By Tracy Dietlin
Originally from Blythe, CA, Desiree Annette McCaslin, drummer for the metal band When Tides Turn, moved to Palm Desert when she was 20 years old. She fell in love with the valley and its music scene.
“In Blythe, there isn’t much to the town, just a river, farmland, agriculture and 2 state prisons nearby, not much to do growing up so I had to keep myself busy as a kid with music, skateboarding and softball,” shared McCaslin, during a recent interview.
Now 30 years old, McCaslin has been tearing it up as a drummer in the desert music scene and currently works her day job at Citi of Dank in Cathedral City.
“When Tides Turn has been together for a year now. Our songs have been in pieces for a couple of years and these new guys helped bring them together. I’ve been in a few other groups like Exact Opposites, and a band my current guitarist (Thomas Lambert) and I started when we moved to Palm Desert called “Yatho” weird name, I know,” shared McCaslin laughing.
“I’ve been playing drums since I was 11, but been beating pots and pans since I could remember. I asked my parents if they could get me a set my 8th grade year and my dad said no, and my mom still went ahead and got me a set anyway,” said McCaslin.
“I fiddle with guitar tabs once in a while but nothing spectacular. I used to play saxophone in marching band my freshmen year and I used to get embarrassed when my older sisters would call me Lisa Simpson. I eventually had to give up the sax because my softball practice interfered with rehearsals. I still have my saxophone my grandmother gave me so hopefully I’ll pick it up soon.”
When Tides Turn recently released an EP titled, Upon Arrival, on all major music platforms.
“It took us about a year or so to finish writing/recording. Now we are working on our new album. We are aiming to go a little heavier with more melodic, aggressive riffs and drumming,” said McCaslin.
She says that the most exciting point in her career is her endorsement with Haram.
“I’m so grateful to be part of their team and to represent not only When Tides Turn, but also the Coachella Valley. I hope to introduce Haram to my fellow drummer friends as well, on their amazing line of accessories.”
I asked her who her influences are.
“I have way too many to list so I’ll just start off with mainly drummers, Dave Lombardo, Joey Jordinson, Gene Hoglan, David Silveria, Derek Roddy, Tony Royster Jr., Matt Heafy, my homies Marton Veress of Mirrors, and Tito Ortiz of The Sand Dollars. I have more to list such as friends, family and coworkers, but that’ll be another book to write.”
She is currently listening to the bands The Disaster Area and The Bad Suns.
“The Disaster Area is some metal band I came across on Spotify. I really like how well they constructed their songs together. Reminds me of the old Bring Me The Horizon. The Bad Suns were introduced to me by my lead guitarist Thomas Cazares. Really chill vibe, reminds me of Sublime mixed with some 311.
“I also like Logic. His lyrics and beats are catchy and he definitely covers different styles and genres of music. All of his songs sound different from one another, from start to finish. And I’m pretty sure people wouldn’t expect me bumping hip hop or going to one of his shows,” shared McCaslin.
When asked who she most respects in the music business she replied: “I respect anyone trying to do what they believe in and love. You don’t want to wake up one day regretting how you should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.”
She said that she would love for When Tides Turn to open for big acts such as Trivium, Oceans Ate Alaska, August Burns Red, Fit For A King, and In Flames.
“Locally we would like to play with Perishment, Se7en4 and Mirrors. We recently played with some good friends, Bound By Years, at The Hood so we can cross that off our list. Those dudes kicked ass!”
The only writing she’s been doing so far is with drums.
“I used to write some guitar riffs, but mainly just notes that were stuck in my head, and I didn’t know what to do with them after that. I’m not sure if it sounded good to anyone else’s ears but my dogs. Poor little guy.”
I asked her if she was flattered or annoyed when people say things like “the hot drummer chick” or “she’s really good for a chick drummer.”
“Flattered would never cross my mind. It doesn’t bother me anymore, but I used to hear stuff like that a lot growing up. People shouldn’t give a shit about me being a female that plays drums and should let my music speak for itself. Lately, I hear it more than ever and it can get a little annoying sometimes. I just want to be recognized as an artist, musician or just a person expressing their passion for music,” confided McCaslin.
She said that When Tides Turn’s goals are to continue to grow, make music and make more friends along the way.
“I love it! This past year we got to share the stage with so many different groups and artists, which made me realize we have so so so much talent here in the valley. I’m so glad our band gets to be a part of this awesome music scene, every year it gets better and better thanks to you guys (CV Weekly).”
She says that one of her favorite concerts was Ozzfest 2005 in San Bernardino.
“As I lay Dying, Killswitch Engage and Trivium changed my life that day. The whole line up was one of the best I’ve seen in one concert.”
As for her thoughts on Coachella Music Festival: “I’m more excited for our friends in Ocho Ojos. I’m really happy for them to play in this year’s Coachellafest. I like the idea of the new upcoming artists playing in the lineup of Coachella, but honestly I wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a concert that’s not my cup of tea. If it were more like metal bands such as Tool, Slayer, In Flames, Lamb of God, Korn, Deftones, Slipknot, then, hell yeah, sign me up,” said McCaslin.
In closing McCaslin said: “I would like to thank everyone that has helped our band and myself with this journey. A lot goes on behind the scenes, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you all for your support. At the moment we don’t have any shows lined up, we are focusing on writing new songs for our upcoming album. Hopefully in March we should have something coming up.”