All photos above by Lubica Martincova.
Interview about my drumming published at http://fashionandfemalefrontedbands.tumblr.com/ by Sarah Westgarth
What bands are you in?
My main band is called the Badlanders. We got the name from a 50s movie, which is great! I’m the only girl in the band (I play drums), which is formed with people from Topshop and Topman , who all met at work. It’s me, Ryan, Jasper and Dave and It’s taken us some time since we met till we actually made some songs in the studio- It’s just a long process and now we’re just waiting for the final mastering since we recorded two weeks ago. We want to do videos and pictures and spread this stuff to magazines and be on stage because that’s what we love. You can’t actually hear the songs yet as they’re not released, but they will be published in about four weeks. I think we’re very different to other bands in London right now, the sound is quite different. We have been told quite a few times now that we sound like The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
I don’t write songs because I focus on my drumming. We all have a good cultural knowledge; we like good movies, music and the history which inspires us to make music. Each of us has a very similar music taste, but appearance-wise we are very different. I think I look like a 1950s burlesque ballerina behind the drum kit, which no one has ever seen before. Then there is Ryan, he looks like a cowboy: Jasper that looks like Johnny Cash, who’s guitar teacher used to play with T. Rex: and then there’s Dave, who is just Dave, who plays bass. We’ve all become good friends which is great because I have to say that in the past I’ve experienced gender discrimination because I’m a female playing drums. But there is an increase in boys discriminating against girls because they’re jealous. I think women should be able to do the same as men, especially drums. I know that my drumming is slightly different; I have a drumming education, and used to attend guitar and drum school. I played in the Marching band and Jazz band at school. 2 years ago I got sacked from uni of Essex jazz band for making some punk noise there. Even I played jazz before, I felt it differently while behind the kit. But I have broad musical taste and I love jazz like all the beatniks Kerouac and Ginsberg did, I just don’t like playing it. I just wanted to play some nice beats in a band, and think that simplicity is best.
I also have a side project, which is the first band I formed in London, its called The Advanced Plastics Group which is a very electronic 80s inspired band. I mainly just wanted to focus on the Badlanders at the moment and just be on stage and show people how it is.
When did you start playing the drums?
I started playing the guitar when I was 14. I had lessons and I bought a Fender Telecaster guitar because I just saw it on these punk bands. I think the Clash used to have this guitar so I thought I had to get it. I was having a guitar lesson, trying to play some Babyshambles, but in the other room there were drum lessons. And these guys were just smashing these drums, so I went next door and said ‘guys you can’t play drums here I’m trying to play my guitar’. And the guy was like ‘if you’re complaining why don’t you try it.’ So I sat behind the drum kit and just suddenly felt the strength of the instrument. Each drum was different, you’re body has to be separated into different parts because each bit of your body plays a different thing. I got the rhythm straight away and started having drum lessons. I was playing both instruments for two or three years, but when I went to America they put me on the drum line in the marching band because there were no guitars. Since I was 18 I stuck to playing the drums, and it has been that way for the last four years. At the time I was obsessed with Emile Zola books, word Chelsea boots, big hats like Pete Doherty and all my suits and blazers inspiration was from Patti Smith.
Have you got any musicians or drummers that inspire you?
Of course meg white. You know there will be never ending discussion about her technique and style, but I don’t care. I like her. That seven nation army beat is a real smash. I really like the drummer Keith Moon from The Who – he is amazing and the singer Karen Carpenter from the Carpenters. Each musician can give you something different, but these are my favourites from the beginning.
What music do you listen to?
I really like 40s and 50s music to listen to, but I really hate playing it. My favourite bands are the Patti Smith Group, the Smiths and the Clash – old 70s punk bands. These are the bands that inspire the music I play. Right now I’m obsessed with the Smiths song, Reel Around the Fountain and obviously the Clash – Janie Jones is the best song ever. Patti smiths album horses had great impact on me, that spoken word in between is a pure poetry. My relationship towards this record (by the way it has the best cover mspplethorpe ever did) increased when I met and became friends with its bass player, amazing Ivan Kral. I am obsessed with Lana del Rey. You know I love sad songs and theatre and vintage Americana. That’s what Lana is singing about.
What’s you’re favourite thing about performing?
I just love being on stage, even though I’m very shy. Your drums on stage with the mics on is a completely different sound to what is it without. I just like playing the music and being happy. I love making music for the people. I’ve loved being around music since I was 12 and coming from a small city, no one was really that into music. When I was younger there were girls that just bought the drumsticks to walk around with to pretend they would play the drums and it just wasn’t me at all. I just love drums. My passion is to play the drums and I confess I’m going to play them all my life.
Do you think your fashion links into your music?
It does but it’s a completely different style. I wear pretty 1950s frocks behind the drum kit and I love to spread its skirt onto the drumming chair. I don’t know anyone else that does that. I come up onto stage in my high heels and I change into my converse because I can’t play in heels, I’ve damaged so many of them doing that!
What inspires your fashion?
My inspiration is the Christian Dior look from the 1950s, which was dresses with a small waist, made with very expensive fabrics. My whole drumming wardrobe are fit and flare dresses, which you can actually spread out and play the drums in pretty well. Otherwise I also wear vavavoom fitted dresses but unfortunately can´t play drums in them. I love all the Hollywood stars from the 30s- 50s. I’m obsessed with Dita Von Tease because the clothes that she wears and the way that she does it is timeless. I want to be the same. I want to look at pictures of myself in 20 years and for my style to be timeless and not look like costume.
Does your fashion ever change from day to day and what you wear on stage?
No not at all. I dress up the same all the time.
Do you have a favourite piece on your wardrobe?
Yes, I love my Burberry trench coat because I really like Humphrey Bogart and I like to wear it like him. I have a couple of amazing 50s dresses which I got in San Francisco. I also have my 1940s satin gown and slippers, which I wear at home. I have loads of dresses- I only wear dresses.
Where do you shop?
I work in Beyond Retro in Dalston, so I’m the first person that goes through the clothes. And also the dresses that I wear have very small waists so not that many people can get into them. I shop in America a lot, I have a few favourite stores in San Francisco where you can get the best stuff in the world.
What’s next for your band?
Do the shooting, finish the video, and go back on stage.
Let´s look at my drumming gear. I am using Vic Firth 7A sticks and I have vintage D Drum with 12″ tom, 14″f.tom,20″ bass d.14″ snare, Gibraltar Hardware and Zildjian A Custom cymbols consisnting of HI-HAT:14”/36cm, CRASH: 18”/45 cm, MEDIUM RIDE: 20 ”/51 cm (On this photo-shooting I am using Mapex, which is not mine).
By Zuzana Dahamshy
The Advanced Plastic Group
All photos above by Sarah Westgarth.