CELINE DERVAL

What does a drummer use for contraception? 
His personality.

But what’s with all the sexist talk? Drummers always get a bum rap. Why is that? Ever seen a good band with a shitty drummer? No. Know why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST. 

Drummers rule (especially female ones!) We hit stuff, get peoples’ butts shaking, and ultimately determine whether or not the band is going to perform well. You CANNOT have a solid band without a solid drummer, so this column is for the hitters. 

Hailing from Canada, today’s spotlight goes to another drummer of the finer sex, Scythia’s Celine Derval. The usual entails, but with a woman’s touch. Always remember what Kevin Seconds says, “It’s not just boys fun.’

Interview:

G- Hi Celine! How are you doing today and thank you very much for speaking with Live High Five today!

C- Well thank you for calling me! I’m doing just fine. It’s really cold where I am right now, about -18 c.

G- I think it’s about 15 degrees f. right now, but being up in Canada, I don’t think I have too much to complain about because it’s that much worse for you, correct?

C- Absolutely. It’s a frozen tundra up here.

G- For most of the year I bet.

C- Yeah pretty much!

G- Well this will be great, because you’re the second female drummer that I’ve done a Drummer Spotlight with, and I think girls in general should take up percussion more than they are, and you’re a good influence on them, especially since you’re playing in a metal band.

So, the first question I have for you is how long have you been playing drums and when did you get started?

C- I started playing about 2000, so about 14 years. What inspired me to play drums is that all of my friends were guitar players, and they were always complaining about how there were no drummers. I was living with the band at the time, and I was inspired to play the drums because everyone was complaining ‘There’s too many guitars!”

G- And How long have you been playing professionally? Is this the same band that you’re with now, Scythia, when you started playing?

C- No I’ve been in Scythia for 4 years now. I was playing and went on tour across Canada with a band called Snaptooth from Montreal, and that was about 5 years ago. So, that was really first time that I considered it professional playing. I was playing my first tour, and I was making money… I’d say that was definitely my first professional band.

G- And was there a particular moment when you said ‘Ahh yes! This is what I’m here to do and this is what I’m going to do,” in regards to drumming, or was it just that there were too many guitars around?

C- (laughs) Well, the guitar thing was the push to get started, but I think within a year of playing I realized that ‘Huh, I have a knack for this,” and I just kept going. It didn’t take really long for me to realize that this is what I wanted to do.

G- Fun, right?

So, drummers we are, we’re all gear nerds and we have to talk about our stuff. What is your current rig looking like? What kind of drums and cymbals are you using, what configurations, and what companies are backing you up at this time or that you’re shooting for in the near future?

C- Ok, well I’ve got a Pearl Master’s 5-piece. I’ve had it for about 4 years, and I don’t have any desire to get anything else because it’s absolutely wonderful and I’m very happy with it.

For crashes, I just got some new ones because my old ones were cracked. I’m not too picky on brand names, but I’ve got some Sabians and Zildjians right now.

For a while, I was a Paiste player.  The sound was just so wonderful and so crisp, especially for recording, but I found that I’d bring them on the road and, playing show after show with them, they’d crack on me, and they were a little too pricey to replace. So, right now I’ve got some Sabians, a Zildjian, and yeah!

G- Right on. And for the kit, is that a maple or a birch kit, and what are the configurations? 12, 13, 16?

C- Yup. 12, 13… I should know this (laughs.) 10, 12, 13, and 16, and it is Maple.

G- And do you use the matching snare for that?

C- It used to. I picked up a snare about 6 months ago, and it’s a 14” Mapex Black Panther.

G- Nice! Good drum!

C- Yeah it’s really neat sounding, so that’s what I’m hitting right now.

G- Awesome!

So, aside from your band practices, how often do you find yourself practicing independent from your performances? Do you have any warm up tips or advice you can offer for our readers?

C- Well, for me personally, I practice at home just on a pad practice stand. I just kind of do rudiments and go through our songs. Because Scythia is split between two different cities, we don’t get to regularly practice all the time, so I’ll just go into the studio where my drums are and practice our songs mostly. When I’m sick of playing our songs over and over again, I just play whatever and let loose. I don’t think about any regimented practice… I just play whatever comes out, and I find that that really helps with just relaxing.

G- Right on.

Now, in terms of drummers, I’d like to know what drummers, then or now, do you hold as personal inspirations or players you often learn things from?

C- Well, I’d have to say my top 3, and I knew you were going to ask me that…

(laughter)

… so I’d have to say Danny Carey 100%. I’m a huge Tool fan, and I know Scythia doesn’t sound anything like Tool, but they were a great influence. His finesse is unreal! Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden, of course, and I really like Gavin Harrison…

G- Another great player!

C- Yeah from Porcupine Tree. I just discovered him about 3 years ago.

G- Have you delved into his back catalogue at all, because it’s insane!

C- Not so much, just the Porcupine Tree stuff. I was just amazed at the stuff he was playing. So, those would be my top 3.

G- Nice. And a speculative question for you, as you have a some wide-ranging tastes… If you could be the drummer on any recording in history, which one do you wish you could’ve played on?

C- Ooh wow! Well, I didn’t name this drummer, but if I could be on any of Dream Theatre’s albums, wow! Yeah.. I’d be pretty happy!

G- Oh yeah.

And moving on. In your video, “Spirit of the Quest,” it shows you playing very delicately, so I am not sure how much this next question will apply, but what is the worst drum-related injury you’ve sustained from playing? What happened and what was the injury?

C- Well, to backtrack a bit, the reason that it looks like I was playing softly on the video is because we were playing along to a ghettoblaster (laughs) and if I were to play at full volume, we wouldn’t have been able to here the song itself.

G- Understandable.

C- But the worst injury I’ve ever gotten was trying to learn to play blast beats in a very short period of time. My whole arm and wrists started aching and I had to stop playing for a little bit to let them rest. This was before I joined Scythia when I was trying out for a band that was a lot heavier and required blast beats.

So yeah, lesson learned. You can’t learn blast beats from scratch in 3 months.

G- True speed is either naturally there or you have to work on it… You can’t force it.

C- Yeah I was spending too much time during the day trying to go fast and not working on technique.

G- Right on.

And to finish up today, I wanted to ask you what advice you could give some of the young, up and coming drummers everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional drummer like yourself?

C- I just say keep going. If you really enjoy playing and you have fun, keep going. The minute you start wondering if you’re doing it for the money, or because it’s cool, than take a step back and ask yourself. Just be honest with yourself.

If you’re having fun and for professional reasons, go for it and don’t stop. And keep practicing, all the time!

G- Perfect! Well I just want to say again, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. Until we speak again, I just want to say play well, travel safe, and keep hittin’ ‘em!

C- Thank you!

G- You’re welcome!

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