Drummer goes back to where it all began

IN JUST 25 years, Angus Tarnawsky has achieved more in the music world than many wannabe rock stars would dream of.

The Trevallyn-born musician has travelled the world as a fill-in drummer for international rock bands, has used his electronic music skills to compose tracks for short films and advertisements and has started his own record label, where he is producing work for himself and well-known international artists.

And on the side, he has made time to teach drum lessons from his home in Brooklyn, New York.

Tarnawsky has taken a week off to come home, see family and tutor at the Newstead College Rock Music Summer School, which he attended as a boy.

It was in grade 3 when Tarnawsky found his love for drums and at Newstead College that he decided to make it a career.

``The principal of Newstead College at the time, Dennis Betts, gave me some really sound advice that if you really want to do something you must,'' Tarnawsky said back at his former school yesterday.

``So I went on to study at VCA [the Victorian College of the Arts] and majored in improvisation, which opened up my mind to electronics.''

He completed honours, explored using electronics and drums together, and in 2010 moved to New York.

``The first reason I moved to New York was because I was asked to play for Apache Beat, `` Tarnawsky said.

``That was the tick that got me my visa.''

Since then, he has played drums for Devin and most recently spent two weeks touring with English psychedelic rock band Temples.

``Their [first US] tour was scheduled, but their drummer wasn't able to make it,'' Tarnawsky said.

``I was mutual friends with them . . . so I learnt all the songs the day before, then flew to Chicago and then we spent two weeks on the road together.

``I'm pretty much split 50-50 between playing the drums, electro work and doing a bit of business work.''

When Tarnawsky returns to New York on January 23, he will continue his work with the record label he launched in September, that has already seen him produce a record for Yeah Yeah Yeahs' drummer Brian Chase.

``My first record was with a harpist, Shelley Burgon. She's probably best known for her work with Bjork,'' Tarnawsky said.

``But she had never released her own work.

``That's the kind of reason you start record labels, so you can work with people like that and make something happen for them.''

Tarnawsky said life was rewarding and he would soon release his own record.

``And now with the record label, producing my own work and other people's work will be the biggest challenge yet.''

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