D I S P L AY FA L L 2 0 1 7
drummers • music • feminism
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Fifth Harmony’s Michel’Le Baptiste
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ANGELA TORNELLO Writer
SHELLY SIMON Photographer/Writer
PRINT WRITERS Shaina Joy Machlus, Lindsey Anderson,
Miro Lion, Alex Maiolo, Angela Tornello, bo-Pah, JJ Jones, Zoë Brecher, Leah Bowden, Daryana Antipova, Anna Gelyuk, Carson Risser, SassyBlack, Lisa Vinciguerra, Rebecca DeRosa, Liz Tracy
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Wright, Dani Mari, Liah Alonso, Jessica Perez, Lynn Casper, and Lola Johnson.
GEAR REVIEWS JJ Jones, Mindy Abovitz
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ON THE COVER: Michel'le Baptiste shot in L.A. by Cody Burdette
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 Nicole Wallace
Happy end of Summer and intro to the Fall. I am forgoing my normal letter from the editor to include this short excerpt from a recent interview we did with a local news source: Greenpointers. com. Head to the world wide web to read the whole thing and as always...enjoy this issue. Greenpointers: What was the main thing that you hoped Tom Tom would change in terms of the way female drummers are seen?
The point of the magazine is to act as a metaphor for anything that someone is told that they can’t do based on what they look like or the body that they’re born into. We’re still fighting that and talking about that. Every time we’re talking about empowered females, which often times a drummer is, I think that helps push that agenda forward. Maybe you’re an astronomer, maybe you’re into physics, whatever it is, ideally you read our magazine and you think, these people broke through, these people didn’t care and they’re in a magazine. Look how cool they are! That’s our goal, to communicate that you can actually do anything that you want to do and someone’s going to put you in a magazine and celebrate you. Read the rest of the interview here: greenpointers.com/2017/08/29/greenpointstom-tom-magazine-takes-world/ Oh yea! I got married! To an amazing musician/writer. We forwent the traditional first dance and went with a double drum duet instead. That’s a pic of me drumming in my wedding dress. :)
Love and drums,
Mindy Abovitz Monk
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Mindy Abovitz Monk: Well, number one, they just were not seen. People didn’t think female drummers even existed and honestly we’re still working at this because there are still people who don’t believe that we drum. So now there’s this dichotomy between 2009 where I just wanted to prove that we exist and now in 2017 we’re still proving we exist to some people, and then the rest of the work we’re doing is to get more girls, women, guys, gender nonbinary folks to feel confident doing anything that they want to do.
THE BEAT + THE PULSE
Breaking barriers with rhythms featuring Potty Mouth and Yucky Duster.
TRUTH TO POWER
Israeli musician Noga Erez breaks down the pros and cons of being Off the Radar.
Vanishing Twin’s Valentina Magaletti has her drumsticks on the pulse of cool.
FULL RANGE MUSIC
Japanese band Yubisaki Nohaku discusses its new album and touring overseas.
A DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO MOSCOW
Simple tips on the musical landscape of Russia’s capital city.
THE FAITH FACTOR
Fifth Harmony’s Michel’Le Baptiste is guided by God and the joy of playing.
British beatboxer Grace Savage wins competitions and is taking over theater stages.
FLAMENCO AND HER FIRE
Barcelona songstress Rosalia is dedicated to the music of Flamenco.
GROOVES FOR OUR CITY
Voices of Our City Choir unites musicians and the homeless for activism and singing.
Nizhóni Girls by Darklisted Photography
Featured Event: BYOBook Swap with Lana C. Marilyn
Welcome to your space. New Women Space is a 2,100 sq. ft. community-led event space that houses low-cost, life-afďŹ rming programming led by self-identiďŹ ed women, femme, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people living in New York City.
188 Woodpoint Road, Brooklyn, NY, 11211 www.newwomenspace.com
S H O P.
AG M OM T .C M OM TO
Shot by Stefano Galli
by Liz Tracy Western Massachusetts is known for producing noteworthy rock bands, so it’s no surprise that ’90sinspired punks Potty Mouth hail from Northampton. Three of the four members—bassist Ally Einbinder, guitarist Phoebe Harris, and drummer Victoria Mandanas—attended Smith College. Only singer/guitarist Abby Weems did not. The group, which formed in 2011, rose to fame while she was still in high school. Potty Mouth is now based out of Los Angeles, far away from their Pioneer Valley beginnings. Tom Tom spoke with 27-year-old Columbia, South Carolina, native Mandanas about starting out at Smith and heading all the way up and West. Tom Tom: Where’d you grow up, and how did you start playing drums? Victoria Mandanas: I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and was a pretty solitary kid. I don’t remember how I started playing, but I guess that’s because there really wasn’t much to it. I wanted to play, so my mom put me in lessons. I started with an amazing teacher, Danny Boozer, at around age eight, and have been playing on and off since then. If you have a really good first drumming story, please share! What was your first drum kit? I got my first kit around age nine. It was cherry red, not sure what brand. In middle school, I upgraded to an orange Mapex, and that was the game changer. I’m not too picky about what I play, but there is something to be said for having access to quality gear. When a kit sounds yummy, you just want to play it. I still have that kit and sometimes use it with Potty Mouth.
A lot of great bands have come out of Northampton. Can you tell us what is was like starting out there at Smith College? Smith can be a really supportive environment, but it’s also a bit of a bubble. For the bulk of my time at college, I was somewhat isolated from surrounding communities, as were most of my friends. Smith also wasn’t exactly a hotbed of rock/punk musicians or showgoers, and there weren’t many resources for students who were interested in that sort of thing, but I found out that I could get access to the tiny practice kit in the music building if I signed up for a rudimentary-skills course, so that’s what I did. I started going to local shows after I graduated and after Potty Mouth became more active, and it was at that point that I became fully aware of the sheer volume of musicians and creatives living in Western Massachusetts. What’s it like going from Western Mass. to L.A.? Freeing. What does being a feminist look like to you? Sticking to your guns, whatever they are; believing others when they talk about their experiences; knowing who came before you and honoring the sacrifices they made. Of all of the musical accomplishments you’ve had as a band and individual, which was the most satisfying? We opened for Chvrches a bunch last year. Those shows were huge, not only because they put us in front of a totally new audience, but because we grew a lot as performers. It feels really good to suddenly realize in the middle of a set that you’re comfortable enough letting loose, and headbang in front of a huge crowd.
Photo by Christopher Sullivan
Potty Mouth’s Victoria Mandanas dishes about feminism and her time at Smith College
The Jacksons (with all six brothers!) Emily King
Taylor McFerrin The Ramsey Lewis Trio Denise Williams
Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band CHIC
Kashif Angela Winbush Sarah Vaughan The Best of Horace Silver
by SassyBlack SassyBlack is Seattle-based classically trained jazz vocalist, songwriter, producer, writer, and actress Catherine “Cat” Harris-White, formerly one half of R&B and hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction. She shares some picks from her record collection with Tom Tom readers.
Each record showcases a different side of me and my creative structure. The classic jazzy albums (Ramsey Lewis, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Horace Silver, and Stanley Clarke) embody my foundation in music. I started my musical journey studying classical and jazz, which lead to me studying at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. I graduated with a degree focused on jazz vocals. Emily King and Taylor McFerrin represent my generation continuing that legacy with its own personal modern touches. Kashif, Chic, Deniece Williams, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, and Angela Winbush represent my funky disco side. The dancer in me lives through albums like these. These records all interconnect and show insight into my love for music, as well as my style and skills as a musician.
Search "Badoit Bottled Water" or go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfzFW4YeHlo
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Canadian-American drummer and Tom Tom tech writer Morgan Doctor recently appeared in a memorable commercial for Badoit mineral water titled “Le discours.” Filmed in Prague, it features the musician—who has performed around the world with artists such as Andy Kim, Sandra Bernhard, and the Cliks—at a family meal. She stands up and makes music, using her sticks to drum on everything in sight. If you’re sitting near a computer or on your iPhone, google “Badoit—Le discours” immediately.
Yucky Duster is a Brooklyn foursome. The following is this issue’s “Recipes from the Road” by the band’s drummer and singer, Madeline Babuka Black.
When we first added the boys (Luca and Zack) to the band, we had to acclimate them slowly into our sassy, formerly two-piece lifestyle. We used to practice in my basement and thought it might be fun to make casseroles at my house before band practice. So we did just that, and INGREDIENTS it actually ended up being a nonironic bonding experience. Mag• macaroni pasta gie made Gooch’s Delight (fondly nicknamed “Gooch’s D”) one night, • ground beef (you could sub crumbled and we thought it would be goofy tempeh to make it veg!) to take pictures with the casserole. • taco seasoning (or cumin, paprika, One of these pictures actually endoregano, salt, and pepper) ed up being the cover of our first EP! OK, so I confess, this isn’t a recipe from the road, because I’m pretty sure if we ate this on the road, we would be even more constipated than we usually are, but if that’s what you’re going for (and I hope you’re not) this will be a great thing for you! So grab some beef, your bandmates, and chow down on this goofy Gooch casserole.
• cream of tomato soup • cheddar cheese • 1 Vidalia onion (or yellow onion) • You can add any kind of vegetables, if you’re into that kind of thing. We recommend sweet potatoes and kale! Just throw them into the skillet with the onions before you add the beef.
Photo by Minh Bui
WE SHOULDN’T EVEN BE SHARING THIS, because it’s a secret family recipe from our bassist Maggie’s grandma. Her maiden name is Gooch, thus giving this the unfortunate but amazing name “Gooch’s Delight,” but we’re pretty sure she doesn’t read Tom Tom (even though she should).
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Cook pasta. 2. Meanwhile, chop and cook onions and salt together on medium heat in a large skillet until they are glassy looking. Shred the cheese while they simmer. 3. Add the ground beef and taco seasoning to the skillet; cook until brown. 4. In a large casserole dish, layer macaroni, ground beef and cheese and repeat until you’ve used it all up. Save a little cheese for the top. 5. Before you put on the top layer of cheese, pour the cream of tomato soup evenly to cover the whole thing. 6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 350ºF.
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Pop duo SISTERS is comprised of Emily Westman and Andrew Vait, who bring unrestrained joy to their music as an act of revolutionary defiance in the face of oppression. In a world of hatred and violence, SISTERS delivers a desperately needed dose of soulful, electro dance music to a vibrant, infectious beat- and synth- heavy sound.
Photo by Michael Sanderson
P.S. Don’t tell Maggie’s grandma.
Adam Ant’s drummer Jola speaks about the importance of playing instruments in an electronic world by Lisa Vinciguerra Photo by Jeanne Sager
The background music begins, and the crowd cheers as New Wave icon Adam Ant emerges from the mist and takes the stage. Adam Ant is best known for his theatrical style and innovative work in the ’80s that bridged punk and post-punk, and his resurgence is booming. A captivating front man, he is backed by an exceptionally talented and tight band that elevates his songs. Infused with pounding Burundian beats, classics such as “Kings of the Wild Frontier” and “Goody Two Shoes” draw fans, old and new, to his sold-out shows worldwide. Jola, as part of Adam Ant’s dual-drummer team, brings it with powerful rhythms, iconic styling, and a fearless yet feminine approach to playing. Jola’s driving sense of time is the heartbeat of Antmusic. She's helping him bringing it to a whole new generation. On how she sees bands being affected by electronics and the digital age: “The punk ethic was anyone could learn three chords and form a band," Jola explains, commenting on how bands have been affected by electronics and the digital age, "The electronics ethic is anyone can be a band. This setup does have its limitations, I suppose. Fine for recording, club, or Internet, but when it comes to live performances, additional musicians may need to be recruited. That’s no bad thing; it just proves that regardless of all the technological advances made, there’ll always be space and a need for more traditional elements.” Read the full article online at tomtommag.com.
Deap Valley is on tour with Garbage and Blondie and just released their unplugged EP Femejism by Rebecca DeRosa Drummer Julie Edwards on drumming while pregnant: I have to say, being pregnant changed my technique because I couldn’t flail myself. All my center of gravity was in my seat, all my weight was centered there. And I basically had to learn how to be more economical with my movement, which was genius, because I used to wear myself out after one song, like, totally worn out. So that was great.
Read the full article online at tomtommag.com.
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Guitarist Lindsey Troy on their recent tour: “Tour-going with Blondie and Garbage is really like a dream lineup for us. It’s been connecting really well with the audiences. The type of fan that comes to these shows really responds to what we do. It’s so inspiring to watch Garbage and Blondie play every night. They both just rule— just rule the stage.”
bo-Pah shares how the drums helped her through the loss of her father Photo courtesty of bo-Pah
by bo-Pah For those of you who don’t know me, my name is bo-Pah. I’m a 15-year-old drummer and Tom Tom’s youth correspondent, though I’ve been pretty absent for almost a year. The reason for my absence is my biggest supporter and role model passed away. He was the reason I started drumming, and the reason I continued, but most importantly, he was my best friend. Last year, I lost my dad. It was very sudden. In an instant we lost him. It shattered my heart into a million pieces, and I’m still trying to glue them back together. I know there are a whole bunch of you out in the world who are going through similar situations. I want to help you navigate staying motivated while going through the rough patches of life. These are the ways I stayed on track after my dad passed away and maybe you can implement some of these tips into your life, too. First, I want to take a minute to share with you how absolutely amazing my dad was, to honor him in a way, and to tell you what an impact he had on my career. My daddy was such a big part of how I started drumming, a big inspiration. He was my biggest fan and genuinely wanted to see me succeed in whatever I wanted to pursue. He was always so interested in any new drum skills I learned and would always ask how they were coming along.
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At the very beginning of my drum career, I was really young, maybe I was around five years old. My daddy and I would go in the garage at our old house, and he would help me learn how to play the drums, mostly through YouTube videos. He himself had no clue how to play and had no clue how to teach me. My dad basically just regurgitated what he heard on a video and tried to teach me how to play every day. Saying he was the best dad in the world would be a major understatement, and anyone who knew him understood just how amazing a man he was. My daddy and I would often sit together and daddy would show me videos of Sheila E., Cindy Blackman, John Bonham, and Buddy Rich. And dad would say to me,
“You are going to be like them one day,” because he believed in me. He made me believe that I could do it, that I could get to the top if I really tried. I know that I will never hear my daddy say those words to me again, but I am blessed to have the memory of when he did. That is what keeps me motivated. My dad’s words of encouragement and his belief in me is what keeps me from giving up during the darkest days. Sometimes it feels like the world stopped spinning, or that the sky has fallen onto my shoulders. And sometimes my tears loosen the grip of the glue trying to hold my life together, and that feeling is probably never going away, because I miss him. But I know that my daddy wouldn’t want me to give up—he would want me to use my experiences to fuel my drive to be better. His words will forever encourage me, and maybe that’s just what you need, too, to find inspiration in the words of a loved one.
Still discouraged? Well, that’s okay. Sometimes, you need a little time, or a break, and that’s perfectly fine. Look at me: I took a whole year off! But you will always come back around to something that you truly love. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you! Those people in your life will keep you on track and remind you about what you love to do. My sisters and my mom were those people in my life for me. They made sure that if I was going to
But I know that my daddy
wouldn’t want me to give up— he would want me to use
my experiences to fuel my
I know that thinking of the voice of a lost loved one is sometimes exactly the opposite of what you want. It was hard for me, too, at first, and you may just want to take your mind off of everything. I know sometimes heartbreak can distract you from even the people and things you love the most, and you will want to do absolutely nothing. But think about the future. Are you going to look back at your life and wish you had kept trying?
drive to be better. quit, it was when I had my head on straight, because they all knew how much I loved being a drummer, and they were not going to see me give up that easily on something that I loved. The last thing I have to say is be patient with yourself. There is no certain time anything is supposed to happen. Everyone is different, so feel however you want at whatever time you want. Don’t do or say anything you don’t want to or don’t believe in. And take your own time—not anyone else’s. I miss my daddy so much, and I will love him and think about him every day of my life.
Navajo punks, Nizhóní Girls, bring light to indigenous struggles through their desert punk and activism by Miro Lion Photo by Darklisted Photography Meet bassist and singer Elizabeth McKenzie, guitarist Rebecca Jones, and drummer Lisa Lorenzo. These three Navajo musicians make up Nizhóní Girls, an indigenous surf band hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The “Nizhóní Girls,” which means “beautiful girls” in the Diné language met in high school and started playing together in 2015. Since then, the group has grown more skilled, defying classic stereotypes of their gender. Each member is active in their local music scene, separately playing in different bands. They help run an all-ages DIY space and craft costumes and artwork for small venues and for other musicians. As Nizhóní Girls, the three create surf rock born from jam sessions. “We sit around a fire and sing. Nayye!” Jones shares. The band offers a positive message and refreshing take on rock ’n’ roll. “We are close friends, and we all have a passion for preserving our culture, bringing awareness to indigenous struggles, and inspiring indigenous youth to discover their own healthy ways of self-expression,” the band says. “Our lyrics come from things we love about our indigenous culture.” A couple of subjects they explore are love, inside jokes, and advocating for decolonization.
because it’s still dominated by a predominantly white scene.”
For Nizhóní Girls, creating music goes hand in hand with advocating for the justice and proper treatment of indigenous people and their land. “It’s a lot of work,” Jones admits, “because trying to break down hundred of years of colonization and heteropatriarchy that is normalized in our country is not going to happen overnight. Using music and other forms of creative art for expression is a healthy outlet and definitely helped me get through some tough times. I also use my platform with Nizhóní Girls and my other bands to spread advocacy around issues such as sex trafficking, fracking, domestic violence, and sexual violence.”
In that vein, the three musicians also organized and raised money for the Asdzáá Warrior Fest this past June at K’É Info Shop
Jones also wants to see more positive femme representation in the native DIY scene. “Representation is important to us as a band and empowering indigenous folx to start bands,” she says. “I feel that it’s still difficult for bands of people of color to find venues and spaces, or to simply feel comfortable playing in certain spaces,
in Window Rock, Arizona. The goal of the festival was to create a safe space for others to express themselves. “The idea for the fest was developed by our queer-identified friend Brad Charles. As indigenous selfidentified womxn, we took it upon ourselves to take rein and make the fest a reality,” the group explains. “In addition to musical acts and community presenters, we invited organizations to table about environmental racism, sexual and domestic violence, sex education, [we had] on-site HIV testing, and more. Asdzáá Warrior Fest is about empowerment through bringing back our matriarch and smashing hetero-patriarchy!” Perhaps this band is just what America needs right now—a powerful group reclaiming the narrative on the indigenous experience in its own words and through the powerful channel of music.
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“That colonist idea of manifest destiny, which has led to the genocide and destruction of indigenous folx to the land and black slaves brought over by tradesmen,” McKenzie says about the colonization of the Americas. “It’s the idea that indigenous tribes didn’t know how to handle the land, so they took it away, that we were merciless savages.” She relates that attitude to present day conflicts like the Dakota Access Pipeline, fracking in Oklahoma or uranium mining on Diné land. “And there’s the ongoing tragedy that is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic, where we’re considered such lesser people that our deaths and abductions are tossed aside easily. So,” she continues, “we’re continuously advocating against that belief through community work, amplifying
indigenous womxn’s voices, supporting two spirit/LGBTQ advocates.”
Reverb.com’s art director explains the importance of branding for drummers
by JJ Jones
Tom Tom’s spring 2017 Digital Issue featured an article titled “Media Mavericks” that focused on smart ways drummers can build an online presence. In the age of the Internet, it’s imperative for artists to show off their skills in creative ways to help them reach audiences, whether to find work or fans. Artist branding was what everyone was discussing at this year’s National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), as well. In light of this need for new knowledge on how to develop our brands and to circulate information on our talents, Tom Tom spoke with Reverb.com’s art director and brand keeper, Lynette Sage, about smart ways to help you strengthen your brand by showing both your struggles and successes. Sage’s previous clients include Shure, Ableton, and ESPN. Tom Tom: What is branding, and why is it important for a drummer? Lynette Sage: This is a great question. Branding has become a bit of a buzz word lately. Everywhere you look, there’s an article giving advice on ways to promote your brand, or ways to build a better brand. It’s overwhelming, even for someone like me who is thinking about branding every day. Before we jump into the “how” and the “why,” it’s important to understand exactly what branding is. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not centered on selling something—it’s rooted in storytelling. It’s your narrative and the set of values you’ve committed to following. It’s what you portray every time you interact with your fans, whether through social media, your website, or even an inperson meeting at a show.
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To portray this narrative, you first have to understand it yourself. What are some personality traits that are unique to you? Maybe you are a good teacher, use unique drumming techniques, try weird pieces of gear in your rig, or are an advocate for a specific style. What makes you different? Figure out what makes you you and completely own it. It’s not about creating a persona; it’s about being you and understanding how to show that to the world. It’s important to create this brand narrative
as a drummer and artist. If you don’t, your fans will have a difficult time relating to you, or connecting with you as a musician. The truth is, there’s a lot of noise out there, and if you aren’t consistent in telling your story, it will be difficult to break through the clutter. How can a drummer define their brand? How would they communicate it? Identify what makes you excited, share it with your audience, and your audience will get excited with you. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing someone who is dedicated to their practice and showing it every day. It can be as simple as talking through how you struggled to perfect your snare technique, or showing how you are integrating jazz into your metal band. Showing your process, and how you’re mastering the craft is a great way to communicate your brand to your audience. Visual images are critical for branding. How do I create my own images if I don't have the money to hire a designer, and if I don't have a background in design? How can I ensure my images are in line with the brand I’m cultivating? I would argue that finding your visual voice is just as important as identifying your unique drum style. Your drum style is what
people hear when you play; your visual brand is what people see the rest of the time. For that reason, it’s important that the images and designs you post on social media are not only consistent with each other, but in line with what makes you unique. Before you start creating your brand, or even bringing ideas to a designer, you have to ask yourself a few basic questions. How are you different from other drummers? What are you known for, or do you want to be known for? What values to do you want attached to your name? Once you answer these questions, you’ll be in a better position to begin thinking about your visual brand, or talking to a designer about creating it. One of the easiest ways to determine your own visual brand is to understand what visuals attract your eye. Look at what you’re favorite musicians do, or what musicians have done throughout history to gather inspiration. Flip through old magazines and rip out what you like. Find one element that can be consistent in everything you do and stick to it—whether it’s a dog in a space suit that appears in all of your images, a typeface that you replicate over and over, or mid-century aesthetics that appear in all your designs. Once you’ve worked out those ideas, work with a designer. They can help you take all of the elements you like and mesh them into something that is cohesive. You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars to get design help. Do you have a local university? It’s not uncommon for design students to exchange their expertise for something outside of cash. When I was in college, I once got my car fixed in exchange for design work. Whatever you decide, keep
in mind that designers—much like musicians—are often asked to do work for free, so make sure you are bringing something to the table, even if it’s not dollar bills. Richard Janes, a personal brand expert, says: “Be prepared every single day to communicate the passion in what you do and your unique approach that makes you special. Why do you do what you do? What is the passion behind it? Passion excites people. Passion sparks intrigue and passion opens doors. A brand image is something that everyone around you can immediately communicate is really amazing about you—your distinguishing characteristics. A brand image that speaks to you at your very best and most passionate and successful.” Do you agree with Richard’s assessment? For the most part, this is spot on—particularly the part about bringing your passion to the table. True passion is felt by your audience. Manufactured passion is something your audience can easily see through. Branding is taking a step back from what you’re doing, understanding your passion, creating your story, and sharing it with your audience.
I don’t think, however, that you have to show only your most successful moments. Your audience wants to see the struggle—they want to feel the ups and downs and to root for you. It’s difficult to be relatable if you only show the most successful parts of your practice. Perfection isn’t possible, and even the most popular musicians aren’t successful every day. You are real. You are yourself. You are capable of making mistakes and learning from them, and that’s powerful.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not centered on selling something—it’s rooted
Drummers like Anika Nilles and Meytal Cohen, as well as Emily Dolan Davies and Louise Bartle (both were featured in the "Media Mavericks" piece) have built their drumming careers almost solely through the use of social media. How are these drummers successfully communicating a brand?
in storytelling. what makes them unique; they’re not afraid to show their personalities onstage and off. For that reason, they’re incredibly relatable. When I scroll through their feed, I feel like I know them personally. When I watch their videos, I feel like I’m part of their team. Putting yourself out there is awkward at first—especially if you’re comparing yourself to these higher profile drummers—but as Louise Bartle beautifully put it, “I can do me the best; I can play how I play better than anyone.”
In my eyes, the success of these incredible female drummers comes down to one thing: They are not only demonstrating
Sync your beats to visuals the fun way with our audio-responsive video synthesizers!
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An indie rock band created by Bulletproof Stockings lead singer and songwriter Perl Wolfe featuring cellist Elisheva Maister and violinist Dana Pestun, with a sound comparable to Fiona Apple and The White Stripes. Inspired by Torah and Chasidus, Perl aims to make music spaces where women can rock out together like nobody's watching!
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PERL by Anna Stubberfield
TRUTH TO POWER The outspoken Israeli musician Noga Erez breaks down the pros and cons of being off the radar by Lindsey Anderson Photo by Tonje Thilesen
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Noga Erez is an artist to keep on your radar in 2017. Described by DIY Magazine as “the outspoken, uncompromising sound of Tel Aviv,” the 27-year-old Israeli multi-instrumentalist is known for the uncensored commentary on life in Tel Aviv in her experimental dance-pop music. “I talk about [politics] from a very, very personal point of view and never from an opinion point of view or a knowledge point of view,” said Erez in that same DIY article regarding her debut album, Off the Radar. Others tell her not to discuss the tensions she witnesses in her homeland, but that hasn’t stopped the artist from making music that truly speaks to her and gives her space to process the world at large. Her work is a collaboration with cowriter, composer, and producer Ori Rousso. Erez’s Off the Radar, out on the label City Slang, has been warmly received by a number of publications and deemed by others as ahead of its time. Tom Tom took a journey through the artist’s music videos and formulated questions around immediate reactions to each. We ended up having a great chat about music, technology, and the freeing nature of dance. Tom Tom: “Off the Radar” is such a colorful and vibrant video! What do you feel are the pros and cons of being off the radar?
The video for your song “Toy” has some really great choreography. Has dance always been a part of your work and life? How do you feel movement elevates your work? Dancing was a part of my life from a very early age, and the love for it came together with the love for music, but at some point music took over. I see response to music through the body as something so genuine and wild. Not all music is music to dance to, obviously, but I think that music that makes you want to move is such a powerful thing. Freestyle and completely improvised dancing are things that so many people are connected to for a reason, regardless of where they are coming from. When there is choreography, it’s just amazing to watch. Also, when a beat really makes me move, it’s usually a sign that I need to develop it, and make a song out of it. “Noisy” has a great message. It’s for sure very easy to get caught up in all the “noise” surrounding us. How do you mute the voices that may get in the way of your art and living your best life? I don’t really know. I’m still trying to figure this one out. That’s really the trickiest of skills, knowing how not to get so distracted by everything that’s going on from the inside. Sometimes, I’m just able to do it, usually after I try and fail many times. If I am being consistent about something, it can beat the noise, but I can’t say that I really found the way to make that transformation without it taking so many attempts. I guess that’s why I wrote that song—still haven’t found the solution for that one.
While watching the video for “Pity,” I thought about how we’re always watched and critiqued in various parts of life. During this supremely digital age, what do you feel advanced technology and social media has added to life? What do you feel it has taken away? What technology gives always has to do with comfort. Technology is meant to make our lives easier, create a solution for those things in life that take away time, energy, and money. Being connected to each other is something that we need, something that makes all aspects of life easier—to help us develop as a society, share ideas and grow. But it makes us vulnerable; our privacy is taken away in many ways, whether we choose it or not. But what’s more important is our individuality, our ability to put aside the enormous amounts of information—opinions that we are exposed to— and just take a moment to connect to who we are, what we feel. “Dance While You Shoot” is such a killer video and, like all of your videos, looks like it called for a really solid team to put together. How do you pick and choose the folks you work with? Luckily, I don’t have to pick and choose the whole team. It took me a long time to choose the directors. My partner, Ori, people from my label, and friends went through tons of videos and talked to many directors and eventually found Zhang + Knight. The directors and their production company brought along talented people who made the video what it is. Takes a lot of luck in the music video business. There has to be a true teamwork element between many people. We have had a lot of luck on that side, I think.
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Noga Erez: Pros: Being off the radar means you have the ability to disappear, be whoever you want to be without adhering to the rules of society. It means you are free, in a way, to live your life the way you want to live it without worrying that you will be judged. Cons: Off the radar could also mean that no one cares about you or what you do. It can mean that people have lost interest in your well-being. There are a lot of people—groups and individuals—who
live under or off the radar of society, but, if we take it to a more personal level, feeling off the radar means feeling lonely and insignificant.
BREAKING THE TECHNO MOLD Miami duo Roseasia takes techno to new heights and builds it new spaces by Angela Tornello Photos by Stephanie Del Papa
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“CUBE is an actualized noun, a home base, a concrete space, but the curated series has
Martin explains. They invite DJs and live acts to perform, building a diverse roster with sounds that challenge what we know of as electronic music. They are selecting noisier, harsher, more minimalistic sets with rhythmic variation throughout.
elaborates. The two do say that there are a few other Miami venues that they favor for music, like weird-o Little Haiti gallery Space
stage Miami Music Club, hip Wynwood haunt Gramps, and tried-and-true, anything-goes dive Churchill’s Pub.
They hope CUBE will not only exist in tran-
They also hope to build upon and incor-
sience but will come to represent all the
porate sounds of the past, merging Miami
music Miami has to offer. The intent is to
bass and electro with music that is more
select not just local artists but ones who
prevalent in the area, like reggaeton and
originated from Miami and have moved
Latin. “I am really excited and hope-
Miami-based techno duo, Jessica Mar-
elsewhere to showcase a crossover of cul-
ful for the music scene here in Miami,”
tin, 23, and Emma del Rey, 22, met while
tures and identities in their hybrid sounds.
Martin says. “I want to have moments
studying visual arts at the New World
For instance, CUBE recently put together
of challenge while listening to music
School of the Arts in their current tropical
a set with solo percussionist and metal
here—something that is not so easy to
stomping grounds. The two are the exper-
band Liturgy’s Greg Fox and local electro
listen to but that can push ideas and col-
imental forces behind musical endeavor
laboration. I do think that this is happen-
Roseasia and roving venue CUBE. Martin is a Cuba native, and her collaborator grew up in South Florida. Each also expresses her individual rhythmic styles with solo projects: Martin has the amusingly titled Acissssssej, while del Rey works on both Autobahn and Baby Face del Rey II. Through Roseasia and CUBE, Martin and del Rey are changing the Miami musical landscape and creating their own techno domain in this southern enclave.
Roseasia feels that experiencing techno, within the context of a club environment, is meant to be communal and collaborative. So, they know the importance a space has in facilitating the connection between audiences with music makers. For a variety of reasons, they think making music outside of a traditional venue has additional value. “Employing a DIY standard in operation has a variety of bonuses. From the onset, the curation is
ing here, slowly. Where you live shouldn’t dictate what movements and sounds you can be part of,” she says, referring to the city’s location, far from other large cities, which makes it harder for touring acts to visit and thus limits its residents’ access to a variety of acts and sounds. “Introducing music that is currently not prevalent in Miami and curating sounds that wouldn’t normally be put together creates a bigger conversation and cultural signature.”
With CUBE, they are quite literally alter-
not beholden to a commodity exchange
With Roseasia, they work in the crossover
ing the landscape by creating alternative
the way a bar or nightclub is. Content is
space between art and sound composi-
venues where they feel techno can really
selected not based on alcohol sales or
tions, often using forms and translating
evolve. The project consists of a curated
revenue but in qualitative, fresh program-
them into music. For example, what does
series of electronic music events. They
ming for each event. The formalities of the
a cube sound like? What does a line going
launched CUBE in the slowly gentrifying
club experience are often ones wrought
up and down sound like? What does wet
Little Havana neighborhood in 2016. Doc-
with hostility from bouncers, advertise-
sound like? Martin started making music
umenting the activations at each space,
ment, and a general lack of intimacy. The
as a way to explore the visual narratives
CUBE is an effort to create an intimate
experience that CUBE hopes to sustain
that could exist within sound. For del Rey,
dance environment where music Martin
and build is one of community, one that
it was the fascination with creating an
and del Ray feel isn’t being played enough
sits outside the construct and constraints
experience for someone else, through art
elsewhere is available to everyone.
of the typical club environment,” del Rey
or music, that led to her creative projects.
WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS WHAT YOU HAVE, IT’S RAW, IT IS WHAT IT IS, AND THEN YOU GET WILD WITH IT.
Martin is attracted to the repetition of a
In addition to reconfiguring beats, Rosea-
could borrow from friends, which made
shape and the different interactions and
sia is reimagining equipment. Martin is
her think about the creative process in
patterns that result from the combina-
focused on “hacking analog,” exploring
a completely different way. “When all
tion of simple elements. “In some ways,
an equipment’s duality and challeng-
you have is what you have, it’s raw, it is
techno is a lot about the building up of
ing it beyond its initial purpose. With
what it is, and then you get wild with it,”
certain sounds through layering and rep-
sensory percussion, she feels there are
etition. It’s a good format to dive into and
endless possibilities. The use of triggers—
alter,” she says. She is often on the road,
triggering samples of other sounds and
spending countless hours driving as she
instruments—creates a space for infinite
commutes from the Everglades to Miami,
experimentations; she likes intertwining
and the constant repetition of the road is
analog and digital, with the software and
folded into her rhythmic landscape.
the drummer working in tandem. Martin
Forms, spheres, math, movement, the
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ocean, and time influence del Rey. “Two polyrhythms, intertwined but independent, rather slow and almost static, occasionally accelerating and decelerating, starting and ending together,” she muses about her work. She is drawn to the connections found between objects, between people,
has been coveting the Pearl Syncussion. Released in 1979, it sends the MIDI from a sequencer to produce a vast array of percussive sounds. The Syncussion takes drum patterns and beats and turns them into larger, deeper wavelengths, generating a bass-like sound. A minimalist setup is what Martin prefers—having one piece of equipment and seeing how far you can go with it. This past year, Martin has been making music based around gear she
Roseasia is currently working on a yet-tobe-titled album that explores many generative compositions, rhythmic imbalances, and melodic structures. Also, del Ray is also working on a new collaborative music project as well as a music and art online publication. She’ll be showing some of her photography and sculpture at Miami’s Mindy Solomon Gallery in August and hopes to materialize ideas for an EP under her solo project for next year. Martin continues to work on her solo project and is also part of a design duo that goes under the
designing structures and objects since 2014 and recently started a new series of modular forms set to come out early 2018.
Photo by Elliott Arndt
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Vanishing Twinâ€™s Valentina Magaletti by Alex Maiolo
“I knew drums were for me when I was nine years old,” musician Valentina Magaletti recalls. “I was just fascinated by the look of it.” She says that, as a kid, her hero was the Bangles’ Debbie Petersen, and she was hung up on Bananarama videos. Her intuition then proved correct. Years later, she found herself handling drumming duties for big names in the industry in front of huge crowds. That work includes playing with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals in his band Neon Neon, and with Bat for Lashes, opening for Coldplay and doing arena shows. Experimental music has always been Magaletti’s first love, though. She and Tom Relleen make the duo Tomaga; the band has released records that defy genre descriptions, contributed to soundtracks and theater performances, and been invited to collaborate with Yoko Ono. They also corun the Negative Days record label. “Tom and I are the same age and love the same records. Together, we’re also the rhythm section of the heavy psych group called the Oscillation, so we work well together,” she explains. It has been a busy few years for Magaletti, who has been participating in anything ranging from projects with the underground DJs of Raime to forming Uuuu with members of Wire and Coil. She is also no stranger to supergroups; one of Magaletti’s main gigs these days is playing with bandmates from Broadcast and Floating Points in the art pop band Vanishing Twin. The group’s album Choose Your Own Adventure sounds like pop music colliding with a deck of Oblique Strategies cards. We spoke with Magaletti about the work she’s been doing with these diverse and many projects. Tom Tom: After being enthralled at nine, when did you actually start playing?
[Laughs] Exactly! It was written in the stars! My other instructor was the great jazz drummer Michele Di Monte. Both were absolutely supportive. They taught me the importance of technique. You can put together your own kit the way you like it, but if you’re using some other form of prepared percussion, technique is always there for you. I studied marimba and vibraphone as well. I like to think I play a little bit of everything really badly, but I focus on percussion. I can honestly say I never want to sing, though [laughs]. When did you get your first drum kit? When I started the lessons, my parents didn’t take it too seriously. Kids try out a lot of things, you know? A year later they got me a marching snare, then a hi-hat for the following Christmas. Three years into it, they finally realized I wasn’t giving up, and I got a beautiful white Rogers kit. I couldn’t believe it. I would wake up in the middle of the night to see if it was still there. It was the same feeling as when you fall in love with someone. Playing a loud instrument comes with challenges. Did your parents ever have regrets? They were always supportive. The neighbors? Not so much. One threw a bucket of mud at my window. I understand now. It must have been annoying! I kept at it,
though, and started playing in bands with neighborhood friends. We’d play covers and jam a little. I ended up in a band that was signed to Sony called Teclo, like the PJ Harvey song. Do you come from a musical family? Not at all. Everyone is a lawyer or a judge, but I was obsessed with John Peel and knew what I wanted to do. I moved to London in 2000, which is where I live now, and continued my academic studies. I have a law degree, but I don’t use it. I did practice law for a while and was able to purchase a flat back when things were much cheaper, and that allowed me to finally pursue music full-time. I don’t regret it at all, and I feel lucky that I was able to do all of this before massive gentrification set in. I was into June of 44 and Slint and ended up playing in a post-rock band called Econoline. We ended up doing a John Peel session, and I was so excited about it. Is there a performance that changed your direction? I love seeing or hearing something and thinking, “Wow, where have I been that I missed this?”—and then getting a burst of enthusiasm. It happened recently with a Miles Davis song called “Rated X” from Get Up with It. Discovering Stereolab as a teenager and then Broadcast was massive. I paid no attention to pop music but started to explore jazz and Terry Riley. It’s been a recurring thing, I’m happy to say. There is an extremely inspiring scene in London now
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Valentina Magaletti: As luck would have it, when I was 12, a music school opened right next to our house in Bari, Italy. I enrolled and immediately started to learn about jazz musicians. I had two great instructors—one was Agostino Marangolo the drummer from Goblin.
Incredible! That’s like a young German girl deciding to play drums then finding out Klaus Dinger is her next door neighbor.
based around Cafe Oto, which is also the hub of The Wire magazine. I met Charles Hayward of This Heat there, and now Tomaga is doing a split single with him. Thurston Moore was putting together a massive Can Project at the Barbican Centre with Irmin Schmidt and Malcolm Mooney, when [Can drummer] Jaki Liebezeit died. I met Thurston at Cafe Oto, which is how I got involved. When did you first feel like you were a “successful” drummer?
I’D JUST LIKE FOR THERE TO BE GENDER BALANCE AND FOR ALL OF US ALL TO BE CONSIDERED “MUSICIANS.”
Photo by Anders Birger
The first time I got paid for doing something I love so much. When you go on radio shows, and people ask you to pick your favorite records, that makes someone like me feel so grateful, happy, and successful in my own little world. I was so happy when Tim Gane of Stereolab remixed a Tomaga song. Playing with Steve Shelley and [My Bloody Valentine’s] Debbie Googe in the Can Project was like Fantasy Football for me. Cathy Lucas and I were in Fanfarlo, who were huge. That was basically the singer’s band, though, and we wanted to do our own thing, which is how Vanishing Twin came about. I caught Vanishing Twin’s set at this summer’s Roskilde Festival and felt like I was seeing a modern version of a Canterbury scene band, like Soft Machine. Even the audience reminded me of that era. Nobody was looking at their phones, and it was affecting everyone on a personal level. Roskilde is such an incredible festival, and we had a wonderful time. Later that night, I saw a fantastic experimental performance by a band, on the same stage, called 75 Dollar Bill, which is a guitarist and a really inventive percussionist. Being compared to Soft Machine makes me happy, because I love Robert Wyatt and our singer, Cathy, is a huge fan as well. She plays everything— violin, piano, wind instruments—so psychedelic arrangements recalling those groups is something we aspire to, because we’re all fans of that genre and other experimental bands like the United States of America.
What modern bands do you take inspiration from?
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I’m biased, because I lived with Satomi Matsuzaki for two years, but I never get tired of Deerhoof. Greg Saunier is such an incredible drummer. What performances of yours are you are particularly fond of? Recently, I was invited to do three sets on a porcelain drum kit at Musée des Beaux-
Arts in Tours, France. I had to be really crafty about how to play these pieces. The kit itself was very fragile! I had a drum shop make me a custom pair of sticks with rubber balls on the ends. The friction of the rubber against the porcelain also created cello-type notes, so I could make sounds that were almost like loops. Some of it was recorded and will be released. It was such a privilege. Were there any situations where the unexpected happened and where you learned from it? I like this question, because I’ve always felt that when you perform, you should be prepared to work with whatever happens. With a sense of pride, I just tell myself it’s gonna happen no matter what. It could be worse for it, or it could be incredible. If you want to say something, and you don’t have a mic, you shout. There was a time when Tom couldn’t make it, which meant I had to do a Tomaga performance as a solo percus-
sionist. It encouraged me to pursue that further. Last week, I played solo in Italy, with an acrobatic dancer, using vibraphone and drums. It’s clear you’re getting the respect you deserve, but do you ever have encounters where people choose to focus on your gender first? I constantly hear things like “you’re really good for a woman,” or “I didn’t realize it was a woman playing on that record.” I just choose to take it as a compliment, and I get back to focusing on serving the drums. I don’t like it when I’m not acknowledged onstage, or when an interviewer just talks to the guy. I teach drums, and, at the moment, I only have three students, who are all girls. What I wish for them is that they end up playing in bands with equal numeric representation. I’d just like for there to be gender balance and for all of us all to be considered “musicians.”
My period rocks, does yours? www.lunette.com @LunetteCup
FULL RANGE MUSIC Japanese band Yubisaki Nohaku discusses its new album and touring overseas by Carson Risser Translation assistance by Aiko Masubuchi Photos by Yosuke Torii
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The versatile Japanese math-rock quartet Yubisaki Nohaku recently took part in a Canadian showcase of up-and-coming Japanese rock bands, the 11th annual Next Music from Tokyo tour. Yubisaki Nohaku—the name refers to playing rhythms with one’s fingers— released its second mini-album last December, Full-Range, which features the single “Sou” (“Layer”) and five other tracks. The groove of bassist Yuko Miyakoshi and guitarist Junko Kimura is accented by Yumiko Takeuchi’s splashy cymbals and vocalist-guitarist Kana Shimizu’s imploring cries. Tom Tom spoke with the band members about their experience touring abroad, Takeuchi’s knee surgery in December 2013, which prevented her from drumming for a year, and the band’s growth since college, when they originally formed under the title of a Dragon Ball Z character, RADITZ. Tom Tom: How was the Next Music from Tokyo tour in Canada this summer? Yuko Miyakoshi (bass): We were really nervous about playing our first shows overseas, but the audience was so charged up, we were able to play with more energy than ever before. I thought this tour would be an opportunity to really test our strength as a band through the good and bad of playing shows, but I think we learned something even more important than that. In those moments, I sensed in my skin that “music crosses borders.” I’m so glad I was able to experience that. We did run into a lot of trouble, but thanks to Steven (Tanaka, creator of the Next Music from Tokyo tour) and the NMFT team, we were able to get home safely. It was an irreplaceable tour for us. I definitely want to play in Canada again! Yubisaki Nohaku formed as RADITZ in college. What was it like continuing as a band after college? Yuko Miyakoshi: At first, we didn’t think we’d continue as long as we have. After graduating from college, we continued as a band with each of us working. However, we were featured on the national TV show The Street Fighters. There was a corner where three audience members could win CDs, and we received many entries (for CDs) along with comments. We were really surprised, because we didn’t think we would get this kind of reaction. Thinking about how we wanted more people to know us and hear our music, we ended up continuing to play from there.
What is different about Full-Range from your previous mini-albums?
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Yuko Miyakoshi: Our work before this was done with just the four of us, but for this one, we included producer Natsuki Sakamoto (formerly of Chirinuruwowaka, current guitarist for Over the Top) and were able to complete the album with a lot of people’s help. The album ended up being like a ball of all our souls lumped together as composers and lyricists poured their energies and
took utmost care in each and every note and word, even as they ran into obstacles.. By making the best use of who we are as individuals, I feel like we were able to open up new possibilities for sound. What was Yumiko Takeuchi’s experience after surgery, being unable to play drums with the band for one year? Yumiko Takeuchi (drums): There was something the three other members told me before my knee surgery—that without me as a drummer, they weren’t Yubisaki Nohaku. I think that because of those words, I was able to persevere through rehabilitation, and even though there was a yearlong break, I was still able to continue as Yubisaki Nohaku’s drummer. During the break, I was able to see the band from an objective point of view and grew to love my band more than ever. How do the bands you like influence Yubisaki Nohaku’s songs? Yuko Miyakoshi: The music we listen to and love is very different between the four of us, but each of our strong personalities have been mixed, and combined we make Yubisaki Nohaku. Please tell us what Yubisaki Nohaku’s next events and releases are. Yuko Miyakoshi: We have an official PR song for Nakano City in Nagano Prefecture, the hometown of our drummer, Yumiko Takeuchi; it’s called “Kaze Wa Kiyoki” (“The Wind Is Clear”). We have also covered “Gondola No Uta” (“The Gondola Song”) by the great Nakano composer Shinpei Nakayama. On August 12, we had a Kaze Wa Kiyoki / Gondola No Uta release event at Nagano Live House J. Are there any other things you would like Tom Tom readers to know? Yuko Miyakoshi: Please check out our music videos and live footage from Canada on Youtube!"
竹内裕美子さんは、 ２０１３年の手術 後、一年間バンド活動を休止されていた そうですが、その一年間はどんな経験で したか？ Dr.竹内裕美子: 自分の膝の手術前に、 メンバーの3人から言われたことがあり ます。 ドラムのわたしがいないと指先ノハ クではない、 と。その言葉があったから、 リハビリを頑張ることができ、一年間の ブランクがあっても、“指先ノハク”のドラ マーとして今も変わらず続けていられる と思います。休止中に、自分のバンドを客 観視できたことで、 より一層、自身のバン ドを好きになりました。
TOM TOM : 今年の夏、カナダの Next Music from Tokyoツアーが ありましたね。 どうでしたか。 Ba.宮腰侑子: 初めての海外ライブでと ても緊張していましたが、観客がすごく 盛り上がってくれて、私達も今までにな いほどの熱狂的なライブをすることがで きました。
ながら活動をしていました。 しかし、 「スト ファイ」 という全国テレビに取り上げて いただいて、視聴者の中から3名にCDを プレゼントするというコーナーで、たくさ んの応募とともに、 コメントをもらいまし た。 こんなに反響を貰えると思っていな かったので、 とても驚きました。そこから、 もっと多くの人に知ってもらいたい、私 達の音楽を聴いて欲しい！と思い、活動 するようになりました。
Ba.宮腰侑子: 最初はここまで長く活動 するとは思っていなくて、大学を卒業をし てからは、それぞれが社会人として働き
Ba.宮腰侑子: 聴いてきた音楽、好きな 音楽は4人でバラバラです。 しかし、それ ぞれの強烈な個性が混ざりあって、指先 ノハクという集合体となっています。 指先ノハクの次のイベント、 リリースな どを教えてください。 Ba.宮腰侑子: 私達はDr竹内裕美子の 出身地である長野県中野市の公式PR ソング「風は清き」、そして中野市出身の 偉大な作曲家・中山晋平さんが作った「 ゴンドラの唄」をカヴァーしました。8月 12日(土)に長野ライブハウスJで「風は 清き／ゴンドラの唄」 リリースイベントを やります。 他にもTom Tom Magazine の読者 にお知らせしたいことはありますか？ Ba.宮腰侑子: 私達のMUSIC VIDEO やカナダツアーでのライブはYouTube にあります！是非チェックしてみてくだ さい。
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今ツアーでは、純粋にライブの良し悪し でバンドとしての実力を試される機会 「フルレンジ」は、指先ノハクのほかのミ だと考えていましたが、それよりもっと ニアルバムと比べると、 どう違いますか。 大切なものを学べたと思います。 『 音楽 Ba.宮腰侑子: その前の作品までは4人 は国境を越える』 というその瞬間を肌で しかし今作は 体感することができて、 とても幸せです。 だけで作成していました。 プロデュースに坂本夏樹さんを加え、沢 トラブルも沢山ありましたが、Steven 山の人の協力のもと作品が出来ました。 (Tanaka) やNMFTチームのおかげで 作詞者、作曲者が、壁にぶつかりながら、 無事に帰ってこれました。私達にとって 一音一詞、 こだわり続けた、魂の塊のよ かけがえのないツアーになりました。ま うな作品です。私達の個性を生かしつ た必ずカナダでライブがしたいです！ つ、新たな可能性を切り開いた音源にな 指先ノハクは、大学で「RADITZ」 とい ったと感じています。 うバンドで始まりました。大学が終わっ た後、バンドを続ける事どうでしたか。
それぞれのメンバーが好きなバンドの 音楽は、 どの様に指先ノハクの音楽に影 響を与えていますか？
' R E
Compiled by Daryana Antipova and Anna Gelyuk | Intro by Liz Tracy
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Americaâ€™s political relationship with Russia might be a bit strained, but that doesnâ€™t mean that culturally the two countries need to beef. Moscow is the largest city in Russia with one of the highest populations of any city worldwide. The city is also a bastion of arts in a country whose creative community is publicly controlled by the values of uniformity enforced by the Communist party. Besides notable art museums with impressive collections and the stellar Bolshoi Ballet and Opera, there are other creative communities bubbling underneath the surface. Daryana Antipova of the Russian folk band Vedan Kolod pulled together a list of resources for drummers who want to find their crew of like-minded musicians in Moscow. She has also worked with OneBeat (1beat.org) Russia, which joins emerging international musical leaders to create a global network of musicians to work together on civic initiatives and collaborate on original music.
Zig-Zag vk.com/rock_zigzag / Moscow, Spasoglinischevsky Bol. Per., 9/1, bldg. 10 / This rock gallery opened in 1991 and sells T-shirts, CDs, tickets, books, and clothes. You can find almost anything in there. It is located near the club Chinese Pilot Jao Da. Muzdetal musdetal.ru / Pestovsky per., 12, bld. 1 One of the cheapest music shops we have here in Moscow, it has a good online shop and a lot of gear, instruments, and drums. Muztorg muztorg.ru / Vyatskaya 1 Of course there are many more shops connected with drums in Moscow, but I prefer working with only a few of them. Muztorg (the biggest one) is maybe the most popular shop in the city. Ta-Musica ta-musica.ru / Myasnitskaya, 30 This is an independent folk shop in the center of Moscow. You can find almost everything you need in Ta-Musica, from the best music masters in Russia.
Dom (dom.com.ru) Moscow, Bol. Ovchinnikovsky per., 24. Str. 4 One of the oldest, most legendary places in Moscow. Even journalists from the New Yorker and Washington Post know about it. It is a very underground, “garage-style” club. Chinese Pilot Jao Da ( jao-da.ru/contacts) Moscow, Kitai-Gorod, Lubyanskiy proezd 25/1 A nice and slightly expensive place in the heart of Moscow. It’s been famous for about 16 years. You can attend conferences there, or catch indie and folk performances in the relaxing atmosphere. Make sure to enjoy the really beautiful terrace. Vermel (vermel.ru) Moscow, Balchug, Rauschskaya nab, 4 Opened in 1996, it hosts almost all folk, rock, and ethno musicians from Russia. Good kitchen and central location. Moscow International House of Music (mmdm.ru) Moscow, Russia, Kosmodamianskaya Emb., 52-8. Huge and very official house with a crazy design. It’s possible to hear some unique groups from around the world with great acoustics.
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Chayka Studia chaykastudia.ru / Leningradsky prospek 47 Studia has special drum classes and a special area for practicing percussion instruments. These classes have all the necessary equipment, and they cost 150 rubles per hour ($3). Hendrix Studio hendrixstudio.ru / Letnikovskaya, 4, str. 1 (various locations) They have club cards, snacks, a relaxing room, a good air conditioner, and eight bases around Moscow. Under the Ground undertheground.ru / Pravdy str, 24, bld. 3 For drummers and other “single” musicians who want to rehearse alone, this studio offers three rehearsal hours for only 300 rubles ($5). This is the biggest rehearsal studio in Moscow, but for drummers, they have a special small room with an entire rhythm section.
There are numerous festivals, some good and some bad, in Russia, especially in summer, like Afisha Picnic, Sun Drums Fest, Folk Summer Fest, Svoi, and Kids Rock Fest. My favorite folk festivals happen outside of Moscow, so these are just two that are Moscow-based.
Obereg (vk.com/obereg_fest) is a very new indie-folk music festival in Moscow. The festival supports world music projects and does crowdfunding for folk-music collectors and activists. Wild Mint (mintmusic.ru) is the one big Moscow festival dedicated to world music and rock. It’s one of the most professional fests in Russia.
AiB Studio aibrecords.ru / Ugreshskaya ul., 35 We recorded two albums in this studio. It’s situated in a fish factory, and when you leave the recording studio, it smells like fish. The second funny thing about this good and inexpensive studio is that its soundman’s last name translates to “sweetie.” So in their liner notes on albums, people always call him “candy,” “sweetheart,” and even “honey.” Powerhouse Studio pwrhsstudio.ru / Goncharnaya ul, 7/4 There is a studio in the Powerhouse Club. Soundman Pavel loves making professional “live recordings” that sound very natural and work well for folk music. Pro-Live Records prolive-records.com/ Leningradsky pr., 37/6 I simply love their crew there. They are very polite, intelligent, and helpful. Recording our last album there was a full of really enjoyable moments, and I love the result that goes for American - Italian soundtrack project "Fiori della mia vita."
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If you really want to hear good music, go to Moscow parks. They are big—totally great—with a lot of different activities, including free performances. The best parks are Kolomenskoye, Park Gorkogo, and Tsaritsyno. Also, the Moscow subway is very nicely decorated—some say the most beautiful in the world—and provides new and old bands with tunnels for performance space.
more info visit teenage.engineering
tweak, transfer, play. meet PO-32 tonic.
Fifth Harmony’s Michel’Le Baptiste is guided by God and the joy of playing by Shaina Joy Machlus Photos by Cody Burdette
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One of the most sought-after drummers on the planet is 25-year-old Houston native Michel’Le Baptiste. The person smashing the drums that made America’s hearts race during Beyoncé’s historic Super Bowl 50, Black Panther–themed performance? That was the talented Baptiste. The bombastic beats and seamless percussion that carry the live sound of all-female pop/R&B group that rose to fame thanks to The X Factor, Fifth Harmony? Also Baptiste. Besides these roles, the drummer has worked with Harry Belafonte, Ashley Rodriguez, Harvey Mason, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Lisa McClendon, and other lauded stars. If you aren’t already searching for a video to nab a taste of Baptiste’s power, you should be. Consider this a literary intermission. Go ahead, wrap yourself up in this tornado of a musician.
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Back yet? Captivating, isn’t she? Baptiste has an undeniable ability to take people on a journey through her drumming. During solos, it’s easy to forget she is the only person playing, because her fills and way of simultaneously being in eight places at once envelope the entire song. It would be simple to completely credit her 23 years of drumming experience, but the talent that flows from the entire body of Baptiste springs from a much deeper well. Drumming as extraordinary as Baptiste’s comes with an equally unique personal story. She has been drumming basically since birth, draws strength from her faith, and has worked hard to make it in L.A. Tom Tom had the opportunity to hear what makes Baptiste pick up those sticks every day, told in her own enthusiastic words. Tom Tom: What is your first real memory of playing drums? Michel’Le Baptiste: Honestly, playing at church when I was nine years old. That was the first time people actually saw me playing. My dad gave me an opportunity to play a song. It was this reggae song that the choir was singing that night, and I heard it. They were playing it through the system, and I was like, “Oh, that is how the song goes.” And I learned it, and when I played it, everybody was shocked. They all said, "OMG, she played this song!" I could never forget it because I felt like, "Wow, I can really do this, and it sounds good." I could never forget them, because I was like, “Wow I can really do this, and it sounds good.” So that was my first real memory of playing. That moment was so amazing to me, for my mom. To hear your mom saying, “Girl, you’re tearing those drums up!” That’s the thing she loves to say, “You’re tearing those drums up, girl!” I read that you started playing drums when you were two years old. Is that true? How did that come about? Well, my father, Carver Baptiste, he’s a drummer, so I was going with him for his rehearsals, if it was at church, or if it was for another gig. He’s from Antigua—that’s an island—and he played for a lot of steelpan bands back in the day. So I would see videos that people sent him, and I saw the energy that they had playing the drums. And I took sticks, beat on the pans when they were playing or my dad was listening to music, and I went along with it. God gave me that gift, honestly, to play drums, and I really feel he wanted me to play drums, to try to kill it. Can you tell us more about how your father influenced your musical aspirations?
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I didn’t get my first drum set till I was in high school, and my dad would get gospel videos and tapes, or his friends would give him old cassette tapes from the Yellow Jackets, Tony Williams, Owen Jones, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, all these different drummers. And he would play them, and I would sit there and watch all these drummers in their zones, and it was crazy. They all had their different styles, their own definition of how to play. They can all play gospel, but they all have their definition of how they play gospel music; same style, same genre, but everybody played it differently. My dad influenced me in that way because even though he couldn’t read music, and he wasn’t into playing all those different styles, he made sure he got all the information. Whatever his friends gave him, he brought it back to the house, and he was like, “Michel’Le, come, come, come.” And I would listen to jazz, Latin, reggaeton, gospel, rock, and all these different people, Sugarfoot for Michael Jackson, Ricky Mine, Sheila E. playing for Prince.
My dad was like, “Hey, you can do this. Learning rhythms, learning this, learning that . . . This is how you build up your foot, and this is how you speed up your hands. Do this and do that.” Where I’m at now is really because of my dad, and I thank God for letting my dad not just sit there and be like, “She can teach herself.” He really took the time out to show me. What other people or artists influenced your early musical growth? I have many. I’m a ’90s baby, okay? So growing up in the ’90s, you have the heavy R&B, you know? But I also love ’80s music. I’m old school. But honestly, what helped was my mom loved Whitney Houston and Sharna Day. Listening to them took me to a whole other level—the excitement and how they were performing. Sheila E., oh, my God she’s my favorite drummer. Sheila E. really changed the game for me, because she would be dancing, she was so into it. When she had solos, she was so dramatic with her playing. She was, “Oh yes, I’ll make you feel this.” I always wanted to play with that passion. She had so much passion for whatever she did—the way she talked and the way she played. Brandy, being my favorite singer, listening to India Arie. Earth, Wind & Fire is my favorite band. They always told a story, and so the way I play, I tell a story; even when I do my solos, I’m not with all the heavy chops. No one put in a comma, no one put a period, no one asked a question—I take people on a journey. What are the most important factors in helping you feel driven and comfortable enough to pursue music? I really have a good support team. I have a family that prays for me and encourages me the whole way. Because being in the music industry, it can be risky. We can easily give up, you know? Having people praying for you and having people being positive in your life
I really do feel that music can make that impact; it makes people unite in life and come together as one. and going day by day. If that is your passion, if that is what you’re supposed to be doing, I really truly believe that God will make a way, will give you the tools, and he will open doors for you to accomplish whatever you need to do in pursuit of music or any career. Speaking of God, what role has religion and spirituality played in your musical world?
I knew he was going to make a way. And the first month was rough; I didn’t have a job. Next scene—I was here for almost six months, and my first gig was Beyoncé for the 50th Super Bowl. From that, I didn’t do too many gigs. I went back to playing at church again. The next Sunday, I left church, and said, “OK, Lord, where are we going?” Monday came around, and I played for Fifth Harmony. So, I really have faith and trust in him. I know sometimes it can make you anxious, and we are like, “Okay, what is going on?” And
Was there a particular moment when you felt confident in calling yourself a drummer or a professional drummer? I think once I started playing for Fifth Harmony. And I started traveling more and getting more endorsements. I was like, “Oh, damn.” Wait, let’s go back. I think when I graduated from Berklee College of Music—because I hated school [laughs], I really did, I really hated the school—but once I went through all that, and I got my bachelor’s, it was like, “Wow, I am a professional musician.” My major was professional music, but I majored in performance from scoring in music therapy. I wanted to tour to different schools, or the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, and speak to them and have fun with them, teach them music and give back to the community. I always wanted to do that, and that’s what I’m doing. And I always wanted to be in a studio and arrange music and stuff like that, and now that’s coming, as well. So, it’s when all this started to happen . . . man, I am actually a professional drummer. And doing everything that I dreamed about, and it has come to pass. Thank you, Lord!
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I’m a Christian, and it really helped me to step out in faith and trust God. Being a musician is tough. I’m originally from Houston, Texas. I went to school in Boston, went there because of music, and I graduated from there, and I moved straight to L.A. The first couple months were rough, but I didn’t give up on God. I really trusted him, because
that time is the best time to really, really trust in God’s timing. Being the light in some dark, you know? Really being the light.
Was there a noticeable change in your drum world when you starting studying drums at Berklee?
Why do you think music is so essential in today’s world? Why is your music in particular so essential?
Yes, there was. The more that I started to go to classes every day, I started to hear the flats or the sharps or hear the different notes, “Oh, that’s F, or that’s E.” Everything started to come to life, because I got so used to being around it so much, it started to come naturally.
Because there’re so many things going on right now, and people need music that helps them get through the day. If we didn’t have music, I really feel this world would be too big to me. But with my music, I feel there is hope. Hope is believing that there’s a change coming.
What was the audition like? Did you feel prepared? The audition was crazy. That was the first time I wasn’t nervous for an audition. I was in there; I did my piece. Once I did my piece, it was, “OK, can you do this? Can you play back this for me again? Can you do this?”And I did it in the interview process, and that was amazing. Before I got there, I made it my mission to be prepared. I listened to the different styles and made sure to have them down pat. I didn’t want to go in there and be fake, be a different person. I wanted them to see who I am, how I play, my style. Did you enjoy studying? I did. There were times when it was a lot, especially sight-reading. Oh, my! But I really loved learning. If you had the right teacher, and you had the right friends to help you, to encourage you and to make you want to study more. Were there many women drummers studying beside you? If yes or no, did this make you feel any particular way? Yes, there were. I was actually excited, because where I was, I didn’t really know a lot of female drummers. The only ones I knew at the time were Sheila E. and Cora who played for Prince. So when I started at Berklee, I was shocked, very shocked and excited, because I was like, “Man, there are other women playing drums, from different countries, different styles, different upbringings.” Have you ever felt yourself an outsider from the drumming world? How did you overcome this? Yes, I did. Sometimes you feel you’re in a box, and nobody wants to see you, because you’re not doing what other drummers are doing. I remembered having a teacher, who passed away, and I couldn’t play for him. He was like, “Why are you not opening up?” And I was like, “Man, because I feel like people don’t want to listen to what I’ve got to say.” And he was like, “But people need to hear your story; your story is unique. It’s different; it’s you, how you play. Nobody plays that way.” That’s how I overcame it, by my teacher. He loved the way I played. What do you hope your music gives to the world?
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Life, peace, love. There’s so much music out there that has hatred and evil. Listening to my music, you really feel love, really feel that peace, joy. Be able to dance and express yourself and be like, “Man, I feel good. I feel beautiful. I am awesome. I am wonderfully made. I’ve been created to do amazing things in this world.” Do you think music can impact change? Yes, it can. I really do feel that music can make that impact; it makes people unite in life and come together as one.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a human? How did you accomplish this? Traveling around the world and playing with these different bands at arenas. This is really nothing but God opening his doors and giving me an opportunity to be able to play for these different artists and be in the moment. What’s next? I would love to do it all: scoring a film, and I would love to do a worldwide tour with Beyoncé or Madonna, Janet Jackson, M.I.A. What is your favorite style of music to play? Gospel pop. I love pop and R&B and then Latin. What is your practice routine? I wake up in the morning, and I say my prayers. And what I do—I start off with singles. I do paradiddles, and once I do paradiddles, I do doubles, I do triplets, anything that helps my speed. I practice on the pillow at first, and then I go to the drum set. I do things for my feet. I go on my left, and then I do it on my right, and I do doubles: one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Whatever rhythm is on my mind that day, I transfer it to my drum set. And then I practice being more direct when I’m playing, because when you do pop, it is very structured; you can’t change too much. Drumming essentials that you can’t live without? That’s a big question. I think a good stack cymbal and a good pedal, too, because not all pedals are amazing. It can be a China with a splash on it to make it a stack. And to finish, what is your best advice for people who want to begin playing drums, at any age? Do it! Best advice, do it! Don’t let nobody stop you. I learned that, traveling in a lot of different countries, a lot of families don’t believe in musicians, or think of it as a job, going out and touring, being a professional musician. And what I can tell you right now, don’t let nobody stop you. If that’s what God has given you to do, I promise you, it is going to work out for you. Don’t let nobody get in the way of that. Don’t let nobody force you to do things that are not for you, and if you continue to keep pushing and keep getting to where you need to be—and not just in drums, could be anything, if you want to play bass, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, whatever—it’s not going to be easy, but continue to hold on. Stay strong and know that there are people out there who’ve been through it all, you know, and we’re rooting for you, right there. So yeah, peace!
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British beatboxer Grace Savage is taking her talents from competitions to the studio to theater stages by Shaina Joy Machlus
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Photo by Anna Michell
“I’m pretty busy at the moment, so I’m just surviving on tiredness and coffee,” explains beatbox champion Grace Savage. And yes, that’s her real name. “I have a two-coffee limit. I start to get a bit shaky and have heart palpitations, which I quite enjoy.” That bittersweet adrenaline is how Savage manages to maintain her whirlwind schedule as an unsigned, unmanaged, independent artist. In the past year alone, she has scooped up her fourth beatboxing championship title and waved the flag for London at the U.K.’s official residence British House showcase during the Rio Olympics. In January, she squeezed in a trip across the pond to perform an intimate gig for Sofar Sounds NYC, a Shoreditch-based company that puts together secret shows. She’s shared bills with the likes of beatboxer Beardyman and BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills. Most recently, she independently released her eponymous debut EP. To say she’s been “pretty busy” would be an understatement, and that’s just her musical career.
The theater world has greeted her with similar enthusiasm. When we catch up with the 26-year-old on a muggy summer evening in London, she is fresh out of a rehearsal for a theater show entitled Beweep, Outcast. The production falls under the master’s program at the University of London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It was written by playwright Sabrina Mafouz with a musical score by Savage featuring choral work and beatboxing. The two formerly collaborated on music and storytelling mash-up Slug. This time around, Mafouz has enlisted Savage as an actress as well as musical director—a role Savage has never taken on before. “It’s challenging and tiring,” she says. “There are about 65 transitions that I’ve had to work, which is insane. The show is next week, and we haven’t done a run of the play yet, so it’s at that stage where we’re all just a bit like, ‘What the fuck is going on? How are we going to do this?’ But it always comes together.”
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Savage is no stranger to intertwining beatboxing with acting. Having studied theater at the University of Leeds, she went on to earn a place in The Guardian's “Top Ten Standout Theatrical Performances” of 2014 for her beatboxing role as Jade in Home at the National Theatre. In the same year, she premiered her one-woman autobiographical show Blind—an examination of the way young women’s identities are shaped by the sounds they hear. Following a successful run at Soho Theatre, she inked a deal with literary and talent agency United last year, putting her acting resume on a par with her beatboxing one. Savage grew up in the quaint market town of Crediton in Devon, England. Like most teenagers stuck in the countryside, she spent her formative years “going to the park and drinking cider” with her childhood best friend, fellow champion beatboxer, Belle Ehresmann,
aka Bellatrix. “The reason I beatbox is because of Belle. She started beatboxing when she was 14, and I started about a year later. She’s probably one of the first females in the world to really start beatboxing,” she gushes. Despite the fact that the best friends are each other’s fiercest competition, Savage only has supportive things to say about Ehresmann. ”Well, imagine you were the only tightrope walker in the country, and then there was one other that did it. You’re gonna go up for the same jobs. Sometimes one of you is going to get it, and the other one isn’t. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it drives you on,” she admits. “But the friendship comes first, and the fact that we beat the boys two years in a row [at the U.K. Championships] was the best feeling ever.” The pair made history last year as the first women to enter and win the U.K. Championships team category for the second year in a row. It’s an incredible feat in itself, but even more so when you consider how male-dominated the scene is, even with substantial improvement since Savage started out. She remembers a time when the U.K. Championships didn’t even have a female category, let alone mixed. But it didn’t stop her trying her hand against the guys way back when. “I felt really good about that, but I remember thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to win’,” she recalls. Though she may not have seized a victory against the gents in the beginning, Savage certainly made up for it with the introduction of the female category. She won two years in a row. Now, the gender divide doesn’t exist in the U.K. Championships, but it poses the question: Was it ever necessary? In short, Savage thinks so. “Initially, it was set out for positive reasons, because girls were too scared to enter the guys’ category, and also it was a chance for a girl to win,”
Photo courtesy of artist
she explains. “To be honest, six years ago, girls were not at the same level as the guys, and there was only four or five [girls] doing it, as opposed to 50 or 60 guys, so it looks a bit pathetic,” she laughs. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t just the female beatboxers who were stuck on the periphery. The art form itself started as an underground scene, propelled forward by just a handful of pioneers like Doug E. Fresh, Swifty, Buffy, and Wise. But, like many newer art forms, it evolved from humble beginnings with the birth of the Internet, bringing a new generation of vocal gymnasts with it like Beardyman, Rahzel, and Reeps One.
“Now, there are world championships. There are regional championships, and there’s East vs. West in America,” she reels off. “You’ve got the U.K. Championships, which have now been going for ten years, and year after year it’s busier and busier. It was at 2000 capacity last year!” It isn’t all good news for the art form, though. “The culture is starting
She thinks it’s because beatboxers are continually chasing the zeitgeist of popular music. “As music changes, so do beatboxers,” she explains. “Beatboxers follow trends in music, so when dubstep came out, suddenly beatboxers started doing synth sounds. When drum ’n’ bass music came back, suddenly beatboxers were doing these really fast rhythms. We’re imitators essentially, as well as inventors,” she concludes. And yet Savage, like some of the most established beatboxers around, manages to eschew convention and deliver a distinctive sound that is recognizable as hers. Whereas Reeps One’s calling card is his continuous breathy undercurrent, and three-times U.K. champ Ball-Zee’s stock-in-trade is his impossibly crisp snare, Savage’s trademark sound is her ’90s hip hop–influenced vocal scratching. “People don’t really do [vocal scratching] any more, because it’s seen as the old style of beatboxing,” she says. “I’ve always loved manipulating my voice and singing and scratching, because I just feel really free when I do that.”
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“When I started beatboxing, YouTube wasn’t even around!” Savage exclaims. “There was just this one website called humanbeatbox. com where you could go and people shared tutorials and stuff. There was probably only about 30 or 40 people on there. So the community started from really, really small beginnings, and it’s just spread so far and wide now,” she explains.
to become a little bit saturated, and a lot of beatboxers are starting to sound very similar, because they’re all learning from the same online tutorials rather than discovering their own sound in their bedrooms on their own. The language is becoming more unified, which is great for technicality, because people are sounding so technical, but I think individuality and musicality is not as prevalent,” Savage says.
I’ve always loved manipulating my voice and singing and scratching, because I just feel really free when I do that.
Though beatboxing may be increasingly popular within its scene, it hasn’t found a place in mainstream consciousness. Is this partially because it still isn’t taken seriously? “I think there’s still this perception that it is this party trick/gimmick that you can only listen to for five minutes, and then you get bored of it, for some people,” she reflects. “But I think there are also artists who are really pushing it as an art form and doing really interesting, musical, exciting things with it. And the more that those creative people push, the more that the art form will be respected and understood.” While beatboxing has been her “bread and butter” in myriad ways, Savage also considers it a launching pad for a much bigger dream of hers. “I would be much happier if I could be a full-time Grace Savage songwriting, singing artist, but it’s quite difficult to maintain, because there are thousands of people who want to do that.” But Savage concedes, “I think I’m doing pretty well at the moment, though.” Humility is a strength of Savage’s. Her self-titled debut EP was entirely crowdfunded by her legions of adoring fans, plus she recently won a £3000 bursary from PledgeMusic, an innovative online marketplace that connects musicians with fans. She spent that money on a booking agent.
Though it may seem like Savage has been on an upward trajectory since the very beginning, the journey up to this point hasn’t been without its hurdles. Before this EP, Savage had written two albums’ worth of material that got tied up in a legal battle with her thenproducer. “It was very complicated, but it all came down to rights, basically,” she sighs. “This producer wanted me to work with her and no one else for the next four albums. She wanted to be my manager and take a percentage from my beatboxing and singing—like a 360 deal,” she explains.
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Negotiations stretched out over a year, and Savage spent thousands of pounds on lawyers before any kind of conclusion was reached. “We eventually got to the stage where I owned the rights for nine of the songs, but then after all that time and all that resentment I went ‘D’you know what? I don’t think these songs are even very me. I don’t like them much anymore,” she laughs. “And it was
really scary, because I didn’t even know if I could write without that producer, because I had no experience writing with anyone else. So for that reason alone, I’m super proud of this EP. It’s been quite an achievement,” she says with an audible sigh of relief. But the completion of her debut album isn’t the only thing Savage is celebrating. The accompanying music video for its lead single, “Just for Tonight,” puts a same-sex narrative at the forefront, played by Savage and her real-life girlfriend. Though it’s nothing out of the ordinary to see a gay relationship portrayed in a music video, it’s the first time Savage has felt comfortable exposing her sexuality to the public. “When I was first writing music, the general vibe of what people were saying to me was ‘just say you’re bisexual; you don’t want to be a gay artist,’ and because I was only 22 and 23, I took that on,” she says. “When I left that producer, I just thought, ‘What the fuck am I doing? I’m so proud of who I am, and why wouldn’t I want to celebrate that?’ In no way was I ‘coming out,’ it was just a ‘fuck you’ to that previous situation and going, ‘I’m just going to put it in a music video and sort of celebrate that in a way’.” Savage will be headlining a show at London’s Archspace, Haggerston, October 11, 2017. And check out Savage's Beatboxing 101 tips on page 63.
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Photo by Thomas Hole
Barcelona songstress RosalĂa is dedicated to the music of flamenco Written and translated from Spanish by Shaina Joy Machlus Photos by Eva Carasol
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“I am both an instrument and an instrumentalist,” Rosalía leans in and explains. Her fingers lace together, and her back is slightly arched. Even in normal conversation, the singer’s voice takes on a tone that is musical and magical. Rosalía, who goes only by her first name, is between press conferences and performances at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound music festival, and while there is chaos all around, she is still, powerful, and present. At 24 years old, she recently released her first album Los Ángeles, as well as a stunning new video for the single “De Plata.”
Rosalía’s instrument is her voice, which she has dedicated to the infinite complexities of flamenco since the age of 13. “I was on the street with my friends. The cars would roll by, blasting music, and out of the loud speakers sounded Camarón, an iconic flamenco singer. Camarón was the one that captivated me and with whom I began to discover flamenco.” Rosalía weaves profoundly eloquent and insightful answers to each question that comes her way with a patient and knowing half grin, promising, just wait and see, wait until the performance—because there are some questions better answered in song. The fire that burns inside Rosalía can only be understood by seeing and hearing it. Watching Rosalía sing is an otherworldly experience. There are layers upon layers of rhythms. The constantly changing melodies, the timing, and the voice fluctuations are all controlled with pinpoint precision. Rosalía is conducting an entire orchestra, but the orchestra is totally contained within herself.
Any musician, but especially a drummer, cannot help but be impressed by Rosalía’s use of complex rhythms. Tom Tom had the pleasure of speaking in depth with Rosalía about tempo, making music uniquely yours while still maintaining its roots, and what it means to be truly happy and free.
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Tom Tom: Let’s start from the beginning. What is flamenco for you? Rosalía: I have always liked music in general but especially flamenco. I think it is different from other music because of its emotional weight, its depth. You can feel its density. Flamenco is “root” music. It is folkloric, and as an artist, I am interested in having a foundation that has to do with roots, with a music that is of the people. I fell in love when I discovered it.
And when and where did that happen? I was 13 years old in a village on the outskirts of Barcelona. What drove you to make the leap from being an admirer of flamenco to being a flamenco artist? Flamenco fascinated me, so I decided that I wanted to learn more about the genre and that I wanted to learn this trade. I think being a singer is a learned trade. From 13 to 16, I was listening to a lot of flamenco, and at 16, I found my mentor. I have only had one singing instructor, and he has taught me everything. His name is Chiqui, José Miguel Vizcaya “El chiqui.” And how did you find him? Did you know immediately that he was your mentor? Yes, when I met him, I knew that I had found my teacher. He is a brilliant person. He is very intelligent, a fountain of wisdom. When I heard him sing, I was amazed that he can sing any way he wants. He is very free with his voice, and that captivated me. This type of mentorship, you can’t look for it—it’s something that comes to you. A gift from the universe. Yes, yes. Totally. For you, freedom means being able to use your voice in any way you want? Yes. I feel that the freer your voice sounds, there’s less blockage or tension in you. For me, the voice is always a reflection of how you are. The voice is related so much to emotion. I’m constantly fighting to get to that state of freedom with my voice. In the moments when you find it, your whole body vibrates. It overtakes you.
And you think that that type of search has a final point, or is it infinite, forever? I think it is forever, because we’re always changing. I think there is always a little of that constant search for that perfect state of freedom, that center. Although deep down, it is the search itself that is the center. Speaking about changing—when I was reading up on you, I noticed there was a lot about you reinventing flamenco, being a new face of flamenco, and popularizing flamenco for a younger generation. Can you talk about that? Let’s see. It is complex. It’s not that I seek to change flamenco. It is not my intention to alter in any way the status quo of this genre. It is more like I sing flamenco from my perspective. For me, making music is absolutely necessary, and to make flamenco music is to play flamenco in my own way. I have to try to explain flamenco from my perspective.
Flamenco then has to be something different for someone like me compared to someone who has been soaking it up since he or she was a child. So, for me, I think it is a fundamental part of my musi-
And what is your personal dream for your music? Can you explain your vision for the future of flamenco from a personal and larger perspective? I want to have energy and motivation to continue making albums after 60 years or more of working, because my dream is to continue recording for many, many, many years. And to purify myself as a musician, to learn more and more, to grow as a musician. So what I said before about preserving flamenco—it’s not that I want to preserve it, because I think that flamenco has to be modified whether we want to or not just by the context. It is inevitable that flamenco today is not exactly the same as it was before or a few years ago, but I think that this is a consequence of a new scene that is happening with flamenco musicians. I think there is a flamenco scene that is decontextualizing flamenco from its usual place, and I think that’s very positive because it’s liberating. People say it’s popularizing flamenco. This popularizing is making it accessible to people who might not have listened to flamenco before, and that’s very positive, but I think popularizing must always be a consequence and not a goal.
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I wasn’t born in a family where this type of music was listened to. My parents are not singers. Often, flamenco is learned by being close to flamenco musicians since childhood. I do not have those experiences. I have not lived in that environment.
cal offerings. It is not rational to go and change things. Sometimes people talk to me as if I wanted to renew something. I do not want to renew anything. I am just trying to explain flamenco in the most honest possible way. I try to make music in the most transparent way I can.
Onstage, you always have to connect; you have to think of yourself as a channel, and then let your body move on its own.
Can you please talk about the rhythms of flamenco and how you feel these rhythms when you sing? As I’ve been studying, as I’ve formed into a flamenco artist, I realized that you have to try to absorb the rhythmic pattern of each palo—each flamenco style—but then you have to learn how to speak over that pattern as if you were talking. Somehow, when you combine all of this, it makes the melody fit very well within a rhythm. The bulería rhythm, for example, has a marked rhythm of six by eight, and when you are singing, you don’t try to do it in a squared form; you have to be floating above the rhythm. You have to be almost surfing on top of it.
That is a key moment for me. That sensation is what makes me feel most comfortable within the rhythm while singing—the feeling almost of talking. When you speak, every phrase has its own rhythm. It’s like trying to maintain the internal rhythm of each phrase and each melody, because the melodies have an internal rhythm regardless of the rhythm of that song.
The most important thing is to be happy. If you are happy, you are well, you are connected. But real happiness—to be happy is to take care of others, to take care of the people I have around me, take care of myself. Maintain or respect everything that makes me feel good, for example eating well, sleeping for the hours my voice needs. Then there are some little rituals of caring for myself that are necessary for my voice to be well, and I respect them.
When you are singing we notice that internal rhythm in your voice but also in your hand movements.
I can imagine this kind of singing and emotional state is so physical.
So what method do you have for taking care of yourself as a singer? What do you do to keep feeling good and staying present? That’s a very good question. I haven’t been asked that before. With drummers I always ask this, because it is very physical work, and the voice is a very physical instrument, too.
What is your idea of real happiness?
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The gesticulation? I think it’'s something very primal. Which has more to do with impulses, with drive. Drive is like fire, like when something burns you, you move. You do not choose when you move. You can’t think or premeditate how you’re going to gesticulate. Onstage, you always have to connect; you have to think of yourself as a channel, and then let your body move on its own.
It is like knowing how to enjoy all things to the tiniest pieces. Know how to enjoy all the things that are happening to you, that all the time there are things to celebrate. The more present you are, the more you are anchored, which gives you more happiness. If you are really in the present, you have more peace, and for me happiness also has to do with being at peace.
When you’re onstage, you have so many things to do! Sing, connect to this energy flow, the other musicians . . .
And do you feel you are on the right track? You look so happy!
Being anchored in that present moment makes you connect to a higher state, connect to the public, receive what the public gives you, receive also what your musical partner gives you. You also give to your partner who is playing the guitar. I think one has to be open to that, because there are several channels within the same channel.
Is it noticeable? So much! Yes, I am. Everything that is happening to me is like a blessing. I couldn’t ask for more. I feel very grateful, and that’s why I’m very happy, too. Gratitude will also help you to be happy, to be thankful for everything that happens.
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grooves for our city
by Leah Bowden Photos by Michele Zousmer
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Voices of Our City Choir (VOOC) is a collaboration between professional musicians, people experiencing homelessness in San Diego, and a larger community support network. Coming together in a collective attempt to chart a course through the harsh realities of homelessness and austerity politics, the choir is an ambitious performing group, appearing at major music venues across Southern California. Their work has received regional and national press, including coverage on PBS NewsHour and NPR. In this special feature for Tom Tom, VOOC drummer Leah Bowden tells the story of the band behind the choirâ€™s sound and mission. Her bandmates, Nina Leilani Deering (keys), Steph Johnson (guitar), and Rob Thorsen (bass), discuss the rewards and challenges of building music through music and social action.
The summer of 2016 in San Diego was marked by a series of intense heat waves in the midst of an intensifying homelessness crises. Musician friends Nina Deering and Steph Johnson called me one day to help distribute food, water, and bandanas to hundreds of people living on the streets downtown. They had teamed up with, among others, activists Jeeni Criscenzo of Amikas, an organization that creates and provides housing for homeless women and children, and Martha Sullivan of progressive community activist group Grassroots Oasis. Together, they were spreading the word about a series of aggressive city policies directed at unsheltered people. This included public restroom closures, the installation of “anti-homelessness” rocks in place of where people slept, and of course the infamous “homeless sweeps”—when a person’s tent and belongings are discarded while the person is ticketed or arrested. The city also ordered nonprofits to stop feeding the poor during the weeks leading up to major tourist events, Comic-Con and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, hoping that the homeless would simply leave. By the time I got involved, Johnson and Deering had already spent a great deal of time getting to know our unsheltered neighbors. They had become acquainted with their struggles and passions and found that many of the homeless people they met were also musicians, songwriters, and singers. Meanwhile, Pastor Chris Nafis of Living Water Church of the Nazarene noticed the outreach efforts of Johnson and Deering and offered access to a nearby community center, where he had established a ministry tailored to the needs of the homeless population. This invitation created an opportunity to establish a strong presence in a neighborhood located at the heart of the homelessness crisis. As Johnson recalls, “We saw a desperate need for a respectful, creative environment where new ideas and potentials could be realized.” Imagining a space free from aggressive policing and the harsh conditions of living on the street, Johnson said to Deering, “How would you feel about starting a choir?” They immediately began inviting their new homeless friends to attend weekly rehearsals at Nafis’ community center. This was the seed that grew into Voices of Our City Choir.
Joy, hope, and self-confidence are not qualities one expects to see reflected in the faces of those who are living on the streets. However, when audiences witness Voices of Our City Choir, they are invited to share in a moment of collective self-realization, validation, and purpose. Grounded in pride and ownership of each lyrical phrase, the choir projects a sense of belonging—signifying emotional transformations that have taken place in recent months. These are the sounds of community, of healing, and solidarity—harmonies built upon a broad network of meaningful human connections. The fellowship among choir members and this renewed passion for life rises to the surface of the sound. An invitation to experience the gifts of others emerges as the boundaries between the sheltered and unsheltered are dissolved in a musical performance that seeks to both recognize and resurrect a shared humanity.
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Shortly after we started meeting at the community center, our friend Rob Thorsen, one of the most in-demand bassists on the West Coast and an advocate for jazz programs for underserved youth, started showing up with his bass. I rolled in with my drums, ready to raise the vibration with anything the music might call for— from hard-hitting funk and hip-hop beats to subtle rubato textures, accents and effects. With Deering’s keys and Johnson’s guitar, we had a full backing band of professional musicians collectively experienced in jazz, Latin, soul, choral, and gospel, among other styles of music.
Deering and Johnson selected material with uplifting and socially conscious lyrics, such as Gregory Porter’s “No Love Dying Here” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” In regular choir rehearsals and separate band sessions, we began workshopping melody, groove, dynamics, layering, and interlocking parts. Through this process, we developed arrangements that would form the backdrop of VOOC’s sound. More recently, we have been working with the choir members to develop original material that showcases their collective abilities as songwriters, composers, and performers. Maintaining a polished backing band has proved itself vital; the singers can really shine over a solid, dynamic foundation. As Thorsen puts it, “The band is all about the groove. When the beat hits, I see this immediate transformation of people leaving behind whatever problems are plaguing them. They lose all of their inhibitions.” The choir itself, although well rehearsed, does not necessarily strive to sound “refined.” Johnson describes the sound as raw and visceral. As she explains, “It’s not just singing in practice; it’s tapping into a place in your body that needs to be released for healing. When we first met many of our choir members, they were literally trying to kill themselves. They had no reason to live. And now, when they sing, they reveal a connection to life-force energy, which you could call soul or soulful singing. They’ve been reacquainted with their own self-purpose, and that has a sound. It is so charged.” Deering directs the choir and leads rehearsals. She covers methods of healthy vocal production and teaches harmony parts by ear. As Deering explains, “The beating heart of choir is that we rehearse and perform regularly.” Johnson agrees, adding, “Not only are our vocal warm-ups literally warming up our vocal cords, but Deering will pose questions such as ‘What are you great at?’ or ‘What are you
It’s not just singing in practice; it’s tapping into a place in your body that needs to be released for healing. looking forward to?’ And that’s one of the ways we create the fabric of our relationship with the choir.” This process helps provide routine and a safe space where people can come inside for a while, get something to eat and drink, use a restroom, and make a friend— basic things that sheltered people often take for granted. Being together and in the moment during choir practice is part of how we are maintaining a commitment to solidarity as we bear witness and build resistance to the bitter and hollowed-out remains of the neoliberal city. As Deering points out, “As choir director, I have this great honor to have the attention of this whole cross section of life, and to ask them, ‘What’s real? How can we help each other? How can we encourage the artistry of the other?’ It seems like such a new concept to people that everyone is an artist, but everyone has their art form—whether it’s organizing people, singing, loving, healing. These are positive ways of dealing with the frustrations of modern life, this eternal human condition.”
Johnson has released four critically acclaimed solo albums and has toured extensively. However, she finds herself in awe at the energy and intensity with which audiences respond to Voices of Our City performances. People “come alive with joy, and awareness,” Johnson says. “They get up in their seats. They are crying. It’s an awakening.” Deering calls this a “cracking open of those who have been hardened by the circumstances of life.” She argues that this process of sharing creative energy is a vital tool for peace in local communities and beyond. Deering describes our sound as both “the achievement of harmony in a musical sense, as well as a direct parallel to the human harmony that we are striving toward as a humanitarian organization by standing together and singing through our frustrations, joys, and pains. That synchronicity is not because we are the best musicians or we are getting the best gigs, etc.; it’s because we are all part of this emotional revelation, and we are all repurposing ourselves to be that vehicle. And everyone is invited to take part.” Deering’s three rules of singing, often recited during choir practice, also suggest a way of being in the world: “Remember to breathe. Be cool, be calm, be confident. Mean what you say.”
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For myself, it’s long been my dream to work with a group as thoroughly integrated as Voices of Our City. We engage people from diverse ethnicities, genders, ages, and radically differing life experiences. As artists, we often find ourselves in a consciously marginal social and economic reality that has parallels with others experiencing precarious living conditions. Without conflating the conditions of being an artist with the historical and objective conditions of poverty, artists are often aware and motivated to represent the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Thorsen observes, “Partly because of the political climate that we are living in right now, a lot of people are coming together. We as artists and as people are more aware of the homeless problem. People are being displaced
truly in many cases through no fault of their own. As musicians, we have banded together to help serve the community, and in turn, there’s more awareness about the problem and about potential solutions. Our way of dealing with it is through music.”
TECHNIQUE MULTI-PART TECHNIQUE SERIES:
by JJ Jones
PART II - CONTROL AND STAMINA If you’re like me, you listen enviously to the precision of Anika Nilles, the fast alt-rock beats of Dave Grohl and Tré Cool, the thundering power of Stella Mozgawa and Janet Weiss, and of course the mind-blowing bass drum of John Bonham, and dream of having a faster kick drum foot. In Part I of our bass drum series, we explored pedal techniques. Now in Part II, we provide exercises and drills to build stamina and control on the bass drum (eventually leading to speed), giving you access to an entirely new palette of grooves and fills. Fast 16th note kick doubles are everywhere in rock and pop music. Equally as important as speed on these beats is precision, meaning the bass drum strokes are not only equal in volume, they are equally spaced in time. Why do linear beats and fills involving the kick drum sound so cool? Because each hit is precisely in its own time slot. Fast 16th notes are notoriously prone to swing and slide toward their adjoining notes creating a galloping feel. So, when you play the below exercises, it’s crucial to start slow to internalize the patterns and make sure all your strokes are even and falling where they should before you speed them up.
Tip: For each exercise, figure out your maximum tempo, then play them around 70 percent of your max speed. Repetition builds muscle memory (and thus speed and control), so instead of constantly going full-blast on these drills, and maybe playing sloppy, spend most of your time at the fastest tempo where you can play the drill perfectly.
I run through most of the below drills every time I sit at the drumset, for 1-2 minutes each. As a result, I’ve increased my kick drum doubles speed from 80 bpm to 140 bpm, and my 16th note grooves and linear fills are cleaner and more precise than they’ve ever been.
DOUBLES R 4 4
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TRIPLES 4 4
QUADS 6 4
BURNOUT 4 4
ALTERNATING FOOT AND HAND This exercise involves alternating singles between the kick and hands. Incredibly useful for grooves like the chorus of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” and Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” where a kick falls in between a stroke on the hi-hat or ride cymbal.
"Sweet Emotion" instrumental chorus by Joey Kramer of Aerosmith
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"Ramble On" chorus by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin
Go to tomtommag.com for a list of links to interactive transcriptions for all of the above exercises. And if you’re ready for comprehensive, step-by-step courses in foot speed and control, check out Mike Johnston’s online courses at mikeslessons.com. Stay tuned for the next installment in our Focus on the Bass Drum series: “Part III—Speed,” where we’ll take an in-depth look at the skip/slide, heel-toe, and other fast pedal techniques, for doubles and triples speeds over 125 bpm.
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If you struggle with these exercises at first, realize it takes time to build the muscles in your legs and core in the same way training at the gym does, and building up your core and leg strength away from the drumset (by weight and interval training, running, dancing, surfing, etc.) can help immensely. Finally, just like working out, if you are doing an intensive regimen of kick drum exercises every day, stretching and regular time off is critical to give your muscles time to heal and develop.
Heidi Joubert with JJ Jones For a more in-depth look at flamenco rhythms, we turned to international cajon player and Roland artist, Heidi Joubert. Joubert teaches workshops all over the world (recently giving a cajon masterclass at the renowned flamenco school, Amor de Dios, in Madrid, Spain), founded her own cajon school, and even has her own brand of cajon. Joubert’s handwritten flamenco notations for cajon include three pattern variations on the bulerías rhythm (a compás, or rhythmic unit, that’s typically 12 beats), as well as the traditional palmas (hand-clapping) patterns the bulerías is based on. Keep in mind, these transcriptions are the basic rhythmic patterns upon which the bulerías compás is built and should be treated as only guidelines upon which the player would develop an intricate improvisation. Flamenco rhythms are interpreted in an extremely personal way, dependent on whatever the soloist (guitarist, vocalist, or dancer who is taking the lead) is doing at any given time. It’s a music that’s passed on mainly through feeling and by ear, so is hard to fully capture on paper.
62 TOM TOM MAGA ZI NE Check out Heidi Joubert’s video lessons on flamenco rhythms for the cajon on tomtommag.com, and on her website cajonbox.com.
by Grace Savage
Perfect the sound before the routine! There’s no point beatboxing a really fast and technical rhythm if the sounds you are making aren’t crisp. Much better to start with a slow groove, and make sure each sound is punchy and clean. Then you can start learning more complex stuff. Get your basic kick drum, hi-hat, and snare tight first! Be original. It’s great to listen to other beatboxers to learn, but come up with your own sound and routines so you stand out. Too many beatboxers sound the same now, because everyone is learning from the Internet. Listen to music and your environment for inspiration instead. Sometimes less is more. Some of my best routines are the simplest. Build to the drop, and the audience will appreciate it more. If you go all in with all your best and hardest stuff before you’ve even started, you’re giving yourself nowhere to go. Be sensitive, and don’t be afraid to give your beats space.
Read Grace's feature on page 44
CALL CENTER 1.800.462.2263
SUPERSTORE 138TH & NATIONAL AVE, MILWAUKEE, WI • 262.789.7600
SETUP by Zoë Brecher Photo courtesy of artist
WHO: Romarna Campbell AGE: 21 FROM: Birmingham, UK
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What band are you in? I’m currently running my own band called B L A N (C) A N V A S, for which I compose, arrange, and drum. It’s a septet made up of drums, electric bass, keyboards and synths, two tenor saxophones, trombone, and vocals. I would best describe the style as having many explosive moments, mixed with quiet thoughtfulness, inspired by a deep-rooted influence of bebop, hiphop and neo-soul. It’s an exploration of how music can push and break down barriers and what it’s like to navigate modern life as a young musician. What was your first kit? Arbitur Flats, closely followed by a Midnight Blue Tama Superstar.
How old were you when you got it? I was about seven years old! I busked in the foyer of the Saturday music classes I attended and managed to successfully raise enough to buy my own first drum kit. Why did you start drumming? I couldn't resist it, if I'm brutally honest. I think my life has always centred around music, and I've always been insanely fascinated by what the drums and bass are doing, particularly from a rhythmic point of view. They way the two intertwine and sometimes clash and the feeling that creates. . . It still fascinates me now! How many drum sets have you had? Four, although I currently have two sets, which I mix and match between, depending on the circumstances and the sound that I want. Where did you buy your current kit? I bought it at my local drum shop, PMT Birmingham. I'm a really firm believer in supporting your local drum and music shops, there's really nothing that compares to it.
Do you have a dream kit or cymbal? 20˝ K Constantinople Bounce Ride OR 20˝K Constantinople Medium Thin Ride Low (I love cymbals!). If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only keep one part of your kit what would you save? My Natal Meta Aluminium snare! It's absolute life and pretty much fits for any occasion! Are there any unique things about your setup? I switch between two different size bass drums, which can make such a major difference to the sound. I switch between 18˝or 20˝x 8˝ bass drum. A bass drum with an 8" depth is a lot of fun to play around with, sonically, and the attack you get from it being so shallow is awesome.
Premier Heritage Artist Birch:
A 18˝ OR 20˝x 8˝ Bass Drum
B 12˝ Tom
C 14˝ Floor Tom
D 14˝ Snare
Ambassador Vintage Coated
E 13˝x8˝ Natal Meta Aluminium Snare
HARDWARE Mapex Hardware
1 21˝ Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Ride (with rivets) OR 20” Zildjian K PreAged Dry Light Ride
2 16˝ Meinl Candela Percussion Crash
Vater Sweet Ride, Vater Brushes
3 14˝ Vintage Zyn HiHATS
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WEEPING ICON Eyeball Under Fire Talk/Kanine Records July 2017
IBEYI Ash XL Records September 2017 French-Cuban twins Ibeyi (Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz) will be releasing their sophomore album Ash this fall. Ibeyi is the Yoruba term for the divine spirit that exists between twins. (The Yoruba people originated in Nigeria and were brought to Cuba as slaves and brought their religious beliefs with them.) The duo combines spiritual and traditional songs with jazz, hip-hop, and electronica with minimal arrangements. The twins dance between multiple genres and cultures. Ash dives further into pop and continues into their style of raw harmonies, hand percussion, and rhythmic chants. Naomi plays cajón (a box-shaped drum from Peru) and batá (a double-headed Yoruba drum) and Lisa-Kaindé plays keys. The opening track and phrase, “I Carried This For Years,” repeats in a choir of Naomi and Lisa Kaindé's voices. The next song and first single “Away Away” showcases Lisa-Kaindé on lead vocals while Naomi slips in hip-hop infused verses. Their vocals are gentle, yet fierce, and complement deep pulsing electronic beats. The bass synths in “Deathless” fill your ears with heavy infectious rhythms and an unexpected introduction of echoing, emotive saxophone. “No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms” mashes together powerful lyrics with a sample of one of Michelle Obama’s public speeches. In the song “Valé,” rich synth chords and hand percussion unite with vocals that soothe and inspire the soul. “Transmission” eases in percussion toward the end of the song with a surprise diary excerpt in Spanish by Frida Kahlo.
The album progresses into Caribbean-themed instrumentation and rhythms with songs sung in Spanish and English. “When Will I Learn” features wavering bass synths that push against the rhythms of hand drums. “Numb” has a darker sound and includes 808s and an orchestra of strings on synth. The closing and title track “Ash” lays on a foundation of electronic beats with stirring melodies that slide past reversed background vocals.
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Overall Ibeyi transports their listeners into a spiritual and multi-cultural voyage that is unique, soulful, and honest. Listen to this: while you are getting ready to take on the world. —Dani Mari
Eyeball Under is the first EP from Brooklyn four-piece Weeping Icon (members of ADVAETA, Lutkie, Mantismass, Warcries, Water Temples). The album’s eight songs are carried by a solid foundation of steady drums and hypnotic bass with layers of thrashing cymbals and guitars interspersed with shrill noise and shouted statements of anxiety-ridden internal monologues covering topics like STDs, religion, and street harassment. Halfway through the album, “Inauguration” takes a moment to hold space for anger and grief; a trembling guitar, a shriek to a guttural scream, the dreadful anticipation of dark times. The second untitled track provides a 55-second meditative break towards the closing of the album to recollect ourselves; a sounding call to channel our inner strength to fight back against the things that oppress us the most. Eyeball Under is a quick 23 minute punch in the face that culminates in a flurry covered in the thick residue of a powerful primal transformation. Listen to this: to release your inner rage. —Lynn Casper
VARIOUS ARTISTS 7-inches for Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood Fall 2017 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood is a benefit collection featuring a slew of high profile musicians and comedians such as Mary J Blige, Bjork, Sleater Kinney, Janeane Garofalo, Bon Iver, Foo Fighters, Margaret Cho, John Legend, and dozens more. All artists donated their work to the project to help raise money for the organization as a direct response to the extreme anti-choice policies of the Trump administration. Planned Parenthood, and organizations like it, are under severe threat of attack from lawmakers and are now more vital than ever. According to a statement made by 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood, “This is a curated series of records made by a group of people who believe that access to health care is a public good that should be fiercely protected.” PPFA will receive a portion of the proceeds from sales with the box set coming with a digital download as well. Listen to this: when you want to push back against the Trump regime and stand up for basic human rights. —Kate Hoos
MUSIC MISS EAVES Feminasty Riot Rrrap August 2017
SECRET DRUM BAND Dynamics XRAY Records August 2017 Secret Drum Band is a supergroup of performers from Portland, Oregon based around the composers Lisa Schonberg (Kickball/Explode Into Colors) and Allan Wilson (Chk Chk Chk). Together with Heather Treadway, they crafted the album’s eight tracks which features performances from notable drummers and noise musicians such as Sara Lund (Unwound/ Corin Tucker Band), Shannon Steele (Typhoon), Marcus Fisher, and more. While lovers of experimental/instrumental music will surely enjoy this album, the music SDB creates is less of a collection of experimental compositions and more of a nuanced ethereal soundscape, taking you on an emotional journey through sounds that come alive, jumping out of the speakers to confront the listener. It is exactly this quality that makes it accessible even to those who don’t listen to experimental music. Intricate percussion pieces are layered on top of noise elements to add intensity and in some cases, an eerily ominous bend to the piece such as in the bombastic yet echoey “Jazz (Timber Sale).” At the midway point of the album is the hypnotic “Polihale” driving and building over eight minutes with layers of snare drums crashing right into distorted guitars, seemingly off in the distance, meeting later with a slippery funky bass line and booming toms. According to the band’s website, “The album’s eight tracks were written in response to locations in the Mojave Desert, logging sites in Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, and Hawai’i.” Schonberg adds, “For us, music is the most publicly effective (and personally healing) vehicle to make statements about environmental issues.” The group toured in support of the album during the summer of 2017. Listen to this: to escape the mundanity of your life and contemplate a future utopia of artistic genius and harmony with the earth. —Kate Hoos
When I heard “Fuccboi Salute” I thought, finally, a song I can grind to and not feel guilty about afterwards. Miss Eaves’ inyour-face rhymes are the pop, sugar-coated bullets we’ve been waiting for. The electro-pop dance beats by KEISHH backing this album alone make it worthwhile. Miss Eaves rhymes are delivered with an unapologetically femme style, and the content is both catchy and cutting. “I’m free/I’m doing me… No mirror reflecting your idea of sexy/He sees me/an emoji/one tap and I’m smiling,” Miss Eaves raps in “Ms. Emoji.” While the album stands on its own, Miss Eaves’ music videos are an added bonus. “Thunder Thighs” in particular feels like an anthem to Brooklyn summers. It somehow makes me feel nostalgic for the hot sweaty blanket of grime that is inevitable after walking under the J train. Listen to this: anytime you need swag. —Jessi Perez
L.A. WITCH S/T Suicide Squeeze September 2017 L.A. Witch are indeed from Los Angeles and it comes through in their sound. With plenty of reverb and guitar licks that sound like a lazy drawl, the trio evokes long drives through a canyon on a clear night. Singer and guitarist Sade Sanchez's riffs are distorted but clear, and her vocals are echoed but never muffled. Along with bassist Irita Pai and drummer Ellie English, she leads a meandering but driven trail from the excellent lead track “Kill My Baby Tonight” through standout tracks “You Love Nothing” and “Feel Alright.” A little bit country and a little bit Doors, they've found a sound and stuck with it, but it never gets boring over the whole of the album. At nine songs, this is a perfect length for vinyl, and I imagine it sounds great in that format. Their debut arrives in September just in time for the last dregs of summer.
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Listen to this: on a late night car ride on your closest version of Mulholland Drive.
ISLEY BROTHERS/SANTANA Powers of Peace Legacy Recordings August 2017 Stars collide in Power Of Peace, the new album by musical legends Isley Brothers, Carlos Santana, and Cindy Blackman Santana. Released early August on Legacy Recordings (a division of Sony), the album features inspired recordings of immortal soul, funk, blues, rock, jazz, and pop songs that are both timely and comforting in an otherwise turbulent world. Music fans will enjoy fresh arrangements and a live feel on classic hits by the Chambers Brothers (“Are You Ready,” “Love, Peace, Happiness”), Swamp Dogg (“Total Destruction to Your Mind”), Stevie Wonder (“Higher Ground”), Billie Holiday (“God Bless the Child”), Eddie Kendricks (“Body Talk”), Curtis Mayfield (“Gypsy Woman”), Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon (“I Just Want to Make Love to You”), Dionne Warwick/Jackie DeShannon (“What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love”), Marvin Gaye (“Mercy Mercy Me—The Ecology”), Leon Thomas (“Let the Rain Fall on Me”) and Sy Miller and Jill Jackson (“Let There Be Peace on Earth”). Power Of Peace premieres a new melancholic, piano-driven song from badass drummer and songwriter Cindy Blackman Santana called “I Remember.” Put this track on your “gettin’ it on” playlist for maximum pleasure. The album has a dynamic, live aesthetic and you can close your eyes and feel the energy put forth from these living legends coming together for one mission, to bring forth the Power Of Peace. It’s a satisfying treat and a much needed sonic delight for all. Listen to this: when you're running through a red rock canyon in Australia or when the news is bringing you down you want to feel good about the world again. —Liah Alonso
FILM #BLKGRLSWURLD ZINE COLORING BOOK Christina Long, MFA Trifecta Studios September 2016 As a child, I had many coloring books. My younger sister and I shared them, while arguing on who was coloring within the lines or not. Most of the illustrations in the books were of animals, people, places, and cartoons, with themes of adventure, celebrity, history, etc. It never truly sunk in that what I was coloring didn’t actually have much relation to me as a young black girl. So to see #blkgrlswurld Zine Coloring Book now, I wish I could go back in time and give it to my younger self. The people in the illustrations have features similar to my own, and they got something to say that’s relevant to our current social climate. Blkgrlswurld is more than just a coloring book, though—there is also a blog and a biannual zine created by artist Christina Long and her younger brother and sister that they have been putting out since 2013. On the website blkgrlswurld.com, you’ll find podcasts, reviews of metal shows, interviews, and the presence of women in rock—heavy rock! This zine and coloring book is for African-Americans with an interest in metal music, rights for all, and DIY passion to show that heavy music has no color or gender limits. Last, but not least, to make the #blkgrlswurld Coloring Book even more awesome, (and of course to feed my teen DIY punk nostalgia), a little note at the bottom of the cover reads as such: “P.S. We dare you to tear out some pages you’ve colored and leave them around the city in odd places for people to find.” —Lola Johnson
A LIFE IN WAVES Directed by Brett Whitcomb Window Pictures March 2017 A Life in Waves looks back at the remarkable career of Suzanne Ciani, a true pioneer of electronic music. The musician and composer was at the forefront of the use of synthesizers, working and experimenting alongside designer Don Buchla in California in the 1970s. If you were around in the '70s and '80s, you would be very familiar with the sounds she created, even if you didn’t know their origin: the bottle pop and pour of a Coca-Cola, the laser beam swishes in out-of-this-world Atari commercials, and the creepy soundtrack to The Stepford Wives. Or maybe you would have heard her sensual voice and sci-fi sounds in the pinball game, Xenon. In 1981, Ciani became the first solo female composer of a major Hollywood film for her score of The Incredible Shrinking Woman, starring Lily Tomlin. “My mission was to introduce these new instruments as performable instruments in the same historical vein as other instruments. I took that very seriously. Especially when I moved to New York,” Ciani said. While creating sounds for commercials and movies were her bread and butter, at her heart she is a composer. In 1982 she released her first album, Seven Waves, which she created solely on synthesizers. “There was a huge, huge chasm between the music business and my life as an artist,” Ciani said in the film. At first, record companies didn't know how to market her music. She got her first big break as a recording artist in Japan, because as she said, the executives there actually sat down and listened to the music. She went on to record several more albums from the 80s to the present, securing five Grammy nominations.
There has been an uptick of interest recently in Ciani’s work, bringing her a “legion of new fans.” This year, she was awarded with the Moog Lifetime Innovation Award at Moogfest. This documentary perfectly encapsulates the life of this charismatic woman who created sounds people had never even imagined back in the days of analog.
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The film is now available in select theaters and on VOD. —Rebecca DeRosa
TONIC POCKET OPERATOR by Mindy Abovitz
If you are new to the pocket operator scene, these handy drum machines from Teenage Engineering are literally pocket sized and won’t break your bank. There are currently 7 models ranging from noise and percussion drum machines to bass line and arcade synthesizers, each themed and designed to play particular sounds like bass melodies, rhythmic patterns, ridiculous robot samples and more. These powerful little 16-step sequencers allow you to create drum beats on the go and at your desk—there’s even an office themed one. The newest pocket operator, PO-32 Tonic, was released early this year and retails for slightly more ($89) than the other ridiculously affordable ones ($49). What makes the Tonic different from all the rest is its ability to take the beats and sequences out of the operator and into your computer and vice versa. This can be done with either the built-in speaker or a wired connection into Sonic Charge’s Microtonic plug-in (sold separately). You can then edit in your computer and export it back into your operator for playback or live use. All in this tiny machine! For under 100 bucks. One of my personal favorites about the machines is the 8-bit cartoons that animate when you play your pocket operators. In the Tonic PO, characters are literally at a bar drinking tonics—illustrated by Ivana Kouthoofd, the daughter of Teenage Engineering CEO and founder, Jesper Kouthoofd.
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DARU JONES NEW YORKER BUILT FOR THE STREETS.
SHORT STACK SIZES, DW ULTRALIGHT HARDWARE AND BAGS FOR EVERYTHING. SEE IT AND HEAR IT @ DWDRUMS.COM
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ARTISAN ELITE SERIES CYMBALS by JJ Jones I first heard the Artisan Elite series at this year’s NAMM show, demo’d by jazz phenom Mark Gulliana. I was impressed by their focused and complex sound that was perfect for Mark’s playing style. Mark said afterward that he loves the Elites for their quieter nuances since so much of his playing is in low volume settings, and that they are “incredibly expressive” and “a joy to play.” Sabian sent us the 22˝ Elite ride, a pair of 14˝ Elite hi-hats and a pair of 15˝ Artisan Light hi-hats to review, the hats shipping in their own embroidered sleeves. At $584 and $599 respectively for the ride and hats on Musician’s Friend, the Artisan Elites are Sabian’s top-of-the-line series. The manufacturing process starts with a B20 bronze alloy (80% copper, 20% tin), and employs three different hand-hammering processes that utilize extensive multi-peen and high-density hammering. Sections of surface on both the top and bottom are left un-lathed to show traces of tin oxide. The entire process makes for a for a sound, as well as a look, that is as Sabian says, “deeper, darker, and dirtier”.
14” ARTISAN ELITE AND 15” ARTISAN LIGHT HI-HATS The 14˝ Artisan Elite hats have a medium-light top and a mediumheavy bottom. They have nice articulation and controlled sustain. The pedaled “chick” is present and clean, and the stick sound is chunky and can even produce a slightly trashy sound when played loosely. The 15˝ Artisan Light hats are a lightweight top with a medium bottom. They’re lower in pitch, due in part to their larger size, but are also quieter due to their lightness, and therefore don’t cut through as well. They’re also softer in comparison to the 14” Elites in both sound and stick feel. I compared both pairs of Artisans to my own main hi-hats, a pair of 14˝ Meinl Byzance Darks. The Meinls are heavier weight, and feel and sound that way, but were also louder and brighter than the Artisans—which says a lot about the sound of the Artisans: they are very dark and dry if a Meinl Dark sounds bright in comparison! At the time of playing, I preferred the 14˝ Elites to the 15˝ Light hats because I felt the Elites had more substance—I really had to dig into the Lights to get the same “oomph”. But listening back to the recording I made, I like the Lights too. I could see using either type in low volume settings like jazz, and especially in the studio when hi-hat bleed into the snare mic can be an issue.
22” ARTISAN ELITE RIDE At 22 inches, the Elite ride sounds larger than it is. The metal is very flexible and soft in stick feel, with a controlled, dark sound that’s low-pitched and dry (lack of overtones). Because it’s so dry, there’s a ton of stick definition. One of my favorite sounds was hitting the edge with the shaft of my stick, which produced something akin to the low pitched sustain of a large gong after the initial hit. The bells on all the Elites are low and flat, and I found the bell on the 22˝ ride to have a similar character and volume to the rest of the cymbal. I tend to prefer rides that have high contrast between bow and bell in order to get as many differing sounds as I can when I play. That said, I can see the Elites working extremely well in jazz settings where not only the consistency of the character and tone of the bell with the rest of the cymbal might be more desirable than cutting through and contrasting, the Elite’s uniquely complex sound could be showcased.
Artisan Elite series cymbals are truly a special and top-of-the-line product from Sabian, using old-world manufacturing techniques and having a darkly complex look and sound. For a video demo of these cymbals, see tomtommag.com
BLAST SERIES CYMBALS by JJ Jones UFIP cymbals are hand-manufactured in Italy using a unique centrifuge-casting process, called Rotocasting®, where liquid B20 alloy is poured into fast rotating forms (most Turkish style cymbals are the result of a rolling and pressing process). Centrifugal force pushes any impurities towards the outer edge of the cymbal which are then eliminated during lathing. This results in a thicker bell and a more compact molecular structure of the cymbal, ensuring greater durability and a natural improvement in sound quality as time goes on. I first heard a UFIP cymbal when I randomly tried one of their 10" splashes in a drum shop. It made the name brand splashes next to it sound like pie pans in comparison, having all the depth, shimmer and lush qualities of a high-end full-size crash, just smaller. I was so impressed, the next week I literally traded all my cymbals for UFIPs. I’ve since incorporated other brands of rides and hats, but my main crashes have remained a 17˝and 18˝ UFIP Class series. I’ve yet to find another crash that has the same shimmer and sensitivity to even the smallest tap with a brush. For this review I wanted to try one of UFIPs newer and more specialized offerings, so they sent us an assortment of the Blast series crashes and a pair of 15˝ hi-hats. Polished to a high gloss, Blasts are explosive and bright, with a fast attack and short decay. They'd be most at home in drum ’n’ bass, jungle, and industrial/electro styles. And with such a specialized, modern sound—trashy and Chinalike—they’re on the verge of being high quality effect cymbals. But, and this is a big but, unlike many effect cymbals, there’s nothing cheap or harsh sounding about them—they still have that beautiful UFIP shimmer. Each size crash, 16˝, 17˝ and 19˝, had a distinctive pitch responding to even the lightest taps, and the 15˝ hats were just flat-out awesome: even with a lighter top cymbal, they still gave a meaty stick feel with a potent “chick” but the same trashy explosiveness as the crashes, and a great sizzle when slightly open.
Having an entire set of the Blasts on my kit inspired me to experiment with new styles and brought out a kind of creativity I didn’t know was there. Similar to how guitarists write new songs when they pick up a different guitar, I played differently with the Blasts. I downloaded a electro play-along track they were perfect for and had hours of fun applying 6-stroke rudiments around the kit and on the hats and cymbals.
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If you are a drum ’n’ bass or electro/industrial player, it’s almost an imperative to try out the Blasts—they’re that good. If you’re not, while you may not want an entire set (unless you can afford the option of switching out your main cymbals for specific musical situations that call for a trashy sound), having one or two Blasts in your arsenal would be an awesome way to bring in a modern sound that’s akin to a China, but that has the sonic depth and beauty of a handmade Italian cymbal. For a video demo of these cymbals, see tomtommag.com
C&C Kit with a SJC Custom Snare - Handcrafted in the USA
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azriel and the blackwolf
debut single â€œsoviet strangeloveâ€? coming 2017
Tom Tom's Outlaw issue strays from the norm. Themeless, it explores artists whose stories didn't fit into past issues but who are worship-wo...
Published on Sep 20, 2017
Tom Tom's Outlaw issue strays from the norm. Themeless, it explores artists whose stories didn't fit into past issues but who are worship-wo...