The four fellas from the post-punk outfit Drowners are seated on the horsehair couch in the Listening Room at the Sonos Studio. They’ve just recorded their Sirius XM (somewhat) acoustic session, and Matt points to the TV in front of them which is playing The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. “My great grandfather had the theme to this at his funeral. I was only about 8 at the time so I didn’t understand the comic humor of it. He was a wild card. Cooked a whole English breakfast in one pan, out of economics really.”
This young band – with just one full length album finished and one other festival appearance (aside from recently finished Coachella) has been making music for a little under three years. We hung out and talked about life in the van, and life in music.
Matt: “We’ve known each other for about 3 years. (Points to Jack & Erik) I met these two my first week in New York.
BC: So what brought you to New York? What inspired you to move from Wales and get into music?
Matt: Well my parents had, like, Bob Dylan’s greatest hits in the car growing up and that was about it. So I started getting into music because Nickelodeon showed reruns of the Monkees TV show. So for about from ages nine to twelve I wanted to be Mike Nesmith.
BC: And now?
Matt: And now, still, same.
Lakis: My granddad was a jazz musician. He played with Duke Ellington and he tried to teach me trumpet but my lips were too sore for that so I started playing drums. I started playing punk rock when I was a kid. Like 15 or 16 – well I say punk rock but the first punk rock band I got into was Sum41. Fat Lip. That was the first like “aw yeah, this is good.” Before that it was Gorillaz, and Limp Bizkit.
Matt: I feel like when we were teenagers, like ‘99-2002 –
Jack: Those are very specific dates…
Matt: If you weren’t into The Strokes, which I wasn’t, the rest of the music was shit.
Jack: It just didn’t age well. Strokes records still sound current, but Korn didn’t stand the test of time.
Matt: I mean what does TRL mean nowadays.
BC: And now what kind of music are you listening to?
Matt: We kind of switch it up – you know we get on as bandmates – but everyone’s into kind of different stuff as well. I think we all have quite a good range of – I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an asshole – we all like ‘alternative music,’ whether it’s electro or punk, rock and roll or hardcore, we’re all into all those different genres… Erik likes stuff with drum machines from the 80’s.
Erik: Nah. I like anything from the Human League to Black Flag.
Matt: Jack did a really good two hour DJ set in the van last night.
Jack: We’re all going through some shit so I kind of curated my playlist for that.
Erik: What song did I tell you that I felt like I was going to commit suicide?
Jack: Lee Hazelwood? Or was it Harry Nilsson, “You’re Breaking my Heart so Fuck You?”
Lakis: Everyone felt really down and then you played “My Way” by Frank Sinatra and we all felt really good about it. Yeah but as soon as we got to Coachella the mood changed completely.
Matt: As a kid in Wales my parents would take me on caravan holidays in Wales and the artist area at Coachella is basically like a caravan park –
Lakis: With famous people. Fatboy Slim was next to us.
Matt: Yeah I saw Ke$ha, I think she pinched out Tequila. Textbook Ke$ha. I saw some guy who looked nothing like Mick Jagger and she was throwing him on the curb. I said, “Ke$ha lyric reference,” and nobody laughed. Philistines.