Baskery played Rifflandia Festival in Victoria BC Canada this past September. Tom Tom Magazine had a chance to see the band and talk to Greta. Story and photography : John Carlow/Finding Charlotte Photography
Name: Greta Bondesson
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Do you have any side projects?: No time for that. Baskery is 24/7
Favourite place for takeout food: Robertson’s Pizza in Tavistock, Devon, UK. Divine.
In your own words; write a brief description of your band:
Baskery is a power trio, consisting of 3 sisters from Sweden. Our goal is to remain uncategorized. We like the freedom of playing whatever we like, however we like.
Tom Tom Magazine :When/ how did your interest in drumming begin?
Greta:Baskery was born when our Dad; who was the drummer in our former band Slaptones,quit. Instead of a new drummer I started playing kick, snare and tambourine with my feet to give us some basic primitive beats. It was more of a necessity than a direct decision to play the drums.
Have you ever taken lessons? If not, how did you learn?
The way I play the drums is not the traditional way. I’m useless behind a regular drum kit. No lessons could really teach me what I do. I just sat down behind my home made kit and started playing it. I’ve become more advanced throughout the years, but it’s all been an “organic” development really. For me it’s just about tapping my feet to the music, which I’d do naturally anyway, so putting some pedals down to stomp on just seemed to work. It actually worked out from day one, so I’m a natural born multi tasker I guess.
Describe your drum gear:
I can play any kick put in front of me, since we can’t travel with my favorite Yamaha “22” we got from a pawn shop in Austin. I play left foot. The snare is a Pearl “firecracker” 10 inch mounted on a stand with a kick pedal, so it sits upright on the floor. A tambourine is mounted the same way and I use a floor tom for some songs too. This while playing 6-string banjo and singing.
What was the first song you learned to play on drums?
I believe it was One Horse Down, a track on our first album. We recorded our album live and I had never played those drums before. I nailed it! Stella’s slap on the double bass and Sunniva’s drive on the guitar contributes so much to the rhythm, we’re a good team!
What is in your musical collection?
I tend to dwell in the past. Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, ZZ Top, Petty, Stones, Beatles Eurythmics, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, Blur, Jeff Buckley,old blues and soul in general… Dig Gary Clark JR and Leon Bridges, new but oldish. Lots of others!
What makes a song great?
That’s so individual. To me it’s just a feeling. I’m a sucker for certain chord progressions, simple but effective beat patterns, or just a guitar sound can make me dig. I rarely get into the lyrics at the first listen, but when I hear cell phone I gag. The cymbal hits in “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits just after Knopfler sings – “just as the time bell rings”, that’s genius.
Who are the bands that inspire you?
Bands that do their thing; not following rules or trends. I do get inspired by generic, created and money driven acts too. It urges me to find that crack in the industry wall and open up a hole for all the undiscovered greatness that’s sizzling on the other side.
Do you have musical idols?
Our one man band Dad. He’s the role model for what I do. He played pedal bass,drums, guitar and harmonica while singing, so I picked it up from him. I admire “real” drummers too. Truly fascinating watching a great drummer hit the kit.
Tell us about the first show you played in front of an audience as a drummer:
It was a while ago, 2006 probably. Can’t tell you where it was exactly, but in Sweden most likely. I’ve never felt not ready. It was a natural thing to me from day one. It actually became such a part of my playing that I feel weird not having my drums in front of me when playing the banjo.
What makes a live band performance one everyone remembers?
For me it’s about output, energy and presence. If a performer connects with the audience you’re more likely to get drawn into the show, no matter what genre. Passion goes a long way.
What have you taken away from playing live?
I’m fearless when it comes to gigging. I’d do any stage in any situation. I have also sharpened my skills from touring so much. It’s nothing you’ll achieve in the rehearsal room on your own. Getting to play in front of an audience will keep you focused and willing to deliver. It’s the best way to grow as a player.
What does your pre show preparation involve?
Setting up my custom home made kit. I always do it myself it since it needs to be just right. I prefer to play bare foot, liking the grip and the connection with the pedals that way. Making sure that my drums are in the right position. Most people play kick with their right foot, so that’s a common mistake stage hands make, even though it’s right there on the stage plot. I used to bring duct tape with me, taping my pedals down so they wouldn’t slide. There’s Velcro on the mounts now, but sometimes there’s not a carpet. When the drums are in place, we do the set list and then show time.
What are the best/ practical clothes for drumming?
I’ve experienced ripped jackets on stage, so nothing too tight or non-stretchy is gonna do it when you drum. Low waist pants not a good idea either, unless you’re an exhibitionist and wanna moon the people back stage… =)
What’s the most unusual/funny thing to ever happen to you at a gig?
Getting the question post show from people asking if we use back tracks is always funny but also flattering. Some people think I’m a little person, not realizing I’m sitting down playing the drums. I’ve driven the drums over the edge of the stage, kick, snare and tambourine; that’s been a show!
Big arena shows or small venue shows? Which is better to you?
I don’t wanna pick. I wanna continue doing both! Its two different worlds for sure. You get more connection with the crowd on a smaller venue, but the vibe of a packed arena is quite powerful. You don’t see people’s faces but you feel their energy and hear them instead.
What appeals to you about a magazine like Tom Tom?
You’re featuring artists that a lot of people are unaware of, and the fact that it’s dedicated to women, of course that’s just brilliant! Don’t like to admit it, but it’s needed. So thanks!
Do you play any other instruments?
My main instrument has always been guitar, but I got stuck with my 6-string banjos a while back. I treat them like guitars really, playing them through and amp with pedals, sliding one of them too. I am also a singer; we do a lot of 3 part harmonies in our band.
What should people know about you?
That I’m a princess, I can eat as much cake as I want, and I have a pony waiting for me outside.I’m a right handed left footed musician, who can’t play a standard drum kit, but would love to learn it one day. I love the road, not driven by success, and will do this as long as I have anything to give. I’m a veggie and I love animal kind.
Do you have advice for young women starting out on drums?
It’s said that women are better multi taskers than men, so go ahead and embrace the drums! Since it’s still quite rare to see a girl behind the kit it always intrigues me when it happens. Sam Maloney our A&R at WB is a bad ass drummer. It’s not a man’s world you know.