An Interview with Preetma Singh of Vomitface

By Zoë Brecher

Vomitface is a three-piece band based in Toronto and NYC. They’ve been in the news recently because of their experience at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Canada, where two of the three members, real-life-couple, Jared Micah and Preetma Singh, say they were assaulted by festival security after their access card to the festival’s VIP area failed to scan properly. The Montreal Gazette reported that a festival representative said that the incident was subject to “conflicting reports.” Vomitface has just released their debut album, Hooray For Me, on Help Yourself Records. They have been releasing singles and most recently a music video that premiered on NYLON that have hyped the release. I chatted with drummer Preetma Singh to get to know her a little better.

Where are you from? Where do you live now?

I was born in Toronto and lived there until I was 12 when my family moved to Phoenix.  We just moved to Toronto a few months ago after living in NYC for 8 years.


I see that you work in the fashion industry, as Flare magazine’s fashion editor. How did you get into fashion?

I actually moved to New York to be a lawyer. After practicing for a couple years, I realized it wasn’t something I could or wanted to do for the rest of my life. I thought about what else I enjoyed that could work as a job and fashion immediately jumped out. Since I was already in New York, I thought it was worth a shot, even though I had no formal experience. So I interned for a few months and talked to everyone I could in the industry. One thing led to another, and I ended up working at Vogue in my first fashion job. It was a lot of persistence and the right timing.


When and why did you start drumming?

I started drumming about four years ago–that’s basically why Vomitface got started. I had always loved music, but was a very mediocre student. I attempted to play guitar when I was younger and it never clicked. I was in school band, but completely unremarkable musically. So I had resigned myself to being a fan only. Then one night playing Rock Band, Jared commented on how accurate my timing was and how quickly I advanced and asked if I had ever played the drums. And then I went out and bought an electronic kit for the apartment. It made sense to me! It also was a safe place to let out my anger.


Do you think there are correlations between your personal style and your drum style?

I think very broadly in how I approach anything creative. I like to be intuitive and evoke some kind of feeling or opinion. I hate when my clothes or my drumming don’t say anything.


Being in the fashion industry, how important do you think a band’s aesthetic is?

I think this is really a different-strokes-for-different-folks scenario. Personally, I am drawn to people who have a strong aesthetic. And that doesn’t mean designer clothes, or keeping up with trends. But I am drawn to people who use their own style to reflect their unique take on the world. So, I do appreciate a band that encompasses that. Also, as performers, the visual is part of the art and the message–you can’t deny that.


How did the band start and how long have you been playing together?

The band became official a bit after I started playing–sometime in 2013. I think we played our first show that July.


Why are you called Vomitface?

We live to be provocative and do things on our own terms, but also poke fun at ourselves (and others). The name seems to represent all that.


How would you describe your music?

I think it’s visceral, cathartic, and affecting.


What is your musical philosophy?

I don’t really have one, but I think music should make you do or think of something. It shouldn’t be relegated to the background. It should demand your attention or consideration.


Who are some of your favorite drummers?

It may be obvious, but Dave Grohl is really the holy grail for me. Also Bill Ward from Black Sabbath. I also like Eric Kretz’s style [Stone Temple Pilots]. I think Ringo is totally underrated too. He’s definitely gotten shortchanged.


Do you practice on your own outside of band practice? How do you do that? Book? If so, what books do you like? Or playing along to albums? If so, what albums do you like to play to?

When I started playing I used a generic learn-to-drum book that I still go back to every once in a while. I mostly practice with the band. To me playing the drums is about fitting in with a song and enhancing it rather than showing off chops. That actually really bothers me. I probably could use a lesson or two, but it’s fun to discover your own way of doing things. I’d rather not be self-conscious about it. Drumming is terrifying enough on its own!


“We live to be provocative and do things on our own terms, but also poke fun at ourselves (and others). The name seems to represent all that.”


What is your writing process like? Do you all contribute equally?

A lot of our songs actually start with a drum beat and then Jared builds around it or has something he’s been working on that fits. I’m also the official editor/producer of the band so Jared doesn’t go off the deep end. This band is a pop band.

To me playing the drums is about fitting in with a song and enhancing it rather than showing off chops.


How is it dating a member of your band?

It’s a lot! A lot of time together, a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety. But it’s also a lot of fun. And in the end, there’s not much better than using the energy and dynamic from a personal relationship to create something from scratch. That’s really cool to me.


I’m so sorry about what happened at Osheaga Festival. What are the legal things happening with that now?

I can’t really comment on the legal steps!


How are you and Jared coping?

It’s been quite difficult. It really was very traumatic. But, everyone being so supportive has made it easier to move forward. That’s really been so helpful and affirming.


Has this changed your view of festivals?

I always was weary of festivals, so it’s only intensified and justified my dislike.


What advice do you give to other bands at festivals? What should they do if they find themselves in a similar situation?

Unfortunately, I think this episode was really not something to learn from. It was so random and unwarranted.


Congrats on the album! What does the future look like for the band after this LP comes out? Any tours in store?

We are touring now! We’re already working on new material and hope to record a second album soon!

Check out ‘Hooray for Me’ here


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