Our music and our instruments are a peculiar part of us which will be, and always will be. It’s interesting how we grow with our instruments, at some stage start gigging, writing new material, maybe recording, dreaming, pursuing. At some stage or other, the life expected of us by those less musically inclined tends to waylay these endeavours, and a lot of us, myself included, tend to approach music less as a hopeful and more as a hobbyist – albeit a very passionate one. Then there are some of us who meld our passion for music or our instruments with other skills we develop along the way and create something even more peculiar, spectacular and defined.
I had been planning to return “home” for some time, after spending years in the somewhat unique scene of the Northern Territory. Now that I am finally back here in the great southern of Western Australia, there is someone I’ve been dying to meet down here. Dylan O’Neill is a chippy living in Albany, who doesn’t just hold a full-time job and support a family, but in his spare time, he turns his passion for drums and a flair for woodwork into the crafting of some damn exemplary drums.
I’ve been catching glimpses of his work through his Facebook page, and have been increasingly impatient to meet the guy and see, touch, smell and hear his beautiful stave block snare drums. I also hear he has constructed a five-piece jarrah block drum kit, and needless to say, I am itching to sit behind it if he still has it, and obviously only if he’d let me!
There’s a final thing about his drums which still blows me away: the price. In a recent photo, Dylan has a selection of his snares butted up together in a showroom, each with a tag which, belief begging, asks for a mere $800. The question is, given the gradual demand for locally handcrafted instruments and the growing interest in O'Neill Drums, for how long will he price his work so modestly?
Streamhear has a keen interest in these men and women who create magic with instruments and equipment, whether it be restoring our battered guitars, resoldering our static-vexed amplifiers, or turning raw materials into stunning instruments. I am personally stoked to have a perfect excuse to pry a little further into Dylan’s handiwork, and share with our readers a story from my home where great passion and craftsmanship is chiselling its mark into the grand girth of local music culture.
Keep your eyes peeled for the follow-up article where I ask Dylan a little about himself and his drums and pay his workshop a visit. Wish my wife for my financially agreeable return!