As you might know, we’ve been searching for a new member to join our band. That process is never easy – it’s like choosing a new member of the family: not only do they need the right skills, there has to be a match in personality and values as well. For us, we took that process very seriously, and after many months of searching, believe we found the right person to join The Slants: Yuya Matsuda.
Yuya is an industry veteran who has played for Half Past Eternity and Southern rock artist Justin Foutz. He’s also served as a session drummer with acts like Pristine Blue, Rock n’ Roll Cowboys, Zach Driscoll Band, Breaking Midnight, and Suburban Anthm in addition to doing musical theater productions for Pentacle Theater and the Gallery Theater. He’s had both major label as well as independent experience, and even toured with Travis Barker (of Blink 182) as a drum tech.
Please take a moment to learn more about our new drummer!
Yuya writes, “For the longest time I have been looking for a band like The Slants. I wanted to be a part of a project that would shine a positive light on Asian-Americans. Because it’s the first All Asian–American dance rock band, The Slants have been able to change the negative stereotypes with every live show and album. Even in 2016 Asian Americans have but only a small voice in the media. I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to be a part of that voice for marginalized communities.”
Being in a band that fuses arts with activism often makes it difficult to find the right person who directly understands the kinds of racism and prejudice that many in the United States experience. But Yuya was no stranger to that. He states:
“Being Asian-American in the entertainment industry has been difficult. At almost every gig someone would approach me and say something like “Hey drummer, where are you from?” I would tell them I grew up in California and without fail (if you’re Asian you know this one, say it with me now!) “No, but where are you from?” That gets old very quickly. At one point I was used as a marketing tool for a country band I was a part of. Their slogan was “The Country Band with the Asian Country Drummer!” That’s insane! I felt like my ethnicity was a gimmick and I was devoid of recognition for my talent.
The Slants are and always will be a voice for the next generation of Asian-American musicians, artists, and actors. If we win the Trademark it would be a HUGE step in the right direction for all minorities in the entertainment industry. The Slants are more than just a band. We are advocates and activists with a national and international stage. We can be a voice for social justice and equality especially for Asian-Americans.”
Of course, we’ve been known for our tough auditioning process. We have applicants complete a long questionnaire, audition in person, and interview them. This is how he felt about it: “Auditioning for the Slants was exciting and incredibly fun. As far as auditions go (and I’ve been through many) this was one of the most organized and efficiently run. Simon, Ken, and Joe are a very tight-knit unit, and that shined through. I immediately felt at ease and at home with the guys which made for an enjoyable experience as opposed to a nerve-wracking one.”
Yuya is also a devoted family man: he’s engaged to his best friend and soulmate, Emily, and shares five children with her: Aiden, Nathan, Jake, Joey, and Lily. “In addition to the five kids we also have two cats, one dog, and a partridge in a pear tree! (Okay, there’s no partridge but we do have a pear tree!).”
Now, he’s ready to grow that family with The Slants: “Since I moved to Oregon I’ve primarily worked as a sub, session drummer, or sideman for hire, so I’m looking forward to being part of a band “family” again. It’ll be nice to have a band to call “home”. I’m also excited to start writing the new album with Simon, Ken, and Joe and to take the stage as part of the Slants.”