News Drenge: ‘You Never Think You’re Gonna Get The Golden Ticket’

Out-of-body experiences and a bottle of hate. Jamie Milton talks to Drenge.

“I’ve had to think about what people want from us as a band…” Eoin Loveless is speaking against the backdrop of traffic sirens. He and his brother Rory are on tour with Deap Vally. The duo double-act are in the middle of going across the country; a far cry from when Drenge would catch a bus into Sheffield and play their show “as quickly as possible,” in order to make the return trip.

“They want you to be good at music but they might also want you to have a quiff, or wear a leather jacket,” he adds. “There’s a growing acceptance that being in a band isn’t just playing music.” Clearly - hence this interview. He continues: “You kind of have an obligation when you sign a record deal and your goal is to sell records. But no-one’s heard of our band really. Say: this is a co-headline tour with Deap Vally - it’s very clear that the fans are there for those guys.”

We’ve caught Eoin in the middle of a complex. Don’t get him wrong: He’s chuffed to be touring. He dropped out of uni midway through first term of second year when the band started “taking off” and he’s getting his head around “doing music for a living.” The sidenote about Deap Vally being more popular might be true, at this current time, but if you consider Drenge’s recent mammoth rise, from lesser-known group sitting outside of Sheffield, to Radio 1 staple with some future-hits by their side, there are worse situations to be in.

Without chucking in the ‘living the dream’ cliche, let’s not be mistaken: Drenge are enjoying themselves. “There are people that wanna be in bands because they feel like there’s nothing else that suits them,” says Eoin. “It’s never been an obvious thing for us. And when you sign a record deal, you have an out-of-body experience - it’s something that all the kids at your school wanted to have… It’s like the Charlie Bucket syndrome. You never think you’re gonna get the golden ticket. But somehow you’ve ended up in this ridiculously privileged position.”

What makes Drenge stand out, beyond all the other kids with Smiths posters lining their walls? In part it’s Eoin’s snarling tone, his spitting vocals, all amounting to song titles like ‘Dogmeat’ and ‘I Wanna Break You In Half.’ “I’m not that kind of person,” he affirms. “If you write a crime novel people don’t assume you’re a detective.” But the songs have at least some relation to Eoin’s own observations. “They’re more works of fiction or ways to express encountering the occasional, worst possible person in the world.”

It’s clear that Drenge do have a basis to the grudging nature of their songs. Eoin cites blokes with crates of beer turning up to festivals to “throw up over their mate’s tent” as a lesser evil. Similarly, “city-wide festivals full of pouncing A&Rs.” ‘Dogmeat’’s video shows pissed-up weekenders on Sheffield’s West Street posing for the camera. That song’s about “people who are really, just lost in their own existence,” he tells us.

The word Drenge is a mannerism in itself. It’s a word you can spit out in a frenzy of anger. “Ah Drenge! I’ve lost my car keys!” There’s form to the frustration, then. But Drenge are also Drenge - as in, a band going places - because they do things differently. Before being signed they’d produce ‘zines for every show, handing them out to punters for free. And all of this being-signed and touring with rockstars from the West Coast nonsense - it’s surreal. “It’s nice but at the same time it’s a bit of a bolt out the blue,” Eoin says, summing up the experience. “But it’s always been exciting, playing in a band.”

Many a group of newcomers would give one of their limbs to be in Drenge’s position - so long as they could still play their respective instruments - but sympathy goes out to the Loveless brothers who, for better or worse, are getting their head around realising the dreams of every guitar-wielding teen.

Taken from the April 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

Tags: Drenge, Neu

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