Kristina Schiano is a freelance drummer based in Brooklyn. She’s been tearing it up on social channels the last few years. Her YouTube videos of drum covers—which run the gamut from metal Beethoven to My Chemical Romance to “Carol Of The Bells”—have been known to garner millions of hits. Her favorite drummer is Travis Barker, though she’s quick to caution others: “Do not try to be your favorite drummer. It is fine to adopt certain aspects of a person’s style, but it’s crucial to develop your own style.”
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 email@example.com telling us more about you.
What is your city, country, and age?
I’m 23 years old and am from Brooklyn, NY.
What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
- Custom SJC Turquoise Ripple Kit (10”, 12”, 14”, 14”, 20”)
- Zildjian Cymbals: 13” A Custom Hi-Hat, 16” and 18” A Custom Crash, 20” A Custom China, 21” A Zildjian Sweet Ride
- Remo Emperor Coated Heads and Powerstroke P3 Clear(Bass Drum)
- Vater Sugar Maple Concert sticks
- Tama Speed Cobra double pedals
- Shure microphones
- Tascam US-1800 interface
Do you have endorsements?
I am endorsed by SJC Drums, Zildjian, Remo, and Vater.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
Right now, I am pursuing my solo work on YouTube and collaborating with other online creators for upscale productions.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
At eight years old, I started playing the guitar and was bored out of my mind. That next Christmas, I asked my parents for a drum set, and for some reason, which I still can’t believe, they actually got me a kit! I’ve been playing and teaching myself ever since.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
This is a tough one! My all-time favorite is Travis Barker and that’s mainly because I grew up listening to punk music and was obsessed with his style. He is so expressive when he plays and one thing that I truly admire is that he never strayed away from who he is. You can always tell it’s Travis playing just by hearing his parts.
Right now though, I am very inspired by other online drummers such as Cobus Potgieter, Matt Mcguire, Luke Holland, Anika Nilles, and so many more!
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
Up until a few months ago, I didn’t have a strict practice schedule, but there was a song I was working on that forced me to play 6-8 hours a day for a month straight to develop double bass speed. Ever since then, I make it a point in my everyday schedule to work on the drums for at least 1–2 hours. If only I thought of doing this years ago because it’s amazing how fast your body can adopt new skills.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
I would love to share some advice that I wish someone had told me: Do not try to be your favorite drummer. It is fine to adopt certain aspects of a person’s style, but it’s crucial to develop your own style.
Another piece of advice is to try to not compare yourself to others. Doing this can be debilitating to your creative process and to your confidence behind the kit. Don’t worry about what other people are doing and just have fun!
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?
I’m honestly not sure if there will ever be one true “I made it!” moment. I believe that there will be multiple moments like that. So far in my career, I’ve experienced numerous events where I felt total bliss. I knew that there were bigger things to accomplish, but in those moments, I felt like I made it and am on the right path in my life.
I believe that wherever a person is in their career, they should always strive to complete another goal. Becoming comfortable is the worst thing one can do.
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
I have the letters “nbd” tattooed on my wrist that stands for “no big deal.” This serves as my anchor when I’m dealing with anxiety, but in general, I try to not take situations or misfortunes too seriously. Nothing is the end of the world and the hard times will pass. Whenever I need a reminder to breathe and relax, I look down at my wrist and know that things will be okay.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
Failure is extremely important for many reasons. It allows you to truly appreciate when things are successful, it teaches you discipline, and it brings out the fire in you. When I’ve failed at something, it just made me work harder and harder to make sure it never happened again. Failure is a powerful tool that should be utilized, not feared.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
Don’t listen when people tell you that you can’t. Walk with your head held high, right on over to your kit, and show them how it’s done!
Being female in this industry will be tough at times because people will always undermine you in some way. I get comments on my YouTube channel saying I only get views because I’m a girl, and if I were a guy, I’d have zero followers. It’s people like this that push me to work even harder. I’m not doing it to prove a point to anyone. I’m just working harder because I deserve to be successful, and so you do!
Where else to find Kristina