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Lyla Vander, Des Roar

Photo of Lyla Vander, Des Roarcourtesy of the artist

How would you describe your music?

Des Roar is surfy, 60's garage rock- and-roll. The songs are mainly about hook-up mistakes, or they tell stories about people, like our friends and serial killers.

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

My band feels like a family at this point. I am the drummer, but I also sing on some of our songs, and contributed to lyric writing for our album Mad Things. When it comes to recording I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Our bassist is strictly business. He handles business and hustling.

Describe your gear.

Ludwig kit. with 22 " kick, in natural wood finish (very classy I think). I use zildjan custom A pros for cymbals, hi-hats, ride and crash. I have have a Tama snare that I recently broke, so I use a ludwig snare in the meantime. My set-up is pretty straightforward- I play heavy floor tom, snare, kick and ride primarily. I don't have an elaborate set-up because simple, straightforward, heavy drums complement the music I play.

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?

I think it can have its negatives and positives. When I play shows, people who haven't seen us are like "woah,a girl drummer, I've never seen one before !" but the truth is, there are a lot of girl drummers around, it's not that rare. People often expect that I will play drums badly because I am a woman, and are surprised that I can play and hit hard, which they are also not shy about telling me! I've had so many strangers come up to me and say "Wow, I thought you were gonna suck but you can really hit those drums!" then expect a thank you. I guess because people expect less from me, they are generally more impressed with my playing and that gets the band attention. My band-mates (who are all men) DO NOT treat me differently because I am a woman musician, they know I can play so they will tell me if I'm playing something that's crappy and won't sugarcoat it. I'd rather get chewed out but be respected than patted on the back because less is expected of me.

Related Themes: Behind The Music

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?

No I wish they would so I could make a living off playing. My advice would be to play music you like and can get behind, but hustle.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

" I chose the drums because they are really fun to play! You get to bang and make a lot of noise, and be heard which was really appealing for a small lady like myself. Your whole body is involved, because you are using different parts of it to play different things at the same time, so in that way your body becomes a part of the instrument. It's very physical, which I like. "

Related Themes: The First Time