Hitomi Hits Hard and Tells All

The first time I saw Hitomi play live, my jaw dropped and my legs wouldn’t stop twitching. Hitomi is fierce behind a kit. She is hotter than hot and precise beyond rock’s imagination. She can burn punk, swing, and make audiences’ hearts stop. She is a gorgeous rockin’ powerhouse with sticks. Her bands are so lucky to have her!


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

Full name: Hitomi Nakamura
Age: 34
Hometown: Nagano, Japan
Where do you live now: Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn
Bands you are drumming in currently: High Teen Boogie, Statues of Liberty, and Undead-with Bobby Steele, the guitar player from the Misfits.
Bands you were drumming for in the past: I had 2 bands before.
What you do for a living: I work as a waitress at a Japanese Restaurant and I also teach drums to beginner kids.


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

Tom Tom Magazine: Cake Shop was a good show?

Hitomi Nakamura: Oh yeah, we played downstairs. I ate vegan cupcakes.

Tom Tom Magazine: When did you start playing the drums?

Hitomi Nakamura:I started at 8 yrs old. My father was a drummer. He taught me and also I really felt attracted to the drums.


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

Tom Tom Magazine: How long did it take till you felt like a “real” and legit drummer?                                                    

Hitomi Nakamura: 3 years.

Tom Tom Magazine: What is your favorite set-up for your kit? Why?


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

Hitomi Nakamura: It’s four pieces and three cymbals. I like simple. Not too much toms, and single pedal. One high tom and one floor tom. 2 crashes and one ride. Normal.

Tom Tom Magazine: What would your dream kit consist of?

Hitomi Nakamura: I love Yamaha kits. I like vintage Sabian cymbals. And a double pedal, I want to try one. That’s my dream. Sabian is the best.


TTM: What do you do to get better at the drums?

HN: I practice on a pad at home 10 minutes every day. Just 10 minutes but every day. I go to the studio and listen to my bands’ CDs at full volume for about 2 hours, I practice by myself.

TTM: Which studio do you like?

l_22594a4fdbb55c9697e03640f7fe6e94Hitomi with her band Statues of Liberty

HN: I use The Studio on 30th Street.

TTM: What is your favorite drum warm up/what do you do to warm up before playing?

HN: I jump for ten minutes or I stretch my arms and I can’t eat too much one or two hours before.

TTM: What do you think the role of the drummer is? (In a band)

HN: This is important. The drummer always needs to be the metronome for the band.  So the drummer doesn’t need a lot of fills, just a simple beat, keeping the beat (and the band) always on time. That’s the best for a drummer.


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

TTM: Do you play any other instruments? If so … how does that effect your drumming?

HN: Sometimes I play bongos and conga as a hobby.

TTM: What do you consider to be the most challenging thing about the drums?

HN: One difficult thing is to play drums and sing at the same time. And drum solos. For me, solos are hard. I have to practice. I can’t play solos. No solos.


Hitomi and her band High Teen Boogie

TTM: What’s your favorite part about playing drums?

HN: I like fast beats like hard core and I like groovy, I like simple beats.

TTM: Most notable show you ever played?

HN: I had a show at Bowery Ballroom last October. Bowery is so huge, the upstairs, so many faces. And the drums sounded amazing. My kick drum was huge. If I kicked, it came back to my body. I was surprised. Very nice sound and a lot of people in the audience. I played with Statues of Liberty.  Two American tall guys and me.


Photo by Ed

TTM: Have you experienced any setbacks as a female drummer?

HN: Not really. People like female drummers but one thing is that the drums are very heavy. Carrying them to every show.

TTM: Who are your favorite drummers?

HN: I have many favorite drummers. But my favorite is Stuart Copeland and John Bonham and Neil Peart and Dave Grohl from Nirvana. I like power drums. Rock.


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear?

HN: Mostly Guitar Center or Sam Ash.

What would you recommend to a new drummer starting off?

HN: Just practice on a pad, not a drum set. Maybe half a year. Just the pad.  Just rudiments. I know it’s boring but keep doing it for ten minutes every day. Then you can sit at a drum set. Imagination is very important. You listen to CDs. Imagination first and rudiments. Bring coffee. That’s it.

Hitomi_2009-09-08_239Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

TTM: What are some of your other hobbies?

HN: I paint.

TTM: Who are some of your favorite lady drummers right now?

HN: I like Cindy Blackman from Lenny Kravitz. She’s a very good rock drummer. I also like Sheila E. I like funk, the up-beat.


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Aaron Wojak

TTM: Who are some of your favorite bands right now?

HN: I like the Clash, David Bowie, British Rock. I like punk, Bad Brains, hard core, Pantera.

Interview by Alison Mazer an extraordinary woman

Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine Photos by Aaron Wojak

Other photos courtesy of Hitomi

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  1. The saw her for the first time playing in Statues of Liberty.


    Now I’ve gone to see all her bands. Be sure to check her out. I’ll see you at her next Statues show:

    Fri Jan 8th at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC.

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