It’s hard to pin point precisely when it was that Drown This City became a big deal in the national scene, simply because it happened so damn face. In the time it took them to release an EP and support it on the road, the band were well and truly into bucket list territory, performing at Unify Gathering and supporting heavy-hitters such as Falling In Reverse.
So while it might be hard to pin point when the moment happened, it’s pretty bloody clear it’s not going to end any time soon. The band have now released their brand new single Bend/Break, easily one of their most aggressive, and complex songs to date.
Such is the agency of the track, that the band announced a run of headline dates in support of Bend/Break, bringing the message directly to the fans. Currently amassing some solid rehearsal studio hours, we spoke with vocalist Alex Reade about the bands new material, and what the future holds for Drown This City.
The Neversphere: From what I gather, tour practice is the worst part of being in a band. How does Drown This City take to it?
Alex Reade: Yeah! We’re actually changing up for your as well. We’ve gone full digital with an X-32 mixer. We have a band room in our drummers house, we’re all in headphones plugged into the mixer, with the app on our phone so we can change the settings ourselves. If you’re looking in from outside it looks like we’re jamming to a silent disco. It’s actually hilarious.
It’s interesting because we hear each other very clearly, so it’s a very different dynamic. It’s very intimate and intimidating. Everyone can hear me, every mistake I make; I can hear everyone else. But It’ll be good because it forces us to get better. We’re going to trail this on tour and bring the mixer with us. So, we’re going a lot of preparation and I think we’re running out of time, so we need to be pretty quick about it.
The Neversphere: Jeez you’re really not making this easy for yourselves!
Alex: We never do! We have time now to relax, but we’re like ‘You know what? Let’s fuck everything up, let’s change our whole set up.’ Just because we like the pressure, I guess – I don’t know why [Laughs].
The Neversphere: Well that’s how humans work, it’ll be easier to do it in front of a crowd than just your band mates, giving you side eye every time you miss a note.
Alex: That’s so true. Every time my drummer pulls a face and I think ‘What? Was that me? What are you pulling a face for?’ It’s like the philosophy of you can sing a song for a thousand people and not care, but sing it for your friends and family and it’s nerve wrecking. I think we have an element of that. For the first time ever we can actually hear each other and connect with each other as a band. It’s very different, but it’s going to make us better musicians in the end. There’s no excuses, we know exactly who hasn’t been practicing [Laughs].
The Neversphere: On top of this, you’re hitting the road for the first time with the your new single Bend/Break…
Alex: We’re probably going to play more than one new song. We want to play new music, and we’re playing a longer set so we have the room for three or four more songs than our EP. It’s nerve wrecking because you forget how experienced you are playing the old material. These songs are very difficult, and it won’t be easy because we don’t have any capacity to play them live other than in the band room.
The Neversphere: Your performance at UNFD Festival was obviously a huge moment. Essentially, you were sharing the stage with the biggest bands in the scene, like Alexisonfire but also crazy popular Australian bands, some even reforming to perform. What was that experience like for you? Did it inspire you that there is a credible future for bands like Drown This City in this game?
Alex: Definitely. When we got asked to play, we were completely shocked. UNFD use to be only for elite, signed bands. So to see them including local bands, and creating this opportunity for bands like us, I think it’s incredible. We got asked to play before we’d played a single show in our lives. We went on stage for our EP launch knowing we’d be playing UNFD the next year.
I have no words to describe it. To be backstage, walking around with our idols – Alexisonfire is one of my all time favourite bands, and just to know that George was standing right there was crazy.
The Neversphere: What was the game plan? Did you guys just kind of stand back and take in the madness or were you speaking with some of the other bands to get some war stories?
Alex: We had no game plan. Our game plan was let’s not completely fuck this up, and see if we can get through it without being completely traumatised. We played the second day, so we had the whole first day to enjoy it, watch other bands and stop being nervous. We woke up on the second day, and we were ready. We were in that mode. We had to concentrate, game faces on; but no game plan.
Shit definitely went wrong on stage. Our drummer, in the intro to the fist song lost the click in his ear. He almost died on stage from the stress. He lost connection to all our tracks except the booms in our songs. So, every now and then he’d hear a rumble and a boom so he kind of knew where we were at in the song. It was raining too. We’re trying to not slip over, we can’t hear each other, we’ve got hundreds of people and more still coming down and we only had 20 minutes. It was amazing.
The Neversphere: Whoa…After that, sorting out a digital mixer will be easy…
Alex: Exactly. And because they’re our shows as well, we can take an extra 5 minutes to set up. If our laptop fucks up, we’ll stop. We’ll literally stop. So it’s definitely less pressure.
The Neversphere: You’re hitting the road in support of your latest single Bend/Break, what’s the story with this one?
Alex: That’s a tough one. this is the first song that I’ve written, lyrically, that’s about a bad relationship with my parents. It’s weird when I get asked what it’s about because I can’t lie! It’s literally about being in a relationship with people who can’t even look at you because you’ve disappointed them so much that you’re disgusting to them.
I wrote this song to my Dad to just say ‘I wish you’d look me in the eye, and I’m sorry I’m not alright’. So it’s a very raw song. When the clip comes out, it’s very raw too. It’s just us. To go with that, there’s a contracting vibe in the song, it’s fairly upbeat. There’s a lot of gang vocals, it feels like a team, we wrote it together. But the message is very powerful, ‘Fuck you, we don’t care’. It’s definitely my favourite song we’ve put out.
The Neversphere: It seems as though there’s a high potential for some healing side effect with this track then, since the release have you had any sense of relief or even closure?
Alex: I’m not sure. Everyone in my band knows how personal this is. A few other members also have a similar feeling. So, for me to write a song that my band members can connect to, and really feel it – I guess it is a good feeling. I definitely mean it and feel it more than some of the other lyrics I’ve written. I think i’ll enjoy performing it live.
I’m pretty Emo. A lot of the stuff I wrote is really Emo [Laughs]. We have a lot of genre variation too, a lot of hip hop, a lot of drum-n-bass, lots of electronic stuff, lots and lots of breakdown and heavy stuff, and a bit of softer stuff! Lyrically, lots of political stuff, Emo stuff, all the good shit [Laughs].
The Neversphere: I know you’re looking at options for a greater release towards the end of the year, where are the talks at now? Do you know if you’ll position for an EP or an album? Or neither?
Alex: It’s a different climate to be in. We have a few potentials that might come into fruition, and if that’s the case then we go with one of them. We have Plan A, B, and C. Plan A would be a release we do ourselves, Plan B would be an EP we do with a label and Plan C would be an album we release through a label.
We’re ready for anything and if we don’t get those opportunities we’re ready to do everything ourselves. We’re just writing songs because you have to have content at the ready, or be prepared to write it really quickly.
The Neversphere: What about you personally, are you learning towards and EP or an album?
Alex: I don’t want to do an album, actually! I want to get signed, but I mean, who doesn’t want to get signed? I feel like our first EP came our very quickly, it was really testing the waters. This new stuff would be a perfect EP to come out with and prove to people that we’re better song writers and musicians, and then the album would come after that.
Like I said I’m not sure though, anything could happen…
Drown This City Australian Tour Dates
With Save The Clocktower
Tickets available now
Friday, July 14th
With Stateside and Skies Collide
Saturday, July 15th
Factory Floor, Sydney
With We May Fall and Our Anchored Hearts
Tickets: Factory Theatre
Friday, July 21st
Enigma Bar, Adelaide
With Falcifer and Down With the Ship
Saturday, July 22nd
Workers Club, Melbourne
With Advocates and BLKLST
Friday, 28th July
Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
With Cardinels and Eloraline
Saturday, July 29th
Club 54 Launceston
With Cardinels and Majula