In your own words; write a brief description of your band
My band, The Wolfe is a very unique all female trio. I usually find it hard to answer the question “what genre are you” because we are all so influenced by different types of music. We bring what we like together to form some sort of alt rock mash.
Name: Tesa Thompson
Hometown: Prince Albert Saskatchewan
Current band: The Wolfe
Favorite place for takeout: Boston Pizza
Story and photos John Carlow/Finding Charlotte Photography
Tom Tom: When/ how did your interest in drumming begin?
Tesa: Honestly, I’m not sure what sparked my interest in drums. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to play them. I thought they were cool as shit so I decided to be cool too.
Have you ever taken lessons?
Yes, when my band started (in 2012) we had no idea how to play our instruments. We all learned together from our manager Lucy James and her music business called Jam Street. Basically we all took lessons together from her.
What was the first song you learned to play on drums?
Lucky by Jason Mraz. This was also the first song my band ever covered, and we don’t sound anything like that song. It was a odd first cover for a rock band, especially because we were all little “punkish” kids.
Tell us about the first show you played in front of an audience as a drummer
I was probably thirteen, didn’t really know how to play the drums, and the girls didn’t really know their instruments either. We were crowded into a corner and I don’t even think we got through one song. About 30 people were there.
Describe your gear
How did you choose your kit?
My Dad took me to go buy a kit for my 15th birthday. We went to all the music stores in Saskatoon, and our last stop wasn’t looking so good. We were about to walk out of the store, and it was as if angels were singing and a light was shining down on a beautiful white Tama Starclassic kit. My Dad and I looked right at each other and we both knew that was the kit. That was the one. It was too beautiful to pass up, and I hope to have this kit forever!
Are you a gear nerd?
I’m definitely not a gear nerd. I definitely want way more gear and cool little gadgets for my kit, but being the broke girl that I am, that just isn’t in my budget at the moment. I can and do tune my own kit and I can change my skins. My boyfriend is also a drummer, and he taught me the technique to do those things!
What are the best/ most practical clothes for drumming?
I like to usually wear a big t shirt and jeans or leggings. On stage I like to wear some weird things. It really varies, from see through shirts to bathing suits to a dress shirt. It depends on how I’m feeling.
Do you have an aggressive style in your drumming? (Do you hit hard?)
Hmm I think I’m aggressive, but I don’t hit too hard. I hit my drum for how ever I’m feeling that day honestly
Can you write music/ lyrics?
Hell yeah I can! I usually write about random cool sayings I think of, or I’ll see something that looks cool and write about the first thing that comes to mind. I still need to work on my writing skills though!
I don’t actually have any of my lyrics recorded in our EPs yet. Most of our lyrics are written by our guitarist Gabby! Our process of writing a song is different for each one. Sometimes we start with lyrics then add bass guitar and drums over it, or we will do the complete opposite. It depends on how we are feeling and what material we have to work with.
Do you play other instruments or sing?
I fuck around with other instruments, but I can’t really read notes too well so I just play by ear! I like to play bass and piano, and I’m trying to learn a bit of guitar as well. As for singing though, hell no. I have the voice of a walrus, or like a dying pig. I do enjoy singing though, even if it sounds like trash.
What is in your own musical collection?
My music taste varies, and bands I like change all the time. My all time favorite album would be Lullabies to Paralyze by Queens of the Stone Age. My absolute favorite band as of now is Ghost.
What is the genre of most of the music you own?? All digital or are you a vinyl girl?
Rock. That’s the kind of shit I like. It’s pure and tells a story like no other. Most of my music is digital, but I’ve started to collect vinyl. I think it sounds better playing. A record player has a certain sound to it that makes me feel happy. If you know what sound I’m talking about, then we can be friends!
What are your interests away from drumming?
Not really much honestly, I like to skateboard and snowboard. I’m pretty bad at both but I really enjoy it anyways. I am also pretty social so if I’m not practicing or touring I’m hanging with my friends!
What is on the walls in your room?
Goonies poster, some tapestries, my graduation cap and all the festival passes I’ve accumulated from playing them.
I wanted to ask about memorable festivals. Imagine the best was the final Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto. Tell me about that experience.
Holy FUCK is all I have to say. Playing the Warped tour was our biggest goal ever since we started our band in 2012. We’ve even dreamed about just going and experiencing the festival as ticket holders. But this year (2018) we got to go and play on the Lemmon stage in Toronto! We even got to meet Kevin Lyman! He’s a super cool dude!
Do you have musical idols?
Kurt Dahl, drummer for One Bad Son. He’s the coolest dude ever. He’s a professional drummer and music lawyer and I think that’s super cool how he balances all of that out with a family that he also makes time for. I think it is a very important thing to make sure there’s time for loved ones as well as your career! He’s all around just a super cool dude and I’m glad to know him!
Who are the bands that inspire your band’s sound?
The girls and I all have very different music tastes, from indie to pop to hard rock/metal. A lot of different genres influence our sound, and it sort of just comes out sounding like alternative rock!
What are most of your songs about?
Feelings. We use our music to let out our emotions. It’s very therapeutic.
How would you describe your local scene for bands similar to yours?
It’s actually become really good the past few years. The community comes together more to enjoy music, and my band manager Lucy James owns a business that teaches kids how to play in a rock band. She has a venue in Prince Albert that hosts a lot of shows and open mics! Since our city is pretty small, almost all the musicians in the town are close friends, so it’s pretty rad.
How important is image to a band?
I say it varies. No band is the same and image is very different for everyone. Some bands image is not having an image at all; if that makes sense. For my band, image is very important! We take pride in what we show to the world. We try to change it up every year so there’s always something new for the fans to see! We also stand up for what we believe in. We think that since we have a platform we should use it for good!
Where do you practice / how often?
I practice in the basement of my house which is also my room. (Yes I live with my parents). As a band , we usually practice at my manager’s venue, as it’s the easiest place for us all to meet. Minimum we have two 4 hour practices a week, or a couple hours every day during the week depending on what’s coming up.
What have you taken away from playing live?
I go hard core on stage, so I don’t acknowledge too much of what goes on around me. Sometimes when I get off stage; people will come up to me and say “holy fuck that was amazing”.
What does pre show preparation involve?
Nothing at all, maybe a drink and watch the bands that are before us if there are opening bands. That gets me hyped to play. I don’t have a consistent pre show ritual. I find it’s bad luck!
Are you exhausted after a show?
I’m usually sweaty and out of breath, but I have a concert high! I get really energetic for a bit, depending if it’s tour or not and how late I stayed up the night before. Usually I feel quite alive!!
What’s the most unusual/funny thing to ever happen to you at a gig?
After we clarified that we in fact were not an all girl Christian rock band, and that NO we didn’t want “shrooms “, did an attendee decide to buy CDs and a hat.
What appeals to you about a magazine like Tom Tom?
THAT ITS ALL ABOUT WOMEN! I think it’s so fucking cool that there’s a whole magazine dedicated to female drummers. Never thought I’d come across something like this. It’s quite the honour to be a part of it now! Thanks Tom Tom!!
What are your goals as a musician?
My goals are to get our music across the world for everyone to hear! I really want a brand to sell my personalized sticks, but most importantly I want to be a good role model for younger girls and boys! I want people to follow their damn dreams no matter how fricken unrealistic it may seem to everyone else, because I did it! So can anyone else.
Tom Tom: What’s in the future ?
More touring, go back around Canada and also make it out to Europe. My personal goal is to be a really recognized drummer!!
What has been the biggest change in your life since lifting up the sticks?
I honestly don’t remember what my life was like before being in a band. The first day I picked up the sticks was my first band practice. I think the biggest change was that I didn’t have as much free time to skateboard.
What should people absolutely know about you?
That I think I’m hilarious and I’m actually not, so if you ever meet me, please for the love of god just laugh at my jokes.
Do you have advice for young women starting out in music?
KEEP DOING IT! There was so many times I wanted to quit because I just didn’t feel like I was a good enough musician, but my friends and family really helped me through it! I’m so thankful I didn’t quit. I’ve gone so far since then.
At the end of the day; when all is said and done …you play the drums because ……?
It’s basically the only thing I’m good at, so I’ll stick with it 😉