WildSpiritz Interview with DROWND
WildSpiritz Music was lucky enough to catch up with Joe Crudgington
A definition – Drownd is an archaic form of drown from which drownded is an archaic form of drowned.
Now that we have that out of the way and before we begin, it gives us the greatest of pleasure to announce that Drownd have been signed to Armalyte Records and it is therefore up up and away for the band.
Drownd are originally from Essex but relocated to London in order to further his musical career. It is rumoured however that he will soon be moving further afield to Los Angeles in order to bring his music to a much wider audience.
The band is essentially a one-man entity with musicians dropping in as and when they have time and at this current juncture, they have yet to play live but the feeling is that when this eventually happens it will be something of a very spectacular nature. Given the reaction that the video for ‘Sick like you’ attracted Drownd are set to be big. Much in demand currently we were lucky to get the interview, so heads up and here we go!
As ever and a starter for 10 it is always interesting to find out how someone first got into music.
“Wow… I can’t remember for sure, but what REALLY got me into music in a big way was playing the old skating and BMX games like Tony Hawks PS, Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX and the Dave Mirra games – I’d literally just pause the game and listen to the music that they had on there! It introduced me to bands like Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, Millencolin, Fu Manchu, Bad Brains, Papa Roach etc etc.. Ha-ha… Seems like a lifetime ago!”
Given the images that have been published on social media, Drownd can be looked upon as a bit of a bad boy and I say this in the loosest sense of the term. With an air of darkness, I was interested to know where influences were drawn from and who his musical heroes are.
“I draw my influences from the weirder, darker side of music – I particularly listen to a lot of instrumental stuff and aggressive, noisy electronic music. I’ve been listening to a band/group called ‘Naked’ recently and love how abrasive the sound is. I also love horror films - in particular Guillermo Del Toro’s older stuff and films like Sinister (which I have a tattoo of), Rec. and Lovely Molly, etc and the music scores that go with them – in fact it is something that I am also looking at getting into.”
“As far as musical heroes, I’m gonna have to say Trent Reznor – I don’t care what anyone says, that guy is one hell of an artist. Always stood for what he believed in and wrote what he wanted. I also love NIN – phenomenal music and absolutely savage live! I’d love to one day have a go at beating their performance at Woodstock ’94.”
Now, when people look around on social media we do live in a world where pretty much anything within reason goes but then there are moderators about who set out to spoil the party in some cases, and so it was with Drownd when the video for ‘Sick like you’ was flagged for review by YouTube. Was that expected?
“Ha-ha – if I’m totally honest, I didn’t – but I get why they would flag it now! Feel like it’s done me a favour though in making the video seem even edgier?! People must be into it as it still has had a decent amount of views for a ‘restricted’ video – usually people are too lazy to log in to their account (myself included normally!) so I’m pretty pleased with how that has gone.”
There was a lot of hype around the impending single release and so anticipation was high. When it eventually dropped, for us at Wildspiritz it was something that we genuinely loved. As such, and with all the excitement surrounding the band we had to push for an answer on whether there would be an ep or album coming in the near future.
“Good stuff… The initial start plan will be to release a couple of Ep’s with remixes with the hope of an album later. I will definitely have enough material for an album, but as it is still very early days, I’m just seeing what the reaction is to what I’ll be steadily bringing out and see what happens… If I’m honest, an album, as I have a lot of conceptual ideas with instrumentals/soundscapes between tracks, but like I say, we’ll see how things pan out.”
Although now signed, Drownd was independent when the single was released so it remains to be seen if the reigns are put on but there was a mesmerising amount of shock and awe with the video release and in all fairness, this is something that grabs people’s attention so the enquiring mind needed to know if this was something that would continue with future releases.
“That was the plan! Pretty simple vid concept, but it certainly grabs people’s attention! And yes – absolutely – I can’t go putting out anything tame after that first video… I’ve already got plenty of vid ideas for the next single and more elaborate, so watch this space… Next goal is to get the next video banned I reckon ha.”
As mentioned earlier in this article, Drownd are an entity that performs when the musicians are available so there is very high interest in whether or not the band will tour or just simply play gigs as and when.
“Hmm… Live performance is one of the main reasons I write the music, so 100% yes, there are definitely plans for possibly later in the year, though nothing definitive as of yet. We may potentially book our own showcase or get on a small tour – we’ll see. It all depends upon how the releases are received and the following we can create. I’d like to play all over the world really – an EU tour would be great. In fact, I recently just came back from Prague and loved how dark and bizarre the city is with some great live venues that would cater towards bands like us. The same goes for the surrounding countries and all across Europe. Also, I’m moving to LA for a while in March, so would love to book something up there as the scene for this kind of stuff is great with lots of alternative events and club nights such as Cloak and Dagger and the events put on by Sav Noir. It would be great to be involved with these guys and do shows for/with them as they would no doubt be like-minded people.”
Moving away from the gigging question and returning back to the video I wanted to know if Drownd had any difficulties getting it released given the subject matter.
“Fortunately and almost oddly, there have yet to be any major problems – it’s all gone out without a hitch – bar of course the age restriction and flagging up of the video on YouTube …Well, actually it was a bit of a pain after the talcum powder scene shoot – I’m still hoovering up talc now – and of course finding the odd bit of fake blood in unexpected places… Gonna try and achieve the same with the next video I reckon, but messier.”
There was an issue I wanted to cover though as there isn’t enough exposure in the media but looking at Drownd’s social media pages it is fairly clear that there is a bad boy image at work here but for those of us who suffer from mental health issues, and look closely at the photographs there is an element of mental health attached especially with the finger gun to the head image. So how was Drownd looking at it all?
“Again, this is something I didn’t even think of, perhaps stupidly or naïvely. I certainly wasn’t going for a ‘bad boy’ look, nor was I going at it from a mental health standpoint. I can assume you’re possibly alluding to what I have been using as press pictures – namely the shot with the noose? This pic was conceived mid-way through an impromptu shoot by the man that is Haris Nukem (super talented photographer/artist) whereby it turned out I had some rope in my ‘prop’ bag, and he happened to have a cigarette on the go… To imagine it being anything deeper than that in my opinion is crazy, though I can see why it has gotten a few comments – but isn’t that what art is supposed to do, get people interested and talking about things? It has been suggested that I have tried to somewhat ‘glamourize’ depression/suicide by some people reading way too deep into it and there is absolutely no way I was trying to do that! If anything, having the subject of men’s mental health brought up is a good thing as I think it’s regularly not spoken about enough or just shrugged off. Again – I’ve always just been interested in the weirder, darker things, so there is no doubt the stuff on my social media will portray this.”
That was quite the interesting answer and I suppose we all see different things, but everything is always open to individual interpretation. Moving forward though and with expectation high I posed the question of the next release and whether or not there would be a video for that.
“Hmm… I can’t reveal too much but I can say yes, there will be another video to accompany the single to be released. I can also excitedly reveal to you first hand here though is that I have just signed a deal with the record label Armalyte Industries so we’re putting together a release plan, videos, etc, etc which I’m really excited to be a part of! They’re a cool label that I’ve always known of due to the artists that they have signed, so to be a part of the team is only going to benefit my project!”
For all of you that follow the magazine you will have seen that Skynd was the main feature in the last issues and these guys come from the same stable. Given the kind of darkness that surrounds both of these guys something that I would personally like to see is a collaboration between Drownd and Skynd so wanted to know if this was something that could possibly be on the cards or did he prefer just doing his own thing.
“Ah man – I have been a fan of Skynd since the first ‘secret’ tracks I heard before they even launched themselves. Great sound / song writing and a wicked image. Their concept and videos are absolutely brilliant – was lucky enough to catch their first live show at the Old Blue in Shoreditch – honestly, one of the best gigs I’ve seen - so much work put into the production and it 100% shows! Sooo… Yes, if the opportunity to do something collaborative came up, that would be one hell of an opportunity, even if I do prefer writing solo!”
Drownd is building a following now which is gaining momentum in leaps and bounds so I dropped into one of our standard questions and asked if he had a message for his many fans.
“Yeah it’s beginning to build a pretty good following now – mainly through social media… I feel slightly torn about the advantages/disadvantages of social media. I actually don’t like it – it feels pretty false, posey, people regularly get the wrong end of the stick (which I do find funny at times) and it’s really not something I like doing or find easy, but it seems it is something that has to be done. I’d just like to say thanks to all the followers for the support and I hope that the music I create resonates with you on some level.”
It’s quite difficult to pin Drownd to a particular genre so I asked where he thought he stood or in actual fact if he stood apart.
“I wouldn’t say that my stuff ‘stands apart’ – that would be massively big headed, but I feel as if the sound does span across a few different genres. It’s tagged up as ‘industrial/rock’ because of the electronics and heavy sound, but I feel as if it appeals across the metal, rock, industrial, alternative genres which is what I’d want. I wouldn’t want it pigeonholed into any genre, so feel happy to think that it’s not flagged up as ‘industrial’ or ‘metal’, etc.”
As happy as I was about that answer, I still have my own opinion and from my perspective I can see a lot of Marilyn Manson especially in the video and there are some elements of Iggy Pop but from the earlier part of his career when he was particularly wild, so I asked for a little feedback on these thoughts.
“Yeah – I like it!!! There are certainly far worse acts to be compared to! I’m a big fan of both artists so there is no doubt their influences will show in my own work! I’ll no doubt be incorporating their influences into the Drownd live performances too – I mean Iggy Pop x Marilyn Manson in a live performance back in the day? Certainly, something I’d wanna see!”
As ever time is always against the interviewer, so it just remained to drop in my last two standard questions before wandering off into the sunset.
How do you see the future for Drownd?
“I see the future looking VERY promising for Drownd. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve just signed a deal with Armalyte Records which is going to be great for getting a wider audience and for potentially getting better live shows and tour supports, etc. I’ve got plenty of great new material I’m working on for future releases, a great live band lined up for when we start playing shows, the move to LA in March so I can build more contacts etc, etc. All good and exciting stuff on the horizon!”
Any final words?
“Just a big thanks to yourself and everyone who has so far listened and given support – it is hugely appreciated. I’d also like to give a big shout out to Haris Nukem – I’ve been very lucky to have done some work with him getting the first lot of visuals/press shots which have helped no end and given a great image so far for the band. I’ve never been comfortable in front of a camera, but his vision is just amazing and has a way of getting what he wants and making you feel super comfortable, so a big thanks to him! He has an exhibition in Soho in April which will no doubt be fantastic, and I’d tell anyone to go check it out!”
“And of course, watch out for us, the future is no doubt gonna be very interesting.”
This has been an honour to do and it is always great to get the opportunity to speak to someone with an exciting future in front of them. As ever we will of course keep you updated on all things Drownd.
Interview conducted by: Ernest Platt