Q&A with Drenge

When it comes to onomatopoeic bands, Drenge’s grunge-y moniker evokes the same kind of rough, gritty show the band puts on live. This week, the punky English duo announced their second, highly-anticipated record, Undertow, will be released on April 6 and performed their first single, “We Can Do What We Want” live on Late Night With David Letterman. 

We caught up with one half of Drenge, drummer Rory Loveless, to discuss the band’s Letterman performance (watch above) in New York and the making of their sophomore album. Read on below.

Ones To Watch: First, how’s that storm in New York?

Rory Loveless: I mean I was really worried about it but woke up the next day and it was like, “Did it happen? Or…is it coming yet? What’s going on?”

Ones To Watch: I think social media just blew it out of proportion. How does New York compare to Derbyshire in terms of the winter?

Loveless: We do get a fair bit of snow, but we get much less worried about it. It’s colder in the UK than it is in New York.

Ones To Watch: So basically we’re a bunch of pansies.

Loveless: That’s basically what I’m trying to say, you’re right!

Ones To Watch: How did the Letterman show go for you?

Loveless: We had a lot of fun, we weren’t too nervous when we went on. The Ed Sullivan Theater is really nice, I don’t know if you’ve ever been before. It felt a lot like a show rather than a TV set, if that makes sense. So we were quite more comfortable because of that. Sometimes the audience is behind you? It’s weird. But this wasn’t pretending to be a TV set.

Ones To Watch: Did Letterman say anything to you that wasn’t shown on TV?

Loveless: Yeah he did ask me about my drums right before we started filming, which I thought was hilarious. I feel like I think he’s gotten a bit self-conscious over asking people about their drums since that video came out. 

And now he’s still genuinely interested but he doesn’t want anyone to know that he is. Can he play drums? I don’t know. He really knows his drums.

Ones To Watch: Besides Letterman, you guys have played a few dates in the UK with your new album. How have the first few shows been with this new record?

Loveless: We were really excited to play some new songs and they went down really well. We hadn’t played a show in a while, because we were recording the album for three of four months. So I guess people missed us and we sort of missed them. So it was nice to reunite. It’s been good for practice where we can just play some small shows where we can mess up loads and it’s no big deal.

Ones To Watch: Out of the venues that you’re playing in New York this week, are any new to you?

Loveless: The Shea Stadium, I’ve only heard of, but they have so many cool bands come through and I felt really honored to be able to play it. The music that place puts on really astounds me.

Ones To Watch: How was recording your second album different than the first time around?

Loveless: We felt a bit more confident and we knew what we wanted from the songs a bit more than when we were recording the first album. We weren’t really sure how a studio worked; we didn’t really know what certain things meant and were really kind of baffled by the production side of things. But this time around we’ve gotten a lot more confident and listened to a lot more music. Our influences have expanded and we were willing to experiment a bit more.Yeah, it’s grown quite a bit.

Ones To Watch: What’s this about an Arabic cafe that somehow made it onto the album?

Loveless: Well we were under pressure to write another song, and we were running out of time, so I don’t know how it happened but it’s one of my favorite songs we’ve come up with. We named it after this place we had breakfast before we recorded it. A pretty little place down the studio. It was the working title, but it’s called “Side By Side” now.

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