Full name: Clara Balzary
Hometown: Los Angeles
Where do you live now: New York City
Bands you are drumming in currently: Grand Rapids
Bands you were drumming for in the past: The Tints
What you do for a living: I’m a photographer
Tom Tom Magazine:When did you start playing drums?
Clara Balzary: I started playing around 14 and had a band with my friends for about two years, but didn’t really start playing again til about a year and a half ago, when I started playing with
Tom Tom Magazine: Reason that you started playing drums?
Clara Balzary: I took piano lessons growing up, and tried my hand at bass and guitar, but everything always felt so complicated! My hands are too clumsy to deal with strings – and drumming always came naturally and felt the most like having fun. I learned by playing along to Is This It when it first came out.
Tom Tom Magazine: What is your favorite drum set-up? Why?
Clara Balzary: I like to keep things simple. I kind of hate when kits include too many bells and whistles. Two rack toms at the MOST. Maybe a tambourine for flair.
Tom Tom Magazine: What would your dream kit consist of?
Clara Balzary: Vistalite Ludwigs!
TTM: What do you think the role of a drummer is in a band?
CB: In my case, it’s being late to about every practice or show ever held… Also I think that it’s really about controlling the atmosphere of a song. The genre of song can change so quickly with the littlest change in beat.
TTM: Do you play any other instruments?
CB: I’ve been trying ( and failing ) to learn how to play the guitar for the past five years!
TTM: Most notable show you ever played?
CB: With my band in highschool we played All Tomorrow’s Parties in England, and got to share a stage with Yoko Ono, James Chance, and the Zombies! Legendary.
TTM: Who are your favorite drummers?
CB: Brian Blade, Maureen Tucker, Dave Grohl, Charlie Watts, whoever executes Doug Martsch’s ideas for Built to Spill.
TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear?
CB: Besides buying sticks and stuff at First Flight on 1st ave, everything I use is a hodge podge of hand-me-downs.
TTM: What are some of your other hobbies / interests?
CB: Film, Books, Cross-Country road trips, Japan, margaritas.
TTM: Who are some of your favorite bands right now?
CB: I love Pavement, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., Silver Jews, Cocteau Twins, Galaxie 500, it goes on and on… In terms of contemporary bands I’ve really been enjoying the Smith Westerns, Dirty Projectors and Real Estate.