By Johnny Atlas for Tom Tom Magazine
Sera Cahoone is a Seattle based singer-songwriter signed with Sub Pop records. Cahoone drummed for Carissa’s Wierd and Band of Horses before releasing her own self titled record in 2006. A Colorado native, Cahoone’s music is inspired by the deep roots and dust of classic country, while maintaining the Northwest lo-fi pull of port so many Seattle based musicians are known for.
Kit: DW jazz kit
Cymbals: Zildjian K Dark Cymbals.
Tom Tom Magazine: Which came first, the drums or the dynamite?
Sera Cahoone: Ha, well, the dynamite! We always had it in our garage growing up.
Was your dad always a Rocky Mountain Dynamite salesman?
Yes. His father was in mining, and as long as I can remember my dad sold dynamite.
Did being the daughter of a dynamite salesman shape you as a drummer?
Growing up we traveled to a lot of mining conventions and parties where there would be good old country music playing. I am sure that exposure had something to do with my musical tastes, if not my drumming.
You began playing drums when you were 12, what drew you to playing drums?
I was always obsessed with drums. When I would listen to music it was always the first thing I heard. I would constantly bang on stuff as a kid. My teachers would get pissed at me. I finally convinced my mother that if she bought me a drum set I wouldn’t bang on things anymore. Well, that was a lie, but it worked! Then I could play along to songs like “Funky Cold Medina” and make my mom dance. I thought I was pretty damn cool.
Did you have any female drummer role models when you began playing?
I was a huge Luscious Jackson fan. Kate Schellenbach is awesome. Of course Karen Carpenter! There are so many these days it’s hard to name a select few. But, I’ve always loved Janet Weiss, Cindy Blackman and this local drummer Faustine Hudson is great.
What do you love most about playing drums?
I’m definitely in my comfort zone when I play the drums. It comes more naturally for me. I’m much more confident and comfortable. I love to just be in the background and zone out to other people’s songs.
When you are behind the drum kit, or think about yourself as a drummer, how much does gender influence your identity as a drummer?
I think when I was younger it really did influence me. There were not many female drummers. I felt like I constantly needed to prove myself. Which just made me work harder to try and kick all those boys’ butts.
Do you ever feel burned out or unmotivated playing music? If so, can you pinpoint what caused the burn out?
Unfortunately I do. After my record “Only As The Day Is Long,” I toured a bunch. One of the last big tours we did someone broke into our van and stole all our guitars and gear. It was already a rough tour so that was the dagger for me. I knew it was time to take a little break and try to make things feel good again. That’s why it took a little while before I released “Deer Creek Canyon.”
Your solo career has you in front of the drums, what inspired you away from the drums towards singing-songwriting?
I always loved the guitar as well. In high school I slowly started learning chords. I never wanted to be a singer and I was the shyest kid. But, I started humming along to the chords, and writing songs. I wrote my first album almost accidentally. I had been touring with Carissa’s Wierd and just felt inspired on the road and ended up writing an album.
Your new album, Deer Creek Canyon, is a lot about love and home and relationships, do you ever see yourself moving back to the Rocky Mountains, or has the Northwest won your heart?
I do actually. I think about it a lot. All of my family is in Colorado. I don’t know if I ever will, but I sure miss it. I do love Seattle so much though as well. It would be very hard to leave this wonderful city.