By Jane Boxall and Holly Rushakoff
Triple Whip is a band known for its D-I-Y ethic, and for once that also extends to interview technique. Here, Holly Rushakoff and Jane Boxall question each other about their bass-and-drums instrumental band.
Jane: As a kid, did you aspire to be a musician or a performer of any kind?
Holly: I was so shy as a kid – my hobbies were reading and drawing with crayons. As for music, I participated on the emotional plane of audience member starting in high school. I’m kind of an anomaly – I didn’t even pick up the bass till after college.
Holly: Of all instruments, what inspired you to play the drums?
Jane: I’ve played a few different instruments since I was a kid – piano for 20 years now and brief stints as a truly horrible violinist then trumpeter. When I was 11, I heard that a percussion teacher was auditioning people for free lessons, and with uncharacteristic ballsiness I went and tried out. Then I found that drums and percussion felt like home to me. Over the years, hitting stuff has steadily become a bigger and bigger part of my life, and now it’s my profession.
Jane: What comes first when you write new bass material – notes? Rhythm? Overall “feel”or emotion?
Holly: Sometimes the notes and rhythm arrive together, but usually, the notes come first, and then I might revise the rhythm more consciously. As for the emotion, sometimes I’m in a definite state and plunging for how to express this feeling. And other times I’m neutral and just open to whatever sound is worth recording on my computer (so I don’t forget). I wait on title ideas until the song is done and the whole story unfolds. I think music is total emotion – whether you connect will depend on the wavelength you’re on at that moment, but it’s all “feelable”energy. Our set has moments of fierce! ouch! yay! sexy!
Holly: If Triple Whip were a food (or beverage) what would it be?
Jane: Triple Whip would be tapas – lots of different little dishes of flavorful food that you combine to make a meal.
Jane: Early Triple Whip was all about minimalism and simplicity – no effects, no pedals. Do you think this will change?
Holly: I’m happy with my bass tone, but pedals are going to be a natural evolution for me. I’m still in the research phase but am leaning toward delay and chorus.
Holly: How is playing with me different from playing with me and Santanu?
Jane: Obviously, the main difference is having no guitar to hide behind – there’s much less room for error because everyone will hear it! Writing-wise, I feel I have more creative input now, because generally you will come up with your bass parts and I have free rein to write a drum part. I think that the drums and bass are now much more tightly intertwined than they were in the trio. There are some sections of our songs that I actually can’t play without hearing the bass.
Jane: How is working as a duo different for you than being part of the old three-piece Triple Whip?
Holly: Oh, more is on the line as a duo; there’s less shielding. For this new era, I had to take out the searchlight cause it was the first time music would come through me rather than Santanu. But I was determined to do it – no way would I stop playing. It’s also nice to be so interwoven with the drums.
Holly: On the average, how often do you practice?
Jane: I usually practice every day. Right now, I’m focusing on building up my solo marimba set, as I have a lot of solo gigs this month! But I also practice kit and this is split between the trickier parts of Triple Whip’s material, learning new styles (at the moment I’m working on some Afro-Cuban stuff), and learning other drummers’ songs.
Jane: If a complete novice asked you for a 15-minute bass lesson, what would you teach him or her?
Holly: I would show them a couple of the tricks – hammer-ons, slides, pull-offs –just to show them the variety of sounds you can create besides simple notes. I would encourage the pick, but I wouldn’t stop them if they wanted to use their fingers. I would show them two very simple riffs that they could play immediately (without the tricks) and string it together to play a pretty badass bassline. Then I’d promise to show them next time how the bass can be very pretty, too.
Holly: What was one of the highlights during the making of Horsepower?
Jane: Every time the drum part went down in a single take was a highlight for me. It’s like finishing the last level of a video game on the first attempt – unlikely but exhilarating.
Jane: Do you ever take inspiration from non-musical areas, and apply them to your playing?
Holly: I ask for angels of music to be with us and the other bands and the audience whenever we have a show. And I am inspired by our purple light force field.
Holly: What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever received about playing music?
Jane: Not specifically musical advice, but my Mum has a saying, “Doing Gets It Done.” I think this applies to life in general, and especially to music where constant action – practising, creating, promoting – is needed to advance your craft.
Jane: Name three things you’d like Triple Whip to achieve in 2007.
Holly: I envision a visit to Austin, a UK tour for Horsepower, and, at our rate, recording another album.
Triple Whip is a bass-and-drums instrumental band from Champaign , Illinois . Their album ‘Horsepower’ will be released in December 2007.