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Tom Tom Magazine Issue 34

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$10 | €10 | £10D I S P L AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 8Syd Tha KidCONTRIBUTORS FOUNDER | PUBLISHERMindy Abovitz Monk (info@tomtommag.com)MANAGING EDITORLiz Tracy…
$10 | €10 | £10D I S P L AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 8Syd Tha KidCONTRIBUTORS FOUNDER | PUBLISHERMindy Abovitz Monk (info@tomtommag.com)MANAGING EDITORLiz Tracy (editorial@tomtommag.com)CREATIVE DIRECTORMarisa Kurk (art@tomtommag.com)REVIEWS EDITORRebecca DeRosa (hi@tomtommag.com)TECH + GEAR EDITORJJ Jones (tech@tomtommag.com)WEB MANAGERLindsey Anderson (hi@tomtommag.com)DARA HIRSCH Podcast MixerELLIE LIGHTFOOT Podcast ProducerMIKE KUTCHMAN of Look to Listen Studio Podcast EngineerBETTINA WARSHAW Podcast InternOFFICEJasmine Bourgeois (office@tomtommag.com)SHOP MANAGERSusan Taylor (shop@tomtommag.com)MARKETING + PARTNERSHIPSShelly Simon (partner@tomtommag.com)PRINT WRITERS Jasmine Bourgeois, Shaina Joy Machlus,SassyBlack, Geoff Shelton, Kat Jetson, Zoë Brecher, Liz TracyPHOTOGRAPHERS David Barron, Alan Lear, ShellySimon, Karston "Skinny" Tannis, June Canedo, Kalindy Williams, Kim Reed, Jono Ganz, TechMe0ut, Neil Aline, Jonathan ChuILLUSTRATORS Agnes Ricart, Liz Pavlovic, Camila Rosa TECH WRITERS Lindsay Artkop, Morgan Doctor,GET ITMUSIC & MEDIA REVIEWS Chantal Wright, Kate Hoos,Barnes & Nobles (U.S. & Canada), Ace Hotels, MoMA PS1, and hundreds of other drum and music shops globally. Distributed by Ingram Periodicals, PDG, Anas International and Urbandistronyc around the world. Find out where at tomtommag.comJJ Jones, Zoë Brecher, Kristen Gleeson-Prata, LindaPhilomène Tsoungui Carolina Enriquez Swan, Jessica Lynn Perez, Matthew D'Abate, Helen Bornancin, Rebecca DeRosaGEAR REVIEWS JJ Jones COPY EDITOR Bernadette Malavarca WEB WEB CODERSRevival Agency, Jen CarlsonWEB WRITERSMiro Justad, Aiko Masubuchi, Shaina Joy Machlus, John Carlow, Geoff Shelton, Jasmine Bourgeois, JJ JonesDESIGN TEAMCONTACT US 61 Greenpoint Ave. Suite 114 Brooklyn, NY 11222 info@tomtommag.com @tomtommag TO SUBSCRIBE: shop.tomtommag.com TO ADVERTISE: partnerships@tomtommag.comLiz PavlovicDISTRIBUTIONON THE COVER: Syd Tha Kid by Alan LearNYC Urbandistronyc BARCELONA Shaina Joy Machlus EUROPE Max Markowsky PDX Shanna Doolittle, Haley Flannery, Amira Almquist LOS ANGELES Adrian TenneyTHE MISSIONBRAIN TRUSTRony Abovitz, Lisa Schonberg, Kiran Gandhi, Chloe Saavedra, Itta AbovitzTHANKIESIma, Rony, Shani, Chris J Monk, Col Col, La Moutique, Falky, Harriet, Roland, Fred Armisen, Bedrock L.A.,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 Mike Kutchman at Look to Listen StudiosLetter from the EditorWhat does DIY, the theme of this issue, mean to me? Virtually everything. All that I do within this magazine has been and will likely always be a version of DIY, or the way I like to think of it, DIO (do-it-ourselves—this magazine is worked on by a lot of us). No one was going to hand female musicians legitimacy. We were going to have to take it. I learned that after being a musician and touring and setting up my own shows for years and really never getting the recognition I believe we deserved. I also spent a lot of time being fans of other girl musicians and felt consistently disappointed at the way they were celebrated (or not celebrated, for that matter). So Tom Tom, and every one of its tentacles, we did ourselves. With no road map, no precedence, no foundation to stand on. Those of you that do the same, that start your own merch company to support your music career (see Penelope Gazin and Witchsy on p. 26), that start your own venue to book you and your friends' bands (Guide to DIY Venues on p. 18), that make your own pedals (Pedal Head on p. 22) and that program and produce your own music to showcase your lyrics (feature story Syd Tha Kid of the Interne, p. 38), you are the reason we keep doing this. Thank you for that. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, Tom Tom’s newest venture is our podcast, The Beat + The Pulse. It features me as your host, speaking to the people who have inspired me to DIY it best. Including guests Shantell Martin, Janet Weiss, and Fred Armisen, to name a few. Listen to it wherever you hear your podcasts or log on to: thebeatandthepulse.com. And if you want to know how to make your own podcast yourself, Shaina Joy Machlus clues you in with “DIY Podcast: How to terrify and empower with a podcast in only 12-steps” on p. 20.Enjoy, and if you don’t see what you want in the world, then DIY.Mindy Abovitz Monk Creator/Publisher8 9 TO KNOWCheck out these albums, books, and organizations helping women in music.14 DAPPER DRUMMERStyle and grace, Linda-PhilomèneTsoungui's fashion at the kit20 THE ESSENTIAL DIY PODCAST GUIDE How to terrify and empower with a podcast in only 12 steps22 PEDAL-HEADDIY Pedal-Maker Aisha Loe talks about selling green and making her own pedals26 WANT TO START YOUR OWN DIY BUSINESS?Witchsy’s Penelope Gazin explains how32 SPANISH SPLASHMelenas photo essay and playlist from the band44 NEVER GONNA HANG IT UP An in depth conversation withThe Coathangers’ Stephanie Luke58 TECHNIQUE Get a grip10 THE BEAT + THE PULSE Bands to look out for16 SARAH, THE !LLSTRUMENTALIST on how to make a DIY YouTube channel18 MUST-VISIT DIY VENUES IN THE U.S. Follow this guide and never get lost.24 WORKING WOMENThis DJ collective is amplifying the soundsof all women28 EVERY TIME I SING, I CRY How this drummer found her singing voice38 SINCERELY SYDHow DIY bedroom producer Syd Tha Kyd became the voice of a generation50 LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTER Madison McFerrin is a one-womanmusic-making master66 REVIEWSWhat we thinkThe Coathangers by David BarronInternal Input What DIY means to our staff.When we aren’t all recognized equally and aren’t provided with the same resources, we have to be resourceful and find ways to do it ourselves and with the communities around us. That’s how I think of DIY. The term is broader than the acronym, and when I think of DIY communities, I think of people like me who are freaks getting together to make cool shit happen.DIY, to me, means carrying out an idea you might have, even,though social norms might tell you that you aren’t qualified or do not have the proper resources to do so. DIY means finding the way to do it with the resources you have, and affirming the value of the knowledge and skills you are offering up to the universe. —Lisa Schonberg—Chloe SaavedraDIY is engaging with a previously unknown, undiscovered part of yourself and/or your community. It is searching through the wisdom of others and oneself to learn and expand, to build a skill set, to take, even when it has previously been denied. It feels like working outside of a system that is so limiting for so many. —Shaina Joy Machlus6The term DIY used to give me anxiety, because I would think of DIY venues and how hard it has been to get a decent sound as an electronic musician in some of those environments. Now, DIY means the freedom to do whatever you want without the normal restrictions venues have. —Rosana CabánTOM TOM MAGA ZI NEIt's a survival tactic of selfreliance. Being able to create your own product, service, or thing by having the confidence and craziness to "do it yourself." Asking questions along the way, looking for guidance in times of sheer darkness, and laughing when you completely screw up, are the mere risks and rewards that happen. —Shelly SimonIn my life being DIY is not a choice. It's about having the determination to see through to an idea without having the resources or finances to have someone else do it for you. —Sean DesireeThe Organelle.™ Make your mood music.THE BEATAND9 to Know This column highlights important stories, music, and more in the global female and nonbinary music communities. by Geoff SheltonEMPOWERING SOUNDS: Here are some highly recommended albums. 1. Christina Vantzou, No. 4 (Kranky) Composer and filmmaker Christina Vantzou’s latest release features a mix of orchestral instrumentation and choral music with varying degrees of processing that inspired me to look up the historical roots of the word “ambient.” The Latin prefix “ambi-,” means “both” or “around,” and the suffix “-ent” is related to the present participle of a verb, like “-ing.” Understanding this, it becomes clear how her music seems to exist simultaneously within and around its listener, while the electrorganic textures create a sense of time perhaps reflective of its Borgesian influences. Upon upon each listen to the full album, one can travel down several different paths and yet remain still. 8 TOM TOM MAGA ZI NE2. Meshell Ndegeocello, Ventriloquism (Naïve) Perhaps it’s unnecessary to recommend checking out the latest release from this virtuosic powerhouse of an artist, but in the off chance that some readers are not aware (no judgment), let’s just fix that directly. Meshell Ndegeocello’s latest is a collection of covers of some of the most well-known pop, soul, and R&B jams from the ’80s and ’90s. It is a feat that very few artists could ever have the gall to attempt and speaks volumes as to the level of respect this artistcommands. Whether you know the originals or not makes no difference in your ability to appreciate this album. Her interpretations of these pieces are reflective of her jazz artistry—taking a standard and exploring its inner musical depths, finding hidden landscapes behind the pop facades. Get out your hiking gear and explore. Proceeds of album sales go to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.13. Callie Ryan, Health (Outside Insight) Described as “a tender meditation on loss and the resulting desire for comfort” by the artist or her PR folks, Callie Ryan’s Health is an intimate experience that lures you in with raw vocals, warm synths, and sparse samples over off-kilter beats reminiscent of a system breaking down—or perhaps just starting up. It was created after her father’s cancer scare and a terrible car accident that broke her collarbone: Callie offers her hand to hold as she recovers and subsequently falls in love. This record is extraordinary in its ability to find balance between universal emotions and familiar song structures, while creating an altogether unique and almost extraterrestrial new pop landscape.23THE PULSEEMPOWERING KNOWLEDGE:4These historically important books shine light on a wide array of topics within feminist music history, musicology, and gender studies. These are evergreen issues that we continue to negotiate and discuss today. 564. Music and Women: The Story of Women in Their Relation to Music, by Sophie Drinker Frustrated at the lack of quality compositions for her women’s choir and the dearth of works composed by women, Sophie Drinker spent 20 years researching and uncovering stories and information that she published in this revolutionary book from 1948. Surveying women’s musical production around the globe, from prehistory to the early 20th century, Drinker creates a fascinating argument against the patriarchal construction of musical history, showcasing the inherent musical capacity of all humans and the power and necessity of the feminine creative voice. 5. Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality, by Susan McClary A paradigm-shifting book, Feminine Endings was published in 1991 to harsh criticisms in both musicology and feminist circles alike. Now, 27 years later,it is considered a classic text with its deconstructions of the gendered aspects of music theory, music metaphors, and sexuality in musical narratives. It offers fresh perspectives (at the time) on the work of female musicians, including Laurie Anderson, Diamanda Galas, and Madonna. 6. Music and Gender, edited by Pirkko Moisala and Beverley Diamond This collection of essays published in 2000 is a clear descendent of the other two books listed here. Topics range from the fluidity of gender in new socio-musical contexts, the gendered power dynamics inherent within new musical technologies, and the relationships between musical performance and gender identity across different countries and communities around the globe.EMPOWERING YOUTH: These organizations are making efforts to ensure that the future of music production is gender balanced. They represent just a few of a new crop of programs popping up across the globe with independent musicians, producers, and DJs who are taking it upon themselves to create safe spaces for female and nonbinary young people to learn the essentials of beat-making, producing, and mixing. 7. Beats by Girlz (beatsbygirlz.com) Minnesota/L.A./Boston/NYC/Chicago8. Girls Make Beats (girlsmakebeats.org) Miami/L.A. Founded in 2012 by recording engineer Tiffany Miranda, Girls Make Beats provides classes to girls from ages eight to 17 in everything from Ableton to Serato to Pro Tools. Through corporate sponsorships (including recent support from Spotify), GMB has been able to provide scholar-79. Producer Girls (producergirls.com) UK Launched in 2016, London-based producer DJ E.M.M.A. created this independent school with fellow DJs and producers Ikonika, Nightwave, Dexplicit, and P Jam. PG offers free one-day workshops on and off throughout the year, aimed primarily at women over the age of 18, in various locations around the UK, including Manchester, Brighton, and Glasgow. Offering their students free software from FL Studio and Ableton, they provide a basic introduction to beat-making and music production to get their students off the ground and running.98I S S UE 34 : DI YBeats by Girlz was created in 2011 by producer/songwriter (and current associate professor at the Berklee College of Music) Erin Barra-Jean. It is, according to BBG, “designed to empower young women in music technology by providing them with guidance, access, tools, and role-support to develop their interest in music production, composition, and engineering.” The program offers free curriculums and support for communities to develop their own local chapters.ships for some of its courses. Check out their SoundCloud page (soundcloud.com/ girlsmakebeatsorg) to hear some of the hot tracks their students produced in class.9THE BEATANDCompiled by Jasmine BourgeoisL'RainPhoto by June Canedo Brooklyn native Taja Cheek goes by the name of L’Rain when making experimental and refreshingly intimate music. She inhabits a sonic landscape that’s unlike any other, blending an electronic ambience with a jazz-like clamor, and joining this with lyrical poeticism. Cheek has openly discussed that her mother became ill while she was making her recent eponymous album, and how deeply her mother’s subsequent death affected her. Everything about her work drips with vulnerability and gives a nuanced glimpse into how she balances personal grieving with artistic expression. Tom Tom spoke with Cheek about her process.10Tom Tom: Could you tell me about your music-making process? Your work blends so many different sounds and styles. Is it a lot of experimenting, or do you sit down with something intentional in mind? A mix of both? L’Rain: It's a mix of both. A few years ago, I went through a period where I would try to force myself to come up with different musical ideas every day, uploading them to a public SoundCloud account. I still keep them there and refer to them. I mix and match parts of those demos to create new songs, but sometimes I come up with material in my sleep and groggily wake up and record them in their entirety.TOM TOM MAGA ZI NEHow would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard you before? L'Rain is still a fairly new project, so it's more helpful for me to learn about what listeners hear than it is for me to find extra-musical ways of communicating my concepts and ideas. I guess I'm more interested in a Barthes’ Death of the Author approach to genre. I would hope that people would findelements of gospel, ’90s R&B, and different genres of “experimental music”—for lack of a better term—in my music, but I generally try to remain as illegible as possible. There is power in remaining indiscernible. I like to exist in a liminal space. You’ve talked openly about your mother becoming ill while working on the album and how grief manifests in different ways throughout it. How do you incorporate vulnerability into your music? Your everyday life? Vulnerability is something I think about a lot. To be honest, I find it increasingly difficult to figure out the boundaries of my personal and private life. Even more so when my art is so tied to my lived experience. I haven’t figured it out. I assume it will be a process, not a fixed state, at which I’ll ever arrive. There is a part of me that feels equal parts guilty and thankful for being able to share a glimpse of my grieving process with strangers. I love building opportunities into my life for me to think about my mom. It's overwhelming, but it also brings me so much joy.That dichotomy is something I’m super interested in, grief and joy, emotional uncertainty. Anyone who has dealt with adversity in their life understands this as a normal part of life. It is a survival mechanism for those of us that live in societies that systematically exclude and abuse us. We learn to find joy when it's almost certain that there is none. We're light scavengers. All of this said, my record documents many tumultuous elements of my life, and I’m only prepared to talk about some of them. What atmospheres do you try to foster at your shows and through your music more broadly? Right now, I mostly play in bars and clubs, but I'm disinterested in the vibe that these venues nurture. I like the idea of turning these spaces upside down, making them quiet, vulnerable, and reflective instead of loud and irreverent. Or maybe I'm illuminating the ways in which these two modes of being are more related than separate. It’s an interesting production dilemma for me to think through ways of disorienting a bar space with limited time, resources, and money. Instead of production pyrotechnics, I have to search within myself for small sincere gestures. It’s a valuable exercise in exploring the limits of performance, if nothing else. How do you create a lot with a little?THE PULSEThe Shakes At only 20 years old, Nicole Bandoquillo has drummed almost all of her life. Starting out at age four, she spent the last 16 years developing her craft, winning Drummer of the Year at Orange County School of the Arts, playing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, the Yost, and Segerstrom Center of the Arts, and, most recently, in the Shakes. Nicole identifies as a gay Filipino-American woman and strongly believes that her identities have made her a more dynamic drummer. “Being a gay woman of color has definitely affected the way I carry myself, and it's definitely affected the way I perceive drumming,” she says. “Being Asian, a lot of people usually think I play piano or a wind instrument, and I've gotten, ‘I don't believe you play drums! You’re Asian. How does that work?’” Also, she contends with stereotypesPhoto courtesy of artist about her sexuality, music, and gender. “I definitely fall into the stereotype that because I'm gay, of course I play a ‘man-ish’ instrument. Even a handful of people at the schools I attended would say to me, ‘You play drums? That's a boy's instrument.’ That comment has always hurt me, because it’s blatantly misogynistic.” She tries not to wallow in the negativity. “Instead of co
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