Music Features

Drenge (Interview)

It’s been a crazy 2013 for Drenge. Practically unknown just a few months ago, the Derbyshire duo, consisting of siblings Rory and Eoin Loveless, have been gaining plaudits and impressing festival crowds throughout the summer. Then, of course, came the name-check in the resignation letter of notable Labour MP Tom Watson. They could have become simply famous for that, but happily, their debut, self-titled album is a ferocious blast of pent-up aggression and small-town boredom played on scuzzy guitars (which also scored a rather favourable review on this very site).

At the end of a busy season, but with a full UK tour still ahead of him, Rory from Drenge caught up with Joe Rivers to talk tours, ‘zines, the 1998 World Cup(!) and more.

Joe: How did growing up in such a small place influence the music you make and your desire to succeed?

Rory: We started playing these songs as a chance to get out the house and do something. We didn't have any other hobbies; it was just an escape from this village that had nothing going on. It was frustrating sitting at home with nothing to do. The concept of success didn't apply; it was just a means to leave the house. I think our songwriting has changed since we've been gigging so much though – the newer songs are less acerbic.

J: Do you think there’s a tendency for the music press to concentrate on what’s happening in the big cities and ignore what’s going on in other areas of the country?

R: I suppose, but it's true of a lot of things, not just the music press. We've just been asked to play a gig in Lancaster which has been organised with funding to put gigs on in places like that, which is a great idea. On the other hand, had we just played gigs in our hometown we wouldn't have had that escape.

J: You make cassettes and ‘zines – two things that have been largely overtaken by the march of technology. What is it about them that attracts you so much?

R: For me, they're real things that you can hold in your hand, break it apart, take ownership of and rediscover years later when you've forgotten about them, same with old prints of family photos and so on. I appreciate them better than a blog post or an mp3. It's not as big a difference between watching a film on the cinema and on your phone, but it’s the same sort of difference.

J: Your website lists one of your influences as England v. Argentina 1998. Any bit of that match particularly inspiring? Owen’s goal? Beckham’s sending off? Campbell’s disallowed goal? Batty’s penalty miss?

R: A combination all four. It was a match of pure despair (with a hint of false hope) on a level neither of us had ever properly dealt with before, and still haunts me to this day.

J: You’ve answered plenty of questions about Tom Watson, but if you could have chosen any non-musician to sing your praises in such a way, who would it have been?

R: Our dog. I just want her to react to anything vaguely musical, excluding the doorbell. I don't think she understands music- there's no change in her mood when music starts or ends, unless it's extremely loud, which is pretty sad. She watches TV though.

J: How did you find touring with Deap Vally?

R: It was our first proper touring experience, so we were getting used to being on the road, but it was great fun. It gave us a chance to play in some new places and make some friends. They're an awesome band (but I wish they'd knitted me some socks)

J: What’s been the best festival you’ve played this year?

R: Tough call. All the greats are up there: Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Bestival, Latitude, etc. Beacons was great too, and I'm sure I've forgotten a load, but Knee Deep takes the crown. Great line-up, chilled out atmosphere, no daft security shenanigans, nice food, nice setting – smashed it.

J: Festival season is now largely over, so what does the rest of the year hold for Drenge?

R: One large tour, then another with Peace. Shows and shows and shows. Then try and write a bit over Christmas before my New Year's Day hibernation/hangover.

Drenge’s eponymous album is out now. If you’re in the UK and want to catch the Loveless brothers on tour, they’re playing the following dates:

1st October – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
2nd October – Brickyard, Carlisle
3rd October – The Cluny, Newcastle
4th October – King Tut’s, Glasgow
5th October – Non Zero’s, Dundee
7th October – East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
8th October – Cavern, Exeter
9th October – Green Door Store, Brighton
12th October – Bodega Social Club, Nottingham
14th October – Portland Arms, Cambridge
15th October – Roadhouse, Manchester
16th October – Sugarmill, Stoke

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