Lets get straight into it, you guys have just released a new album called ‘I See Seaweed’. Let’s start with the title, why is it called ‘I see Seaweed’?
Well, it’s the first three words that are sung on the album. ‘I See Seaweed’ is the first track, and the whole line is “I see seaweed on the lawn, There’s no point coming here no more”. I mean you can interpret that as a song about water levels rising, you know what I mean, kinda post apocalypse. I guess it is the impact of global warming kind of subtly slid in there.
How would you describe the sound as a whole that you guys have produced on I See Seaweed?
We kind of made it such that you couldn’t describe it. It’s got a bit more a bit of an armory of sounds in it, so the sounds have certainly has this whole sonic palette. I mean it’s just that you can’t really make any of us shut up on the electric guitars and mike really likes to reuse bits and pieces to. So, I mean you can only get so far away from that sound. But we were certainty working towards some new approaches to the old stuff.
How did the creative process go down with I See Seaweed? Between Gareth, Fiona, Mike, Steve and yourself there is a lot of talent in different areas. Who takes control creatively?
Gareth takes control. Gareth’s always in control because at the end of the day he is the one who has to sing all those songs. He is the principle point of the The Drones sound, and kinda what it is, is that its not just the noise, its the lyrics he’s singing. I mean the sound the band is making is justified by the kind of words he is singing. There’s no real, “moving to the break of dawn” kind of feel, its a bit more heavy, kind of ‘Go Fuck Yourself’.
How do your songs originate? Is it all Gareth, or is it a bit more organic and you just have a jam and see what results?
It happens like that sometimes, other times it doesn’t happen like that. Sometimes Gareth will come and say I’ve got this, play a bit of something, sing a bit of something and we’ll just sit around and build it up from there. A lot of it has to rely on having something in the lyrics, and we take that side of things very seriously. A lot of the time we spend time making sure the lyrics are just right before we will bother seeing if it will come together musically. But it always a bit different, especially if all of us are there and kind of pushing each other along.
I actually caught you guys at Splendour and your set was absolutely awesome, I totally forgot I was knee deep in mud. What has it been like to play the new songs live?
We toured this record already earlier this year in Australia and we played over in Europe earlier this year to, so these songs have really gotten a bit of an airing. but its always nice to play them for your mates. I think we’re going to tour again with this record while we begin working on the next record. So we’re going to do this tour and then we’re doing Harvest Festival and then were just going to get back into that writing for the next album. Straight back into it.
Between 2007-2010 The Drones were everywhere. Then you guys went a little quiet until the release of this latest album. Why the quiet period?
We didn’t stop touring for a while. I mean, well, pretty much since I joined the band in 2006 all the way to 2011 we were touring constantly here in Europe and the UK and we were just heading around as much as we possibly could. For a few years, and yeah, that explains the need for the quiet patch.
The quiet patch was more of a necessity to maintain our sanity and remain as a band. So we finished a pretty long period of touring and we made the decision to have a break and yeah… get some sleep. We had been touring for a year and half.
It allowed us to get along with our lives a bit. It was funny because we never really lived anywhere all those years so we all went and you know got houses and got our things out of storage.
During the break you were involved in some TV and film scores. Is the approach to those projects similar to when you’re making music with The Drones?
It really depends on the projects your working on. In the drones it’s really just making music that makes us happy. But if you are working on a project such as a series then there’s about 50 people you have to make happy. And along the way you also have to make yourself happy. Its a lot more of a committee when you’re in that line of work. And you have to work with a director and help them achieve their vision for the whole thing because it is their vision. I mean if you are lucky enough to work on a good project its a lot of fun. But if its a shit project its a grind.
Is it cool having your own IMBD profile?
Haha, Well I didn’t think I had really reached that call. But then Jindabyne which caught a bit of attention overseas. The score actually won an award at the Valladolid film fest in Spain. And I was thinking shit man, I’m going to move to Spain. Hey You liked that? I can do all your movies?!? Haha.
So is there a plan to do more movies down the track?
I would love to , but I have never really got the call. But you know Australian cinema the features don’t come that often. Sadly the industry out here only really allows X amount of feature films released each year and there is literally only several jobs on offer. I mean if you are lucky you get one of them, and if you get one of them you are exactly that, lucky.
I was really lucky to work on that movie with Ray Lawrence and he only releases movies every eight or nine years. So he might be due for one actually…
You guys are also going on tour shortly and getting busy again. Where are you going and who are you taking with you?
We have one band travel with us the whole time called Harmony who is a lot heavier than their name might suggest. And yeah, we are doing the full whip around all the capital cities, except Darwin. Poor old Darwin they always miss out, I don’t know why, because it’s beautiful. We are also going to NZ to Auckland as well as some coastal regional towns such as Newcastle and Wollongong, and all the other places you generally get beaten up. Wait, that’s not true. Haha
You guys have a history of releasing Live albums. With your tour coming up are there any plans to continue that trend?
I don’t know I mean in the past a lot of live stuff has just been given to us by people who have nice enough to record it and if we listen to it and we liked it we kind of just put it out. We never really went to the trouble of recording it ourselves. We did a tour early in the year with Neil Young and Crazy Horse and we went to Auckland with them and Wellington. At the Auckland show their crew was good enough that when we put on the show they recorded us and then just gave it to us. Its funny because we are actually playing this set in front of Neil Young’s drums. Crazy Horse are our favorite band in the world, so we might put it out simply because of that it.
What was the tour with Neil Young and Crazy Horse like?
It was ridiculous getting to tour with a band that were so huge in our life. Hanging out with all their crew and management, most of them have been with him since the late 60s, was just… I mean all of his crew have been with him for years and we just felt like the work experience kids trying not to get in the way. All his crew was so nice though, nice enough to record us and just give it to us as a present.
You have already touched on your tour and plans to record a new album, what else is planned for The Drones?
Well we are playing Harvest, and then yeah…We will pretty much just start setting up this new studio, and getting ready for the next album. I think I’m going to build a tree house, the adult equivalent, so it should be pretty exciting.