Where are you from and/or where do you live now?
I am originally from Cologne, Germany and have lived in Melbourne for 25 years.
How long have you been playing drums? And what initially drew you to the instrument?
I started playing drums six years ago, when I was 47. I have always loved the drums, but only decided on starting to learn when I found out that electric kits are set out like normal kits and if you practice on an electric kit, you can easily switch over…
Do you play any other instruments?
No, but I sing in the Brunswick Women’s Choir and do their choreography.
What bands/projects/collaborations are you involved in right now?
At the moment, I only play with my band, the Peppercorn Jazz Band. We have a residency at Open Studio in Melbourne, which is great fun!
What else where you previously involved in (bands/shows/projects etc)?
I started out playing with a rehearsal band, the Dirty Dozen, a lovely group of people who just play for fun. I have also fulfilled my dream, by playing for a short stint with a reincarnation of Boob Tube, a daggy disco band from Melbourne, which was locally pretty popular in the 90’s. Last year, I also played for a small band, called “Almost Blue” playing cool Jazz and 60’s songs.
Do you write music or develop your own shows? What are they about/how have they come about?
No, I’m not experienced enough to write music, but with my background in dance, I feel passionate about paying attention to stage presence and relating to the audience. I have taught stage presence and movement to choirs and bands and I make sure that the bands I play in pay attention to how they present themselves.
What are your thoughts on collaboration in music and in the projects you’re involved in or the projects you run?
ollaboration is great, but in drumming, nobody wants to collaborate with me, because my skills (apart from keeping time) are not advanced enough.
Who are you listening to/whose music are you enjoying right now?
Everything from “the divine comedy” to “la cabra mechanica” from Spain and everything in-between and beyond.
Do you have any favourite drummers? Or other musicians who inspire you? why?
I like musical drummer. Greg Saunier from Deerhoof is amazing, but if I could, I would be like Karen Carpenter, singing and drumming at the same time (it’s difficult, believe me). I also like Chris Haydon’s style (Florence and the machine), lots of bass and toms.
How would you describe the kind of music or projects you’re mostly involved in? And/or what kind of unique perspective/sound do you bring to these gigs?
Well, I mainly play traditional jazz. What I try to do is keep it simple and add to the performance of the other musicians, not take over or play too loudly.
Do you have a particular warm up or practice routine? Or favourite exercises?
I really like playing along to songs on my ipod and either trying to copy the drummer giving the songs a different sound by making up my own stuff. Sometimes that works well…
Does social media play a big part in how you promote yourself as an artist and your various projects? Do you promote your work in other ways?
Facebook is the main way in which we promote ourselves. Also, I badger the audience at each gig to join us on facebook. We used to play in a park and had postcards about the band printed. Strangely, we got a few gigs from that..
Do you make a living from music? What different types of work does this comprise?
No, I really don’t. Once in a while, we get some money, that’s a bonus.
Where’s the coolest place that music has taken you?
With the Peppercorn Jazz Band, we have played at the Windsor Hotel at a 1920’s theme party, that was pretty cool, but with the choir, I have sung at Tepapa Museum in Wellington, NZ, Simpson’s gorge in the Northern Territory and at the Italian Miners Club in Coober Peedy, what can I say!
If you could give your younger drumming self some advice what would it be?
Well, I wasn’t that much younger, so let me give advice to other younger drummers:
Have a kit that is not a hassle to set up and transport. I have a foldable kit and therefore can easily get to rehearsals and gigs without hassle. Also learn your music, be on time and professional and play with the other musicians, not against them.
Thanks, that was fun!
Peppercorn Jazz Band