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Interview and Farewell (For Now) with Nabedi Osorio, Drummer Extraordinaire

May 25, 2012

What twisted path of fate took you from being a little girl growing up in Miami, the booty capital of the world, to the synth-rock drummer extraordinaire we all know and love today?

“Even as a baby, my mom tells me I used to bounce exactly in time to the beat of music playing and stop once the song was over. I ended up playing percussion in the bands at both my middle and high schools.” It was around this time, while she was still playing with all-girl punk bands, that she met Steph Taylor, the key-tickling second half of the State Of. They didn’t form a band quite yet though, and she continued playing open mic nights and various gigs. “Then in ’99, Suenalo contacted me to play a show with them and I guess they liked what I did because they had me come back for their next one.” Over the past 15 years she’s continued playing with a plethora of bands, and at this point has played with over 35 different ones (while also playing steady State Of gigs for the last 5 years).

In addition to the drums, maracas and the countless number of percussion instruments you handle splendidly on stage, I’ve seen you bust out a little-heard-of instrument called a melodica; any other secret weapons in the instrument arsenal?

“I started with the piano and then went through the guitar, bass, ukulele, and at this point can pretty much pick up any instrument and play to some extent by ear.”

Have you ever struggled in your career because you’re a girl in the world of an instrument perceived as being  dominated by guys?

“I’ve never limited myself when it comes to drumming; to me it’s not about if you’re a guy or girl, at the end of the day it’s about how well you can beat the shit out of those drums. ” Although she did mention that on tour it’s not unheard of for guys in other bands to have given her shit (that is until she gets up on stage and then they’re just as blown away as the rest of the crowd).  “At the end of the day some people are just always trying to see who has the bigger drumstick and a lot of the times that happens to be me.”

Tell me about the State Of’s occasional alter ego “Of the State”:

“It all started because Steph had been working on a new song from the perspective of the beats and so I was helping her out with that. It just followed naturally that she began helping me out work on the piano parts; it was like being 4 years old again {the age she first learned to play piano}. It’s definitely something we plan to continue playing with and who knows where it’ll take us.”

You guys play a pretty diverse mix of genres on stage, from Madonna to 2 Live Crew, do you think growing up in Miami is to thank for that?

“It definitely didn’t hurt. I was always really open to different kinds of music and would exchange CDs and tapes with kids at school.” Really though, she doesn’t want to feel like she’s being forced into one genre or another just because they happen to be the types of music that Miami is known for. While she 100% respects those musicians that have been able to succeed in those genres (she even went to high school with Pitbull back when he was still known as Armando), she just feels a need to “expand Miami’s musical horizons.” “People are completely taken aback when they see us in other cities, like ‘Whoa, these girls are from Miami? wtf? We want to continue to open the minds of people in other places to the idea that there are styles of music coming out of Miami other than Booty and Latin.”

Is The State Of on hiatus until/if you move back to Miami or will you guys be playing shows together every now and then?

“We’re most definitely not on hiatus; I still have most of my family and friends here and at the end of the day it’s home. I’ll be coming back for shows now and then, and once I get settled out west, Steph will come out for some shows out there. We’ll also be recording our album with a producer who has been supporting us literally since our very first show, which we think is awesome.”

How does your (too-close-for-comfort) move to LA factor into your long term musical plans? 

“Really my main motivation for going is to get away from the same old rat race I feel like I’ve gotten stuck in here, and to be in a fresh environment while in recording mode. I think it will be good to get away for a while and be exposed to new things, whether they be musical or cultural. It can get frustrating being in the same place for too long, and I’ve been here all my life. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like my ideas are hitting a bottleneck inside me and not able to get out. I’m hoping that a change of pace and scenery will be just the spark I need to start getting some of this stuff out. I guess it’s kind of selfless and selfish at the same time, but at a certain point if you keep putting the same things into a machine, you’re just going to keep getting the same things out.”

And finally, taking a page out of Wasabi Fashion Kult‘s book:

What is YO?

“It’s a statement, it’s like yo!”

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