The Rions are an up-and-coming young band from New South Wales, slowly climbing their way up to the top!
The Rions are making waves across the Australian music scene, both thanks to their unique take on relaxed, soulful rock, and their tenacity to be the best they can be.
Read all the latest features, columns and more here.
Having formed in high school as a group project, the four-piece went on to win Triple J’s Unearthed High in 2021, pushing them into the spotlight. We caught up with drummer Tom about their upcoming debut EP Minivan, out today, as well as his having built his own drumkit; again as part of a school project!
We’ve seen The Rions slowly building a following since winning Unearthed High in 2021. How did the band begin and what did The Rions look like before winning Unearthed High?
The Rions formed in music class in year 7 of high school. We were asked to do group performances and chose to all play together as we consisted of the right instruments for a proper band. However, Noah (vocals/bass) hadn’t picked up the bass and Harley (rhythm guitar) was playing piano at the time. Before winning Unearthed High in 2021, we had only played a few local shows around the Northern Beaches and spent most of our time jamming and rehearsing songs in the school music studio during lunches. Unearthed High was a huge kickstart for us and set us on a great path towards being where we are today.
How has your time as a band been in the last few years? We’ve seen a string of singles leading up the release of your debut EP Minivan – where do you intend on heading in the future?
The last few years being a part of The Rions has been an absolute thrill. It’s mind blowing to think that we actually have fans and can play shows of the calibre that we do. It’s always so fun touring with the rest of the band cause we’re all best mates and pretty much brothers. In terms of future plans, we hope to start touring internationally, everywhere and anywhere we can. Hopefully this new EP release will bring the international attention necessary to do such tours.
Sonically our music is ever-changing. We haven’t found a specific sound/genre that we intend on sticking to but we enjoy writing in almost all styles so the future of our music is still undetermined, however, we are very much enjoying the path we’re taking sonically at this point. As a band we try to improve our professionalism at every show and interaction. We hope to become the best at what we do in and around the industry.
We understand you built your own drum kit. We’ve got to ask: why?
I built my drum kit for my Year 12 Design and Technology (DT) major work. I chose to build a drum kit because DT is more about the innovation and reason for building the product rather than the actual building process.
At the time I was in dire need of an upgrade and I didn’t have the necessary cash to buy a brand new Drum kit. It turned out to be a lot cheaper to buy the timber myself and use the school’s tools than to buy a new kit. I have also always been interested in the construction process of drums and it seemed like a good excuse to give it a try.
How does the drum kit sound compared to something more off-the-shelf?
Sonically, my drum kit isn’t your average kit. The toms are a lot shallower than most drums which is a personal preference of mine which can be harder to find and more expensive. A more shallow drum will give you less resonance and more of a punchy tone. The rest of the kit is mostly stock standard as I didn’t want to stray too far away from the norms to make it easier in terms of construction.
Has it influenced your playing or sound?
The main issue I had with my old drum kit was the size of the kick drum. It was much too big for my liking and made the whole kit feel a little uncomfortable. Building my own definitely helped in terms of comfort which definitely improved my skill, however, it doesn’t sound or feel crazy enough to have influenced my style or sound all too much.
How can you see your own drum kit informing the future sound of The Rions? Was it used on your forthcoming EP Minivan?
I hope to improve my drum kit and build more in the future which will hopefully make more appearances than my kit has [had] at the moment. I hope to build loads of weird and wacky drums that will hopefully alter the sound of our music in the future. In terms of the upcoming EP, the only part of the drum kit that I used in the studio when recording was the kick drum. My toms aren’t very studio worthy as they aren’t perfect.
Can you share any funny stories/mistakes/fumbles while building the drum kit?
My drum kit is in no way perfect and had many faults and failures in the building process. I made a total of 3 toms for my kit (2 rack tom’s and one floor tom) and now only use 2 as one of my rack tom’s came out of the mould ovular instead of a perfect circle. It was enough to fool the HSC markers but it sounds pretty terrible and has a constant buzz when it’s hit. I also ran out of time before the project had to be marked so I couldn’t put a clear gloss protective finish over the drums. To this day I still haven’t so they are still bare paint and glitter which is very messy and means I have to be very careful with them. I also used the hardware from a cheap, old, rusty drum kit which will definitely need replacing soon.
What’s next for The Rions?
We are about to release our debut EP Minivan on August 11th. This has been a super exciting project for us and we feel it is some of our best work. We are all super excited for the world to hear this music. We will also be touring the EP later in the year. We will be playing regional and capital shows all around Aus. We’re super keen for this tour as we believe it will be our strongest and most enjoyable one yet.
We will also be playing on the Grapevine [Gathering festival] national tour which is going to be huge. We played on the lineup last year in the Hunter Valley and they’ve kindly asked us to play on the whole tour this year which is super exciting.
Keep up with The Rions here.