With the help of a British Business Bank Start Up Loan, Tarian Drums, will soon see its bespoke drum kits on some of the world’s most iconic stages, including Lollapalooza Paris and the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Pontyclun-based bespoke drum manufacturer, Tarian Drums, the first of its kind in Wales, will soon see its drums on some of the biggest stages in the world, a major feat for a home-grown Welsh firm first established by two close friends in 2020.
Tarian Drums produces and manufactures bespoke high-end drums using sustainable and locally sourced Welsh wood and materials for some of the world’s most renowned professional drummers. The company has recently signed a contract to provide customised kits for British rockers, The Struts, who have over 2 million streams on Spotify and have opened for the Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, and Guns N’ Roses.
The business was first conceptualised during the early days of the pandemic in 2020 by ex-professional drummer, Rhys Thomas. With a real love for drumming from a young age, Rhys later attended the BIMM Institute, the UK’s leading music college in Brighton and later went on to play for Ash Morgan, the Welsh-born semi-finalist of the Voice.
“I’ve always had a passion for music and playing the drums,” says Rhys, “but never in a million years did I ever think I would be crafting my own drum kits and customising them for drummers I have looked up to for my whole life.
“Before the pandemic hit, I was travelling a lot for work with the bands and artists I played for. However, with a young family, I started to wonder whether my profession was sustainable for the long-term. It wasn’t until we went into lockdown and the industry was flipped on its head, that I had time to think about my future.
“I had always dreamed of creating my own drum kit and having grown up around my grandads who were both carpenters, I had a pretty good grasp of how I would make my own drums if I ever got the chance. Having shared this ambition with my now-business partner, Geraint Frowen, the two of us decided to start our own business, Tarian Drums, producing high end bespoke drum kits for clients all over the world.”
Rhys and Geraint received £10,000 to launch Tarian Drums via the British Business Bank Start Up Loans programme, which they used to create sustainable drum moulds, working with the University of South Wales engineering department, and to cover costs of sustainable materials like water-based paint and sourcing local sustainable wood for the drum casts.
They accessed their British Business Bank Start Up Loan via Business in Focus, a process Rhys describes as “straightforward and quick” with their application submitted in December and the loan received in January.
The British Business Bank Start Up Loans programme provides government backed loans of up to £25,000 per individual, up to a maximum of £100,000 per business, facilitated through delivery partners in Wales like Business in Focus based in Bridgend. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive 12 months of free mentoring and advice.
“It’s only been a few months since receiving our loan”, says Rhys, “but it has made the world of difference to allow us to create more drum kits thanks to our investment in drum moulds that can be used a hundred times over. Due to the increased volume we’re now able to produce, we are securing orders from more and more clients every day”.
Bethan Bannister, Senior Manager for Wales at the British Business Bank, said: “Tarian Drums, a home-grown Welsh firm driven by a real passion for both music and quality craftsmanship, is exactly why our Start Up Loans programme exists – to bring the dreams and ideas of entrepreneurs to life.
“Start-ups are an integral part of our economy, and we must give them every opportunity to succeed, and the British Business Bank is playing our part in creating a fertile environment for them to thrive. In the past 10 years the Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than 4,100 individual loans to entrepreneurs in Wales, worth over £40m.”