Linnea Vedder Keeps Lights On!

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Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Bek Andersen

Clothes in the photos by Bek and in the video made by Katie McKay

“My dream kit  would levitate and shoot sparkles out of it.”- Linnea Vedder

Any drummer who’s dream kit includes levitation and sparkles that shoot out of it is obviously awesome. Linnea Vedder’s dream kit would do just that, and her awesomeness as a drummer, singer, and creative force is innate. She drums and sings in Lights, a self described psychedelic/metal/mojo/pop band, that would totally sound great with a levitating drum kit, so long as Linnea was behind it. She took time out to talk to Tom Tom Magazine about her unique perspective on playing the drums. Rites, their latest full-length album, is out on Drag City.

alentine's day union pool photo by james belliziaPhoto by James Bellizia

Full name: Linnea Vedder
Age: 27
Where were you born: Madison, Wisconsin
Where do you live now: Brooklyn, New York
Bands you are drumming in currently: I play drums and sing in Lights.
Bands you were drumming for in the past: I just got done with a tour playing drums for Bright Black Morning Light.
Something outstanding about you: I’m a visual artist as well as a musician. I make paintings of abstract landscapes. I currently love the color like vermilion.

Ben Rowlandphoto by Ben Rowland

Tom Tom Magazine: When did you start playing the drums? Linnea Vedder: I began playing drums in 2005. I started drumming by compiling a drum kit piece by piece. Lights started playing out when I just had a tom drum on a string that I wore around my neck. Next I acquired a crash and tambourine. When I got a bass drum, I had to sit down, and then I got a snare, and on and on. Drums take up so much space that I didn’t have a place to practice until 2007. I am completely self taught, which has made my style very much from the heart. And my friend Ben McConnell gave me a couple really important lessons where he taught me the proper way to hold my sticks, arrange my drums, and sit to create good posture.

Tom Tom Magazine: Reason that you started playing the drums? Linnea Vedder: I started playing drums to fill up my time with fun, positive, and creative rock and roll.

Tom Tom Magazine: What is your favorite set-up for your kit? Why? Linnea Vedder: I like my new Ludwig aluminum snare that I’m putting wood rims on. The rest of my kit is 1965 Slingerlands with blue onyx finish. My kick drum has a sparkle ouroboros painted on it.

Tom Tom Magazine: What would your dream kit consist of?  Linnea Vedder: My dream kit would levitate and shoot sparkles out of it.

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Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine photo by Bek Andersen

“Before I play a show I surround myself with healing white light”- Linnea Vedder

TTM: What do you do to get better at the drums? LV: If I want to get better at playing I drum along to my favorite songs.

TTM: What is your favorite drum warm up/what do you do to warm up before playing? LV: Before I play a show I surround myself with healing white light.

TTM: What do you think the role of the drummer is? (In a band) LV: The drummer is the sweet heart and funky butt of the band.

TTM: Do you play any other instruments? If so … how does that effect your drumming? LV: I write songs on guitar. I sing while I am drumming which makes my beats more melodic.

TTM: What do you consider to be the most challenging thing about the drums? LV: I wish I could play the drums, sing, and dance on stage all at once.

TTM: What’s your favorite part about playing drums? LV: My favorite part about playing the drums is feeling connected to songs through my body and sharing that with an audience.

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“When people assume I’m in a girl band, I tell them I am in an awesome band and let them figure out what that means.”- Linnea Vedder

TTM: Most notable show you ever played? LV: I just played the Fillmore and the Bowery Ballroom which are two of my favorite rooms to see music in. Playing in the Boa drum last summer was a super fun drumming experience.

TTM: Have you experienced any setbacks as a female drummer? LV: As a female musician I have felt ghettoized. The first question people often ask me about my music is “Are you in a girl band?” When people assume I’m in a girl band, I tell them I am in an awesome band and let them figure out what that means.

TTM: Who are your favorite drummers? LV: My favorite drummer is Mitch Mitchell.

TTM: If you could change one thing about the drums what would it be? LV: I would like to clone myself so I could play percussion and dance and sing and play drums all at once.

TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear? LV: I’m always happy to go to John at Main Drag Music for all of my drum gear.

Sarah Keoughphoto by Sarah Keough

“Someone put a sticker on my kick drum that seems like good advice: it says “Be the Light.””- Linnea Vedder

TTM: Best piece of advice you got as a drummer? LV: The best advice I got from a drummer was to treat my body well and have good posture so I won’t injure myself down the line.  Someone put a sticker on my kick drum that seems like good advice: it says “Be the Light.

TTM: What would you recommend to a new drummer starting off / advice for new drummers? LV: I would tell any new drummer to just go for it regardless of age or gender.

TTM: What are some of your other hobbies / interests? LV: I have been practicing yoga for seven years. Yoga is a great compliment to drumming. It helps me be gentle with my body.

TTM: Who are some of your favorite female drummers right now? LV: Josephine Forsman and Sara Lund are my favorite female drummers right now.

Music Video for ‘Fire Night’ Directed by Lauryn Siegel featuring dancer Heather Andersen and visuals by Wizard Smoke

You can catch Linnea and Lights this November 21st at Union Pool in Brooklyn, NY. For more on their music and tour dates, check out their myspace.

Interview by: Courtney Gillette (our very own!)
Exclusive photos by: Bek Andersen (a bad ass)

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