Martina Fontana is an Argentinean drummer based out of Buenos Aires. She also teaches, performs solo, collaborates with other independent artists, and currently drums with the pop artist MeY. She’s studied drums at the Escuela de Música Contemporánea, part of the Berklee International Network. She’s been inspired by many drummers, but her main influence is Ringo Starr, who she says always “plays for the song,” which she believes is key to its success.
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What is your city, country, and age?
I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I am 23 years old.
What type of equipment do you use? What is your configuration?
I currently use a Tama Imperialstar drum set. The snare is a DW Collector’s Satin Oil 14 “x 5”.
My cymbals are AAX Sabian 16”. My hi-hat is a custom Zildjian 14″, K ride is a Zildjian 20”. Then I mix it together with electronics. I make it a hybrid kit with the Roland Octapad SPD-SX.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
I’m currently working with a pop artist named MeY. I am also part of some projects with independent artists. Then I work as an independent professional drummer.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
We all have a life story. In my case, I always had that need to express myself, to connect with art, to be able to contribute to it. Playing the drums was always my anchor to the earth. That anchor was there where I began to use rhythm as a form of expression. I always felt an attraction to the rhythm. When I was child I would innately hit things when listening to music. I felt that I needed to physically express what I felt when I listened to music. Then, after a while, I realized I was passionate about the rhythm and the drums, that’s when I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to the instrument.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I could name many drummers. My main references are Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Jordan, Victor Loyo, Nate Smith, Anika Nilles, Emmanuelle Caplette, Sarah Thawer, Erik Hernandez, Stanley Randolph, Aaron Spears, and many others. But my inspiration has always been Ringo Starr. His musicality has always called my attention. He always plays for the song and, for me, that’s key when you are playing drums or any instrument.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I usually practice about two hours a day. I always dedicate an hour of technique and rudiments, both hands and feet. Then I go to the kit. For me, it is not the amount of hours you practice, but how consistent you are.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
In my humble experience, perseverance has been crucial to my progress. Always starting with the basics, being consistent. That can’t fail. It is important to focus on rudiments, some time doing singles, doubles, and paradiddles. Working the techniques will make your muscles stronger, and it will make your playing more relaxed. It is also necessary to practice with metronome!
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?
Success is being happy with oneself, doing what you love, being honest with yourself and always pursuing your goals in life. Success is always taking new opportunities and grabbing new challenges, to be constantly moving.
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
“Today’s effort is tomorrow’s success.”
And: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.”
How important is failure in making music/performing?
Completely and painfully necessary. It is the key and the secret that will make us grow and improve.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this area?
We as women must show our strength. Sometimes it’s hard for us to be in the industry but we must make everyone respect us for what we do.