On The Beat with Adrian Varady of Guitarist and Composer Andreas Varady: Talks Gear, Influences, and New Album

Adrian Varady

Hello MD! My name is Adrian Varady and I play with my dad and brother. I’m fifteen years old. I’d like to start my “OTB” by sharing with you my favorite go-to gear. I love Zildjian’s Kerope 22″ ride cymbals as they have a really good, rich and warm sound. I feel the same about the 22″ Constantinople rides. My favorite set is a vintage Gretsch jazz kit, and definitely a Gretsch 1960s wood round-badge snare drum. The sound of that snare drum is mind-blowing; it just has a very, very nice tone. For sticks I go with Vater Manhattan 7As.

I enjoy listening to Brian Blade—he’s definitely one of my favorite drummers—as well as Bill Stewart, another amazing drummer. Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jonathan Kreisberg, Kenny Garrett have also influenced me. I learn a lot from the music they play.

When I was around seven years old I really didn’t know what I was going to do in music, so my dad bought me a keyboard and I started playing and exploring a lot of the other sounds it could produce, trying every last one. And then I found the drum sounds and I loved them! I started playing beats and told my dad I wanted to be a drummer so he got me a small drumkit and I practiced every day—sometimes on my own but mostly in a trio with my brother (guitarist Andreas Varady) and dad (bassist Bandi Varady). Advertisement

By the time I was eight years old, I developed a better way of practicing and playing, so when I was nine I was able to play my first gig with them at a festival. I was a bit nervous, but since then I’ve been playing with them a lot, and they have guided and helped me tremendously. The funny thing is, I actually never had a drum teacher—I am completely self-taught. My brother gave me a few tips while rehearsing, but mostly it was just me on my own.

I’m really glad that I get to see the world as a drummer and that I have the opportunity to perform in cool places like the Montreux Jazz Festival. Ultimately, I’m just really grateful and happy I get to play music with my family. You can find out more about our album below. Thank you for reading.

The Quest is the long-awaited third album from twenty-one-year-old Andreas Varady, a protégé of legendary producer Quincy Jones. The record features Varady’s father, bassist Bandi and younger brother Adrian on drums. For more on the album, visit Advertisement

Photo by Martin Atkinson Borrull