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Meet Anders La Source of Sugarmill Slim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anders La Source.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anders. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I grew up in a musical family. My dad played drums, and he lives and breathes the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, and CCR. My mom sang in choirs all her life and was deep into country music, especially the renaissance it experienced in the ’90s. My older sister was also heavily into musical theater, and she hipped me to the great composers like Stephen Sondheim, Rogers & Hammerstein and modern masters like Jason Robert Brown.

In high school, I started to teach myself the drums and harmonica. It was around this time that someone gave me a copy of the first record by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. I had no idea what blues harmonica sounded like before hearing this album, and I began to dedicate all the free time I had to learning how to sound like the great practitioners of this style, Pouring over records from Little Walter, James Cotton, Paul Butterfield, and John Mayall, I had become obsessed.

As a teen, I also began to experiment with fashion. Inspired by the great designers of 60’s fashion like Mary Quant and Michael Fish, I scoured thrift shops and the discount sections of department stores for the loudest, boldest patterns and designs I could find. Fashion, I realized fashion and style were tools I could use to construct an entirely new identity for myself.

After high school, I went to study music, and specifically percussion, at Cal State Northridge. Here, I learned how to play piano as well gained a deeper understanding of music theory and how to arrange parts for a band. The study of music continues to be a passion of mine, and I’m incredibly grateful for my time at CSUN.

After graduation, I immersed myself entirely in music. With the full support of my amazing family, I spent every hour I could practicing on my own or playing with other musicians. My ability to play drums, harmonica, and keyboards afforded me many opportunities to play a wide variety of different kinds of music, learning a new technique/style/perspective in every situation,

Never feeling entirely comfortable in the spotlight, I relished the anonymity that being a sideman afforded me. I had trouble believing that my mild-mannered personality could ever be the frontman. But my continuing love for fashion and style was slowly instilling in me more and more confidence, and I began to study how the great performers like Bowie, Prince and Jack White used clothes to create an onstage persona that was sometimes entirely separate from the person they were in day-to-day life.

This year I was asked to put together a band to open for the great blues guitar player James Armstrong. I decided to combine my love of all things blues and fashion and inject it into a band that I would front, This project has evolved into Sugarmill Slim, and I have never been more dedicated to something musical in my life. I have put together a band that includes some of my favorite musicians, and we have been fortunate enough to open for some incredible blues players. We are currently working on our first record and this September we are going to be opening for the great Jimmy Vivino and Joe Bonamassa.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I am very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family, They have always encouraged me to pursue what I love doing, never pressuring me to pursue a more conventional lifestyle or “get a real job.”

Every artist struggles with insecurity though, I often wonder and worry that this thing I’ve devoted the better part of my life towards is worth it, Am I doing something that’s worth anyone’s time? Can I even support myself with this passion? Am I diluting the “purity” of my art by trying to make money with it?

If I let myself, I can become so bogged down in this swamp of doubt and insecurity that days go by without any productivity.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As a professional musician, I like to think that my greatest strength is my adaptability, I love music more than anything in this world, and I am just as happy playing drums in a jazz combo as I am playing the organ in a psychedelic band.

Studying music at CSUN also taught me how to learn songs on my own quickly, and I often play shows with one or sometimes no rehearsals.

As far as my own personal project, Sugarmill Slim, I am proud of the musicians I have chosen for that band. I managed to acquire some of the best players I personally know to back me up in this endeavor. Tunafish, Slamuel, Coffeecake, and Rawdog, I only pray y’ all don’t get tired of your stupid nicknames.

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Image Credit:
Chelsea Brown

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