NICE HORSE ’ S
Krista Wodelet is the drummer for award-winning all-female country band Nice Horse and the first-ever female nominee for Drummer of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards . Before joining Nice Horse , Wodelet was a busy freelance musician playing in orchestras such as the Calgary Philharmonic and the Kitchener-Waterloo , Niagara , Santa Monica , and Okanagan Symphonies . She is also one half of electro-pop duo Sidney York , lending keys , bassoon , and vocals to the project .
CM : You ’ ve had a unique path to being a professional country music drummer — you ’ re a classically-trained bassoon player and have also been an electro-pop keyboardist and singer and only began playing drums in 2015 . So , what attracted you to drums at that point in your life and career and made you stick with it as something you ’ d want to do full-time with Nice Horse ?
Krista Wodelet : I always thought drums looked like a really fun instrument . Bassoon and keyboard both require a lot of fine small-muscle control , but playing drums really engages your whole body , and that appealed to me . When we started Nice Horse , it wasn ’ t supposed to be a serious or full-time project , so I jumped at the chance to try out the drums in what I thought was a pretty lowstakes situation . Things with the band escalated quickly , and lucky for me , I discovered that I loved playing drums and was able to pick it up pretty fast .
CM : How did your training and experience on other , very different instruments , influence your approach to learning drums and your style ?
Wodelet : I definitely owe my sharp learning curve on the drums to my orchestral training . I ’ ve completed two degrees in orchestral performance ( B . Mus . from the University of Toronto and M . Mus . from the University of Southern California ) and freelanced in professional orchestras for over 10 years , so I was already performing at a really high level on bassoon when I first sat down at a drum kit . Although it was on a completely different instrument , all of that orchestral training and experience taught me how to learn , and how to improve efficiently and quickly . The practice techniques and musical approaches I had been using for years translated fairly easily to the kit .
Style-wise , I do tend to carry my extensive training on melodic
instruments over to the drum kit – I ’ m always very aware of what ’ s happening around me . I ’ m less about flashy technique , and more about sensitive playing that serves the song as a whole and supports the other musicians onstage as best I can .
CM : Having come from the classical and pop worlds before forming Nice Horse , was there anything specific to country music drumming that took getting used to or required extra thought / effort ?
Wodelet : To a certain degree , music is music – if you have a good ear and do a lot of listening , it ’ s generally not too difficult to anticipate what a song or piece of music might need , no matter what genre you ’ re in . The challenge for me , particularly in the beginning , was working up my technique enough so I could actually execute the musical ideas I had .
CM : Over the last year or two , is there any particular skill you ’ ve worked on learning / improving ? If so , how did you approach it in your practice regimen ?
Wodelet : There are too many to list – coming to the drums as late as I did , I always feel like I ’ m playing catch-up . I don ’ t ever feel like I have enough time to practice .
CM : What ’ s your best advice to other drummers on how to most efficiently and effectively improve on the drum kit ?
Wodelet : Slow practice ! That goes for any instrument – I ’ m constantly telling bassoon students the same thing . Your body remembers everything you do , even if it ’ s in slow motion . The more you can practice something correctly , at any tempo , the more bulletproof it ’ ll be in a performance situation .
CANADIAN MUSICIAN 53