drummer Omar GongoraThe key to watching Kinky’s drummer/percussionist Omar Gongora live is to never blink. The fiery drummer, who fuels the band’s blend of Latin rock, electronica, and disco, never stops moving as he swings from a DW drumkit that he plays standing up to congas, timbales, a Roland 808, and a TD-10. “Yeah, I have a lot of work to do,” he says with a laugh. “That’s why I’m so skinny. I get a lot of exercise.”

Gongora has been playing standing up for about five years now, mainly because it’s the only way he can get around his expansive setup. “In the beginning I played drums and percussion,” he explains. “But I couldn’t easily switch to the congas because I was sitting at a normal set of drums. Then I came up with the idea of standing up to play everything, and now I feel very comfortable.”

Gongora and his Kinky compatriots recorded their second offering, Atlas (Nettwerk), in a jungle about two hours outside of Cancun, Mexico. The setting lent Omar’s percussion playing a different feel. “It was an amazing place to record,” he says. “I really felt more ‘animal’ when playing the congas, timbales, and djembe there. I started to make a whole percussion section by sequencing drumkit parts and then adding other parts with cowbells, congas, and djembe. It was really interesting. I did have to back off on some of the parts, though, because they were filling up too much space in the music.”