So I’m here with…
Cloud Nothings and Total Babes.
And we’re going to talk about drums. First question, how long have you been playing drums?
Let’s think here. I’d say about 13 years.
That’s a long time. When you think back to starting, was there a moment or a series of moments where you decided to play drums over other things?
No, I just ended up having a drumset at my house and I played it all the time.
How did it appear?
Someone gave it to my dad, and he brought it home. He played drums back in the day.
Ok. So because he was a drummer he didn’t care if you played around…
Him and my mom were both very chill about playing drums in the house. I was allowed to play all the time.
That’s the best.
I didn’t really play in bands until I was out of high school though.
Really? Were you in band in high school?
No. I didn’t do any sort of band, I just played on my own. I actually probably played guitar more back then. I thought it was cool. You know, every kid in junior high wants a guitar at some point.
And you can bring your guitar somewhere. You can bring your drums with you in a bag to the park.
Do you play any other instruments?
Not really. I mess around with synthesizers, but that’s kind of different than playing.
Did your dad teach you anything?
He taught me a little bit of stuff early on, but not too much. He didn’t really give me lessons, but he gave me some pointers and showed me a lot of awesome drummers.
Like who? Do you have any favorites?
When I was a kid he took me to see Deep Purple and I got to see Ian Paice.
That dude is so good, so I was super into that. I also listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin when I was a kid. I was exposed to that kind of music at a young age.
So what was your method of learning? Playing along to songs?
Not so much, I just had fun, I didn’t really take lessons either.
You just got on and jammed? Completely self-taught?
The first beat my dad taught was that one “All Right Now” by Free, so everything I did sprang from that beat, essentially.
Well now when I listen to both of your bands I’m going to think about that song and think…Is this a derivative of “All Right Now”?
(chuckling) Yeah, everything is.
How long have you been in both of the bands that you are in?
They both started around the same time. I’ve been playing with Chris, the singer for Total Babes, for longer than Cloud Nothings has been around, but we put the first Total Babes record out in 2011, and technically I started playing with Cloud Nothings in early 2010.
Do you have a favorite? Do people ask which band you prefer to play in?
I’ve never been asked that. I like them both. It’s cool to play with my friends.
A lot of people compare being in a band to being in a relationship. So you kind of have multiple relationships going on…do either of them get jealous of your time?
No, never. Never once. TJ, the guy who is playing synth (for Total Babes) plays in Cloud Nothings too. Cloud Nothings is by far the busier band, and that’s fine.
You’re both playing here, does that happen a lot?
No, this is the first time , its amazing.
This is the first time?
At the same festival. We did a show together years ago, but that’s it.
How did that come about?
Was it the kind of thing where Pickathon had already booked Cloud Nothings and then you suggested Total Babes as well? Or was each band pursued independently?
Cloud Nothings was asked first, and then we asked if Total Babes could play, and they said yes.
Cool, that’s awesome.
So when your dad showed you all those drummers, you had a good classic rock base. Do you have any favorite modern drummers?
Totally. Chris Corsano is great.
What is he known for?
He’s a crazy jazz guy, he used to play with Bjork. He’s insane. Eli Kessler, that guy has the fastest hands. Greg Fox, he’s in Liturgy, and a lot of other stuff on his own. The guy who usually plays drums for Riley, Frank Rosely, he’s an amazing drummer. More loose, weird stuff is what I tend to like.
So without lessons or formal training, would you describe your playing style as more on the feel side versus the technical side?
Oh yeah, I don’t know much about the technical part of playing. I just like feeling it out.
It seems to be working, so that’s good.
I definitely practice, though.
In terms of writing songs, are you involved in writing riffs?
Sometimes me and Chris will play guitars together, but mostly an idea comes and we just jam and work on parts together.
Let’s say someone brought an idea to you for a song, but they only wanted one cymbal texture for the entire song, so you have to pick the hi hat or the ride, and play it the entire song. Which one do you pick?
Probably the hi-hat.
Because you can do a lot with it.
Only one person has ever said the ride, out of 10 people.
It depends on the song I guess.
That’s probably true. A lot of people are going hi-hat.
Maybe if the song was really aggressive, I’d go ride. I don’t know actually. I’d have to hear it.
Very diplomatic. When you are listening to music, do you have a favorite drum song or favorite fill in a song that you want to know how to play?
I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.
You just named so many drummers though!
Yeah but everything they do is great!
Fair enough. Last question. Do you have a favorite drummer besides yourself here at Pickathon?
I would have to look at the roster again, but, Ty Segall is playing right now, and Emily is a great drummer.
Awesome. Thanks again for talking with me about drums.