Conversations: Drenge

There are very few bands that can attribute, however small, their rise towards the limelight to the resignation of a political figure–but that’s exactly what happened to brother’s Eoin and Rory Loveless back in 2013 when Labour MP Tom Watson name dropped Drenge on a blog post. But by then, the English-duo had already built a devoted following ingrained in the country’s post-punk and grunge roots with their self-titled debut, and Watson’s admission only spurned on the band’s inevitable, international recognition.

In the aftermath, Loveless brothers have found themselves traversing venues from the U.K. to the U.S., as well as on stages at festivals like Glastonbury and Latitude–rushing to fill-in the headlining slots they’ve been so quickly alotted since their debut.

“There was a point where we hadn’t really played a festival before and we were wondering how it would go down,” Rory said of the band’s attempts to adjust. “But as we’ve gotten comfortable with it, we’ve realized it’s a lot different to do a headline show because you’ve got to win over the crowd and there’s a lot bigger of a crowd there. The intimacy is lessened, but we’ve gotten sort of used to it by now.”

But touring in America–alongside stateside punk rock counterparts Deap Valley and Radkey–has returned the brother’s to a time when their popularity hinged on their likability to the sweaty crowds that packed into small venues to see them.

“We’ve had a lot of fun touring in America and it feels a little bit different because we are still building an audience there. The crowds are a bit more subdued and still sort of trying to figure us out—which is cool because it takes us back to our first gigs where we were playing extra hard to try and win everyone over.”

That hasn’t been a hard won fight–the gulf between British and American rock-‘n’-roll may be filled with different attitudes and foundations, but the Loveless’ have been building a bridge with their internationally influenced sound.

Both brothers grew up listening to and studying the different styles that imported themselves from across the Atlantic, citing The White Stripes and Nirvana as huge models for their music as they grew up. As if to balance the red, white and blue in their blood, Rory explained that their sophomore release Undertow was inspired partially by British icons The Cure–and served as a focus point for the duo as they re-polished their sound.

“We wanted to experiment a lot more because we’d gotten a lot better at our instruments. So we wanted to try something different from the first album—which was kind of raw with just two instruments. We were trying to capture the live show and the energy of it, where as this one we were just focused more on the writing and just putting it out there.”

Now that they’re back on tour, Rory has expressed the hope that they will find the time to continue to write and experiment, adding more instruments and starting the “creative machine” early, so that the transition from touring to the studio is smoother than last time.

Catch Drenge and their unapologetic, punk-rock bombast at The Satellite in Los Angeles tonight.

English major and amateur photographer. I'm the guy in the corner of the coffee shop plugged-in to Arcade Fire, typing away like a madman.