Tlacael Esparza is a Los Angeles native based in New York City. A professional drummer with over fourteen years of experience, Tlacael performs and records with acclaimed artists including Nicolas Jaar, The Dave Harrington Group, ARMS, and Friend Roulette. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and music from Columbia University and he has a Master's in Music Technology from NYU, where he teaches Digital Signal Theory. Most recently, Tlacael founded Sunhouse, Inc. with his brother and created Sensory Percussion, a new system for electronic percussion, which launched on Kickstarter on July 8.
What do you do best?
Combining music with math and math with music. The two subjects have been my passion since I was very young and my latest endeavor, Sunhouse, melds these two in as deep a way as possible. We’re creating a new system called Sensory Percussion that empowers drummers with new tools for modern music making. It lets them control electronic sounds in expressive and subtle ways.
What makes you the best?
I’m best when I’m deep in concentration building something that will push my own art form forward. Whether it’s fixing a bug in the Sunhouse codebase, or designing a new feature that I can use on stage that night at a show, the drive that comes with building something that I myself need as a musician is very powerful.
How will you stay the best?
It’s been a long road thinking through, experimenting and building Sensory Percussion. It’s of course been and continues to be a tremendous opportunity for my personal growth and learning from my mistakes. I surround myself with the best people who can challenge me and support my growth as a leader.
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
To change the standing of drummers in the music industry. Drummers have largely been relegated to the side lines and replaced by sequencers and computers. I’m working to give drummers the tools to overpower programmed beats, by giving them access to control electronic sounds in a way that was never before possible.
What fascinates you?
I’m fascinated by things that on first glance don’t fit together but on closer inspection reveal their inner logic.
¡Sí se puede! (yes we can) – Cesar Chavez You can play a shoestring if you're sincere. – John Coltrane
Suki, the elderly Chihuahua that my fiancée brought into my life.
Questlove, the drummer for the roots who’s helped make some of my favorite records.
My bandmates in Arms, Friend Roulette and The Dave Harrington Group. Playing music keeps me sane and these are my brothers and sisters in art.
Crystal Springs, Florida, where my fiancée’s family has a country house,, probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to.
La Luz del Dia Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.
My drum kit throne.
La Superior Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn.
Indigo denim shirts
Mexican Corn Elote Salad from Sweetgreens
Good coffee brewed with an AeroPress
My ‘82 Mercedec diesel (even though I have to open the hood to turn off the engine)