The Drowns released their last album 'Under Tension' right around the time the corona virus paralyzed the whole world. So touring was out. While that might have deflated a lesser band a bit, The Drowns dug down and started writing what would become 'Lunatics,' their latest EP that sees the Seattle band lean more heavily into their bovver rock and 70's glam influences. The result? Probably their finest and most diverse offering to date. We recently caught up with vocalist/pinball enthusiast Rev to talk a bit more about the album.
PRT: Your last album ‘Under tension’ came out in 2020 right when the pandemic hit. It was a shitty time for everyone, but I can imagine it must have been especially hard when you have all these plans to support a new album. What was that time like for you?
Rev: It was rough! We poured ourselves in to making “Under Tension”, then we dropped it right at the beginning of the pandemic, not knowing the world was about to shut down. It’s ok though, it still got out to the people even if we couldn’t tour on it. It’s become an under the radar hit, which is mind blowing and rad!
PRT: Am I right in saying though that just releasing the album at a time when nobody could do much else but sit at home and listen to music helped gain you a lot of attention?
Rev: I wouldn’t say that it “gained more attention” only because of that. I’m sure if we were touring on it, it would have picked up steam. But because of Covid, people did sit home and crank the record which definitely delivered us some die hard fans.
PRT: You just released your new album ‘Lunatics’ on Pirates Press, which comes with a bit of stylistic change. Was it a conscious decision to go for a different kind of sound? Or is this just what came out when you started writing?
Rev: Well, on one hand we did make a conscious decision to make a ‘happier’ sounding album to deliver to people post-Covid. We though the world needed that. But musically, we’ve always written from our influences. We love 50s rock n roll, and 70s punk and glam. We just leaned a little more into the rock on this one.
PRT: You’ve never been shy about your love of 50s rock n roll and boogie-woogie and now you have injected the new songs with 70s Glam and Bovver Rock as well. All of them not the kind of sounds you usually associate with Seattle. How did you first get into those genres?
Rev: Our whole band are record collectors. I can comfortably say we are borderline OBSESSIVE about music. So we all go out of our way to constantly find new music. But we were raised on oldies, and 70s rock. So our parents have a lot to do with how we know about a lot of those artists.
PRT: For anyone not that familiar with glam and bovver rock, what are some of the albums or songs you’d urge them to check out?
Rev: Definitely check out Slade if you’re not familiar. They were a gift to the people from the rock n roll gods. And don’t forget bands like Hard Wax, Giuda, Faz Waltz, Mad Rollers, and Suede Razors for that modern bovver/post glam sound. For the classics check out bands like Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Bay City Rollers and Mud.
PRT: Another difference with ‘Under Tension’ is that vocal duties seem to be split more evenly between yourself and Andy, which makes the album even more diverse. Is it whoever writes the song, gets to sing it?
Rev: We collaborate. We chose whoever will work best for the song. Sometimes we choose to write for each other. But in the end, it’s what will be best for the track.
PRT: With ‘Look What We’ve Become’ you have written your most mellow, most gentle song to date. Can you tell me a bit more about where that one comes from? And maybe a dumb question, but is it harder to write a song like this rather than one where you go full-throttle?
Rev: Our producer Ted Hutt really pushes for that one. He thought that the batch of songs needed a quieter, more thought-provoking song. I would say writing a banger, and writing a mellow song are both tough in different ways, and both types are important.
PRT: You just mentioned Ted Hutt. What is it about him that made you want to work with him again?
Rev: He’s just great at what he does. He knows what an artist’s song needs before the artist does. He’s also just a great guy. We feel very fortunate to be able to work with Ted.
PRT: Now that touring is a thing again, will you be making up for lost time by touring twice as much?
Rev: Absolutely! The road is our life. We plan to be out NONSTOP!