Chicago-born drummer and composer Dylan Ryan began his musical journey as a newborn on a ride home from the hospital to the tune of Oingo Boingo’s Demo EP (though he claims it was something off UFO’s Strangers In The Night.) Lessons followed, starting with guitar, piano, and eventually drum set. 

The initial courtship of the instrument revolved largely around hours spent figuring out the drum parts of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. After some lessons at nearby Northwestern University, Dylan started studying with some infamous figures from the Chicago jazz community, among them Paul Wertico, Gerry Coleman, and David Bloom.  Balancing the assorted influence of British Heavy Metal, Avant-garde jazz, and 20th Century Classical have since come to define Ryan’s style.

While studying literature and film at DePaul University, Ryan played in jazz combos everywhere from tiki bar cocktail parties to beer-soaked dives.  It was during these years that he met the musicians who would eventually form Herculaneum, his longest running project.  Ryan soon began recording and touring with bands Orso, Icy Demons, and Michael Columbia, playing drums, vibraphone, and makeshift kits of his own design based on a combination of John “Drumbo” French’s Magic Band kit and traditional homemade instruments of 1930’s jug bands. 

During this same period Ryan became known in the vibrant, decades-old Free-Jazz communities, playing with New-Music luminaries Jason Stein, Josh Berman, Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, 

Ryan currently lives in Los Angeles and continues to perform with Herculaneum, while also playing with Cursive, Icy Demons, Harmonize Most High, and Rainbow Arabia. In 2012 he started his most recent project, featuring Tim Young and Devin Hoff, called Dylan Ryan SAND.



"...a drummer adept at combining his jazz skills with adventurous rock, resulting in music that combines the cerebral and visceral qualities of both styles."
Jazz Times, April 2013

"...drummer-bandleader Dylan Ryan has meticulously plotted a course pairing his fierce chops with tasteful and taut postbop.” [read more]
-Time Out Chicago / Issue 293 : Oct 7–13, 2010

“ of the best young drummers in [Chicago].”
- Time Out Chicago 

“ ...on the up-tempo stuff [Ryan and Danek] approach a Mingus-like ebullience.”
- Chicago Reader

“...Ryan has an uncanny knack for writing melodic hooks.”;
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz

“While many Chicago improvisers work in a number of outfits, Herculaneum's Dylan Ryan is one of few locals to straddle the jazz and rock worlds. Two other acts the percussionist keeps time with—Icy Demons and Michael Columbia—are a testament to his prowess, but with this vehicle, Ryan's calling the shots....” [read more]
-Time Out Chicago / Issue 234 : Aug 20–26, 2009

“...and they prove it with the superb new Herculaneum III (Clean Feed). Ryan’s tunes have never been more elegant....”
- Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

"...drummer Dylan Ryan, is quickly developing a sterling reputation..."
-J. Edward Keyes, Capital New York