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Patrycja Wojkowska is a genre-bending drummer from Poland. She plays with Wataha Drums, the popular folk band Żywiołak, and post-rock band 1,000 Sleepless Dreams. She was previously in the power folk metal group Open Access. Her passion for the instrument is palpable, both in her videos and in her words below.

Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos.Want to be featured yourself? Send an email to anna.pulley@stringletter.com telling us more about you.

What is your city, country, and age?

Krakow, Poland. Age 26.

What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?

I use a Mapex M Birch Studio drum set in traditional black color, but I think about changing it. I’m in love in DW drums and retro/vintage colors. I have four toms: 10”, 12”, 14″, and 16″.

Cymbals are Turkish Cymbals, Sehzade set: 14” hi-hat, 10” splash, 16”crash, 22” ride; 18″ Vintage crash, 18″ Kurak crash, 10″ Classic Dark splash, and my Black Widow—a Classic Dark 20″ China.

Single/double pedal: Pearl Eliminator P2002C.

Snare drum: Pearl JJ1365 Joey Jordison Signature Snare 13” x 6.5”. I just love this snare drum—it has great sounds when it’s tuned high and low.

Drumheads: Aquarian Texture Coated (toms), SuperKick II (bass drum), Texture Coated Power Dot (snare drum), and I’ve also started to use the Aquarian vintage deep series.

Drumsticks: Wincent 5A White.

The most important thing for me is the sound and the story, not the speed.

Do you have endorsements?

I’m an endorser of Turkish Cymbals. They make unbelievable and beautiful sounds. They perfectly match the styles I play.

What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?

Żywiołak, Wataha Drums, and 1000 Sleepless Dreams. Last month I left Open Access, with whom I played a few concerts abroad.

What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?

It’s complicated. My father was a drummer and my mother always told me that I inherited the music and heart for the drums from him, and that I even look similar to him when I’m behind the drums [laughs]. My mother likes dance very much, and has a very good sense of rhythm.


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Dad probably thought he had no strength to teach me to play, so I was just stealing the drumsticks from the cupboard in the room and played. When I was seven, after my parents divorced, I didn’t have any contact with the drums. But after a few years, when the music resounded in me, I felt that I should also create it rather than just listen to it. I wanted to become a singer and write the lyrics. I don’t know what happened then, and why I wanted that.

I took singing lessons and I set up my first small band with my friends when I was 16. But when we went to the small home recording studio… there were drums in the corner, and I was done for. I didn’t record my voice at all, I couldn’t—I just stood and watched the drums. Something inside me was moving, like when a girl sees a boy and is instantly crazy about him. It’s a similar feeling, but different.

So, I went to music school for drums. After music school, I took a two-year break from playing drums, but then I realized that I could not live without them. I express myself best through the playing.

I’m still learning and my dream is playing a concert in front of thousands of people, sharing my passion and seeing their smiles. The most important thing for me is the sound and the story, not the speed.

Who is your favorite drummer and why?

I don’t have a favorite drummer, but here are some I admire:

  • Anika Nilles for her style, feeling, independence, and strong personality. And she never gives up.
  • Aric Improta. I really I like his style, energy, feeling, ideas, and originality. When I saw him for the first time in Germany I was in shock.
  • Luke Holland. He is another drummer of the young generation. I like his pursuit of goals on YouTube, and his style.
  • Benny Greb. He’s awesome. What’s in his head? I can only dream about a part of his mind. He born to play on drums. He changed my thinking about drums and through him I started to learn new wave music.
  • Claus Hessler and Jojo Mayer. I just like them for what they are and how they play.
  • Dominic Howard. He plays in my beloved band Muse, and has a nice feeling and ideas for drums parts in the alternative rock style.
  • Adam Gilbert from Starset, for the same reasons as Dominic.
  • Joey Jordison and Mike Portnoy because they were my first drummer idols and I think that they changed the metal music world.
  • Macij Gołyźniak for his idea of #trzebacwiczyc and style.

And many others, but this list is already long!

How do you practice? Do you have a routine?

I have a routine, but I change it from time to time in order to master new things for my band or myself. It depends on the situation. I have my methods, I can’t do the same exercises for warming up, because it doesn’t work for me. I quickly lose concentration when I play only from notes, so sometimes I write something with colored pens and read from it. Sometimes I change variants of exercises or practice with some video exercises of recognized educators/drummers. Or I just improvise, I play what my soul wants to play.

I try to practice daily, even for an hour or just 30 minutes. But mostly I practice 2-3 hours per day. At this moment, I’m into these exercises:

  1. Stick Control, Thomas Lang’s Creative Coordination & Advanced Foot Technique, and Claus Hessler’s Daily Drumset Workout
  2. A book by Anika Nilles, which I received during a groove camp with her this summer
  3. Free strokes, wrists, patterns, coordination
  4. After all that, I give myself a little bonus/gift and play one/two of my favorite songs.

Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
  1. Play what you like/love/feel, not what you have to.
  2. Treat your drums like a partner. Even if you have a bad day, do your part, enjoy it, love it. You never know what fate will bring you.
  3. Be a catcher of your dreams.
  4. Always go back to basics—sometimes you can get the simplest things wrong or forget about something.

Also, check out the foot technique lessons of polish drummer Wojtek Deręgowski and Maciek Gołyźniak’s lessons and ideologies and being a session drummer, as well as tips for natural grip by Polish jazz drummer Krzysztof Dziedzic. On Instagram, Adam Tuminaro (@insta_chops) has great materials. Check out Eugene Ryabchenko for his hand and foot techniques.

What’s something you believe about drumming or music that other people think is crazy?

For me drumming is sometimes a very intimate thing, one body and mind. Drums will play what I have in my mind, in my soul, what I have reserved only for drums and only drums can say it. And drums will make me play. I need to listen to them. This is a very big bond.

As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?

That’s a really difficult question, but maybe if I answer, I will finally realize how much I have achieved and will appreciate what other people say to me. For me “I made it!” doesn’t exist right now. But sometimes you have to stop, take some breaths and go ahead anyway.

It’s hard to not want to achieve more and more. I always dreamed about playing in a famous folk band and I always liked Żywiołak and suddenly I found myself among them. However, I don’t let success allow me to rest on my laurels. I continue my practicing, continue with the thought that I can do more.

You cannot be perpetually perfect. I define success as being happy with myself where I am. Perfection is born in pain, yes, but sometimes it’s worth staying in our imperfection because we define our style in this way.

Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?

My favorite quote is: “There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Of Green Gables

 

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When you sit down to make music and are starting with a blank canvas, what’s your process like?

I’m not a composer, but I love to create drum music to songs and be guided by emotions. At the beginning I don’t look at the metronome, I just immediately listen, feel, start to hear the drums in my mind, imagine their sound and everything related to them and just start writing notes. It goes quite quickly. Then I discuss it with musicians and improve what isn’t good.

How important is failure in making music/performing?

Failure was for me at the beginning very sad. I demand a lot from myself, I’m very ambitious and a perfectionist. After a few such failures, I realized that I’m not a robot, I can have a bad day and sometimes I really need to step back, then jump far. Now the failures still annoy me, but also give me strength because I learn from them and that motivates me to improve what is not going well.

Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?

When I first started showcasing my drumming skills online and in the 2018 Hit Like A Girl contest, I was very scared. I thought that my friends would think, “Look how Patrycja is boasting!” It was very wrong thinking.

My close friends and other musicians supported me very much and helped me to believe in my abilities. I still have a problem with it, but I started to act and I really see the results. Believe in yourself and go out into the world! Remember, however, that you have to keep going. And you have to practice, because talent is only 20-30 percent of success—that’s what my teacher used to say at the music school.

Where else to find Patrycja

YouTube, Instagram, Facebook

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