Ale Robles of Space Lemon and The Menstruators
There’s a woman living in Los Angeles that moved here from Mexico, went to school in New York, extended-stay’d in Australia as well, adventured in Australia, and she’s currently creating the most gorgeous images with her camera, and making the most beautiful noise on her drums. Her name is Ale Robles, and she’s full of enough passion and energy to wield sticks for two bands and air-drum for all the others. As the lady behind the set of traps for both Space Lemon and The Menstruators, she commands your attention with her electric blue hair and rock steady beats. That kind of work ethic and genuine talent is hard to find, but she’s here and pouring her heart into both music and art, and bleeding her love of both all over this city. Let’s rock with this shining star!
– Kat Jetson
Why drums? You’re in the back, you’re sweating, and no one is paying attention to you.
I kind of like that no one’s paying attention to me! When I got into music at the age of 13 I started playing guitar, but I kind of always knew I wanted to play drums. I just couldn’t afford them, and didn’t have space in my house. As soon as I could, I bought a kit, but it was a hobby at first. I’m also a photographer. And while my parents were supportive, they wanted me to finish my degree (which was in photography). So drumming was put on hold a bit. But I have very specific dreams and those dreams can only happen in L.A. I want to play drums with Brody Dalle. That really is why I moved to L.A.
That is very specific.
It is! And I moved around a lot before coming here. I was in New York studying photography, back home to Mexico, Australia… I was trying to work around it so that I didn’t have to face this impossible dream of mine. But then I got to a point when I was like, “No, I need to do this. I need to at least fail at doing this.”
How’s that going?
I’ve jammed with Brody before. Nothing serious. She knows my disposition and where to find me.
Do you air drum?
All of the time! Even when I’m driving. A really cool song will come on and I’ll think, “Here comes a feel. I can’t miss it. I need to nail it.” It’s so funny, my sister showed a video of me doing that on YouTube and someone left a comment, “She’s an amazing drummer, but not a good driver.”
You’re in two bands right now — Space Lemon and The Menstruators.
Space Lemon is my baby. I co-founded the band with Nacho (the guitarist.) The four of us have very similar influences, but it’s through our differences that we find our sound. We are like a big family. We are all equally invested; we share and split everything evenly. We write songs together, and although we do have to make a lot of compromises, we make sure we are all happy with the results.
As for The Menstruators, I was the last member to join so I felt a bit intimidated in the beginning, but they all made me feel very comfortable. We are constantly experimenting so it forces me to be creative outside my comfort zone. It’s a lot of fun and less pressure for sure.
You studied at M.I. (Musicians Institute). Do you think that creativity can be taught, or it’s something that’s already there and one only needs help tapping into that creativity?
Creativity to me is directly linked to the level of skill that you have, and skills can be taught. Before I went to M.I. I thought, “I have my own sound, I’m killing it,” but then I got to M.I. and three months in I’m like, “Oh, shit!” Once you learn the techniques and what time signatures mean, you can start being creative. I’ve always liked odd meter, and there’s a lot of that in Space Lemon. Before M.I., I was very limited, but once I figured out some things I had the space to be more creative. You just need to be aware of what you’re doing. There are a lot of good drummers who can just go out there and play whatever they want, but that’s not me.
There are a lot of self-taught drummers.
I was self-taught for five years and I got stuck. I got to the point where I couldn’t improve anymore because I didn’t hear what I was doing wrong. I needed someone else to tell me. Before M.I. I thought I was better than I actually was. Now I think the opposite. The more you know, the more you realize there’s more to learn.
Let’s talk about your photography. Your photos feel like art. You’re really manipulating them.
The reason why I got into photography is because I didn’t like my reality. I felt like I was a given a life that wasn’t meant for me. If you want reality you can just take a walk and see it for yourself. I’m not gonna do that. All of the photo series I did for my bachelor program were weird stuff that didn’t exist. I feel like that’s always what I’m going to be looking for — things that aren’t real. I like the mystery of wondering what it means. Even the live photos that I take — sometimes I merge three photos together just to create that one picture. In my head, that’s the way it’s meant to be.
Check out Ale Robles Photography Website here.
Can you put into words what music has done for you?
Not only has music saved me multiple times, it’s given me a career, a purpose and a voice. Music is my life path.