dredg from sunny California have been touring a lot last year. Promoting their latest album, The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion, they played over a hundred gigs in total, and hopped across the pond to Europe three times throughout the year.
Enough going on to be curious about the band’s perspective of the tour, we thought. When Drew Roulette from dredg agreed to do an e-mail interview with us, our interviewer Björn got so excited that he had to watch a good lot of Monty Python episodes and Nardwuar interviews to cool him down again. Or so he thought…
Drew: yes, very content with the response. we like making stuff. we like when people like our stuff we make. sometimes people dont like our stuff. we dont care.
nolivelost: The album incorporates an incredible range of musical styles: moshable rock, R&B-like grooves and melodies, mellow ballads, jazzy bits, just to name a few.
Although not included on the album, you also experimented with electronic, techno-ish beats. Was that high level of diversity a general idea from the beginning, maybe as a contrast to the more compact and straightforward “Catch Without Arms”, or did it just happen naturally as you went along?
Drew: moshable rock. moshable. jumpable. sleepable. dropmybeerable. leaveable.
diversity is always aspired to with dredg. we wanted to go somewhere that “catch” didn’t.
d. all of the above because it also happens naturally.
nolivelost: In november you played the new album in its entirety at a couple of shows, like you did in the past with some of your older albums. Is performing a whole album entirely different for the band compared to playing a regular setlist?
Drew: its a lot easier to make the set list. it sets a certain mood for the evening.
nolivelost: At these shows, you’ve had Anton and Lewis Patzner from Judgement Day supporting you on strings. You’ve also had saxophone players with you in the past. What other instruments would you love to see on stage with dredg? Any plans for the future in that field?
Drew: of course things like choirs, harps, orchestras, armys of reactables, tubas, herds of theremins are ALL wonderful ideas.
nolivelost: You use a wide range of equipment on stage. What would you estimate is the amount of power consumed by a dredg show?
nolivelost: You’ve had your last show in Cologne videostreamed live across the internet. Was that a first for you? And would you consider doing something like this again in the future?
Drew: it was a first for us. it felt like any other concert. events like this are good because more people can be involved. the most fun party has more people, right? die grammer!
nolivelost: You’re very popular in Germany, so you’ve toured the country a lot. What was the weirdest thing you ever ate in Germany?
Drew: a bleeding pussy
nolivelost: dredg shows assemble a pretty diverse crowd: there is clapping along, singing along, a bit of moshing, and people just standing around, listening attentively. What kind of concert goer are you personally? Do we see you frantically jumping around or rather relaxing at the bar?
Drew: im like a little kid getting all craahahaazy in the background at a gogol bordello show. im like a little introverted stoner caught in a blank stare at a radiohead show. im like a drooling, lustfull smirk at a bjork show. im asleep in my bed at a justin bieber show. im like a trench coat mafia member at a christian rock show. im drunk at all the others.
nolivelost: A while back, Mark and Dino wrote and recorded the soundtrack for the film Waterbourne, a suspenseful drama about a terrorist attack on Los Angeles’ water supply. What kind of other movie genres could you imagine dredg doing a soundtrack for?
Drew: any and all. give us some visuals and we will cook up some weird shit.
nolivelost: What about Roland Emmerich: If he had asked you to do the soundtrack for “2012″, what would it have sounded like?
Drew: a can of smashed assholes.
nolivelost: According to amazon.com, customers who bought the DVD of “2012″ also bought “Armageddon: The Criterion Collection”. Where do you see the connection?
nolivelost: You have a very active fanbase on the internet that meticulously collects every dredg bit from tv, radio or the web. Are you much of a music collector yourself? And if so, what are the bands that make you roam flea markets or internet archives?
Drew: i own a lot of live pink floyd bootlegs. they are my “go to” band when it comes to seeking obscure recordings. i also have a lot of bootlegs from the band tool. ever heard of em?………… lately i have been searching for live animal collective recordings. i love that band like it was my cat mixed with my iphone mixed with my weed mixed with falafels. have you ever youtubed falafel? it makes me hungry.
nolivelost: You’ve played a good couple of summer outdoor festivals in both Europe and the US during the last years. Any festival plans for 2010 yet?
Drew: no. i wish. im getting bored over here. entertain me. send me some model skyscraper building kits or something.
nolivelost: On the web there’s speculation about unreleased recordings from the Pariah sessions and a possible upcoming release of some of that material. Can you disclose any details on this?
Drew: the only dredg related talk lately has been through emails. is that weird? we never see each other. is that sad? i dont know. it seems appropriate right now. i mean, i sit down on my toilet and i think:
“remember when……………………………. what if………………………… omg…………………………… what if we did this…………………………… oooooooooooo, how about…………………..?”
but we will see each other again. soon, actually. and we will look at each other and say, “you look good. you look handsome. your talented. people like you.” and then we will just tickle each other until we lose our shoes.
anyway, when we DO talk though email, we talk about new ideas. new ways to create more unique art. we discuss possibilities and turn nobs. we talk of getting into the studio soon. finishing some of that leftover material from the pariah sessions. writing new songs. to just exist.
nolivelost: You’re also an avid illustrator and have designed most of dredg’s artwork together with Gavin. What’s your favourite restaurant in town?
Drew: falafels drive in.
nolivelost: Your artwork features a lot of pretty unique recurring elements, like clouds with eyes, sad looking animals or cyclops wearing strange hoods. Where did you draw the inspirations for that from?
Drew: clouds with eyes? i dont know what the fuck that is, but your scaring me. and cyclops wearing strange hoods?!?!?!!!!!!!??? fuck, my eyes are watering now. they do that when i see ghosts.
nolivelost: You grew up and live in California, quite near to the San Andreas fault. What would be your recommendations (as a supposed expert) for the first thing to do in the event of an earthquake?
Drew: my house actually sits on the san andreas fault. literally. fuck. ironically we just had an earthquake here in california yesterday. i called my brother to see if he was ok. (i actually didn’t but if you read this beau, just pretend like i did. if not just for the sake of the interview. thanks.)
Drew: did you know that 3.14 spells pie in the mirror?
nolivelost: If you were abducted by aliens and forced at beampoint to recommend one – and only one! – tv show of the 60s, what would it be?
Drew: of the 60’s? fuck if i know. but if it were to be from modern times, i would recommend curb your enthusiasm.
nolivelost: Thanks a lot for having taken the time for us, and all the best for 2010!
Drew: thanks Björn.
Interview: Björn Kahlenberg – Photos: LynMarieN, Björn Kahlenberg & Drew Roulette
(live photos taken at: Zeche Bochum on 2009-06-11, Konzerthaus Dortmund on 2009-11-01, Live Music Hall Cologne on 2009-11-02)