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Cheetie Kumar, Birds of Avalon

How would you describe your music?

equal parts prog, kraut, dub, rock, experimental.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

"ours is a fairly democratic band in our songwriting (to a degree) and general approach. but when it comes to dealing with the ""business"", i'm usually the one making the decisions and handling the communication. i definitely am the person in the studio the whole time, mixing, at the mastering sessions and setting up mics. i even recorded one of our albums in our house! "

Describe your gear.

i currently mostly play a late 70's guild guitar (S-300D) through a klipp amp, marshall cabinet and also a fender deluxe... i use lots of effects- Electro Harmonix Memory Man, POG, Microsynth, an old Mutron phaser, self-made fuzz/phase pedal, yarbox, ibanez echo chamber, and a very early ibanez digital delay/ mutieffects unit. i also own and use a les paul guitar, a fender telecaster deluxe, among others.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"well this is tricky to say since i've never been a man and a musician! but i do feel like the differences are as amplified (pardon the pun) as you want them to be. sometimes people have a more personal agenda as part of their musical identity, and that's fine- it's tied in to the kind of music they make. i guess i've always thought of myself as an equal in all things to men so i do my best to not focus on that or make music ""as a woman"". BUT, i do feel like women have maybe a finer sense of intuition (we might be famous for that!) and that does show itself in making music. i never quite realized this until i started recording more often and a lot of decisions/ direction was really obvious to me while my bandmates weren't quite as tuned in, perhaps? i don't know if that's a gender difference, but it did occur to me that i was different than ""the guys""."

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

most definitely! i think there is a freedom among women making music today that just wasn't there before. you see a lot more female guitar players- actual players- not just strummers! women just seem more comfortable in their roles in bands and seem like they aren't confined to being the "hot chick" in the band, or the tough girl in the band. it just seems more natural for bands to be multi-gender these days.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

"the only valuable advice i was ever given is true for most things: don't worry about the things you can't control... i would certainly pass this along to anyone trying to do anything, starting out or otherwise. as far as musician-specific advice to the new musician: practice a lot, think about the music you like and why you like it and figure out what makes it sound the way it does. load your own gear, learn how to fix as much as you can, buy a tuner, buy records, listen to a lot of music, don't limit yourself and never be obedient to anybody but your own gut."

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

i always was drawn to guitars and what they were doing in a song. i learned how to play by playing bass early on, but i found myself wanting to play guitar lines on the bass- so i just went for it! i think the guitar is a very versatile and expressive instrument and can be made to sound like almost anything.

Related Themes: The First Time