One of the most interesting and invigorating British bands of recent times are back, and if you haven’t heard of Drenge, it’s time to get on board with their third album. We caught up with Eoin ahead of a busy time for the act.
How was the recording process for Strange Creatures?
It was quite a slow and stop-start process. Our producer had other gigs coming in and people’s schedules got in the way at times.
We’re close with Ross Orton (producer) and I’m working with my brother (Rory), so there are no bad feelings involved, it was just one of those things. If there’s tension or an argument building, I’m able to ask myself or my brother if it is that important that we need to have an argument. We’re becoming quite zen about it.
I really like making music and I don’t want to fight with my collaborator when I do so.
You’re now a four-piece in the live arena, how did this come about?
It was driven by the songs. It’d be great if we could keep it as two or three piece but we needed an extra set of hands! The songs sounded better with extra parts in and the more we added parts, we realised, we can’t do this with three of us.
Do you feel there has been a strong evolution in the band, growing in size over the years?
We started the band at the end of 2010 and I was 19. I’m much older, I listen to other types of music and when you do this full-time, you pick up on other artists and how they achieve what they do. It’d be pretty weird if I was still listening to the same stuff I did when I started the band. Naturally, that comes through in our music.
We did our two-piece thing but we felt no reason to replicate it just because it was successful. I understand why some people might be upset as to why we never stayed as a two-piece or that they don’t like our new music.
However, a big reason for this band is for self-expression, that’s what we use the band for. If we come out in two years’ time with our hip-hop record or our ambient instrumental record, that’ll just be where we are at that time.
You show quite a lot of humour in your videos and social media, is it a fun process being in Drenge?
I think we’re just not bothered about being taken as seriously as we were when we started. We’ve realised we can have a lot more fun with it. If you take our music at face value, it can be serious, even joyless, at times sad, serious or aggressive. That’s not who we are, but it is how we are expressing ourselves.
To combat that, we push our humour a bit more so people realise that some of the songs have their tongue in their cheek and there is more depth to them.
What’s your current take on social media?
I had a lot more fun with it, as a medium, four or five years ago. Nowadays, it’s a real slog to be genuine or proactive on it. The discussions on it are so tense. It’s like walking into a bar and everyone wants to fight. It isn’t a communal space, but hopefully, something new will come in.
On the note of walking into a bar and finding people wanting a fight, I know you love Sauchiehall Street – looking forward to playing the Garage in March?
Not just Sauchiehall Street but the whole city, it is an incredibly magic place that I think of fondly and I cannot wait to be back in Glasgow. Being English and going to Glasgow and having to tune into the accent and hear people talking on the street is a great pleasure in life.
You are doing a series of in-store shows billed as Drenge Philharmonic, what are these?
We want to promote our record and support record shops and perform live but we can’t afford to take our full band around the country to play in record stores. Also, we don’t want to do an acoustic thing because I’m not sure our thing will be that good.
So we’ve come up with Drenge Philharmonic. Philharmonic means love of music or harmony and it’s our little digital orchestra.
The Wytches support you on your next tour, do you get involved with choosing your support?
We always pick our support bands carefully because it’s not just about walking into a gig, it’s about the whole night. It’s a big deal for us that people would come and see us so the curation of the evening is important.
What are you most looking forward to when the album is released?
Seeing what happens to songs and the discussions or ideas people have after they listen to them is important. It’s interesting seeing which tracks do well after the album comes out. Sometimes a song changes in the way that the audience sings a song back to you and you can’t stray from that, and it can remind you of what the song means. Finding that out from other people is a humbling experience.
Drenge release Strange Creatures on February 22nd and play Glasgow Garage on Wednesday 27th of March.