Drenge is a band of two brothers, Eoin and Rory Loveless, hailing from the UK and finishing their first US tour this month. It’s been a big year for firsts—their first album, self-titled Drenge, is an angsty, visceral grunge compilation that experiments with identity through an unapologetic release of suppressed youthful energy. Their sound is reminiscent of a lovechild between Queens of the Stone Age and Ty Segall, and a crossover with DIY label Burger Record’s Southern California punk rock that sends audiences straight to the mosh pit. Drenge, derived from the Danish word for “boys,” is a fitting name to capture the spirit of their music. I was curious to see what their next steps would be, so I stopped by the Satellite last weekend with my friend Lauren to ask them a few questions before their LA show. As I walked in, I could tell they were tired but being good sports about it—Eoin informed us that he was resting his voice, so Rory would answer any questions we had for them.
This is your first US tour, and you guys have been to New York, Brooklyn, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco so far, and now LA. How has America treated you so far?
It’s been great. San Francisco was pretty cool because we have some friends who live up there. I’m not 21 yet though so I got quarantined to my dressing room. I couldn’t go outside and was chaperoned by security the entire time. I’m still having fun though, it’s good not to drink sometimes.
Coming from a small town, playing big festivals like Glastonbury and internationally touring must be such a different experience. You’ll be flying to Australia just 2 days after this show tonight.
It is really surreal. I always think about it when I’m on stage, which is pretty bad, like in Seattle I was like “What am I doing here?! I should be at home!” It’s crazy. But then sometimes it feels really natural, like just walking down the street and being like “I’m playing a show tonight.”
What’s been your favorite city so far that you’ve played?
We played a show in Copenhagen, Denmark. Everyone was really enthusiastic. It was really nice. I don’t even know if we would’ve played there if it wasn’t for our name (laughs). We played a huge festival there once. It was probably the second largest festival in Europe. It was a lot of fun. People were going crazy.
Have you had any crazy audience interactions at any of your shows?
Not really, people tend to do their own thing and we do ours on stage. We don’t have a lot of things thrown onstage but we did get a free Johnny Cash t-shirt once. It was really sweaty.
Did you get into a lot of trouble when you were growing up as a kid?
I used to go to this musical group as a really young kid, when I was about 3 years old. I would just sit there screaming, not wanting to be there, I was really bad when I was really young, up until the age of 6 or 7, I’d just kick teachers and make a lot of rude comments. And then I got really shy and just didn’t talk for ages.
How do you feel about music distribution via the Internet?
I don’t mind it, I think if people can listen to it and it’s spread that way then it’s fine. I guess that’s kind of bad to say as a professional musician but we never started this band to make any money so I guess I’m less bothered about it whereas some people are like ‘yeah this is my job.’ I probably should think about it that way, but I guess I’m just young.
Yeah the Internet is really changing the music industry. It’s a great way to make music readily available to the public. Everyone was freaking out when Radiohead released In Rainbows free on the Internet in 2010, but it ended up making them more money with all the exposure it gave them.
Yeah there’s this German guy, Kim Dotcom, whose set up a new music site called Megaupload that lets you stream free music. There are a lot of ads on the site, and I think the money from the ads goes to the artists. It’s great.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
We don’t really have any, we just kind of warm up and listen to fast music.
What’s your pump up music?
“On Sight” by Kanye West. We played Yeezus a lot in the van. We also did “Later With Jools Holland,” a British tv show with Kanye.
People online call you guys grunge or post-grunge. What would you call your own sound, if you could describe it yourself?
I think I’d just call it Drenge. We kind of chose the band name to be a word that kind of just sounds like how we sound.
Yeah that makes sense, like the way Parliament Funkadelic came up with the term “funk.” People have compared you guys to The White Stripes and The Black Keys. How do you feel about these comparisons?
The Black Keys…I don’t see it. As for the White Stripes, I listened to them a lot growing up, and I can see how it would be easy for people to compare us with them.
What direction do you think your next album will take? Your first album had a lot of angst and frustration.
I think we’ve written quite negatively so far because we were in a really isolated place, where we couldn’t really do anything, so that’s kind of what the first record’s about. So now that we’ve toured and kind of like gotten rid of all that frustration, this next one might be a bit more uplifting. I don’t know, we’ll just have to see. It could be about anything.
Where do you get your inspiration for your music? Are you drawing from people, places, personal experiences or a culturally imposed idea of rock music? I really enjoyed the song titled “People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck” and am curious what was behind that.
Yeah “People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck” was written on the day of the royal wedding. I just had a four hour long bath and just sat drinking and reading books while it was on TV. My grandpa was around watching it and was like “yeah this is interesting” and my parents were like “yeah this is kinda interesting,” my brother was off doing something else. In Britain it was really in your face like It’s GONNA HAPPEN! It was on 3 different TV stations. It was just too much.
What’s your song writing process? Do you work with each other when you’re writing your album?
I don’t know, there’s not really a formula for it. It just kind of happens. Eoin will bring something into the studio and I’ll try out a few different things and then we write a lot of the stuff as we’re recording it, which sometimes pisses off the producer (laughs). That’s just how we work.
So a lot of improv, feeling each other out?
Yeah, yeah, we kinda tend to write the songs and try out different things as we’re recording and then we’ll learn it afterwards, which is probably not the best way to do it but it’s just what happens.
Well it’s worked so far. How did you even start the recording process? Did you begin with bedroom recordings?
We tried to do some recordings with friends, but they didn’t really sound that good. And then we played what we thought would be our last show for awhile, because Eoin was going up to university and then this guy came up to us and said, “Hey you should come record with my friends” and we did, and those were some of the first tracks on our album.
So you and Eoin have just been playing ever since you were kids?
Pretty much, yeah. We used to have piano lessons together. Then we moved on to guitar and drums.
Last movie you saw in theaters?
Gravity. A good movie to see in 3D.
Favorite Nicholas Cage movie?
Uhhh…National Treasure. The first one? Such a terrible film though.
Favorite band you’ve played with so far?
Christopher Owens. Girls is one of my favorite bands. It’s unfortunate that Girls isn’t together anymore, but he was cool. We also liked playing with FIDLAR.
If you could play with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Favorite recent album?
Lonerism by Tame Impala
If you didn’t catch Drenge at SXSW this year, you can listen to their entire album on Spotify now.
-by Cindy Lin