Drenge Discuss the Band’s Early Days, Playing In the U.S. + New LP, ‘Undertow’
Composed of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, the U.K. duo brings together a bluesy rock style mixed with a no-holds-barred alternative grunge rock vibe. That vibe played out nicely onstage during their recent performance of 'We Can Do What We Want' on the 'Late Show With David Letterman.'
Hailing from a village called Castleton, the siblings started off, like many other young bands, writing and playing in the comfort of their home. However, after playing around Sheffield -- a city known for breeding Pulp, Arctic Monkeys and the late Joe Cocker -- people soon took notice. This led to a record deal with Infectious (the same label as Alt-J) and Drenge releasing their self-titled debut in 2013.
After taking that album around and building a solid following in the U.K., Drenge are back with their upcoming disc, 'Undertow,' which is set for release on April 7. We had a chance to sit down with the Loveless brothers a few days after they played 'Letterman' to learn about the band's early days and what it's like playing in the U.S. Check out our exclusive chat below:
How has your time been in New York?
Eoin: It's been good.
Rory: I've been putting on a lot of weight. I've just had a vegetable for the first time in a few days. So that was pretty exciting.
How did Drenge come to be?
Eoin: We were incredibly bored and incredibly lonely. And we had a lot of pent up frustrations. So, we wrote some songs and started playing in Sheffield.
Your first show in Sheffield was only attended by one person. How did that feel when you guys were first starting out?
Rory: I thought it was quite fun. It was kind of like an open mic night. It almost was not going to happen because it snowed really badly -- but we went and did it anyway. It was just fun for us. It was nice to just get out of the small village we were in and go to the big city to play a show. It was cool.
So how does it feel to go from Castleton to playing gigs in New York City?
Rory: It's weird. I mean, it's been kind of gradual in a way. But then, it's kind of hard to think about it in that way.
Eoin: We toured Europe and the U.K. for a year before we came to America. And when we eventually came to America, we were like, "All right, this is what it's all about. This is what you can do." And then we played Australia a bit after that. So it's been a bit mind expanding.
How old were you when you first started playing?
Eoin: We started playing about four-and-a-half years ago; so it was like late teens. He was 17, and I was 18 going on 19. We just had a lot of fun when we started playing.
What inspired you to go toward the more garage rock side of things?
Eoin: It was pretty much a lot of house punk stuff that came out in the early 2000s, you know, that whole explosive and interesting guitar music. Then we started sort of going a bit deeper a few years after that; we started to have the band go more garage rock like the Burger Records thing, Ty Segall and all these amazing people who [we] still kind of hold the closest thing to musical heroes we have, among others. But that's the core.
How was your approach to 'Undertow' different from the first record?
Eoin: Well, we went into this album knowing that this was going to be a full album unlike when we started, which was all demos. [Now] we actually thought about how the songs would fit in a way as a complete album.
What is the one song on the album that you found the most memorable to work on?
Rory: There's a song called called 'Side by Side.' It was the second to the last song that we finally came up with. We were sort of running out of time, and we wrote and recorded it in a matter of a week or something, which is really fast for us. We'd go writing in the studio then go back and tweak, but this one was super fast. I'm really proud of it.
Eion: We wrote it with our bass player, and it was the first time we sat down and wrote our parts. Whenever we play it live, it's just smiles all around really. It's a good feeling playing that song.
With the album hitting the streets in April, what are the plans for 2015?
Eoin: A lot of touring, a lot of festivals. And you know, just coming out with the record. I'm really looking forward to it coming out, much more than the last record. I'm incredibly proud of it, and I can't wait for people to hear it.
You can get Drenge's full tour schedule -- which includes a solid run of shows in April -- and pre-order 'Undertow' at the band's official website here.
Listen to Drenge's Studio Version of 'We Can Do What We Want'