Interview / Drenge

With their second studio album being released next week, I had the pleasure of talking to Drenge’s Rory Loveless about their upcoming UK tour, their inspirations and his apparent love for Kanye West…

Are you excited to go back on tour soon?

Yeah, I just wanna go on tour. I was in a service station recently and it made me really excited to get back out there and tour.

What was it like releasing your debut album?

It was kinda weird, as we were so familiar with the songs and everyone else wasn’t. It was like “how don’t you know this song?”. It was nice to finally play it live and for everyone to start listening, it was a good experience.

So it must be really nice having crowds sing your lyrics back at you?

It’s nice to have that experience. It happened in New York the first time we visited there… even though they speak the same language it was really odd. It’s even weirder when you go abroad to a country and the crowd doesn’t speak English.

How have your family and friends reacted to your success so far in the industry and how have you dealt with it?

My parents are proud of us. My friends, they’re quite proud but mostly not bothered, though it’s quite nice to not be treated like a hero. They’re doing equally as cool things – I know illustrators and graphic designers, they’re all interesting people who’ve got their own thing going on.

What’s your favourite thing about performing live and touring the country?

It’s nice to see all these different places, especially going abroad. It’s still cool performing in the UK too, especially after not being out there for a while and meeting everyone – I love getting out of the house and having new experiences.

Where is your favourite place to perform?

I have to say, we liked Brighton a lot. We always try and stop off there and we try and get a day off when we’re touring. San Francisco too, we’ve been there twice now and that’s amazing, unreal – I think it helped that the weather’s been really good both times, it’s a nice city to walk around.

What are your inspirations as a band? Like, what kind of things inspire you to write, inspire your name, that kind of thing?

Nothing specific really. We were, at the start. We were inspired by this Danish school of cinema (the Dogme 95 Collective, with the likes of Lars von Triers). They set themselves a load of limits, kind of what we were doing. It’s just me and Eoin, limiting and exploring boundaries. We also like two-piece bands like The White Stripes but we’re aiming to do something bigger than that, Queens of the Stone Age, that kind of thing. That’s kind of what we’ve done on the second record, we’ve recorded loads of parts beforehand.

Do you feel your next record will be quite different to your debut?

It has kind of a different sound, it has like a good transition into it. It’s not completely out of the blue but it is different, it has a lot of atmosphere to it. A bit less bite and edge, but it’s something we wanted to do.

Do you have a favourite song from your first album [their eponymous debut]?

That’s a tough question. I’d have to say ‘Let’s Pretend’… or maybe ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’. We don’t tend to play ‘People In Love…’ live often now, we can’t really recreate how we used to play it in bars and pubs. We’re a bit too good to play it now. But yeah, ‘Let’s Pretend’. I guess that’s because I make it up as I go along, it’s different every night – being the drummer, it’s trying to push yourself to get what is out of your head into your hands, which is challenging.

If you could join any other band, which one and why?

I’d join Kanye West. You could put in a good word for me. It’d be nice to be the other half of Kanye.

You’d be lucky if he’d allow that.

Yeah, it would be pretty cool.

Are you excited to play in Birmingham?

Yeah we’ve played venues in Birmingham before. We played at The Rainbow, nearly 3 years ago now. We’ve also played at The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, the guys there are really lovely and it’s a great venue. We also toured with Peace at the O2 Academy, that was cool.

You said you toured with Peace – do you hang around with other bands at all? Any famous friends?

Yeah, we do. It’s good to hang out with other bands, like, you see them at festivals a lot so you’ve gotta be nice. It’s cool to meet up and steal their tricks.

Are you playing any festivals this summer?

I know we’re definitely playing Latitude. We’re also playing at Hyde Park with Blur (British Summer Time, Hyde Park). We once played there with Rolling Stones and it was so hot, the hottest day of the year probably, and there was no air conditioning. Me and Eoin were dripping in sweat, I was dropping sticks, he was slipping across the stage.

If you could pick your own festival line-up, who would be your three perfect headliners?

That’s a really difficult question. Kanye… he could do the Friday. And the Sunday, if he wanted. It’s really hard. He could do the Saturday as well, if he wanted.

I’m sensing a pattern… are you going to try and catch his set at Glastonbury this year?

I’m gonna definitely try and see his set, yeah. We might be busy but I’m hoping I can.

How did you feel about the news Zane Lowe was leaving Radio 1? He was a big supporter of your music.

Yeah, I was sad. But I guess he had to go some time. It’s really cool that Annie Mac is taking over from him though, and it was great to have all the support he gave us. It’ll be interesting to see what this Apple Radio is all about, but hey, let’s find out.

It’s been lovely talking to you, Rory. Thanks for the chat.

No worries, thank you for having me.

Drenge’s new album is due for release on 6th April 2015. Stream it here. Also, catch them on their UK tour. Tickets here.

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Words by Kirstie Sutherland

[Originally written for Redbrick Music]

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