I recently read something about what attributes men and woman ascribe to hair colors, in which it was said that redheads are “sexy, beautiful, aggressive and confident.” After meeting Julie Scott Edwards (aka Heisenflei), I feel that is a fair assessment. Of course, someone who obsessively studied Keith Moon for two years, favors verbal arguments for sport, and identifies with the muppet Animal would never be described as meek. Fueled by the natural ability to juggle drumming, keyboards and vocals, and the conviction that drumming is a vehicle of self expression, makes Julie not only amazing to watch, but certainly showcases her ability to be an Animal.
The first full length album for Julie’s band Pity Party, made with counterpart and long time friend Mark Smollin (also known as M), will debut in September. It was originally supposed to be three separate EPs, entitled Sweet and Slavery. The name, as Julie puts it, is “a pun that would make Charlie Sheen proud. As you may know, he sets the bar for puns.”
– By Heather Cvar
Full name: Julie Scott Edwards
Hometown: Like, The Valley (San Fernando Valley, CA)
Where do you live now: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles
Bands you are drumming in currently: Pity Party – we’re a true two-piece (like, actual live music, no prerecorded tracks, no sampled drums, etc)
Bands you were drumming for in the past: I did a short stint with The Raveonettes.
What you do for a living: I own a knitting shop.
Tom Tom Magazine: When did you start playing drums?
JH : Five years ago, when M and I started Pity Party.
Tom Tom Magazine: Reason that you started playing drums?
JH : Unhealthy obsession with Keith Moon.
Tom Tom Magazine: What is your favorite drum set-up? Why?
JH : Drums + Keyboards + Vocals = Dexterity
Tom Tom Magazine: What would your dream kit consist of?
JH : I’ll drum on anything with anything. If it makes noise, I dream about it. I would also very much like a riser, and someone to transport it and set it up for me. Thanks.
TTM: What do you think the role of a drummer is in a band?
JH : The drummer is the bones, the beat, and the soul. The drummer is the sex, the groove, and the funk. The drummer is the conductor, the master, the organic matrix.
TTM: Do you play any other instruments?
JH : I play simultaneous drums and keyboard while singing. (Drums with my two legs and right arm, keyboard with my left arm). Play a little plucky, girly guitar. Trumpet. The fool.
If so … how does that effect your drumming?
JH : Uh… well… Drumming is a part of a greater whole. It’s the mean frequency. It’s the street. I people that street with the keyboard, then I bring souls to those people by singing. It’s difficult to do this. It took me many many many many hours slowing everything down and fitting it together. It’s like dancing and singing at the same time. Your body has to KNOW the moves before you can sing the song.
TTM: What do you consider to be the most challenging thing about the drums?
JH : Setting them up.
TTM: What’s your favorite part about playing drums?
JH : Hitting hard, feeling space, punctuating, sex.
TTM: Most notable show you ever played?
JH : We toured opening for the Raveonettes and I got to play on their vintage Ludwig kit, which was very very nice; looked great in pictures and sounded good, too.
TTM: Have you experienced any setbacks as a female drummer?
JH : Well, I’ve overcompensated for being a woman by playing 3 instruments at once, which always shuts up the men. Because, let’s face it, dudes watch me play, then go home and try to do what I do, and find out they can’t. The setbacks are actually the boon. As women, we have constant opportunities to break the mold and be extraordinary.
TTM: Who are your favorite drummers?
JH : JOHN BONHAM!!! CARLA AZAR!!!
TTM: If you could change one thing about the drums what would it be?
JH : Nothing. Aggression + Rhythm = Transcendence
TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear?
JH : Sam Ash! Guitar Center! No interest for 12 months!
TTM: What would you recommend to a new drummer starting off?
JH : Don’t listen to anybody. Your beat is internal and eternal. Practice. Get dirty. And don’t ever let people who “know better” edit your tracks to a grid.
TTM: What are some of your other hobbies / interests?
JH : Cats, gardening, knitting.
TTM: Who are some of your favorite lady drummers right now?
JH : Carla Azar (she drums in my brother’s band Autolux and she is my hero. She is heavy and precise and bold. I love her.) I also like Sarah Chernoff (aka Mimi Malone) from The Franks. She’s sexy and nonchalant. Like, “so what, I’m drumming.”
TTM: Who are some of your favorite bands right now?
JH : Nico Vega, Autolux, The Strange Boys, Fool’s Gold
TTM: Which muppet do you identify with most?
JH : Animal, clearly.
TTM: What’s the recipe for a good performance?
JH : Strength, focus, fearlessness, flow.
TTM: Do you have a pet name for your drum set?
JH : Hhmmm… No I don’t, actually. I sort of fear it- it knows a lot more than me.
TTM: What’s the story behind the name Heisenflei?
JH : It’s unique in the googleverse.
TTM: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
JH : Food consumption stops 6 hours before I take the stage. Black tea or espresso 2 hours before. Jack Daniels, no ice, 1 hour before. Diarrhea. Showtime.