The Starlight Girl’s Karys Rhea

Karys Rhea

By Anthony Lozano for Tom Tom Magazine

Photos by Stefano Galli 

Name: Karys Rhea

Age: 26

Hometown: Bay Area, CA

Lives in: Brooklyn, NY

Past bands: Playgrounds

Current bands: Starlight Girls, PEP

Fav food: Montreal style bagels

Drum set: Vintage 60s slingerland kit purple sparkle

Cymbals: vintage 22 inch medium avedis zildjian ride cymbal, 16 inch sabian XS 20 rock crash, vintage 14 inch AAX sabian stage hats

Hardware: DW or Gibraltar

Snare: vintage 70s ludwig snare clear vistalite

Karys Rhea

The Bay Area is known for its gray skies and a Pacific Ocean that spans forever. Anyone who has spent time in the area knows how those reflective cloud-filled days are just born for making music. Karys Rhea, originally from the region, wouldn’t disagree.

Rhea, 26, is both the percussionist for The Starlight Girls, a lush group of moody wonder and the front-person of her band PEP. Having grown up dancing in different companies, the transition to the drums was an easy one. She had tinkered around with the drums here and there, her brother had a snare practice pad, but had never really taken it seriously until 3 years ago, when she was asked to join Starlight Girls. When her friend and bandmate Shaw asked her to join as the drummer she remembers him saying to her, “You better get good fast.” So she holed herself up in my basement for 6 months and practiced non-stop. When we asked her how she maintains that regime today she said, “I still practice for a few hours almost every day. It’s the best.” Her advice to a 13-year-old girl who wants to get into the drums? “Aim for the Ivy Leagues. Use birth control. Keep a journal. Practice, practice, practice! Oh and also, listen to PEP. I wrote those songs just for you.”

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