By SPECIWOMEN Photography LAUREN DAVIS
"My sound has always been heavily rock influenced and although there have been a select few of very successful female drummers in the rock world, I hope to show that women can do it just as well, if not better."
Who are you?
My name is Fiona Stocks-Lyons and I’m 20 years old. I’m from Long Island, but I currently live in New York City and I attend the New School downtown. I’ve been playing drums since my godmother got me a kit when I was three, and I also enjoy singing and playing the guitar and bass.
What drew you to music?
I think that a big part of what drew me to music in the first place was hearing all the great artists that my parents would play for me as a little kid. They introduced me to Jimi Hendrix, the White Stripes, the Ramones, and the songs left a huge impact on me rhythmically. After listening I wanted to be able to play the songs myself, so I would put in my headphones and try to pick up on the beats in the song while drumming. This method became the way I learned to play drums from then on. I’ve never liked people telling me what to do so instead of lessons this way of learning worked for me.
Do you remember the moment you decided that this was the path for you?
Where I grew up on Long Island music was only thought of as a hobby, so even though I always loved playing the drums, the thought of pursuing drums professionally never occurred to me. This all changed once I started high school at Professional Children’s School in NYC. Being surrounded by such amazing artists brought out the passion within me that I had for the drums. When I played my first real show at The Cutting Room, I knew that drums would always be my life path.
Who have been your most important inspirations as a musician?
My biggest drumming inspirations have come from Mitch Mitchell, Dave Grohl, Karen Carpenter and Jack White, but overall as a musician I am also heavily influenced by Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, Warpaint, Lana Del Rey, PJ Harvey, Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill, Margaret Glaspy, Laura Marling, Alabama Shakes, Big Thief, and Lake Street Dive.
As a woman, how have your experiences shaped your sound?
Unfortunately since people don’t see many female drummers, I try my best to show that gender is truly of no importance when it comes to music (or any other field for that matter). My sound has always been heavily rock influenced and although there have been a select few of very successful female drummers in the rock world, I hope to show that women can do it just as well, if not better.
If you could collab with three people in the near future, who would they be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Fiona Apple, I think she is a musical genius and the way she incorporates drums into her music is very unique, her songs ‘Left Alone’ and ‘Not About Love’ are great examples of this. Another artist I would love to play with would be Jack White, because his musical intuition has been an inspiration to me throughout my whole life. Lastly, I would love to collaborate with Lana Del Rey, vocally she is my favorite artist, and I think we could come up with something very special with her lush tones mixed with my drums.
Where does performing bring you?
Performing gives me such a natural high, in that moment I feel so connected with the crowd, the music and my bandmates. As a drummer, collaborating with other people is the most rewarding part of playing music and having all of the songs come together on stage is such a wonderful feeling. As I mentioned above, after my first real show, I knew the feeling I left with couldn’t be matched with anything else other than performing.
How much does your music connect with your identity?
I feel like my music has become my identity, when I’m not playing, I’m thinking about playing and my feet and hands are always tapping to something. Playing music connects so strongly with my identity because it gives me a true feeling of freedom and purpose. I feel as though it’s my duty to work on my craft as hard as I can to honor music as a whole, because you never know who’s listening or whose life it can change in the process. The energy and experience music brings to my life is something I’ll never be able to fully explain, but I am just so thankful for the opportunities I’ve gotten to play and share my love for music with other people.
You Ain’t Alone- Alabama Shakes
Sheela-Na-Gig- PJ Harvey
Limp- Fiona Apple
Not About Love- Fiona Apple
Soothing- Laura Marling
Ball and Chain- Janis Joplin
Power to Love- Jimi Hendrix
Doo Wop (That Thing)- Lauryn Hill
Shades of Cool- Lana Del Rey
Gloria (Remastered)- Patti Smith
Real Love- Big Thief
Black Magic Woman- Santana
Totentanz- Franz Liszt