Given I curate the blog and play in Drum Machine, I thought I had better step up, put on my big girls pants and write an article.
So here goes...part one of my story of how I ended up playing in Drum Machine
“I’ll never forget seeing Drum Machine play for the first time. It was October 2015 at the Ritz in Manchester. I’d got a ‘pass out’ for the night whilst my husband was looking after my toddler and my 4 year old. Slamboree were headlining and Age of Glass were supporting.
After Slamboree finished their set, Drum Machine came out onto the dance floor. They were a force of about 25 players. It was like nothing I’d seen or heard before. I've always loved drumming bands but these guys were different. All moving in time. Ridiculously funky. Phenomenal. Primal. It felt like I'd been hearing these beats since the dawn of time.
Not for a minute did I imagine that one day, I'd be playing with them. I’d never have put myself forward for such a band given the narrative I’d always told myself; that I had ‘no rhythm.’
The following year, I was at Solfest Festival in Cumbria looking after my kids in the kid’s field when I got chatting to a random guy looking after his kid too.
He asked me what I’d been up to. That year I was running a dance workshop for kids and adults. It was all about having fun, losing your inhibitions and feeling comfortable to move freely.
And he asked me what I’d seen at the festival.
‘OMG there’s this drumming group here. I’ve seen them before at The Ritz in Manchester. They’re amazing. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen etc etc”
He let me go on about them for a bit and then said,
“I know ‘em. It’s my band!’
"What do you mean it’s your band?” I enquired slightly confused.
There were so many people in it, it didn’t occur to me that it was one person’s band.
He looked a bit bemused.
“Err… I write the tunes. I train everyone. D’you want to be in it?”
Me: “I could never be in a band like that. I’ve got no rhythm. I can’t even clap in time”
“Well, you can dance can’t you?”
Me: “Yeah but I don’t have to keep time with other people when I’m dancing. I just fling my arms and legs around. I’ve tried drumming before and I just can’t do it.”
I’d done a 6 week djembe course as well as played the Atabaque a few times, the tall wooden Afro-Brazillian hand drum used in Capoeira. I’d played Capoeira on and off for 12 years and only got put on the drum a handful of times. I'd soon got taken off. I just didn’t have the concentration to keep time.
“Well, in September” said the random guy who by now had introduced himself as Aid, “I’m taking on 20 new people. Why don’t you be one of the 20?’
“Err, where are you based?”
I looked on Google maps. Hebden Bridge was an hour and quarter from where I lived in Stretford. And I’ve got two kids!
But my husband and I had been looking for something we could do together.
We signed up for 4 weeks.
The first session was epic. We did the intro course which at the time was 12 weeks. At the end of the course, Aid invited us both to be in the band.
Aid’s a great teacher. It’s quite a feat to take someone who wasn’t even confident to clap in time and give them the understanding that practice and repetition really helps.
I literally love everyone in the band. I’ve made some amazing friends and we’ve played some amazing gigs.
Never once, in 3 1/2 years of being in the band have I thought I 'Can't be arsed' to go rehearsals.
Drum Machine has engaged me in a way that nothing else in my adult life ever has.
It’s a beautiful thing.”
If you would like to read more blogs written by dM players, you can find them here; James Willis Davies, Becky Mayo, Joe Duffield, Anthony Rae, Doug Lyon and of course, Drum Machine's Creative Director, Aid Todd
If you would like to book Drum Machine to PLAY at your club, event or festival OR If you would like Drum Machine to do a WORKSHOP at your workplace, organisation or event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are shooting for out new video at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge on 9th February, 2020 6-9PM. We have new costume and new tunes which are sounding awesome at rehearsals. We need an audience!!! If you would like to be in the crowd, please email email@example.com and let me know how many tickets you'd like. It would be fab to see you there!