“Letdown-pop, that’s my new phrase”: An interview with Rory from Drenge

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Grabbing Rory Loveless from a room backstage at Southampton’s Guildhall, where his brother Eoin was casually sat playing the piano, we caught up on the brothers’ album Undertone, moving on from debuts, and likening themselves to soft drinks.

Having travelled all the way down from Sheffield for the Southampton date, Rory pitted the show as “really good, really good crowd. We’re from Sheffield so it was kinda like home.” Describing Guildhall as an “amazing room” despite never having heard of it, he said they were “really looking forward” to the show. Plans for the next year might even see Drenge return to Southampton, but Rory admitted he’d “got to keep it hush hush, really.”

Like Wolf Alice, Drenge have dived straight out of festival season into this tour. The brothers rounded off the season with a set at Bestival, with a fleeting visit. “We were only there for two hours,” he said, “then we drove back. But it was fun, I really like Bestival. There’s a good vibe there.”

Chilled out and sort of staring out the window at the sunshine for the interview (a complete transformation from the guy behind the drums on stage), we went on to chat about working with a sibling. “We get on quite well because we’re quite close in age so it’s not like there’s a massive older brother younger brother kind of thing, erm, and we’ve had the same friends, so we’ve had the same music tastes, and come to things from the same angle mostly,” he said. Speaking honestly, he detailed that he and Oein “were sort of pushed into [music]by our parents. We had our piano lessons together and moved onto different instruments but kept having music lessons together, so it wasn’t really a choice.” Following up on the question later in the chat, Rory humbly told me “I don’t really know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t doing this. It’s a real honour to be able to write and play your own music, yeah.”

Drawing a comparison between Drenge and The Cribs, we spoke about the band’s influences. The “first album was sort of written on things we used to listen to a lot as teenagers. Erm, QOTSA, and I don’t know what else. We love The Cribs as well.” Moving onto their second album, Undertow, which was released in April this year, Rory remembers listening to a lot of The Cure before recording it. Musical influences weren’t the only change between the two albums, though. With Undertow: “we understood what we were doing a bit more this time around. The first one which was essentially just a load of demos whereas this one was recorded knowing it was going to be put out as an album.” Drenge created “a broader sound rather than just more of the same” on their second album. Laughing a bit at the stock but difficult-to-answer question of “how would you describe your sound now?”, he came to: “fraternal, rock, letdown-pop, that’s my new phrase.” Liking the phrase “letdown-pop”, Rory went on to say, “It’s what people call ‘cordial’ in Sheffield. Yeah, like squash”- which is a pretty cool way to describe their sound.

Despite Undetow only being released this year, Rory said they’d like to put another album out next year, but they “haven’t really written many songs since that album’s come out. I guess we’re just gonna sort of do our touring then stop and focus on writing.”

On whether or not they’d be in music for forever, he admitted that “I don’t think I could do a Mick Jagger or anything like that, I’ll probably need something else in my later years but it’s going pretty well right now.”

Drenge brought their cordial to Southampton’s o2 Guildhall on Wednesday 23rd September.

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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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