I have an affinity for the work of Vukan Karadzic, a Serbian metalsmith who has been building drums under his brand Oriollo for a while now, and they are incredible. I told him I was not gonna quit until I had a dozen of his pieces.
So in late 2018 I acquired my first #1, which was a 5x14 Bell Bronze (Bellmaker series). I then saw one of his aluminum drums, an homage to a 5.5x14 Acrolite in American Music in Seattle on the used rack and that became Oriollo #2. In 2019 I ordered a custom 5.75x14 Hammered Copper (Bakar series) drum and it ruined my entire collection! #3 acquired...
And so as of late I've been pondering what's the next Oriollo snare drum going to be; definitely copper, something around 6x14 or deeper, not hammered so it's got great resonance, and I wanted it to be unique. So, I was in California recently and went into the drumshop in those parts (Drum Flip, Vista, CA) and lo & behold... on the "used" rack was this gem!
"The Bellmaker". I have always wanted a bell brass snare drum; the clarity of their tone, the poignant attack they offer, something about them is truly unique. The problem was, I didn't want to spend upwards of $2000 on a snare drum to achieve this!
I've always been a fan of the underdog. The small business owner whom, armed with a dream and experience, does something so good, unique and cool that envelops passion and love into the final product... a lot of the large companies seem to have lost that part of the equation and I'm always happy to find someone who delivers. Vukan Karadzic is such a guy, and he lives in Serbia.
I first became aware of Vukan's work through the internet, photos of his drums began to show up on social media groups and I was intrigued with what he does, as the first video I watched was this 1:00 long reel about creating "spun" snare drums. One minute was all it took to convince me "this guy can build a badass drum!" and so I began to manifest one of his drums in my mind.
One day I was walking along in Central Park in NYC and it hit me, "Hey, I can actually make that drum happen!" and I put in for a 5.5x14 Bell Brass. I figured it would take 6 months to get and was in no hurry so I dropped the $200 deposit with Vukan. A little while later I thought about the size and decided I'd like a 5" deep shell instead of a 5.5" deep, and Vukan said he had that same drum in stock so I paid the difference and the drum was suddenly on it's way to me!
Recently I did a weekend house concert-type gig with an independent, somewhat well-known regional artist. House concerts are fun because the crowds are more intimate and there's usually a nice spread of fine food and libation and the band are the "guests of honor". And because of the smaller venues, well.. .They're smaller venues! And being able to play congruent to that situation is a skill that is carefully developed over time. Playing in the "tiny space" is a completely different discipline and we'll talk about that in another story. The reason I even mentioned it is because it pertains to the following situation.
We arrived at the gig early and got all set up and the hosts quickly began to ply us with lunch and wine and we all had a glass. Some had more than one though and when we went on stage it was somewhat apparent that "elements of the band" were in their own time zone and the music, while it was played at a listenable volume, had a bit of a rollicking feel; the songs were being pushed slightly due to the "artificial happiness" bestowed upon us prior to launch. Everyone was feeling good it would seem and I was taking a few small-ish liberties with the music that would have previously "cost the artist extra" for creativity points!
It's OK, man... it's only music and no one got hurt...~Eden Brent
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