Full name: Penelope Edmund
Nickname/pseudonym: Penelope Edmund
Hometown: Halifax, UK
Where do you live now: London
Bands you are drumming in currently: Penelope Edmund
Bands you were drumming for in the past: Martha’s Arse, Penelope and Dovedog
What you do for a living: Split betwixt working in an art gallery, making music and putting on a club night.
TTM: How would you describe your musical project Penelope Edmund? PE: Bassline mutations and cowbell copulations.
TTM: When did you start playing drums? PE: When I was 13 I was obsessed with my friend’s sister’s drum kit. She lived in a fearsome old Victorian house and I would go to said house and attempt to play this massive drum kit.
TTM: Reason that you started playing drums? PE: I love hitting things to create rhythm. I guess I was intuitively attracted to the idea of using every limb to make things go ‘tss-ta-ta, tss-ta-ta’ and the possibility that it could make people dance.
TTM:. What is your favorite drum set-up? Why? PE: Cow-bell city! Tons of percussion blocks – blast blocks, jam blocks – things that go tick, tock and ting are the most delightful things, to my ears at least. Sometimes I use a drum machine and also sample and re-loop my own studio drumming. I also like finding sounds, for example in my song ‘Come Tonight,’ the main jingly bell sound is created using a metal belt buckle.
TTM: Can you talk about your song writing process? PE: It’s all very ROUGH! I’ll begin by laying down some kick drum and snare. Sometimes drum-wise, that could be enough. And then I work out a grunting, piggy-sounding bass-line. Then I’ll scatter some cowbells or blocks or egg-shakers here and there to add texture. Vocals/lyrics come last of all. Inspiration-wise, I get ideas when walking alone around a city and carry a little recorder to record vocal ideas and melodies.
TTM: Since you are a one-lady-band, how do you decide what to do/play for live shows? PE: I do a lot of zooming around on stage so instruments and a percussion set-up that enables this is a plus! And I suppose I think about what is the most distinctive or important elements from a particular song and perform that instrument.
TTM: What do you consider to be the most challenging thing about the drums? PE: Getting blurred vision from hairline sweats when performing live. Tricky.
TTM: Most notable show you ever played? PE: Peaches came to London last summer and at one of her shows I performed before her set. That was a big deal for me because she’s a long standing idol of mine.
TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear? PE: Andy’s Drum Centre, Dolphin, random objects I find may find laying around in my studio-bedroom.
TTM: What would you recommend to a new drummer starting off? PE: Follow your instincts. Be imaginative and be yourself.
TTM: What are some of your other hobbies / interests? PE: Espresso! Computers! DJing! Codes! Making lasagna! Lovely wine!
TTM: Who are some of your favorite lady drummers right now? PE: Akiko ‘Keex ‘ Matsuura from the band Comanechi. All of the sisters from ESG – Valerie is their ‘main’ drummer obviously, but they are all rhythm wizards, to my ears. So simple and so good.
TTM: Who are some of your favorite bands right now? PE: Have you heard any stuff by Parallel Dance Ensemble? Oh my godfathers – they are completely amazing. So I’m listening to them a lot, along with In Flagranti (or anything from the Codek label), Planningtorock, Liquid Liquid, Gay Tendencies.
TTM: Did you notice any differences or similarities between the UK and the States on your recent tour? PE: Fewer oatcakes. More tacos. A few people mentioned that they found my Englishness ‘exotic’. I’ve never heard such a ludicrous description of myself! But it was very flattering all the same.
TTM: Are you aware that your head bang is an international sensation? PE: No I’m not aware that my head banging is an international sensation! Thank you, that’s fabulous news – who knew!
Interview by: Andy Blum
Photos Courtesy of Penelope Edmund