You’re Never Alone – Meg Yoshida of Not You

Meg Yoshida of the band Not You at Sled Island 2017

In your own words; write a brief description of your band

Four grownups who admired each other’s heavy weirdo music, but had never managed to play together. Funny coincidence—we turned out to all be women.

Name:  Meg Yoshida

Age:  Made in 1975

Hometown:  Halifax, NS (originally from Osaka, Japan)

Nickname(s): Megatron, Notorious M.E.G.

Current band: Not You

Favourite place for takeout: I like eating in, at Kitsune Food Co. in Halifax

Tom Tom: When/ how did your interest in drumming begin?

Meg: When I was 10, I idolized a TV drama heroine who had spent some time in juvie, and had nothing better to do than fighting off the gangsters by using her drum sticks. Later, encouraged by her drummer father, she put the sticks to good use by joining a band and became a successful musician. (lol)

Were there drum lessons in your past?

Drumming lessons, no.

What was the first song you learned to play on drums?

Diamonds by Princess Princess.

Tell us about your gear

I’m not a gear nerd, but I do love the 60s vintage Olympic snare with a special drum key which I found a few years ago on Kijiji. I like a dry head tuned kind of high. I’ve learnt drumming by using random studio kits, so am used to surprises. I have a simple setup of a blue Pearl kit at home, with just a snare, floor tom, bass drum, hi-hat, one crash and one ride. Kick: Iron Cobra. Sticks: 7A.

Can you write music/ lyrics?

Just lyrics. I love playing and jamming songs that my friends/bandmates create.

Do you play other instruments or sing?

I play bass guitar and can play keys, but very rusty. I sing alone in the car only. I’m a good air guitarist (according to my friends).

Meg Yoshida and Not You at Sled Island Festival Calgary Alberta 2017
Meg Yoshida and Not You at Sled Island Festival Calgary Alberta 2017

What is in your own musical collection?

Lots of classical CDs, some traditional Indian and Arabic music on vinyl, few indie and electronic on YouTube playlists, and my guilty pleasure; Japanese pop records on iTunes.

What’s on your walls in your room?

A ripped page from i-D mag from the 1990s with a model called Ren. And my niece’s drawings.

Do you have musical idols?

Yes. David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Karen Carpenter.

Who are the bands that inspire your band’s sound?

Wipers and ABBA.

What have you taken away from playing live?

Being in the present. Listening to my bandmates. You’re never alone.

What does pre show preparation involve?

Not to eat or drink too much. Tune snare drum. Socialize.

Are you exhausted after a show?

I’m usually exhausted to the point of puking when I’m in my other band with guys who like to play fast and loud. In Not You, they play loud but not as fast. I don’t need to compete with their sound as much, I guess. I’m usually wound up at the end of the night though, with all the socializing and excitement.

What’s the most unusual/funny thing to ever happen to you at a gig?

Someone asked for my sticks in Ottawa. I was flattered, actually. 🙂

What are the best/most practical clothes for drumming?

Whatever looks good—but I usually keep my shirt on. 🙂

Do you have an aggressive style in your drumming?

No, but I do hit hard.

What appeals to you about a magazine like Tom Tom?

Besides drumming and feminism, it is a very well designed magazine. Tasteful, fun, not macho, but not too feminine.

Meg Yoshida at Sled Island Festival Calgary Alberta 2017
Meg Yoshida at Sled Island Festival Calgary Alberta 2017

Tell us about the first show you played in front of an audience as a drummer?

It was at my high school auditorium, in front of the ‘Pop Music Club’ members, in my school uniform, in an all-female cover band I don’t remember the name of. I was not nervous. It was a show-and-tell-style performance/presentation where all bands registered to the club played. At the end of the day the audience would leave anonymous comments and they are read out loud. Everyone wrote that ‘the drummer is too loud’ about my band. Our bassist was the most talented of us all and was pitch perfect—I wonder what she’s doing these days.

What are your goals as a musician?

See more of the world, and have fun.

What’s in the future for you musically?

I’m open. As far as Not You, hopefully do some recording during the isolating months of winter.

What has been the biggest change in your life since lifting up the sticks?

I’ve become part of a community of very talented musicians and artists, with whom I get to make music, travel, and experience life with. It’s a world I’m very comfortable in.

What else should people know about you?

I’m generally a reasonable person, but cross me at your own risk.

Do you have advice for young women starting out in music?

Just start playing, don’t be afraid, be confident, and see where it takes you.

How would you describe the local scene for bands like yours?

The local scene is pretty eclectic, so I guess we’re keeping the grunge thing alive. Besides, it’s a Halifax tradition.

What are your interests away from drumming?

Photography, design, raising a betta fish.

Where do you practice / how often ?

At our lead guitarist’s basement studio, by the ocean outside the city. Three of us make a 45-minute drive up once every one–two weeks, catching up as well as some necessary gossiping.

At the end of the day; when all is said and done …you play the drums because …..?

I love it.

Any last thoughts?

I feel a bit uneasy when a drummer is labelled as a female drummer, but it is what it is—we’re different from male drummers for sure, with our sensibility and sensitivity, and how we relate with each other. After all, I chose this instrument, because it was not the typical one for a girl to play. I’m very lucky to be in a music community where lots of ladies are picking up sticks.




Story and Photography – John Carlow/ Finding Charlotte Photography



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