When session drummer Emmanuelle Caplette – a rigorously educated player who drums on a French-language kids show for Canadian television – got a text from some random dude saying he wanted her to join a band with him and guitarist Andy Summers from The Police, she thought she was being punked.
The only thing that kept her from deleting the text was that the sender identified himself as Rob Giles from The Rescues, a band with placement in hit shows like Grey’s Anatomy. “I didn’t know [Giles] but I knew The Rescues,” Caplette says on the phone from Montreal.
When Giles and Summers, who has a recording studio in Venice, California, started to jam, the result was so cool that Circa Zero was born. Drums for new album Circus Hero were already tracked, but they needed a drummer for the road, and of course, to record for Circa Zero’s follow-up. After viewing Caplette’s YouTube clips covering everything from jazz fusion and drum ’n’ bass to Beyoncé and drum corps razzle dazzle, the pair had found their woman.
Although the opportunity was appealing, the Québécoise wanted to be sure that Circa Zero knew what they were bargaining for: “I told the guys I’m a freelance musician. I’ve never been in a band before because I’m really busy in Montreal with recording sessions. But with a band, you know, it’s a relationship. It’s so complicated. And I don’t want to practice the same things each day because I love to do so many different things.”
Circa Zero persisted, so Caplette, her reservations slowly falling away, figured she would at least entertain the idea. Once she got the Circus Hero tracks, the excitement built. “I was like, ’This really rocks. Okay, I’m interested. What’s next?’
“So Rob said, ’We want to fly you down to L.A.’ The guys took really good care of me for five days. It was kind of unreal.”
What most impressed her future bandmates was that Caplette charted out each of the songs ahead of time. “I wrote out all of the drum parts exactly,” she says. “I wanted to be ready for the audition, so I learned everything note by note.”
Having earned Summers and Giles’ admiration off the bat, Caplette was much more relaxed for the audition. “Honestly, after the first song, they said‚ “Okay, if you want to be in the band, you’re already in.’
“I’m like ’Are you sure? You can think about it after I leave. [laughs]
“They’re saying, ’Yeah, yeah, you’re in: The chemistry is there, we love your personality, and you play everything the right away.’
“Before we started jamming they told me they already tried several drummers but that it wasn’t working out,” she continues. “I liked that they were honest with me.”
Caplette knows Circa Zero may make her life even more hectic, but she took the invitation as a sign. “Maybe it’s not for nothing that they called me,” she says. “I need to learn new things.”