Drenge: Isolation and Frustration

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Rory Loveless is on the autobahn to Berlin. For someone who used to be weighed down with the frustration of not being able to play in Sheffield, the success of his band, Drenge, comprising himself and his brother Eoin has taken them places they wouldn’t have imagined. When I ask him to describe the sound of Drenge, he candidly replies that “some people describe it as grimey and garagey — I’m not saying it’s unique — I’m happy to let other people categorise it in whatever way they want.We focus on the songs rather than align them to anything.”

He also isn’t concerned at all about their relatively small following in the rest of Europe “We’re sort of working on the crowds in Europe — the more you play somewhere they bigger they’ll get. It’s pretty good to be frustrated when you’re playing, especially this kind of music, makes you work a lot harder, and do things differently.”

Frustration is a buzz-word when it comes to Drenge. Fed up with not finding work or inspiration in their gap years, they decided to start playing music. “Our parents pushed us to do something — and we started jamming, keeping it up in between school work. People started picking up on the tracks in university, which was really cool.”

But up until they received national attention after being mentioned by MP Tom Watson in his resignation letter from the Shadow Cabinet, they were faced with diffi culties. “As we ventured out into the world, we realised how isolated we were. We found it really hard to play gigs in Sheffield to begin with, and that was a way we expressed ourselves. I guess it was just teen angst, not directed at anyone specifically. But it was as if we didn’t exist. We wanted to exist.”

And nobody could have anticipated their success. He admits that things are still slightly haphazard. “Everything has just been thrown together up to this point, so we’d quite like to plan ahead now a bit better.” Certainly their distinctively gritty brand of rock has developed as they have moved to playing music full-time: “The track listing on the album was chronological to how we recorded the songs. The last few were written about a year and a half after those at the start of the album. “The last few songs are more like the stuff we hope to do in the future, the ones I’m most proud of on there.”

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He states that, while it is difficult to speculate what kind of music they see themselves playing in the future, he sees subjects moving away from angst and more towards personal issues. “It will have strong imagery in lyrics andemotion, but maybe less angry, harsh rock, and more thoughtful stuff .”

Loveless also admits that there is still work to be done, “I’d say more and more the stuff we played early on has had an influence on us. It’s all about drawing on our experiences, such as playing in my dad’s jazz band at one point and doing gigs in village halls organised by one our teachers. I feel as though we’ve learnt how to play instruments a bit better,” he chuckles, “we’re still figuring out how to play together as a band.”