Lindsay Schief: Keeping Time with a Ponytail


Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine Illustration of Lindsay Schief by Niles Armstrong

Lindsay Schief_female drummer_tom tom magazine

Exclusive Tom Tom Photo by Yoni Kifle

Tom Tom Magazine: What is your current favorite/most exciting drumming pattern, style or tendency? How’d you come up with it, and did anything in particular inspire you to develop it? Have you developed any interesting techniques to work around any obstacles that have come up in your drumming?

Lindsay Schief: It’s funny; I don’t exactly pay attention to drumming patterns, at least not consciously. This question is interesting for me because I try not to think very hard about the theory behind my technique. My style has always just been intuitive.  I tend to play sparsely, and lately four-on-the-floor has really been my jam. And disco beats. I tend to like a lot of space within a drum beat. I can say that there are a lot of things I consciously DON’T do, like hit really hard, or fill up every measure with fills and rolls and trills and stuff. I hardly even hit the cymbals.

Lindsay Schief_female drummer_tom tom magazine

Exclusive Tom Tom Photo by Yoni Kifle

My favorite thing that happens is when there is a split second during a song where there’s absolutely no sound from me or the instruments or vocals -just a quarter or eighth note of silence.

I’m into soul and gospel drumming. Some might say I can get pretty funky. I recently saw an episode of the Dick Cavet Show from the 70’s where Sly and the Family Stone were the musical guests. Their band was splayed out into a long row, and each of the musicians had simple parts; everything sounded really dry and spacious. That I guess is the closest thing I can come up with to a musical influence.

What inspires me more than a drummer’s musical style is the way they move behind the drum kit. My band, LAKE, recently toured and played a few shows with The Curious Mystery from Seattle. Their drummer, Faustine Hudson, was very animated. She really inspired me to get my whole body more into playing. You can play a simple beat stemming from no specific influence, yet create a great feel just by playing from your core.  What this translates to are skeletal rhythms that leave a lot of room for the other instrumentalists. Sometimes it can be hard to keep good time if there are no hi-hats or fills keeping eighth notes, so I play with my hi-hat stick on my right knee. A funny thing I just discovered on this tour that helps me play evenly and in-the-pocket is wearing my hair up in a high pony tail, which helps me keep time with its swing. It’s like a metronome.

Lindsay Schief_female drummer_tom tom magazine

Exclusive Tom Tom Photo by Yoni Kifle

Lindsay Schief plays the drums in the lo-fi pop group LAKE, whose members hail from Washington State. Lindsay sometimes sings or picks up other instruments in the band, but is usually behind the kit, providing the most solidly soothing beats for this band’s addictively catchy and uplifting pop sound. LAKE recently toured the US with Karl Blau in support of their new album Let’s Build a Roof (K Records).

Lindsay’s portrait is by Niles Armstrong, who is from Birmingham, Alabama and currently resides in Portland, OR. Niles tries to be outside when it is dry and creative when it rains.  He has put out two Exquisite Corpse zines with Clea Partridge and creates the zine Heavy Humans.

Exclusive Tom Tom Interview by Lisa Schonberg (drummer Explode Into Colors & STLS)

Exclusive Tom Tom Photos by Yoni Kifle

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  1. Mom played the drums with Lindsay in her tummy. I’m thinking she came out drumming. Excellent work and I’m very proud!

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