Evan Dorrian is a Sydney based musician primarily known for his drumming in groups such as Spartak, Pollen Trio and now, Tangents. Originally from Canberra he began playing professionally at around the age of 13, before going on to study Jazz drumming at the Australian National University. Over the last eight years Evan has been primarily operating in the Australian experimental and improvised music scenes and has released numerous recordings with his bands, most recently, and notably, Stateless by Tangents, which is out now through US label, Temporary Residence.
Image: Hospital Hill
Evan Dorrian talks to The Street ahead of the launch of Tangents second album, Stateless.
WHY THE DRUMS?
Looking back I’d say it’s because they were a very immediate way for me to get access to playing music. For some reason I was always interested in how they worked and would obsess over what drummers were doing when I was listening to music. That, and I also just thought they were cool.
WHO IS POST-EVERYTHING EXPERIEMENT TANGENTS?
Really we are a group of friends that met through being into the same kind of music, and eventually decided we should play together. We all come from different places musically and so throwing ourselves together and improvising was a way to hopefully make something interesting happen.
HOW DID TANGENTS COME INTO BEING?
We got started because Shoeb (our guitarist/bassist/object player) organised a gig for us at Megaphon studios in Sydney back in about 2010. His idea was to put us together with no rehearsal and just see what would happen. And we’ve been playing live that way ever since.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATORS IN TANGENTS AND WHAT EACH BRINGS TO THIS MUSIC PROJECT?
Sure I’ll give it a go. As I mentioned we all come from relatively different places. We all have similar influences musically but a variety of ways and process’ of making music. Ollie Bown is probably the best example as he comes from a purely computer/electronic based process of making music. He also acts as a kind of producer especially when it comes to recording. Shoeb is really a punk musician in my books. Peter has a background in contemporary classical music (as well as electronic music) and Adrian and I have a Jazz/Rock thing.
TALK US THROUGH HOW YOUR RESIDENCY AT SYDNEY’S GLEBE JUSTICE CENTRE HELPED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUND OF TANGENTS?
The residency at GJC was great for us and has been a way to come to terms with what happens on the record (Stateless) and what we do live. Most of the development has been around how we can bring together the electronic and acoustic side of our sound and getting a collective way of playing happening that keeps things fresh. Playing every month and getting in front of people is the best way to do that – I think we have started to hit our stride.
YOU HAVE BEEN IN A FEW BANDS? HOW DOES TANGENTS FIT INTO THE MIX?
Tangents is a very open group so I can bring whatever I want to the music, within reason. At the same time however, it’s taken some work for me to get my head around where the drums sit best and how I can interact effectively. In many ways Ollie acts as a second drummer so both sonically and rhythmically it’s been a good challenge to make space for the both of us.
HOW DOES YOUR WORK ACROSS DIFFERENT GENRES IN MUSIC INFORM EACH OTHER?
I honestly don’t think much about that kind of thing. I listen to everything I can but for the most part I consider myself to be doing the same kind of thing I’ve been doing for years now.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM ALBUM LAUNCH?
Ha! People come, we play the best we ever have and hopefully everyone finds something in the music that’s worthwhile.
HOW DO YOU GET NOTICED FOR A BAND OR A PERFORMANCE AND CREATE A FOLLOWING?
I really have no idea. Focus on the music I’d say, and play as much as possible while the music’s good. I’m not on top of tactics for getting noticed to be honest.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NOMINATION FOR THE FREEDMAN JAZZ FELLOWSHIP THIS YEAR? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
Thanks. It was a surprise really, but a nice one. It’s certainly the kind of thing that makes me feel as though I should keep going and happy that my peers are potentially interested in what I’m doing.
WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU CREATIVELY AT THE MOMENT?
Honestly, Tangents and what we have been developing live is inspiring me – the music is becoming very expressive and reaching a point where we really know how to play together fearlessly.
WHAT ARE YOU READING AND WATCHING CURRENTLY?
Not watching anything at the moment but reading Treasure Island.