June 2 2017
With modest beginnings in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Red Rock Drums Australia has become a global name in boutique drum manufacturing. Gaining a reputation for stunning stave construction drums, they have been a hit with drummers of all genres as well as appreciators of fine timbers.
Little known though, Red Rock has a history steeped in a love for jazz. As a teenage drumming student, owner Mat Duniam snuck into Melbourne jazz clubs to watch and learn from local icons. And, whilst studying jazz improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts, he restored old jazz kits and became obsessed with finding the ‘perfect’ sounding instrument. When Mat met craftsman and African drum maker Roger Terrill during this time in 2001, they hit it off and began designing and refining the ‘perfect’ locally made drum which would then take a further 7 years to settle into a business with a full product line.
“Our drums lend themselves to jazz music,” explains Mat, “we designed several features including the old-style thin shells but with lathed in reinforcement rings, our rounded bearing edges for that fat warm vintage sound, and snare beds that allow the drum to sound full at low volumes. There are also visual features which are a vintage throwback, including the bass drum hoops with strips matching the timber of the drum.”
Both Roger and Mat are literally thrilled to be sponsoring the 2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival for the second year in a row.
Roger finds it more exciting to hear other people play instruments he has made rather than playing them himself; “I can play them anytime, but hearing highly talented musicians making my instruments come to life in new ways has no language to describe it. I live for those moments when certain frequencies flutter through my body and are gone again.”
Roger also noted that sponsoring the festival is a perfect hand-in-hand experience for Red Rock; “It is an opportunity to be part of something bigger than our community, chances to experience our instruments embody and influence music, in the most special locations Melbourne has to offer.”