Photo: Eva Otsing
Tina Nguyen is the drummer for indie Melbourne trio Face Face. CRAMP reminisced with Tina about high school and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and had a chat about the groups supporting females that want to drum.
So Tina – you play drums for Face Face. How’d you first get started with the band?
“I initially signed up to play bass in the band, back when Lauren Perkins (Face Face singer/guitarist) made a call out on Facebook looking for a bass player. During that time, I was in two music projects and wanted to do something other than drums.”
“When Lauren sent through Face Face's demos, it was originally a two-piece band. I had too many creative beat ideas and was enthusiastic about playing drums for Face Face, so I insisted to play the drum kit instead.”
“Luke Byrnes who initially signed up for drums had the same idea and so we switched instruments.”
What was the first song you ever played on drums?
“The year I started playing drums, I was excited to play bits from my favourite band which was mostly the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
“I had a weird obsession with RHCP growing up in high school and decided to form a rock band playing songs off the 'By The Way' album when it came out in 2002.”
“The first song I played on drums would have been 'Can't Stop'. It was the minute-long gradual snare and floor tom build intro, which drew me to learn the song. But as soon as the lyrics kicked in I just stopped playing, ‘cause I struggled to play main beat.”
Why do you think there are more male drummers than female drummers?
“Unfortunately, the patriarchy. This works fine for men, yeah no worries! But in most cases women are discouraged, usually not taken seriously, and/or have had to put up with unnecessary hurdles when wanting to learn drums.”
“It's a system that turns off most females wanting to play drums and experienced female drummers, but it has been a slow fight that I am seeing changing.”
“Right from when I was the first female drummer in high school, I came out of finishing my VCE music seeing over a dozen female drummers – starting out playing their favourite rock songs at lunchtime school battle of the bands.”
Organisations and groups who support female/trans female drummers to develop as musicians in the music network are growing such as; Girls Rock, Listen, Sad grrls, Listen Records and Identical Records.”
What is your favourite style of drumming to play?
“Everything. Except jazz, not that I don't like it but my brain and limbs can't figure it out yet. I'm sure if I cracked the jazz beats it'd be my favourite style to play – but alas, cracking the Da Vinci code would be easier. Sigh.”
“I guess my 'go to' style has always been playing down beat/trip-hop stuff with unexpected drum fills and intricate snare rolls. Every now and then I try to sneak in a bit of this style in Face Face's live shows. Which adds another genre to the bands already indie, 90's pop, grunge, punk and sometimes trip hop title.”
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