Val Sepulveda is an LA-based drummer from Chile. She plays with Drake Bell, Rachel Crow, and Pink Fly, among others. She is a drum teacher at Musicians Institute. Her style combines rock, pop, funk, and Latin. She’s most proud of winning the Hit Like A Girl contest in 2013.
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Where do you live?
I’m originally from Villa Alemana, Chile. I moved to Salt Lake City in 2011 and I have lived in Los Angeles since 2014.
Do you have endorsements?
I’m endorsed by DW Drums, Vater Drumsticks, TRX cymbals, and Big Fat Snare Drum.
What bands do you play with, if any?
I play drums for Drake Bell, Rachel Crow, Pink Fly, and other artists.
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What’s your origin story?
Since I was little, I always felt a special connection with rhythms. Even as a little girl I would hear drum grooves in popular music and keep the beat with my hands on my lap. I first played piano for seven years and then when I discovered the drums at 14, I picked it up so naturally that I knew I wanted to play for the rest of my life.
Drums were not a popular instrument back then in Chile, especially not for women. There was an extra-curricular class in my school Saturday mornings for drums. I had no idea it existed until after coming back from a handball game, when I heard someone playing drums. I was curious so I went and asked if I could join. That’s when the teacher taught me the “Beat It” groove and it felt so natural to me to play. Since then I haven’t stopped.
I Put the metronome in different settings: Every two bars to work on my own sense of timing, or on the e and ahs to work on being more precise on the grid.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I think something super important when it comes to practicing is to record yourself with your phone or a camera. That’s the best way to hear what things you need to work on and to keep track of your progress. I love practicing to a metronome and putting the metronome in different settings: Every two bars to work on my own sense of timing, or on the e and ahs to work on being more precise on the grid.
What’s something you believe about drumming that other people think is crazy?
The fact that I do music for a living can be crazy to people. Usually people see music as a hobby, or something you do on the side, and in Chile it’s really hard to make a living from just doing music. But nothing is impossible, and here in L.A. there are opportunities, you just have to go out there and find them!
HOW IMPORTANT IS FAILURE IN MAKING MUSIC/PERFORMING?
Failure is part of life. That’s the only way you learn and grow, by making mistakes and learning from them and practicing to do better and never giving up.
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ANY ADVICE FOR GIRLS CONTEMPLATING GETTING STARTED AND MAKING IT IN THIS ARENA?
It is really hard to be a woman in a male-dominated instrument (or industry), but it is becoming more open for women to be considered and included. So, I’d say practice, network, and work hard. It is possible to do what you love and it takes hard work. And most importantly, enjoy it!
Where else to find Val
Instagram and Facebook: @valdrummergirl