Feature: Poni Silver of The Ettes

Nowadays you may come across of a lot of female rock drummers, but you might find it rare to come across a Dominican female rock drummer. What’s the difference? Well, on the surface not much, culturally you might find a divide from generation to generation so for a Dominican girl from Queens (who grew up listening to hip-hop) playing drums for a band buzzing their way through the undergound it means a lot! I recently caught up with Poni for a quick little Q&A peep it here…

Johnny Blaster: Where you born in NYC or DR? Queens, NY

Johnny Blaster: Growing up in a Dominican household, I’m sure there was a lot of merengue, salsa and bachata playing on the radio. What where the early signs that would make you rock out and become a drummer? Honestly, I don’t think there were any signs. I was a dancer for about 15yrs (which definitely helped the transition to drummer). Played piano and clarinet. But never in a million years did I think I’d end playing drums. It was a happy accident. – A dope one at that 🙂

Johnny Blaster: Who where some of the (old) bands that you discovered that really made an impact on your musical tastes?I listened to a lot of hip hop in the early 90’s. A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Black Sheep etc. When hip hop started changing and became more about rapping about money and bitches or whatever, I was a little lost. So I did what any little sister would do and went snooping into my brothers room and came up with some mixed tapes that had all these punk bands on them like the Ramones, Dead Kennedys, and the Misfits. Never looked back. I was a changed woman!

Johnny Blaster: I’m sure for a lot of Dominicans you can be somewhat like a role-model. You ever think about this at all? Like there is a young Dominican somwhere in NYC right not that’s like “wow, I’m Dominican too…I can be a drummer too!!!” I only know of one other Dominican drummer in rock n roll. He’s in a band out of Brooklyn called Clear Plastic Masks. Really good stuff! We were so excited to run into each other on the road because you rarely meet other Dominicans in rock bands or that are even into rock music. And especially this specific genre of rock. So if I could influence a girl from the Cibao to listen to the Misunderstood and start pounding on the drums, I’d be pretty freaking excited.

Johnny Blaster: One of Poni’s many talents is that of fashion design – she attended the reknown Fashion Institue of Technology in NYC. Talk about your fashion sense compared to your music sense – do both worlds merge for you? Or do you like to keep them individually unique in their own realms?I try to keep them individual but they always merge together like scorned lovers that can’t get enough of each other.

Johnny Blaster: The million dollar question – if you had to choose between a career in music or fashion, which would you choose? And Por que? Can’t do it! That’s like asking someone to choose their favorite child!!! (Forgive me)

Johnny Blaster: Damn, just heard the news about MCA from the Beastie Boys passing away – damn!!! Are you a Beasties fan? Any favorite albums? Cuts? Videos? Huge Beastie Boys fan. I used to have all of their albums and would collect weird imports. They’re one of the few bands that I listened to as a kid and still listen to today. Very sad day. (Word)

Johnny Blaster: What do you currently have on rotation in the music section? I’m going through a very intense CCR (Clearance Clearwater Revival) relationship that has lasted for months. It’s very serious. We’re getting married in the fall.