The Drood, welcome to VENTS! Can you tell us about your latest single, It Must Needs Wither?
NATHAN: Hello, thanks for having us. Our new song It Must Needs Wither resulted from a request to contribute to a friend’s compilation which ultimately fell through. The compilation was intended to be a tribute to all the people who’ve died over the past two years. We typically don’t write songs with a theme or intent in mind but rather let them organically take on their own meaning. Daniel and I went into the studio, and he started throwing samples at me over which I found a melodic progression and recorded guitar, keys, and a skeleton of vocals live while he laid down drums. Our friend and frequent contributor, Hayden showed up about two hours into what had become a strange psychedelic loop and recorded bass guitar. We gladly kept the song and reached out to our very talented video artist friend, Tom Nelsen, who made the video for us.
Danielle: This song is a good example of the ritual-like energy we try to foster when we create. In the same way ancient humans used music and ritual to cope and reflect on nature and existence, so do we, try… This song really, I think, just captures the mood and spirit very well, at a critical time for introspection.
What made you turn to Shakepeare’s play, Othello, for inspiration?
NATHAN: The line “Put out the light, and then put out the light” kept churning in my thoughts during the writing and recording process. It took a few beats, but I realized it was from Othello right before he smothers his wife, Desdemona. Such a tragic story of manipulation, racism, jealousy, and ultimately self-destruction. Given the events and unrest stemming from the pandemic and the social injustice in the US, which resulted in so much death, broken relationships, and heartache, Othello seemed like a fitting parable from which to draw inspiration. Also, much like Iago quietly fed lies to Othello, exacerbating his insecurities, we too had a malicious element feeding misinformation and hate to people. Both cases resulted in a lot of unnecessary death and loss.
It’s easily one of the more tender releases that have been inspired by the pandemic, what do you think got in the way of most artist’s honest expression?
NATHAN: Thank you! Also, that’s a great question. We consciously create art as part of our mental health regimens. The intent is the same, whether we’re doing it alone and trading tracks or recording together. That is to exorcize anxiety, neurosis, depression, etc. The pandemic removed the social element of music and performance. I saw many people just stop making music altogether when that social element was removed. If anything, the pandemic forced artists to ask themselves why they were creating.
Danielle: Fear, maybe, or the avoidance of it at least. The pandemic was heavy and honest expression is hard.
Has your relationship with music changed post-lockdown?
NATHAN: My relationship with music is much more intimate now than before the pandemic, both with the music I ingest and attempt to create. Outside of social media, we all became our own audiences for better or worse. The pandemic tested all sorts of relationships. Being locked away with often only your art to keep you company tested the mettle of the artist’s relationship with their art. For us music and the creation process is more than just a vehicle for social interaction or performing for a room of people, it is a crucial cornerstone to mental health.
Danielle: I think the pandemic reinforced a sense of direction and intent about our art and music that was not there before, or maybe just forgotten. Our music is and always has been an anchor for us through the good times and bad. The Drood has always been more of a catharsis-ritual than a band. The pandemic reminded us that art is important for us and it deserves the focused intention we have always been compelled to bring it.
Would you say your band name reflects your sonic aura?
Danielle: The word Drood is a single syllable, easy to remember and spell; all good traits of a powerful symbol, but it is also a bit mysterious. The name evokes a familiar yet not easily recalled thing. What is a Drood? Is it a name, a creature, or a place? Is it singular or plural? I think it is best to leave these questions open to interpretation, and in that way I think the band name does fit our music very well. We aim at the same trajectories with our sound.
Which artist has had the biggest influence on your sound?
NATHAN: This is a nearly impossible question to answer! I don’t think one single band disproportionately impacts our sound. I have my favorites, though. The Legendary Pink Dots, MGMT, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Skinny Puppy might be in my top slots.
Danielle: Nathan and I have many overlapping influences but I would say I have been greatly influenced primarily as a percussionist by cEvin Key, Brian Eno and Johnny Vatos Hernandez. Aesthetically I enjoy an eclectic mix of music from just about every genre but I tend to lean more towards the dark, psychedelic, ambient and experimental side of things.
What was it like to open for Legendary Pink Dots?
NATHAN: Nerve Wracking and fun! We’ve been fans of The Legendary Pink Dots since the early 1990s. Throughout their enormous catalog, their sound is constantly changing. It was a surreal experience for sure!
Danielle: It was great! One of my favorite parts of playing shows is interacting with other artists, talking craft and getting-to-know how other creative people think and work, so having that window with the LPD was amazing, plus they are very nice and generous people and are easy to like in-person.
How are you going to follow on from It Must Needs Wither?
Danielle: We have plans to release a number of singles and accompanying music videos over the next year. Public spaces are starting to open-up so you will probably see us at a few shows this summer, and we are actively working on new material all the time. It feels like there are some very exciting projects on the horizon.
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