With nearly 20 years of custom drum building under its belts, New Jersey—based Dark Horse Percussion has built its brand with a for-drummers/by-drummers attitude that really comes through in the product.
Founded in 1996 by original owner Anthony Cartinella, the company was recently purchased by Streetlight Manifesto drummer and long-time employee Chris Thatcher. In the ensuing two years, Dark Horse has continued its rapid ascension into the upper echelon of custom builders by expanding its reach and narrowing its focus.
One look at Dark Horse’s gallery of completed kits will reveal no shortage of attractive options, but Thatcher wants to make it clear that his company isn’t leading with looks. “Originally, my focus was on wanting to do something big and different, but eventually I just reeled it in to focus on making high-quality drums that sound great.”
The Dark Horse roster of artists includes some heavy hitters, such as Benny Horowitz of The Gaslight Anthem and Ben Russin of Title Fight. But the company’s clientele isn’t limited to the punk community alone. “We’ve also got some metal guys, reggae players, and even some country artists,” says Thatcher.
In addition to producing beautifully crafted drums, Dark Horse also places a premium on environmental responsibility. The company’s green initiative includes recycling and reusing as much of its production waste as possible.
Thatcher says his customers can rest assured the drums are built by a team very familiar with the rigors of the road. Of his affiliation with both Streetlight Manifesto and Dark Horse Percussion, Thatcher says, “I can relate to what the customers are going through because I’m out there on the road too.”