By Mar Gimeno Lumbiarres for Tom Tom Magazine
Name: Paulina Villarreal Vélez
Lives In: Monterrey N.L. (México)
Current Bands: The Warning
Inspirations: Roger Taylor (Queen), Dominic Howard (Muse), Sheila E. (Prince)
Tom Tom Magazine: I guess you were born in an all-musical atmosphere.
Paulina Villarreal Vélez: I do. I started at age 3 with musical initiation. When 4 I went through piano lessons. When I was 6 my parents bought me the Rock Band game. In this I wanted to play the drums and would not even let my sisters play. That’s when my dad noticed I was good with tempo and coordination, so I got started with drum lessons.
So you play two instruments since really young. Have you ever composed?
I compose my own songs. Sometimes it’s just the letter and others the main piano melody. I also create rhythms and drum solos.
Tell me about your drums development skills.
I first started with the basics: drumsticks holding, paradiddles and basic rhythms. Then I went through more technique such as doubles and triplets. If I had to choose I’d rather stay with rock genre music although my teachers have eventually introduced me to the funk and jazz world, which I’ve started to like too. Muse is a great influence band to me.
People know you from your Youtube drum covers but mostly from Kelly Clarkson’s “My life would suck without you”.
When I was told I had to learn it I thought I could never make it. It took too many hours of practice with my teacher and on my own. I remember once it left really incredible but when we checked the recording found out one camera had turned off in the middle of the song. I felt horrible and cried because I had been trying so hard many times to make this fit perfectly. In the end, my mom sat here by my side. That made me feel comfortable and I ended playing the whole song right again.
Let’s talk about The Warning.
My sisters and I chose an instrument that we could play together. My older sister Dani chose the guitar and Ale, the youngest, chose the bass. Then I chose the drums. I sing some songs and others while Dani sings, my younger sister and I focus on the backing vocals. This is how The Warning was born. If I was playing with friends it would be difficult to combine the schedule and having to move. But my sisters are The Warning so we can play when we want because we live in the same house. What I like the most is whenever I make a mistake my sisters don’t tell me in a halfway. They just speak their minds frankly and directly.
As you know we’re interviewing you for Tom Tom Magazine, the only female world drum magazine. How do you feel about female drummer movement?
There are few women who play the drums. When I was younger my parents used to buy me those drum magazines where appeared all drummer men posing with their drumsticks. I could only notice a few women. I think though there are many girls who are beginning to play the drums and will soon be discovered. Drums are not only for men; it’s like any instrument, anyone can play it. The only thing missing is to spend enough time in order to achieve the personal goals.
How do you feel yourself as a drummer?
I am one of those children who have no patience. If I play the piano and I go wrong, I despair and would love to hit it, but I’m not aloud. Instead, when I’m in my drums and make a mistake I actually hit them and afterwards feel relaxed. I also like the fact I can improvise and invent my own rhythms. Playing the drums has this groove that makes you want to move. I feel as if all the energy I have saved flows from me. I finally feel tired but very proud and happy that things have turned out right. That’s what I enjoy; doing what I like to do and having a good time while that. Many people play instruments just because they have it. But the most important of all is to play because you love it. That’s the message I want to give.
Anything left to add?
To all the girls and women there: play the drums. Not because men mostly play this rather means women cannot. Thank you very much for this opportunity, honestly. It is an honor to appear in a magazine to inspire other women to play the drums. I’m very happy, thank you.
Thank you for all those nice words, Paulina. Let me tell you in fact, you’re right now already an inspiration. Just keep on learning and you’ll achieve as many goals as you want in life. You’ve got a huge potential talent. Good luck.