Drenge, the oracular now-four-piece from Castleton first made their mark charting with their self titled debut in 2013, perhaps helped somewhat by the shout out from MP Tom Watson in his resignation letter to Ed Miliband. The Loveless brothers, Rory and Eoin (now with two extra members in tow) are now touring their third album, Strange Creatures released last February.
After returning to their local city of Sheffield for a one-off Halloween bonanza with Fizzy Blood and The Seamonsters, Drenge are now three stops into their headline tour in celebration of the album.
Alicia Hannah, caught up with Eoin Loveless before their gig at The O2 Ritz in Manchester.
Alicia: You’re kicking off in Manchester tonight for the third stop on your UK tour. But what’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Eoin: The best gig we’ve ever played… I’ve never prepared for this question. It was actually in Birmingham. We played the gig, and we came off and we were thinking ‘great… that was fine’, but because we’d been touring for a year, you don’t really realise. Someone came up to us and they said: “That was the best we’ve ever seen”.
We’d just been touring so much to the point that we didn’t really know what we were doing, we were just kind of getting in and playing. When we were told it was great, they said “but you don’t know that it was as good as it was, because it was another show on the tour for you”.
The album was produced by Ross Orton, who’s produced some fantastic work from the likes of M.I.A to Arctic Monkeys. What is it like to work with him?
We’ve always worked with Ross, and he’s basically a member of the band, he just doesn’t tour with us, or play with us. It’s really nice, I love working with him, having that kind of working relationship with someone.
Every time we pick up something, it’s just where we left off. You don’t have to reintroduce yourself, you don’t have to pretend to be anyone else, it’s just a very natural working relationship. It works really well, we’re already talking about the next thing we’re going to do.
I guess it makes things much easier not having to describe your sound.
When you make more than one record with a band you’re creatively invested in them, there are bands that have their producer and won’t work with anyone else. Even though I never thought we’d be one of those bands, we’ve ended up in a position where we are not interested in working with anybody else. We’ve got such a good relationship with our producer. He’s like our adopted member, but with no touring – he gets the easy work!
If an alien landed on Earth, and walked into the Ritz, and asked ‘what is Drenge?’, what would be your answer?
We’d have to begin with entertainment, and why humans do stuff to make them relax. Then you’d have to get into working. Then you’d have to explain sport. Music. Storytelling. Film. And then senses. And then Drenge being for the ears… and sort of the eyes. Imagine explaining to them how excited people get in the room you’re playing to! Oh, and it’s very loud.
Have you gotten used to that excitement, people screaming for the band?
I get so excited to play when people are like, ‘I’m SO excited about the show today!” I’m there screaming, “me too!” back. I just love playing shows, every city we play we have different relationships with our fans.
In Glasgow the other night they were basically point blank abusing us from the crowd in an absolutely loving Glasgow way you know? There’s a lot of C words and F words going back and forth, and it’s passionate.
But Manchester, Manchester’s like rabid moshers, like you’re almost saying, [whispering] “calm down”.
Having your songs sung back to you, it’s strange. The live thing is weird because, it’s a new album, new tunes. Some people might have listened to the album a hundred times, and some people might listen to the album one or twice and think ‘yeah, that’s cool lets go and see them’. Everyone in the audience has that different relationship with the music.
We’ve also got in-ears and you’re not really in the room when you wear them. Someone’s screaming on the front row and you’re like “Ok thanks but I actually can’t hear what you’re saying!”
They could be saying a load of horrible things about your mum and you’d never know…
Hey, our mum is coming tonight so they best not! They’ll be straight in there. Mum, Dad, you know Friday nights can be pretty brutal!
Drenge continue their eight-date tour of the UK (listed below) this April. There are limited tickets left for the remaining dates in Bristol and Birmingham which you can find here. And who knows, you might bump into Mr and Mrs Loveless in the crowd. Strange Creatures is available to stream now, and after giving it a listen (or before if you want spoilers) you can check out our review.
Mon 01 CAMBRIDGE Junction
Tue 02 LONDON Electric Brixton
Wed 03 PORTSMOUTH Pyramids Centre
Fri 05 BRISTOL SWX
Sat 06 BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute