2015 was a massive year for rock brothers Drenge. From playing the main stage at Reading and Leeds to touring with the likes of Wolf Alice and the Maccabees, it seems there is nothing that Rory and Eoin Loveless can’t conquer.
They have been announced to play on the NME Awards Tour alongside Bloc Party, Rat Boy and Bugzy Malone in February. I caught up with guitarist and vocalist Eoin Loveless and asked him what is going on right now.
How excited are you to play the NME Awards tour? The Newcastle date in-particular?
“I am super excited, but I am containing it because I am now 24. If you went back in time to when I was 15 and told me that I was playing the NME Awards Tour I think I would have run around the room or even the house. The tour has always been good for putting on a strong variety of bands. It has quite a lot of history behind it and a nice varied line up this year so I look forward to being a part of it. This year there is a lot going on musically so I am even more excited.”
Do you feel that the other three acts add to the variety aspect of the tour?
“It’s not really for bands that are all the same this year. They have Bloc Party who are this dance, sort of electro band rather than indie rock. We’re quite heavy and Rat Boy is like this wild kid. Bugzy Malone will be a great opener. I think it will introduce a lot of people to a lot of new stuff. It was quite a similar line-up last year in terms of sound (The Wytches, Slaves, Fat White Family, Palma Violets) so this year will be much more varied.”
Fresh from touring with The Maccabees in Newcastle, how was that?
“Playing with The Maccabees was both really fun, but so much different to being on tour with Wolf Alice recently. I think it was more challenging because we had to win people over, so to say. I’m not too sure that we share as many fans [with The Maccabees] as we do with Wolf Alice. It was a cool run of shows.”
Do you have any fond memories from gigging in Newcastle?
“We haven’t really been to Newcastle a lot, but our first time was at the Cluny 2 playing as part of an all day festival and it was one of the first times we got in a car to play outside of Sheffield. It was a cool experience for us when we were starting out. We have been there recently [with The Maccabees and Wolf Alice] so we are repaying our debts to the city.”
What can fans expect from your NME awards set?
“One of my personal favourites to play is Let’s Pretend . We don’t really play it that much, but I might try and get it onto the set list for the NME Awards Tour. With The Maccabees we changed our set list around a lot so it wasn’t as much as an onslaught of sound, even though it was still heavy but wasn’t anti-social – with the NME I think we will be as heavy as possible so people have a mental night.”
Other than The Maccabees last month you have toured with the likes of Peace and Wolf Alice – how important is it to create relationships with bands with similar fans?
“That [Peace] tour feels a while ago now. At The Maccabees shows there were a lot of people there that had heard of us but didn’t really listen to us, whereas Peace shows it was so early for us as musicians and I think it was the first tour in the UK where we were playing to 14+ crowds. Peace were getting bigger by the day so we were just telling people to check us out and pick up a CD. With Wolf Alice it was different. We already had fans when we played with Wolf Alice recently so it was a string of really fun dates, kind of like a never ending party.”
What do you think the rise of two piece bands, e.g. Slaves, Royal Blood etc. is down to?
“At the minute there is a trend of two piece bands. When Rory and I started out it was purely practical – we were playing in tiny pubs around Sheffield and a massive band would not have fit. It was easier to set-up a two-piece band and have two people on stage so we could play any pub or club. In Sheffield at one point there were over 25 two-piece bands and it was just normal.”
I saw your sets at Leeds Festival the past two years, going from the NME/Radio 1 stage to main stage is impressive. Where does it go from here?
“I’m not too sure to be honest. I think we just want to carry on playing cool shows to cool people that enjoy our music. I can’t picture a Leeds poster with Drenge at the top, and I can confirm that we are not headlining the festival this year. Maybe we will have a year out from Reading and Leeds and go down as punters.”
If you went down as punters, which bands would you like to see there?
“I am going to see a band tonight [17 December 2015] called Shopping who are really good. I saw The Magic Gang last week in Sheffield and they were supported a band called Inheaven who were decent. We are doing some shows in January to get us back into the swing of things before the NME Tour and Yonaka are supporting us. It would be nice to see them there.”
After two albums, what does the 2016 hold for Drenge?
“To be honest I don’t know. 2016 is still a bit undecided, the diary is pretty empty other than the NME Awards Tour. Hopefully we do some more shows but nothing is concrete at the minute. I feel like it is going to be pretty busy.”
Get tickets to see Drenge at The NME Awards Tour here: NME AWARDS TOUR TICKETS