A Different Drummer
by Jaclyn Killins
Philip MacIsaac is calm as he sits on the carpet in his apartment, leaning up against the cracked wall, a strangely bright March sun lighting up his face, leaving the other half in shadow. Skis and poles and hockey sticks are stacked like a teepee in the corner by the door, an F C Twin Yobo game-system is hooked to the TV. There are stacks of movies beside the table, a lone chair in the middle of the room.
MacIsaac smokes a cigarette and talks about how he ended up playing drums for The Danks and The Robots. He was originally a guitar player but he knew how to play drums, so when his friends were forming bands he offered his services
When he sits at the kit his play is primal, up-tempo, and intense. Yet, his fierce play is leveled by a serenity he describes as solemn. “I find if you think about it too much you become inhibited,” MacIsaac says, commenting on his creative process.
He gets up from the floor and goes through a few doors out to a rooftop. The basilica looms gothic overhead. The spires are colossal and quiet. In tribute to Nordic Black Metal, MacIsaac crosses his arms over his chest. He places a coin on each eye as if to pay the fare to the ferryman at the river Styx.
Back inside, MacIsaac sits down and talks about the future. With a few months left in a degree in religious studies at UPEI, MacIsaac knows a lot about the world but wants to learn more. He hopes to study urban planning, specifically to learn how cities can be made to be more sustainable. There are no limits to the possibilities for MacIsaac, the youngest of five boys. Education is a vast library at his fingertips, just like the PEI library across the street from his apartment, a place he frequents to scour the film section.
In the past month, apart from his studies, MacIsaac has had plenty of time to watch movies. His two bands, The Danks and The Robots, are on indefinite hiatus. However, he has a new band in the works called Millennium Falcon that is geared towards playing “aggressive, big sounding, punk-ish rock” similar to the Dead Kennedys or Sonic Youth. The band has “bare skeletons” of songs, but nothing concrete, MacIsaac says. After playing drums for four years, MacIsaac will put the sticks down and pick up a guitar. “I’ve sort of neglected my guitar skills, which is why I’m excited to be playing in the new band,” he says.
MacIsaac has been listening to a lot of music lately, specifically The Liars, The Jesus Lizard, and Health. He enjoys techno music (Justice, Sebastian, Vitalic) and the simplicity it offers with its 4 to the floor style beats. “Simplicity overall in music is what I’m partial to,” he says.
His gets up from the floor and puts an acoustic guitar on over his plaid shirt. He paces as he gently plays.