lot more groove. Rucyl has come a long way since being a former member of the 90’s hip hop group The Goats, and has added many hats: sonic performance artist, inventor, engineer, and sound machinist, on top of her ability to write smart lovely pop melodies over delicious atmospheric dance beats. Listen to this: when you’re driving or riding home late at night through the winter’s first snowfall, and the streets are empty, except for you, gliding and transcending. —Sara Landeau

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THICK

SHE ROCKS VOL. 1

It’s Always Something… Torched Car / October 2016

Favored Nations / January 2017

From the start of the EP, the surf guitar blitzkrieg and trash can lid drums punch through the speakers, and you’re happy they made an entrance. Thick falls into that basement show space where pop-punk and catchy vocals can mosh together with love. All the three-part harmonies hint at the better cuts off a Breeders record, and Niki Sisti’s solos are not at all showy, drawing a deep breath from J Mascis’s note-heavy grooves. The “keeping it real” $4 downloadable album on their website is a Dischord Records move; and a much needed one in the auto-tuned to death world we all live in now.

The name does not deceive—this compilation unabashedly rocks hard, axes (not of evil), women to the front, a sonic pinnacle of fun shred. We get gnarly tracks from big names such as The Runaway’s uber legend Lita Ford, Michael Jackson’s last touring guitarist Orianthi, (which you can witness soloing while he directs the band in the candid 2009 tour documentary This Is It), and seminal guitar hero Jennifer Batten—the original 1980’s MJ guitarist and first woman to graduate from Musicians Institute for guitar.

There’s also a sexy blues ballad from the lush, soulful guitarist Kat Dyson—member of Prince’s Listen to this: when it’s time to remember what New Power Generation—and more, like rocker rock 'n' roll is all about—singing along to the oohs Nita Strauss (oh, just the guitarist for a little and ahhs of our raucous soul. known singer named Alice Cooper), prog and math rocketeers Yasi Hofer, Gretchen Menn, —Matthew D’Abate and dive-bomb hooks from blues-metal ace Steph Paynes of Lez Zeppelin.

with the majority of the album showcasing abrasive tapping energy over hard-beaten drums and double kicks. You quickly get the feeling of how much fun they’re having, these women who would hands-down win a knife fight with any musical patronizing sexist, if any guy would actually dare. She Rocks Volume 1 takes no prisoners. Wondering what the crushing Volume 2 will do.

You wouldn’t think it could get brasher, noisier, harder than the first track, but, friends, it does, —Sara Landeau

THE SHONDES

Brighton Exotic Fever / September 2016

Louisa Rachel Solomon and Elijah Oberman may have started their vocal-and-violin approach to a rock band, the Shondes, a decade ago, but (almost) nothing about their new album, Brighton, feels preteen (more about that “almost” in a minute). The polish, strength, and surprises that appear on the much-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 The Garden are surely due to the pair’s evolution, musically and personally (there’s more than one nod to Solomon’s 2015 marriage in the love-laden lyrics), but also boosted by two new members, drummer Alex Smith and guitarist Courtney Robbins. If you listen past Solomon’s big, vibrato-thick voice and Oberman’s surging strings, Smith shows her chops on the kit, jumping between the hard hits of Japandroids-esque anthems like the opening “Everything Good” and the softer side of the Shondes in the closing “Nightwatch.” Those big jumps in style are the one part of Brighton that does feel tweeny—the album swings wild between the manic, joyful moments of their up-tempo clarion calls, some very lovely lows of their ballads, and an almost alt-rock throwback in the melody-based middle slot (listen up to Solomon channeling her inner Natalie Merchant on “My Ghost”) in an honest, still-shaping way that makes me think they’re in the middle of a growth spurt. I, for one, am excited to see how tall they get. Listen to this: when you want to have all the feels. —Emily Nemens

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DRUM DREAM GIRL by Margarita Engle Illustrations by Rafael Lopez HMH Books for Young Readers / March 2015 Millo Castro Zaldarriaga was a girl who knew what she wanted. It was an experience of all the senses—imagining how it must In 1932, at the age of 10, she broke the taboo against girls play- have been for her to be a child who wanted to drum. In the ing drums, and became the drummer in Anacaona, Cuba’s first book Queens of Havana: The Amazing Adventures of Anacaona, all-girl dance band. At the age of 15, she played at an event Cuba's Legendary All-Girl Dance Band by Millo's sister, Alicia for the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and grew up to become a Castro, describes Millo sitting at the table and tapping the silverware and spoons and dishes to world famous musician. make up her own music. “People Surprisingly, her story of being the would always be like, ‘be quiet, On an island of music first girl drummer in Cuba would stop drumming.’ It’s amazing to have been untold, if not for the in a city of drumbeats me when somebody very young research and writing done by Maralready knows what they want the drum dream girl dreamed garita Engle. Thankfully, Millo’s to do with their life. The story is drum keeps drumming, her pulse of pounding tall conga drums really about perseverance. That’s keeps pulsing, and her courage the thing.” tapping small bongo drums persists in the picture book: Drum Millo persevered to become the Dream Girl, by Margarita Engle. and boom boom booming first girl drummer in Cuba, and Millo’s story has become a story for this story will persevere to inspire with long, loud sticks all girls who dream to drum. future girl drummers. Margarita on big, round silvery Engle’s lyrical writing echoes the Engle chooses to write stories rhythms of Millo’s drumming. Her that are forgotten by history, moon-bright timbales. poetry dances on the page, envelunburying lost truths in order to But everyone oping the reader in its waves. send them into the future. Thanks When Margarita wrote Drum Dream Girl, she imagined being Millo. “I could see in my mind, how she would walk through a park and notice all the rhythms around her in nature.

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on the island of music

in the city of drumbeats believed that only boys should play drums.

to her, we continue to hear the persistent beating of Millo’s drum. The drum that broke a taboo. —Mariel Berger


OUT OF THE BOX

5000SERIES

THE Cajon Pedal

A groundbreaking design that puts the player first. The all-new 5000 Series Cajon Pedal is the culmination of years of painstaking development. Predicated on feel and specialized to embrace the nuance and tonality of today’s most popular percussion instrument. Play one at an authorized DW retailer today. www.DWDRUMS.com/hardware/5000 ©2017 DRUM WORKSHOP, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


MADE WITH HEART, PL AYED WITH HEART TYCOON PERCUSSION by LaTreice V. Branson

Placing my hands on the soft, high-quality water buffalo skin heads, and then hitting these congas for the first time was like being welcomed into a family that I’d never known. The warm tones and depth of the sound was as earnest as the family of skilled artisans who’ve so thoughtfully handcrafted them in Bangkok, Thailand, since 1983. Some may suggest that the Supremo Select Island Palm Congas are ideal for beginners, but having played congas for over 15 years, I can assure you that the quality of the 10" and 11" conga set will please the hands and ears of even seasoned percussionists. The bongos in the series have 7" and 8 ½" heads, and offer great high tones that flatter the warmth of the congas when played together. Although both the congas and bongos are made with water buffalo skin heads, the heads on the bongos are not as soft to touch but equally effective. The unique finishing technique creates a palmtree-like texture, complimented by black powder-coated ClassicPro hoops and large 5/16" diameter tuning lugs. Both the congas and bongos come with a tuning wrench that allows you to tune them to your liking. Once I tuned the set, I took them to the studio for some recording, and the sound was superb! The bongos offered me great accents, and if you’re looking to invest in a set of congas and bongos, I would suggest that you get both in the series; they just work so well together.

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In addition, the cajon in the series is made from imported wood grown in environmentally controlled forests in order to prevent deforestation. The attention to detail is evident in every way, as the resonating body is also made of Siam oak and the frontplate of beech wood, offering a variety of bass, snare, and high-pitched slap notes. The cajon also comes with a snare adjusting allen wrench for tuning and protective rubber feet to prevent sliding. Tycoon Percussion is the most socially and environmentally responsible choice in the industry for high quality hand percussion. Their instruments are “made with heart,” and when you play them, you cannot help but to “play with heart.”


TILE:

HOW TO NOT LOSE YOUR EXPENSIVE ITEMS By Marisa Kurk

PACKAGING The packaging for the two Tile Mate and the Tile Slim is super basic and easy to use. Open the box, download the app, and the whole thing can be set up, synced and ready to go within 10 minutes.

SET UP Hold the tile next to your phone and it syncs and prompts you to title your Tile. I titled mine “wallet” and “keys” to give this a test run but these can be put on nearly anything. You can run eight tracked Tiles on iOs, and four on Android, at any given time. You can sync more and leave them as dormant in the app, but when you want to use them, you need to swap with one of your live current tiles.

FUNCTIONALITY I tested these out by leaving my keys and wallet in various locations to see how well the proximity works. Even in known cellular trouble zones for me, it can drop your Tile location on a map to reasonable accuracy. Close enough to ring the tile from your phone and locate audibly if needed. Items that stray far beyond your bluetooth proximity, Tile’s “community” tracking utilizes all other tile users to ping your Tile. We haven’t test this in a real life situation but, it seems like an incredibly powerful tool to have at your disposal for finding your lost (or stolen) things.

THE TILE The Tile Slim is roughly 2" by 2" square and is just under an ⅛" thick. The Tile Mate is 1 ¼" square and ⅛" thick. The product feels good and is super light. Tile Slim fits well in a wallet or can be easily hidden in a pocket in a cymbal bag or drum case.

SOUND The ring works immediately and easily. You can ring any one of your Tiles from your phone, or, if you misplace your phone, any synced tile can be used to ring your phone. One downside is the volume. Depending on your environment, the ring may not be loud enough to help much. In an apartment—fantastic. Trying to find your keys in a dark, loud venue—maybe not.

LIFESPAN One of the few criticisms of the Tile is the approximate one year lifespan. The battery is not replaceable so when your Tile does die, your only real option is to send it back to be recycled and receive a discount on a new one. The skeptic in me feels that this reeks of planned obsolescence, but the price point is right, and presumably the technology will already be leaps ahead by the time you need a new one. So an upgrade every year may be worth it for the peace of mind, even if only for sticking one in your snare or cymbal bag that you (hopefully) never have to go looking for.

PRICE Price tag rules! One Tile rings in at a reasonable $25, and a pack of four comes in at just under $70.

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Tom Tom Magazine Issue 28: Money  

The money issue features Rachel Trachtenburg, Savannah Harris and Rucyl Mills plus tips on how to get a great kit for under $500, how to do...

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