Interview With Legendary Australian Drummer Darryn Farrugia
Darryn Farrugia is one of Australia's top session drummers. He worked on the television show 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' performing with Tom Jones, B.B. King, Joe Cocker, and many other local artists. Also, an educator Darryn released 2 instructional books called 'Groove Perspectives' and Groove perspectives play along.
Magesh, Musicngear: You played on a very popular tv show called 'Hey Hey it's Saturday' backing many local and international artists. Did you do anything to prepare mentally to play in a high-pressure situation?
I don’t think I ever did anything to prepare mentally. By the time I got the gig on 'Hey Hey It's Saturday', I had depped for Virgil Donati on a live-to-air TV show two years earlier so I was familiar with how Live TV worked.
I was so hungry to have a good career as a musician that by the time HHIS came along my excitement to have a TV gig of my own certainly did override any anxieties which would have required any mental preparation.
You performed with music legends like B.B. King and Joe Cocker, can you talk about these experiences?
Every few weeks we would get to play with these superstars of our industry and it was always exciting. I hoped that they were always going to be nice and friendly and create a good vibe etc. For the most part, they all were great.
Playing with BB was amazing. We were playing a blues shuffle and I opted to play a 'Texas Shuffle' because I thought that would work best but my typical insecurities expected a vote of no confidence in what I opted to play. Instead, at one point while we were rehearsing the song, BB turned around to me a smiled an approving smile. I believe I played better after that.
Playing with Tom Jones was amazing, too. I used to play along to a record of his that my mum had. I must have been 10 or 11 at the time. When I got to play with him I took that record in for him to sign. Again it was one of those special moments I will treasure.
I thrive on variety. I can’t handle just doing one type of gig or playing one type of music.
What equipment are you currently endorsing?
You have done recording sessions since the 1980s. Everything from tv commercials to movie scores. Do you approach playing a drum track live differently than recording in the studio?
The controlled environment of a studio tends to lend itself to being able to play in a more controlled manner. By this, I mean being able to hear oneself better as the result of a good headphone mix, the sound of the drums, etc.
In addition to that, once something is committed to tape or hard disk, it’s there forever so I tend to make sure that it’s as perfect as I can get it. I’m rarely happy with my studio performances but there are a few albums I played on that I like. As long as I put the music first, and not my ego, the performance will usually be something I’ll be happy to listen back to.
When I play live I still aim for a well-executed performance but there is also a certain “live” energy that can influence a performance - positively or negatively. I still like to get recordings of my live performances to keep myself in check and to make sure I’m not straying from my live performing standards.
Enjoy the process and always allow yourself to learn from the experience of doing it
Can you talk about projects you are currently involved with?
My main gig these days is playing with the Eurogliders. That is a very fun gig. I’ve also been depping with the Cat Empire and I did a five-week tour of Europe with them earlier this year. That was so much fun.
The rest of my work is largely on a freelance basis so that could be anything from recording sessions (mostly in my home studio) to jazz gigs. I thrive on variety. I can’t handle just doing one type of gig or playing one type of music.
On your solo projects, you not only played the drum tracks but also wrote and produced the music. What advice do you have for young musicians who want to record their own music?
The best advice I can give is to enjoy the process and always allow yourself to learn from the experience of doing it. Leading up to recording Seeds, I took a couple of weeks off to write out charts and do what pre-production I could at home before spending a week in the recording studio.
I must say that week in the studio was one of the best weeks of my life and I have fond memories of that process. I still enjoy listening to that album which is a little odd by my standards.
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