You’ll have read our review of Sonic Rebel’s latest release, the Tyler Stone remix of her track, ‘This Vibe’. Now we catch up with the artist behind the project, and speak to the incredible Tammy Hurt.
Hi Tammy, thank you for speaking to us!
Thanks so much for the opportunity!
Representation in music is as important as in anything else. Your one-woman project Sonic Rebel sees you take on the largely male area of electronic music. What’s been your experience breaking into this area?
I’ve only just begun in this space, really. I put out the Sonic Rebel debut EP last year during a dip in the pandemic and was fortunately able to do an in-person release show. I am so grateful to be surrounded by my evolved male team members, TJ Elias, Michael Romanowski and my newest collaborator DJ ROS. Not only are they supportive – they are encouraging and bring out the best in me, which is exactly what every artists needs to maximize their creative output. While I know how lucky I am, I’d like to think my years of experience has led me to choose wisely who I surround myself with in my tribe.
On the same note, you’re a drummer, once again something which is largely dominated by men. Who have been your inspirations in the world of drumming? Especially female drummers? Do you find you have to work twice as hard as male drummers just to get recognised?
Fortunately for me, my mom played keyboards in an all-girl cover band and as a result I could “see” myself in someone else early on. When I was young, there was very little visibility for female drummers. But that changed when you started to see trailblazers like Sheila E., Gina Shock and Cindy Blackmen in videos on MTV and on magazine covers. Today – with social media, I LOVE that you can “see” Nandi Bushell taking on Dave Grohl – and “wiping the floor” – during her drum off with him. I’m also a huge fan of the insane talent of drummer, Valerie Franco. These powerful women will be the inspiration for young girls for decades to come. Digital media took away a lot of the gate keepers and social media has allowed us to be more in charge of our own destiny. That said, although progress is being made, I do think we have to work harder as a women in music. We still have to create our own opportunities and paths – which is exactly why I created, Sonic Rebel, to take charge of my destiny and not have to wait for someone to ask me to join their band.
With most artists I’ve spoken to in the past year or so, I’ve asked them how the pandemic has been treating them, but you started Sonic Rebel during this time so I know it’s been a good time for you, productively. But what other changes have you made during the pandemic that you’ll take with you into life in the new normal?
Quarantine forced us all to look at the world differently. The pandemic allowed me the space to envision something new. I gave myself permission to connect with my true, real passion and that is being behind a drum kit, in the studio and on stage. Even though following my passion is not new for me, this time it’s a completely different path for which I am SO excited, and truly grateful! The proof of concept was the EP release show – and the 200 people in the room completely digging what I had created from scratch. That validation was exactly what I needed to keep going.
I’ve listened to both the original and the Tyler Stone remix of ‘This Vibe’ – both are quite distinct, I really enjoyed your drumming, you can feel how much you’ve got into the track. What was the inspiration behind the track, and how did Tyler’s remix come about?
From the inception of this project, I was intentional about blurring genres. I wanted collaborate and experiment, which ended up being so freeing. The initial was to create music beds for the live mashups. I had a handful of ideas that I wanted to experiment with – they all differed stylistically, energy-wise and there were varying BPMs (beats-per-minute). Each of the 5 tracks on the EP has their own distinct “vibe”. I had always wanted to work with Tyler (Stone). So as soon as we mastered the project, I sent her the EP and asked her if any of the tracks resonated with her. Fortunately for me, she chose “This Vibe”. Her remix morphed the track into it’s a standalone dance track, which I absolutely love and am super proud of.
The video for the Tyler Stone Extended Remix is, to coin a phrase, an actual vibe, it’s very easy to get lost in the music already, and the video only further increases this feeling. Did you come up with the concept for the clip, or was that up to the video maker LazerShark?
Yes, I came up with the concept. I wanted a video that you could get completely lost in – that was responsive to the music, and never repeated. I had seen Greg (Ellis’ aka Lazershark’s) killer lighting design work and I knew I had to work with him. Thankfully for me, he agreed to share his wicked talent and go on this journey with me.
I earlier asked who your drumming inspirations are, but who inspires you in life? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in music? What about in life in general?
To this day, my mother is my greatest inspiration. She was my biggest fan. She passed 20 years ago, but I still think about her every day. She would be so proud – so proud. My mantra is “Never, Ever Give Up”. My advice is follow your passion – and keep your foot on the gas.
Finally, and I ask this of everyone I interview, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?
Haha – good one! I wish someone would ask me what my favourite go to restaurant in LA and NY is….. I stop in for a visit to SUGARFISH (sushi) EVERY time I can! Have the “Trust Me” – your life will be forever changed ; )