Camellia Akhamie Kies: Exceptional Drummer

SKF NOTE: Last night, quite by accident, I came across the Guitar Center video profile of drummer Camellia Akhamie Kies. I was expecting the-same-as-every-other-pop/funk-drummer. Boy, was I wrong. I can’t remember the last time I was this moved by a drummer.

Camellia Akhami Kies does a great job telling her own story in this video, so I won’t repeat it. I love her rhythms, her sounds. I love her use of electronic and acoustic drums. And her experimentation with many different types of drum “sets” is refreshing.

I did buy her album today, I Choose Love. After a fair listening I will probably write about it.

Meanwhile, Kies does have a good Facebook page with several interesting percussion videos. She also has her own Akhamie music production company.

I’m looking forward to tracking her career. What a great start.
Posted in Interviews on 10 Nov 2020
Camellia Akhamie Kies

How did your unique approach to drum kits evolve?

My husband and I were living in a small studio apartment in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I didn’t have enough room to set up a full drum set. We had a separate garage that had a lot of our household goods stored in, and I found a little space there. I thought, “You know what? I can get a drum set!” But there wasn’t room for a traditional drum set in that space. I looked around, and I thought, “All right. I’m gonna be able to get a cajon in here,” and I remember sliding my kick pedal up to the cajon. I grabbed a hi-hat, and I grabbed the Roland SPD-30 and Roland SPD-SX I was using at the time. That’s what I started creating on a hot summer day. It was, like, 100 degrees, with no AC in the garage. That’s when the sound, my sound, really started to evolve from that hybrid setup.

So lack of space led to a whole concept?

Yes—snare but no kick drum, a cajon because a cajon was smaller, and a small hi-hat. I remember recording a video with that setup and posting it on Instagram. People were like, “What is going on? This is super-cool!” I was happy people liked it, because I love it—I love the vibe, and I love the sound. It was really kind of confirming that I was moving in the right direction. It was really cool because it’s how I was evolving, and people enjoyed it. So, it was really great, and I’ve kind of just been continuing to advance that sound and that unique, hypnotic groove and vibe that I have going on.

Full Guitar Center Interview

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