Pat Sarabia: Do my Best, Go with the Flow, Enjoy

Basic info: Pat Sarabia
Age: 24
Hometown: Alabang, Philippines
Lives in: Elmhurst, NY
Day job: Soon
Favourite drummers: way too many to mention but off the top of my head, some of my biggest influences — Jojo Mayer (Nerve), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), John Stanier (Battles), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Takashi Kashikura (toe), Jay Gapasin (Philippines – Radioactive Sago Project/Tarsius)
Past bands: Wagyu
Current bands: pow wow!, Wilderness, Twin Lobster (sessionist)
Drum kit: Grestch Catalina

24 year old drummer and percussionist Pat Sarabia is as self confident when she plays as when she is interviewed, no doubt she is doing what she likes to do most. She is now living in New York for a few months, and touring with the band pow wow!, until she returns to her hometown in the Philippines.

Introduce yourself to Tom Tom readers…
Hello everyone 🙂

What is the thing you like the most about playing drums?
It feels good and I get to express myself in a way that words can’t.

You play different kinds of percussion, tell us about it.
I play percussion for my band from Manila called Wilderness — most of us were music students at the same college and that’s how we got together. My older brother had this full percussion setup at home that he wasn’t using anymore, he used to play in the church band when he was younger. He gave all his equipment to me and we incorporated that into the band, and just kept on building our sound. In the span of 2 years the band has grown from a 3 piece to a family of 8 members! I handle the timbales and blocks, while Chiko (percussion) handles conga. We usually trade off within songs using shakers, tambourine, etc.

And you have a special taste for cymbals…
I really like the sound of stacks, or anything dark/trashy cymbals. I have a Hammerax Crash Course that I found on sale when I was in Texas, I’d never seen anything like it before so I had to buy it. I also made this stack just out of spare/broken cymbals that my friends lent me. Just generic cymbals — I think 20″ crashride, some old broken hi hat, and a Stagg 8″ splash on top. I’m really into Zach Hill, and I think this sounds close to the stacks he uses! For hats I use 10″ Paiste Micro hats. Like the Hammerax, I’d never seen anything like it before, I thought it was interesting so I got it.

How is the experience of living to NY and playing with pow wow! being? What expectations do you have?
It’s a different trip that’s for sure! The music is a genre I’ve never really gotten into beforehand, and I’m learning a lot. It’s refreshing to be able to approach the kit in a different way. I have to think in a different way, move in a different way. I always try to live with no expectations, or no high expectations. Just do good, do my best, go with the flow, and enjoy.

How would you describe Philippines musical scene?
I think most outsiders would be surprised to see how vibrant and alive it really is in the Philippines (not just in Manila)! For the most part, I think the biggest scenes would be pop, rock and hip hop. I think on a worldwide scale Filipino music is still not as exposed as everyone would like it to be, but there is no doubt there is real talent, quality music over there! Audibly there is definitely Western influences in the music, but of course, still keeping true to our own, and keeping our heart/Philippine spirit in it. The more you go to gigs/shows, the more active you are, you’ll see that everyone is connected in some sort of way. I feel that it is the community that allows Filipino music to take on its own form.

In three words, describe the New York musical scene.
fresh / influential / everywhere

Who with would you like to play (in a band)? And who with would you like to record?
I can’t really answer this … I don’t know. I’d love to be able to play with a swing/big band type of band one day though.

Recommend us a few bands that you are lately listening to.
Animals as Leaders, Conveyor, Grizzly Bear, Little Tybee, Love Inks. And bands from the Philippines: Tarsius, The Butchercons, Ang Bandang Shirley

Interview by Cati Bestard

Photos courtesy of Pat

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