1. Tell me about your current rig: I don’t have a current rig, I use different equipment for different gigs. In general, I like oversized cymbals and older drums, and usually default towards simple setups. The musical situation will determine what size bass drum I use, if I need tom toms, what kind of snare I think will work, etc. I also build and modify instruments, so if the situation warrants it, I love finding something that will give the song or piece a stand out, whether its a shaker stick, a weird lo-fi snare, or an extended sound like a garbage can or hubcap. My collection has been years in the making; I try and be honest about if I am using a piece enough to warrant owning it, and sell things that I don’t use or doesn’t work with what I am hearing in my head. The best parts are the stuff that doesn’t require much upkeep and doesn’t break on gigs. The worst part is the fragile stuff (gourds, ceramic instruments) that break every time you move them.
2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular style? Not sure I have a “style,” I’ve always tried to fit into the musical space while still retaining my own identity. Two recent pieces I have particularly enjoyed would be the toques track “1_0,” which has a fairly lo-fi drum sound with me playing in and out of a homemade loop, and the Hexa track “Chloe,” which has a super dead drum sound and a nice lilt to it.
3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy? I spent most of my time in college playing classical marimba, which is hilarious because I don’t even own one these days. At some point it would be great to have a Marimba One low C marimba, but honestly we don’t have the room for it.
4. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought or used? A few years ago I picked up a Quijada, which is literally the jawbone of a mule, it’s a Peruvian instrument that you hit with the palm of your hand to make the teeth rattle. The vibraslap is the modern equivalent. It’s definitely not for vegans or anybody that is squeamish.
5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? New toques recording out now, and a new Skeleton Key Orchestra double CD will be out in May, just in time for a huge (24+ musicians) 40th birthday concert for myself at Bread and Salt on May 21st. A Thousand Butterflies is at Dizzys on Saturday, March 19th.