I caught up with Derbyshire duo Drenge, just before their Bristol show at the Trinity Arts Centre. The band is made up of Eoin Loveless on vocals and guitar and his younger brother Rory on drums, and they are the quite possibly the two most deadpan and sarcastic people I’ve ever met.
Hi guys. How’s your tour going so far?
E: Really good, very quick, this is the last date of our UK run so it’s coming to an end so we’re trying to be happy, but also lamenting the end of the tour.
A lot of your shows have been completely sold out, how does that make you feel as musicians?
E: Kind of flattering. And nice.
R: Very good for the ego.
E: Yeah, good ego food.
So you’ve just released your much anticipated second album Undertow, how do you think it differs to your debut album ‘Drenge’?
E: We spent a lot more time working on it. And we tried to make it sound much bigger and spacier. It’s like our space metal album.
Have you had a chance to gauge the reaction to it yet? How do you think people have received it?
E: People seem to have been really digging the songs when we’ve been playing them live, the reception has been really cool.
Touring must be pretty intense, so how do you two relax and chill out on the road?
R: We go bowling. Well, we went bowling yesterday in the Lanes, and now I feel totally relaxed.
E: I mean, on most of our days of on this tour we’ve been home. Which is really normal, so you kind of forget you’re on tour, and you have to be a normal human being again.
As brothers, do you argue a lot?
R: No comment.
E: Rory is very irritable (indignant noise from Rory), and I’m really annoying, so our personalities kind of clash. But at the end of the day, what’s the point in fighting?
R: It’s all love. Peace and love.
Who would you say is the most mature out of the two of you?
R: Now that’s a really tough question. Normally Eoin. But it can be me to a devastating degree.
E: I’m probably the better babysitter of the two.
If you weren’t in a band, what do you think you’d be doing with your lives?
R: Just er… normal things?
E: Like, a normal version of me, who’s got the job at Costa Coffee he’s always wanted, and he’d be really good at video games as well. Probably one of the 10 best people in his… postcode at video games.
Would you be a YouTube gamer?
E: Maybe, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a Twitch account and live streaming my gaming while shouting things at the camera.
R: I dread to think. I could be doing anything. Probably finishing university and wondering what the hell I’m going to do to pay off my massive debt.
I think a lot of our listeners are in the same boat! What would you have studied at uni?
E: I know, it’s a shame.
R: I was gonna do a design degree, something as useless and self-indulgent as possible probably.
So do either of you have any special skills, aside from playing musical instruments?
R: I can read a book in 6 seconds just by flicking through it… NO, I’m lying, I can’t do that. I don’t have any special skills. Well, I can sit in a hot room longer than most people, that’s probably about it.
E: I’m quite good at listening.
Festival season is coming up pretty soon, where can people come and see you play over the summer?
E: We’re playing Latitude festival. And, I’m just gonna come out and say it…
R: Reel it in a second, reel it in! There’s a few festivals we are doing but we’re not allowed to say yet.
E: We should be allowed to talk about this!!
E: So, say we were playing a popular festival.
R: We’re playing V festival.
E: We’re not playing V festival… but say we were playing something like V festival… which we’re not – Hi Richard Branson by the way if you’re listening – there’s parameters in the contract which say “if you play this festival you can have this and this, but you’re not allowed to play more than 3 other UK festivals this year”, which totally weirds me out.
Anyway, it’s safe to say we’re playing 4 dates in the UK somewhere between May and August….
R: We’re playing a couple in France, one in America and one in Canada. Northside in Brooklyn, which has got a really great line-up and Levitation Fest in Vancouver, which will be amazing. We’re doing This Is Not A Love Song in France and maybe a few others, and DOUR festival in Belgium.
(Drenge announced they are playing at Reading & Leeds 2015 the following day)
Exciting stuff! Do you think you’ll be going to any festivals as casual punters then?
R: I’d like to go to Glastonbury and see Kanye West.
E: But we don’t have a lot of time, cos almost every weekend in the summer is taken up with playing festivals, and it’s really rare that we have the option of going to a festival and seeing bands there. Maybe one day…
If you could plan your dream festival, who would you book?
R: Kanye West. And maybe Foo Fighters. So Glastonbury basically.
E: Yeah, Kanye West! Also Oasis, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, me and Paul McCartney doing some old Beatles songs together. With Ringo.
R: And Taylor Swift – DON’T LAUGH!
E: David Beckham just rapping, like he did on that song with Posh Spice.
R: Ooh, Paul Gascoigne doing his Fog on the Tyne. Is he available?
E: And… Probably all our mates’ bands. And our dad’s jazz band, “Omega Jazz”.
You come from quite a musical family then, were you pushed into forming a band?
E: We were pushed at first, but when our parents found out we were going to pursue an actual livelihood in music, they suddenly got really suspicious like “Ooh, you’ve got to think about it. You’ve got to be really serious about it.”
They didn’t have any problem with us accumulating loads of student debt. But being rockstars, they had some issues with that.
R: Yeah mum and dad! Get your priorities in order.
Have they ever told you to get a proper job?
E: That would be hypocritical of them, cos my dad didn’t have a proper job for most of his early 20s, as he had a wonderful time hitchhiking around Europe.
R: It sounds amazing. We should write a book about it. Dad, if you’re listening…?
So, the ‘dreaded second album’ is out of the way now. What’s next for Drenge?
R: The dreaded third album!
E: Every time I think about it, this sound in my head goes UUURRRHHH OH GOD.
R:The first album kind of happened by accident, so our second album was our first album, and our third album will be our difficult second album. If that makes sense.
E: Well we’ve already done or second album so it shouldn’t really be that difficult.
R: What’s the typical third album? Is that the one where everyone falls in love with you?
Isn’t it generally where the band changes style and everyone either loves you or despises you?
R: Oh crap. Well we’ve already done that.
E: Third albums from recent years include Take Care by Drake, Humbug by The Arctic Monkeys. Yeah, it is a sort of change in direction.
R: What about Coldplay’s third album? They did quite well! X&Y? What songs has that got on it?
E: Fix You. Something about the speed of light. Really fast. Super fast!
(Rory begins badly singing ‘Speed of Sound’ by Coldplay)
People think it’s cool to hate on Coldplay, but aren’t they just trying to get by?
E: Trying to get by?! With their millions of pounds…?
R: Have you seen that little advert by the BBC Chris Martin has done, which is probably the most boring 30 seconds of television ever broadcast. It’s kind of sad actually, I feel like someone just gave him a list of programmes that he sort of liked, because it’s just so… (he is interrupted by a sudden explosion from the building site next to the venue) crap?! Coldplay, the universe has spoken. Sorry Chris Martin. I believe in you.
Finally, if you could sum Drenge up in 10 words or less?
E: (Counts on fingers) Not very good … but also not that bad either really.