Interview with Drenge
‘Everybody thinks I’ve got new ideas’ yells Eoin Loveless, one half of emerging punk-noise duo Drenge. Only two songs into their self-titled debut album, it seems like a peculiar statement, particularly in a song so ferociously inventive. “Dogmeat” matches an imperial march drum beat with multi-tracked guitars injected with adrenaline. In a way, the statement and the song sum Drenge up.
Catching up with the singer, before he jets off for his first shows in America – beginning in New York of all places – he surprised me with a completely frank confession about the limits of his guitar sound. ‘I started playing guitar about 10 years ago and I guess I always thought I was playing really heavy stuff but it’s only when you have three massive amps, a chorus pedal and a distortion pedal that you start having the heaviest sound. I’m not sure I can actually go much further from here‘. Despite the modesty, he admits that in terms of recording, Drenge are doing fine. After all, their critically acclaimed debut and raucous live shows have already earned the band a cult following that would be hard to shake loose. ‘We’ve spent the past week in the studio recording two new songs that we’ve structured a bit differently and that we’re really proud of. I don’t know when those will come out. It’ll probably be… whenever. Whenever it’s right. But yeah we’re in a good place in terms of writing and recording’.
The highlight of their upcoming dates is without question their slot at the St. Jerome’s Parkway Festival in Adelaide. Sat alongside contemporaries as rich and diverse as Warpaint, Mount Kimbie, King Krule, Earl Sweatshirt, Jagwar Ma, CHVRCHES and Danny Brown, Eoin commented that it is the entire reason for their upcoming mini-world-tour. ‘We couldn’t have picked a better line-up really. It’s amazing’. When I had the chance to see Drenge live, it was with Peace and Superfood. The sort of company Drenge keep is fittingly reflective of their undisputed talent. ‘We kinda met both bands at different things over the summer. We bumped into Peace at Bestival and we’re all sort of a similar age so it’s quite easy and natural to get on. Superfood are actually from the same label we’re on, they signed at the end of the summer so there is a connection there‘.
Life on the road seems to appeal to the band and Eoin was quick to pay homage to some of the cities that have taken a hold on him so far. ‘I’ve kinda fallen in love with different bits of the UK. I really like Brighton, Liverpool and Glasgow. I think they’re all amazing places. And Hull as well. I’m a big fan of Hull. It just doesn’t deserve the stick it gets. I find it’s really lovely and you find in those smaller places when people don’t have bands passing through, like in Manchester or London, you just find that they stop caring about genres and everyone is really appreciative of whichever band has come and played this town. Hull has always been phenomenal to play. We really like it there’. Just like York, I reminded him. He wholeheartedly agrees.
A former university student at York (and Circulation alumni), Eoin was every bit as down to earth as Drenge’s rough around the edges, DIY aesthetic suggests. I asked Eoin how he relaxes on tour and he told me he has been watching, but is yet to finish Breaking Bad (although he had just wrapped up Season 4 before the interview) and begged me not to ruin the ending for him.
He also mentioned his favourite film, the Joy Division, Ian Curtis biopic Control. He joked that he didn’t want to ‘pull a Curtis’ before jetting off to America, and then explained why he loves the band, despite not being an obvious influence on his own unique style of music. ‘They’re really simplistic in a way but they’re really good at creating a mood. It’s hard to escape the mood that’s in that music. Just that whole sort of 80s, industrial sound. If you listen to a live recording of them, it doesn’t sound anything like them when they’re in the studio. It’s mad really, the difference between the band playing a gig and the tracks they actually recorded. I haven’t seen Control in a while, but every time I watch it I’m kinda devastated and not easy to talk to for a few days’.
Our throats began to swell up and in an attempt to avoid the inevitable tears and ‘I love you man’ condolences down the phone I asked Eoin what animal he would be, were he given the choice by a magical genie or something. You know how it is. ‘Probably a wolf. Yeah. I’m into wolves at the moment. Rory? (the other half of Drenge) He’d probably be a grizzly bear. The bear would win in a fight but a wolf would do… damage’. When you actually sound like a wolf howling away with a grizzly bear on drums, do you need new ideas? No. I think not.