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Darren Mathiassen

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Remo Roland Sabian Sennheiser Sonor Vater Percussion

Darren Mathiassen

Darren Mathiassen is a New Zealand drummer from Bluff, currently residing in Wellington.

Inventive, accomplished and in-demand, Darren, also known as D, is renown for his generous spirit and signature power grooves. Initially self-taught and then a graduate of Wellington’s School of Music, Darren has been a rhythmic anchor in New Zealand’s homegrown music scene since the mid 1990s. From early contributions to well-loved outfits Trinity Roots and Rhombus, to long time collaborations with some of Aotearoa’s stand out singers — Hollie Smith, Charlotte Yates, Deva Mahal, Lisa Tomlins, Bella Kalolo, Kirsten Te Rito, Iva Lamkum — of late, Darren is now the engine room for live drum and bass festival favourites, Shapeshifter. Predominantly a live performer, touring both nationally and internationally, Darren still frequents the studio, having recently recorded albums with Māori singer songwriter Rob Ruha, world music band Mundi and psychedelic synth stomp blues trio, the Three Rays. A genuine mix of talent, humour and work ethic, Darren is seen as a rock solid player, be it in a Yeabsley lounge vibe, with the unstoppable party band The Cut-Outs, driving a full-size military concert band, alternatively, concocting avant-garde jams with Hamish McKeich, rolling some straight up Bliss’n’Eso stadium hip hop, to igniting an underground revival with his troop of jungle jazz guerillas, Stretchfoot. Where the responsibility lies with the rhythm section, D is often fortunate to perform with first-rate heavyweights such as James ‘Hemi’ Illingworth, Marika Hodgson, and Johnny Lawrence, amongst others.

The nature of the industry has encouraged Darren to advance both his recording and live engineering chops, and to build up ‘Boom Clack Studio’, where he tracked Hollie Smith’s NZ Music Awards nominated album ‘Water or Gold’. The added benefit of recording drums for remote sessions, as well as having a dedicated and comfortable rehearsal space (with free parking), is a boon to many of the musical projects that D is involved with.

Darren’s current inspirations are The Upbeats, Thundercat, Estere, The Black Keys, Tyler the Creator, Erykah Badu and Jojo Mayer. He also enjoys off-roading, spicy seafood, the science of inner and outer space, and a drop of fine whiskey.


Sonor ProLite
Vintage Maple, Chocolate Burl
10",12" Rack Toms
14",16" Floor Toms
22" Kick

Aux Snare
13"x5" Earth Snare - 27 ply Beech - 24k Gold Hardware

Main Snare
14"x6.5" customised maple snare

SABIAN Cymbals
14" Will Calhoun Signature Hats
17" HHX Legacy
18" HHX Fierce
19" HHXtreme (or 19" Fierce)
22" Legacy Heavy Ride
20" Evolution Ride
18" HHX China

Roland SPD-SX

Vater 5B for Shapeshifter, Vater 5A for everything else

Heads - Remo
Kick - Powerstroke 3 (Clear, Black Suede, Coated)
Toms - Emperor Coated or Black Suede
Snare Aux - Powerstroke 3 Coated
Snare Main - Powerstroke 4 Coated

DW9000 Single Pedal (Kick)
Pearl Eliminator Single Pedal (KD-7)
PDS-10 or APC-33 (for SPD-SX)
Sonor Stands and Clamps


Darren Mathiassen Setup