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Rory Loveless from Drenge: “We Just Kind of Do What We Do.”

June 12, 2015

Rory Loveless is just 21 but he and his brother Eoin, 23, have recently released their second album as the hard rocking, angst-ridden garage band Drenge. The British duo are on the East Coast for a few shows before returning to the UK and the Continent for festival season. They’ll perform at Johnny Brenda’s on Sunday.

Our G.W. Miller III spoke with Rory by phone from his home in Sheffield, a former industrial hub that has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years.

You’re originally from Castleton?

Yeah, it’s about 15 miles from Sheffield. It’s in the country. Loads of hills and stuff. It’s kind of remote.

It looks very bucolic and pretty.

Yeah, yeah. It definitely is.

So where does the angst come from?

I guess it really started because we didn’t really have anywhere to go. We couldn’t really get out of there. It’s very isolated. There’s nothing to do. It’s a bit of a wasteland.

And just general teenage angst. Yeah. Life.

Why did you move to Sheffield rather than London?

We could make it work from here. It seems weird to me that all bands in the UK move to London when they want to get serious. I don’t know. Quite obviously, there’s loads of stuff happening there but I imagine it could be quite stifling as well. Sheffield is just the perfect size. It’s full of lots of cool people. Loads of cool stuff going on, obviously not as much as London though.

It’s nice to be near our parents. This is where we’ve been going to gigs since we were 14 or so.

Do your parents like your music?

They’ve kind of warmed up to it. When we first started, they were like, “OK. That’s entertaining.” I think they like the second album more than the first. When Eoin dropped out of university to do music, they were like, “You might be making a bit of a mistake.” But now, they’re really proud of us. My Dad is more of a jazz fan though. My Mom is more into Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, that sort of thing.

Your music almost has an old school American rock sound, like bluesy rock from the 60s. Where does that come from?

We got interested in a lot of American bands when we started this band. We got really interested in the punk bands like Black Flag, the Minutemen, Husker Du and the Minor Threat. Loads of that stuff. There’s a documentary made by Vice called “New Garage Explosion.” It’s got loads of garage bands like The Oh Sees, Jay Retard … it talks a little about The White Stripes, bands like that.

You guys are a lot more hard rock than punk-ish though.

I don’t know. We just kind of do what we do. There’s tons of great bands out there. I don’t really know what to say. I don’t really think about that sort of stuff.

Who do you listen to? Who do you admire?

That’s a tough question to answer. The people I admire don’t really have anything to do with the sound of the band or anything. One album we really like is Disintegration by The Cure. It’s just a really well made record. Loads of amazing songs on there. Really great production. It made an impact on our record.

In what way? The production? The sound?

The production. We wanted something more cinematic. We wanted it to be a record that you have to play at a really high volume. We wanted this album to be really different from the first album, which was a bit raw. Not a whole lot of production on there. Some of it was recorded live.

Did you guys start out making your own videos? Is that part of the creative process for you?

Yeah, it was loads of fun. It definitely used to be part of our process but we don’t have as much time to do it now. And we’ve started working with other people to do our videos now. That’s just one of those things that we’ve given up doing to carry on touring. It’d be cool to get back to it. Eoin went to university to study film and TV production.

How was your first tour through the States?

We first toured through the States in January 2014. I wasn’t 21 so it kinda sucked. I was being chaperoned. I felt like a criminal. The dressing room was like a prison cell because I was too young to drink. We went to SXSW as well which was even worse because it’s in Texas which is really hot. We kept getting into queues for shows and I had these big Xs on my hands. I felt like an idiot.

Are you looking forward to coming back?

I’ve been back since I turned 21, which is so obviously better. All the bars just seem to be way cooler in America than they are around here. Maybe because there are so many of them and they are so different.

America has almost infiltrated British culture so it’s interesting to walk around the actual thing and see where all your favorite movies were made and all your favorite songs were written.

Do you know much about Philadelphia?

I went to the Art Museum because I wanted to go see something there, an exhibit or something. I can’t remember. I totally forgot that it was also the Rocky Steps. But I didn’t have much time so I jumped out of the car and just ran up the steps. There were a lot of people doing it and looking at me, cheering and taking photographs. I was like, “My god. I must look like such an idiot. I’m going to have this really serious expression on my face.”

They’re going to think I’ve wanted to do this for years but really, I just wanted to get into the gallery and see loads of art and stuff.

What are you looking forward to on this tour?

I think we get to do a bit more driving this time. I’m actually really into driving. We have a big extended family around the UK so every weekend, we’d be driven off to see them. The American scenery – down the East Coast and down the West Coast – I’m really looking forward to seeing that.

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