Friday, July 29, 2011

Camper Review: Ume’s 'Sunshower'

by Gabbie Paweler

I have to say, this band is certainly a lucky coincidence. The first time I listened to Ume’s Sunshower EP, I was in the car with my dad, and he pointed out that the silver Volkswagen in front of us had an Ume bumper sticker on it. Talk about a trippy experience. The album itself is memorable – well, I mean, I definitely won’t forget it. The music isn’t dynamic enough to be in my comfort zone, but it is still good music. I like the melody that says “Nothing really happening here” in "Sunshower," and I’m digging the dominating bassline in that track as well as in “The Conductor.” “Pendulum” is put together well and relaxes despite its heavy guitar and ever-present drumming. In the third track, “The Conductor,” says the guitar, is a scary person; the riff feels threatening. The music puts me in a lush place, much like the scenery displayed on the cover. I definitely recommend listening to the record – at least once. 3 stars (out of 5)

Camper Interview: Undergrowth Bassist Rachel Gonzales

[Note: Be sure to check out Mylena Guerrero's bonus video tribute to Undergrowth the end of this article!]

by Mylena Guerrero

At first, I was shocked when my music journalism teacher told me we had to do an interview. From the second she gave us our assignment, I knew I would interview Rachel Gonzales.

I first met her at Polvo’s Restaurant, where my Mom introduced me to her.

There is where I learned that she was in a band called Undergrowth and played bass like me.

Rachel Gonzales is not your typical rock ’n roll bass player. She has been in Undergrowth since high school. She started out playing guitar but then moved on to bass.

A year had passed since our first meeting, it was my aunt’s birthday party, and Undergrowth was invited to play. The party was a lot of fun because I got to hear Undergrowth play live and see Rachel Gonzales again.

Q: How does it feel to be in a band?

A: Fun! I enjoy myself and the reactions of people.

Q: How old were you when you started playing bass?

A: I started when I was 22 years old.

Q: What’s your favorite gig you’ve played at?

A: Fire Base Charlie’s Bar (my aunt’s birthday party).

Q: When you play at a gig do you feel nervous?

A: Yes, usually all the time.

Q: What genre of music do you think ya’ll are?

A: Definitely aggressive rock.

Q: When you play, do you want people to be moved by your music?

A: Yes! It would get me to be a little loose.

Q: What’s the best road trip story, if you’ve ever been far from the gig?

A: When we went to the valley area, where I from. It was fun, nothing major.

Q: What do you think about being in power within music?

A: I won’t listen to anybody say, “you can’t do that because you’re a girl.” I can do anything!

Q: Does it make you happy when people dance to your music?

A: YES! At Fire Base Charlie’s, it was awesome!

Q: How did Undergrowth come together?

A: Well it’s a long story. We started in high school, and at that point I was in guitar. Sadly we separated a little bit, while I was still in the Valley they were in Austin. So I decided to come to Austin to play bass. The bassist before moved to Michigan. I got a little help from a friend, and he gave me bass equipment.

Camper Interview: Drummer Mel Zapata Does Her Own Thing

by Kelsey Ward

Mel Zapata is a female drummer who has been teaching me everything I know so far. I came to interview her after my music journalism teacher told us we had a project to do. I thought Mel would be the greatest person to interview. She has been the drummer of many bands, including Adrian and the Sickness and Hell’s Belles.

Q: What made you want to stick with drums over everything else?

A: Actually, I wanted to play sax, but my mom couldn’t afford it. My school provided drums – that’s the only reason why I chose it. After I played for about a year, I fell in love with it.

Q: What do you want to do in the future?

A: In the future, I’m planning on going back to school for academic purposes –because I didn’t finish college – so I can get my degree. Then after that I’m probably going to look for jobs overseas either in Europe or Singapore.

Q: Aww, so you’re leaving?

A: In about four or five years … probably for a while. I’m sure I’ll still play drums.

Q: I think it’s pretty cool that people often mistake you for a guy, because of your amazing skill. I would take it as a compliment. But I want to know how you feel about it.

A: I have mixed feelings. I do take it as a compliment, because they’re basically saying I’m a good drummer. But on the other hand, it bothers me a bit that they’re so surprised that a girl could have talent or smarts.

Q: How long did it take you to learn double kick?

A: It’s weird, because I didn’t work on it: I bought it and started doing it. I’m not a typical metal double-kick drummer. I have my own style.

Q: So you don’t have to be a pro to learn double-kick?

A: Nope, you don’t have to be a pro at all. You just have to get the equipment and do it. I do have to do it and practice and copy things other drummers do that I like.

Q: How long have you been playing in bands?

A: Well, if you count school bands, I’ve been playing 30 years. The first rock band would be about 23 years ago.

Q: What inspired you to start drumming?

A: My older brother. He played drums. He played when he was 12 and I was 8 – like I said, I wanted to play sax and be different.

Q: When you’re not drumming and teaching awesome students like myself, what do you do in your free time?

A: In my free time, I like to see other bands and musicians, ride my bike. I like to ride motorcycles, although I don’t have mine because it’s in Seattle, but I will have it. I like to play video games, and I like to travel and go places.

Q: How do you feel about being an inspiration to so many young ladies like myself?

A: I think that’s one of the coolest things about playing music – it’s a nice thing to know that sometimes I can make people have confidence, and that’s pretty cool.

Q: Describe yourself and your creativity in one word.

A: [Thinks really hard.] I think “unique.” I definitely do my own thing

Q: What would you really like us to take out of this experience?

A: Probably, most of all, joy. I’m really hoping that this is something that will make you feel happy about yourself and give you confidence. I guess to make you guys think about what it feels like to accomplish something and to establish some sense of accomplishment.