William Thoren is a crafter, performer and photographer best known for discovering and developing the Drop Octave and Multi Drone techniques. He lives in Southern California in the heart of the Santa Monica mountains. (CLICK HERE to view Will’s didgeridoos in LA Outback’s ‘Exotic Timbers’ section).
William picked up the didgeridoo at the age of 11 while on a family vacation in Costa Rica. All throughout middle school and high school made his own didgeridoos out of PVC pipe, yucca, and later hard woods. William now only makes wooden instruments “working with wood gives me the most control over playability as I can start with a thick log and shape exactly what I want”. In 2007 he traveled to Australia to further pursue the art of playing and crafting the didgeridoo. While there he traveled for 3 months with William Barton, an acclaimed Aboriginal didgeridoo player who performs with symphony orchestras worldwide. Barton later connected William with Djalu Guruwiwi, custodian of the Yidaki and one of the most respected traditional makers of the instrument, with whom, he spent time in North East Arnhem Land learning traditional methods of crafting the instrument.
William conceived two new groundbreaking didgeridoo techniques he calls the Drop Octave and the Multi Drone that dramatically expand the sonic range of the instrument. In 2008 He took a break from selling instruments to the public to develop a new type of didgeridoo specifically for the Drop Octave technique which allows one to play an octave below the regular drone note of a didgeridoo. During this time he focused heavily on tuning the overtones or trumpet notes to make didgeridoo more suitable for playing dynamically in western music. This lead him to discover the Multiple Drone technique which enables one to play 3-8 separate drone notes on a single bore instrument. “The Multi Drone came about as a result of an experiment to lower the first trumpet as close to the drone as possible. When this was done several more drone notes between the regular drone and the drop octave became playable” (similar to a pedal tones on a tuba). Beyond the shapes and range of his instruments William has developed a new mouthpiece design which makes these new techniques more accessible and comfortable to play. Most recently William has created www.WetDidgeridoo.com to teach the fundamentals of this technique.
“With these techniques I design the most dynamic instruments for fusing didgeridoo with western styles of music and the most sonically dynamic solo instruments available on the market. The Multi Drone technique has opened doors for me to use didgeridoos in ways i never imagined possible. My dream is that the didgeridoo can be used as fundamental piece of a band throughout many styles of music. The expanded range of these new instruments has enabled me to write music around didgeridoo more dynamically than ever before. My favorite thing about the world of didgeridoo is that we operate like one big family. I have to thank William Barton, Chad Butler, Djalu Guruwiwi, Geoff Frost, Tyler Spencer and Ondrej Smeykal who have all influenced my crafting and playing in a huge way”.
CLICK HERE to view Will Thoren’s didgeridoos in LA Outback’s ‘Exotic Timbers’ section.
Will Thoren is also an accomplished photographer. CLICK HERE to view his work in LA Outback’s ‘Photography’ section.