Watching Paloma Estevez drum, via a two-minute YouTube video for Soultone Cymbals, one cannot help but like the groove she has conjured up. She is relaxed and focused. As the new drummer for the band Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe, it is this attitude that she conveys through her drumming –along with many hours and a lot of hard work –that speaks to her success as a working musician. It seems that Paloma has created a life that she wants, at least for now, and that is comprised of drums and helping others. Tom Tom Magazine recently got a chance to speak with the lovely Ms. Estevez.
Name: Paloma Estevez
Lives in: Woodland Hills, CA
Hometown: San Fernando Valley and Malibu, CA
Tom Tom Magazine: You were born in the midst of the Southern California entertainment industry. It makes sense that you would somehow be involved in the arts. How old were you when you started playing the drums? How did you discover the drums?
Paloma Estevez: I started drumming when I was 13, but my ﬁrst instrument was actually trombone. I was a true band geek, playing in the wind ensemble and jazz band, haha! I frequently found myself admiring the drummer (mainly for the cool factor). I was more than delighted to ﬁnd out as a teenager that I had a natural talent for hitting things!
Are there any drummers that you really admire?
Yes! I have always been a big fan of Chad Sexton, drummer for 311! His drumming inspired to me to get behind that kit in the ﬁrst place. In terms of feel and groove, I have found myself modeling my playing after the great John Bonham from day one. It’s always an honor to hear, “Wow, you sound a lot like John Bonham. I’ve never heard a girl hit so hard!”
A nice thing about being an artist or being in the arts is the potential to be inspired by different artistic mediums. Are there other musicians (non drummers) or artists that inspire you?
Since my background is jazz and classical the list of artists that inspire me is inﬁnite! I listen to everything from classical to death metal. I believe that any artist that gets their music out there has the ability to inspire! I wouldn’t even know where to start…
How much do you practice?
I practice a lot! Being in a band, as well as freelancing for several other artists, keeps me busy! I am constantly learning new songs! This year alone, I learned around 300 songs at performance level. But who’s counting? Haha! I generally practice around 3 hours a day and divide my time into rudiments, songs and then grooves/exercises that I am working on. On a good day I practice 4 to 6 hours.
What type of drums do you play on?
DW all the way! And I am in love with my Pork Pie snare drum!
What bands have you been involved in?
I have been playing in bands since I was 14. So I’ve done everything from studio work to live performance in all styles of music and situations. From all girl bands to being the only girl. It’s always an experience to learn from.
I was reading your blog and read that you are now the permanent drummer for Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe (congrats). You landed this gig after a year of freelancing. How possible is it to make a living off of freelancing? Did you need to have a “day job” as well?
I am so thrilled to be a part of Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe! It’s nice to be in a band again, but I actually still do a great amount of freelancing (currently for 4 other bands) and I do have a “day job” teaching drums! On average, I work 7 days a week. On top of that, I have joined forces with a writing partner writing music for TV/Film placement opportunities. Basically, I never sit still. I have a hard time saying no, because I love music so much as well as the need to make a living! I teach drums as my “day job”, it’s still music, so it’s hard to consider that as something separate. I can honestly call myself a working musician!
Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe seem to center their music around social activism, i.e. playing in jails, prisons and recovery centers. Is being a social activist something that you try and employ through your music?
I have played a lot of shows in my career thus far, but there are no words to describe what it feels like to play love-fueled music for people in need! My band Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe can take you through a deep soul searching journey if you’re open to it. When women and men in jail cells/recovery homes, etc are ﬁlled with gratitude and a new found purpose, it ﬁlls me with the same!
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to have a career as a musician?
I say go for it! You only live once, so you better enjoy what you do. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a career for people who really want it and deeply believe in it!