THE DROWNING MEN Q&A: “EVERYTHING STARTS OFF WITH ME ON A GUITAR OR PIANO OR SOME WEIRD INSTRUMENT”
California indie rock quintet The Drowning Men have made their mark on the US live music scene in a relatively short time (they were only formed in 2006).
The secret to their success was not only touring and playing where they could but also releasing some very well received EP’s.
A debut album followed and now we are seeing the band take that jump to the next level of success with the release of their follow up full album ‘All of the Unknown’ (out now).
With their first ever UK shows on Tues 27th @ The Islington (Headlining) and on Wed 28th @ Borderline (supporting Barr Bothers), plus a new UK tour rapidly approaching, Fame caught up with Nathan Bardeen (aka ‘Nato’ on Vocals, Keys, Guitar, Mandolin) of The Drowning Men to learn more about them and their work, here are highlights.
Hi guys, so what can you tell us about your new album ‘All of the Unknown’?
It was recorded partially at the Hurley studios in Costa Mesa CA 2011 and Main and Market studios in Venice CA. Our producer Billy Mohler really help us out on the arrangements of the tunes without having a heavy hand in the actual songwriting.
I believe this makes a great producer. Borstal Beat Records put this album out for us and they totally trusted us with whatever we wanted to do.
We started off just wanting to do an E.P but the songs kept coming out so it turned into a full length . We are all very pleased with this record.We often see your music labelled as indie rock, however we see other elements in there too. Do you agree with that description or have you a better one?
Yeah we’re an indie rock band and yeah we have other styles of music weaved into. I’m personally a huge fan of traditional folk music such as bluegrass, and traditional Irish tunes. So I believe these are also in our songs in some form or the other.
People say we’re a folk band and I don’t believe that… To tell you the truth I’m folking tired of it. Todd our bass player said it best when someone ask him what kind of music we play. He said” We’re a working mans waltz” I agree with this.You have played the UK before of course. How do you find the fans there compared to those in the US?
Actually we haven’t. This will be our first time over there and we’re all very jazzed about it. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long, long time and I’m excited that its music that brings me and us there. I’ve been fascinated by the music and culture there for years now.
Have you any countries or venues you prefer to play in/to?
As I was saying before the UK has been my own personal dream to play at but we’ll play anywhere that will have us. The Fillmore in San Francisco was an amazing place to play. There’s just so much history there.
May we ask you how you write your material. For example are you all involved in the process?
Everything starts off with me on a guitar or piano or some weird instrument. I’ll play with it for a while and mumble a melody with my voice until I get stuck, eventually ill show it to the boys and we as a band will try to finish the song.
Sometimes it comes out real easy and other times its a longer process with a bunch of failed tries. It gets frustrating but never an irritation. I love seeing a song start and then finally finding its finish.
We are sure you have heard of some the UK’s/Europe’s major music festivals, would you like to see yourselves appear at one soon?
Yes, that would be amazing! Festivals are great for bands like us because we are so small in the world of music right now.
It is always something we love to know but never really ask, but here goes. How did the band name come about?
We were tossing a bunch a names around and off each other for a while and none of them seemed to fit us , until I said The Drowning Men.
I was reading a book by Nick Cave called “And The Ass Saw The Angel” and I believe there was somewhere in the book were he mentioned the drowning men.. I was all.. YES! Perfect I thought. It also reminded me of Leonard Cohens song ” Suzanne ” he mentioned this too. I’m a huge fan of them both.
Have you plans to tour this new album beyond this up coming UK tour?
Yes we plan on coming back to the UK and other parts of Europe for the next year. It will be our main priority.
Was there much material left over during the making of this release. I.E. are there some tracks already awaiting a third album?
Yes we have a few leftovers that could end up on the next album or not. I am always writing so there is a start. We still haven’t decided where we want the album and songs to go just yet. So for the time being I’m just writing whatever comes out of me.
Finally would you like to pass on any words to your fans across the globe who have supported you so far?
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are all in this together xo
The Drowning Men’s first ever UK shows: Tues 27th @ The Islington (Headlining) and Wed 28th @ Borderline (supporting Barr Bothers).