Lives In: Madrid
Current Bands: Cosmen Adelaida, Rusos Blancos
Drum Kit: an old Tama Rockstar and Black Panther snare
Day Job: Internship in an advertising agency
Elisa Pérez rules. She has personal touch and attitude when she is on stage. Cosmen Adelaida and Rusos Blancos are her two bands, two different projects that allow her to explore drumming at different levels. And she is going to release two albums this year, one with each band.
Tom Tom Magazine: When and how did you start playing drums?
Elisa Pérez: When I was little I took piano lessons. When I was 14 I decided to quit, encouraged by my teacher as I was an impossible case. I knew that in my school there was a drum teacher so I started lessons once a week. It wasn’t until when I was 19 that I met the people from Cosmen Adelaida and joined the band. I didn’t know how to play so it was quite hard training to play with older people who were serious about what they were doing.
Tell me about your first show..I played live for the first time with Cosmen Adelaida in July 2007. I had been in the band just for a few months and it was also the first show for the band. A lot of people came, the bar was totally full. I was nervous for weeks before the show, feeling insecure and embarrassed about people seeing me play, so that was hard. But, I have played lots of shows since and feel much better about my playing now.
You play in Cosmen Adelaida and also in Rusos Blancos, how would you describe the different drumming styles you use in each band?
They are really different. In Cosmen Adelaida the songs come out of improvisation or ideas that we have on our practice space, the drums are part of the first structure of the song, so sometimes a drum idea determines how the song is going to be and it has a relevant weight in the song composition.
In Rusos Blancos the drums always come after, because the songs are written by the singer and the guitar player at their home and then they show us a demo, so the drums have less input. For example, the rhythms from the last album “Sí a todo,” all compliment the melody. In conclusion, it’s more drums that works as an accompaniment for the song the most effective way, because the most important things are the melodies.
What drummers do you admire or influence you?
I admire drummers that have their own style, the ones that makes you pay attention to them when you listen to their music or see them in a show. There are many drummers with a perfect execution that fit the rhythms so perfectly in the song that you don’t even notice they are there. I really like Mimi Parker from Low, minimal rhythms with huge sound. Also Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo is an icon, and some post punk drummers such as Stephen Morris from Joy Division/New Order.
If you had to give an advice to someone who is starting to play drums, what would you say?
Think if you want to play drums seriously. It’s a huge, bulky and heavy instrument and it can be really expensive. It you don’t feel attracted to that, it’s better that you play the ukelele. But, if you really want to play, join a band and have fun playing, that’s the most important.
How would you describe Madrid music scene?
It’s really active. There are so many people, with so many projects and enthusiasm, it’s hard to be updated about everything that is going on. There’s also some collectives that support emerging bands, spread the word, and program shows all the time.
Which one is your favorite venue and why?
At this point my favorite venue to play is Siroco in Madrid, I’ve played there so many times and I feel really comfortable. And they have a great backline so I don’t have to bring my dilapidated drum set. I also like Costello for the same reasons and because it’s close to my home.
What are your musical plans for this year?
We are releasing a new album with Rusos Blancos, it will be out the 2nd April and it’s called “Tiempo de Nísperos,” you can listen a few songs in advance in our bandcamp. Also we’re composing the next Cosmen Adelaida album and hopefully will get in the studio before summertime.
Give us a musical recommendation that you discovered recently.
I have recently discovered Ceramic Hello, the band from the designer Brett Wickens formed in 1980. They made minimal electronic music a little bit dark. The band didn’t exist for a long time and I don’t think they succeed at their time, but they just re-issued their album “The absence of a Canary.”
With whom would you like to share the stage?
There are many bands that I admire and who I would like to play with, but at the end I have realized that the most fun thing to do is to share stage with friends or unknown future friends, people who you can have a drink with after. For example, once we opened for Jeremy Jay, and we really like him. But we didn’t talk to him at all and he wasn’t at our show, so…
Last book you read…
Niebla, from Unamuno
Interview by Cati Bestard for Tom Tom Magazine