Allison “Hi-Hat” Smith: Drumming for Nite Jewel

Allison Hi-Hat Smith Nite Jewel Drummer Woman Tom Tom Magazine

We followed up our interview with Ramona (from Nite Jewel) by getting in touch with Allison “Hi-Hat” Smith, her current drummer. How many religious experiences can we get out of one band? Apparently many.

Name: Allison “Hi-Hat” Smith
Age: 26
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Lives in: Los Angeles, CA
Past bands: Unsound Foundation, Sarah Agajanian
Current bands: Nite Jewel
Day job: Percussion teacher for after school programs in LA
Favorite food: SUSHI
Drum set: Yamaha Recording Custom
Hardware: Yamaha 700 series. Pedal 1980s Yamaha single belt drive. Sticks ProMark 7A

Allison Hi-Hat Smith Nite Jewel Drummer Woman Tom Tom Magazine

Tom Tom Magazine: How is it playing with Nite Jewel & what can we expect in the future from this project?
Allison Smith: I love Nite Jewel. This has been the biggest learning curve for me because I have never had to incorporate technology (I play a percussion pad and trigger computer tracks) into my kit before. I definitely dig it. And it helps to have such a stripped down kit. I can’t complain with having to set up just kick, snare, and hat each night.

I noticed that you have drum tattoos. What do they mean?

I have two. One is a snare drum with my drum idol (Carter Beauford’s) initials and the other is (in percussion clef) a sixteenth note triplet followed by a half note, which is a drum intro I like.

What was it like taking from Terri Lyne and going to Berklee?
She is amazing. Simple as that. My first lesson with her I had to be real and let her know I was a huge fan and very scared to be taking lessons from her. She was very cool about it and the rest of my sessions with her were so relaxed and fun. She helped me with my focus and discipline behind and in front of the kit, and I thank her for that.

What is your favorite drum solo?

Max Roach’s hi-hat solo.

Interview by Liv Marsico 

Photographer Rozette Diaz

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