Where are you from?
I am a Los Angeles native! Born in Panorama City, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley.
When did you start playing and why did you pick your instrument?
My first instrument was a keyboard given to me by a family friend around 8 years old. I played as many of the ice cream truck tunes as I could learn! I was somehow able to read music quickly and since I wasn’t taking formal lessons I felt total freedom to improvise and compose, even though I wasn’t aware thats what I was actually doing. From there I was given a saxophone by my mother and started taking lessons. In high school I was exposed to a vibraphone and realized that this instrument was the one for me.
Finally at the age of 22 I started taking percussion lessons and made percussion (which is endless) my “instrument” and vibraphone my main focus.
When did you start composing and why?
I started composing on the keyboard that was given to me by that family friend without even noticing that I was composing. I felt amazing to make up a melody and then be able to recreate it at a later time and having the knowledge that I was the only one who knew the “song” and could play it for someone else.
I really got serious after I heard a version of Take 5 by Quincy Jones and started to listen to a lot of Hip Hop. I remember thinking that there were certain moments in some of my favorite songs and pieces that I yearned to last for longer, and I began to realize that I couldn’t depend on anyone to make the same decisions as me to prolong those moments. At that point I decided to write my own music and be inside of any moment I wanted, for as long as I wanted.
What is your favorite instrument to write for or play?
I’m split between which instrument is my favorite to work with, it shifts between the bass clarinet and celesta. The warmth and richness of the bass clarinet, along with the low frequency capabilities, always gets me! The celesta is the exact opposite and usually gives me the chills when I hear it used well, it’s high frequencies and slightly unpredictable overtones keep me quite fascinated.
My favorite instrument to play changes every month. I have also been experimenting with making unusual “drum sets”, some recent ones include 2 congas, foot clave and pocket piano as well as 2 toms, kick drum, concert bass drum and music box.
What has been your experience working with VCE?
Being a percussionist and composer and video artist with VCE has been challenging in all the right ways. Das Bauhaus was always fun to work inside of. We always figured out a way to interact with the space as part of each concert in a unique way. The first couple times I played on that stage was before VCE actually existed, we played Igor Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale Suite and a duet for two clarinets (I played one of the parts on vibraphone and Candis had to transpose the entire piece by hand). This was a very exciting time, seeing VCE start to come together and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to experience what was to come!
What makes VCE different than other groups you’ve worked with?
We danced at every concert! The point wasn’t to be extremely quiet the whole time, but to listen in our own ways and to be a part of the concert. VCE also allowed me to experiment with video while I was still very new to realizing it as part of my art practice, and the five metal sheets installed in the courtyard that we projected on always gave us something magical and unexpected.