Drenge interview

 

Bursting out of the small town in Derbyshire, boisterous blues-rockers Drenge have taken the English music scene by storm with their sizzling self-titled debut album, drawing high praise from fellow Brits the Arctic Monkeys and performing coveted slots at both Glastonbury and Reading festivals.

We caught up with frontman Eoin Loveless about their freshly announced Aussie tour (proudly presented by Moshcam), being in a band with brother Rory and getting up to mischief on tour.

You have just announced your debut Australian tour, you must be really excited about it?
Yeah it’s brilliant. We are coming over for the Laneway Festival, but we also have a show in Sydney and a show in Melbourne as well. It’s our first time to Australia ever. We will be stopping off in America on the way over, but to be going to Australia feels really cool. It’s the first time that the band has been outside of Europe so Rory and I are just so excited. We are completely buzzing off it. We can’t wait.

Have other bands told you much about touring in Australia and Laneway Festival?
I was talking to the singer of the Local Natives recently, and he was telling me what a great time he’d had playing Laneway. A lot of bands I know haven’t been to Australia, and when I told them that we were going, they couldn’t believe it! We are so looking forward to it.

Some new bands party pretty hard when they are touring the world. How about you guys?
We try to pace ourselves. My voice doesn’t respond well to nonstop partying! But if we have a day off the next day, then by all means, have a good evening [laughs]! There is also a very professional attitude that my brother and I have, in that if we can’t play a show, what is the point? We hate cancelling so we try to put on the best performance that we can.

When you do get a chance to let loose, who is the bigger party animal?
Oh Rory definitely by far! He is outrageous. He is the worst, but also the best. He is a big fan of White Russians, and he is good at the whole after party kind of thing, whereas I’m good at the let’s-go-back-to-the-hotel kind of thing!

You have played some great shows around Europe, are there any shows that stick out as the most memorable?
We had a show in the Brudenell Social Club. That venue is really iconic in the UK. It was a real honour to be able play on that stage. It kicked off on the first night of the tour, and we played really well that evening. It was awesome!

You toured with Deap Vally in the past. It must have been fun hanging out with those two!
It was a bit weird at first because they had a journalist following them around, and we [Rory and I] are quite shy. But after about four days we started hanging out with them a bit. They are really the nicest people. We have stayed in touch online. It was a real honor to be on tour with them.

Tell us a bit about your album. What inspired it?
I think we just wanted to make some really basic, guitar rock music – that was the inspiration! That was it! There was no concept or anything. We didn’t sit down in a studio and write the whole thing. The first recordings took place in August 2011, and the final four songs in February of this year, with some other recordings in between. So, it’s not a perfect piece of work. But it is a really good first album of garage-rock music that we are really proud of.

What bands did you listen to growing up that helped to shape your sound?
When we were really little we got into Nirvana and The White Stripes. Then as I got older I started listening to The Cribs, and really riff-based guitar music. It’s not something that I listen to all the time, but when I do and it hits a chord it’s the most inspiring thing for me to play on guitar. So my inspiration comes from that.

But we both have quite eclectic taste in music. Rory is into ridiculously off-the-cuff world music. When he goes to a record store he will buy the most insane stuff you have ever heard of! He bought this Japanese instrumental rock album from the ‘60s last week. It sounds quirky, but that is the stuff he is really in to. It is really amazing to have this alternative train of music going into our band, rather than just sticking with the obvious.

With such different tastes in music, do you find it difficult to agree on how a song you’re writing should sound?
I think we just have a shared goal of making good songs, and knowing our limits and abilities. We want to make good music, so we just concentrate on that. It sounds really simple and lame, but that is what we want to do. So, there isn’t really too much room to argue about it.

Is there anything bad about being in a band with your brother?
He is really talented at winding me up [laughs]. He can mimic me, or quotes the most inane thing I’ve said all day, and amplifies it! That kind of grates me. But he is a professional, and great to work with.

Was it strange when British Labor MP Tom Watson plugged your music in his resignation letter?
It was weird and unexpected, but also quite boring [laughs]. We were out of the country at the time so we had no idea what was going on. It just happened. Suddenly a lot more people knew about the band. It wasn’t necessarily a cool thing to happen, but at the same time I’d rather something unexpected happen for people to take notice of our band, rather that something really standard and usual. At least there is a story out of it. But it’s not like, ‘oh great – yippee’. But it’s fine. We are still here and we’ve released an album.

Has it skewed the age range of punters at your gigs?

Yes, definitely! It made older people feel welcome at our gigs. Because someone in his forties recommended us, there are a lot of older people who feel they are free to come to our shows. It’s really great, because it means our music isn’t exclusive. It means people who saw Nirvana or Black Flag, The Clash or Led Zeppelin come to our shows. One person came up to me at the end of one of our last shows and said ‘you make me feel really young again’. It was really nice, because we are not making new music. We are not making anything that will change the world. What we do is old-school in a lot of ways.

Have you gotten any good advice that you will keep with you when you embark on your next tour?
Just ideas really, like, hot food… not really a goer. And learn how to sleep in a moving vehicle.

After Australia, is there there an ultimate destination that you would like to tour?
I’d love to play a show in Antarctica, it would be good to tick that one off!

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