Friday, July 29, 2011

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.

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