Riaan was born in Durban in 1979. For as long as he can remember, there was always music around the house. His father played guitar, piano and accordion and loved singing. At school Riaan sang in the school choir and took guitar lessons.
At age 14, he moved to Bloemfontein, where his rhythmic endeavors took flight. He got his first drum kit at age 15, and started playing in the school band.
After finishing High school he played in various Bloemfontein bands, with varying styles.
He later enrolled with the Free State Musicon’s music program and also played in their big band. This helped him with music theory and reading, and taught him how to work with a conductor. He also started an original band called “Ystervark”. Highlights from this period included big festival gigs such as Oppikoppi, Splashy fen, Rustlers valley and 5fm radio airplay. In this time he also worked with veteran jazz Pianist, Noël Stockton.
In 2002 Riaan was approached by Afrikaans band ddisselblom to join as full time drummer. They averaged a 140 shows a year from 2002 till 2005. The band won 3 GMT awards for best video, best group and best live performance in 2004/ 2005.
They toured to London in 2003 and 2005. They also featured in Skouspel 2005 as guest band, performing to a sold out Sun City Superbowl. They also appeared on the soapie, 7de Laan.
In 2006 Riaan moved to Pretoria. This allowed him to get some formal instruction from various teachers, most notably Neill Ettridge.
He joined Jan Blohm’s band and worked with him for 3 years, touring SA rigorously, playing festivals such as Oppikoppi, KKNK, Aardklop, Innibos and Rittelfees. They were also privileged to tour Belgium and Namibia in 2007.
Till date Riaan has recorded a DVD and 3 albums with Jan Blohm, one of which “Groentrui” was nominated for a SAMA.
Riaan also worked as drum tech for the band Klopjag on their “Aardklop Live 2007” DVD, and their 5th studio album “Musiek vir die agtergrond” in 2008, both of which were nominated for SAMA’s.
In the same year Riaan recorded with Blues artist, Gerald Clark, on his album “Sweepslag”, which was also nominated for a SAMA.
In 2008 Riaan joined Jak de Priester, and worked with him for 3 years, sometimes doing up to 6 shows a week, and played on his album “Groen Mamba”.
Riaan also features, playing drums, on the theme song he wrote for the soapie, “Binnelanders”, that still runs on Kyknet.
In 2009 Riaan started working with Albert de Wet, and did two albums with him- “Vensters na my siel” nominated for a SAMA, and “Bang vir die donker” nominated for a Ghoema award.
In 2010 Riaan toured with Nianell and also features on her DVD, “Sand and Water”.
From here onwards, Riaan started getting more and more session dates, even featuring in a movie, “Hond se dinges” by Johan Heyns as part of the cast and also drumming on the soundtrack.
Currently Riaan is working with 4 artists, Anton Botha, Serenity, Nicky and the niceguys and AJ van der Mescht, on a regular basis, doing 2 to 3 gigs a week.
Here follows a list of some of the artists Riaan has recorded, performed and toured with to date:
Anton Goosen, Steve Hofmeyer, Dozi, Koos Kombuis, Nianel, Robbie Wessels, Bok van Blerk, Jak de Priester, Jan Blohm, Dewald Dippenaar, Joe F, Ddisselblom, Klopjag, Albert de wet, Gian Groen, Wasserfall, Beeskraal, Glaskas, Anton Botha, Riana Nel, Gerald Clark, MD Greyling, AJ van der Mescht, Deep Blue C, Hugo, Vana and the Oh so serious, Bongi from Idols, Tolbos, Rocket to Russia, Duislig, Retief Burger, Kerk sonder Mure.
Riaan has a passion for drums and music, and believes music keeps us young.
“I believe in being versatile, professional, having a positive attitude and most of all, having fun.”