2013 was a great year for French Sludge/Stoner Metal in general. A lot of great bands impressed us here at Sludgelord – Blaak Heat Shujaa, Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel, Crown, Wheelfall, Doctor Doom, Abrahma and Wheelfall.
Well you get the idea. 2014 has got off to a great start for French Sludge/Stoner Metallers – DRAWERS – who are about to release their highly anticipated 2nd S/T album. And believe me folks when I say it's an album you all need to hear.
I recently described it as - “ Drawers are back with their 2nd S/T album. 3 years after their excellent début album - All Is One - we see a different band compared to their début album. Their new album is 25 minutes shorter than their début at 31 minutes in length. But the guys are more focused than ever before. Fans of Baroness, Mastodon and Torche will rejoice as Drawers are ready to lay claim to their crown!!!
Now in 2014 we have Drawers to start things with a bang. Drawers is the first essential album you need to own in 2014. It's a brilliant album packed full of great songs you can listen to over and over again.”
2014 sees Drawers harder and louder than ever before. There has been a shift in their sound to be more direct compared to their début album. I wanted to find out the reason behind this. So I am about interview these awesome sonic riff-warriors.
Ladies and Gentleman - DRAWERS
Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.
Hi, we are quite busy these days. Our new album has just been released (February 11th), we made new stuff for the merch and we are currently working on our next tour and on a video clip.
Q2 – For people not in the know, can you tell us how the band came about and where it is today.
We started to play together in 2006 with Alex (guitar) and Olivier (drums) and our goal was just to play some heavy dirty loud things. Then this side project became more serious with a singer and a second guitarist. We recorded a first EP (5 tracks) and Niko (singer) came to replace our former singer. He put his voice on our first album “All is One” in 2011 and we started to tour as soon as we could. We had an opportunity to share a split with french band Hangman’s Chair in 2012 and we decided to wrote a new album that we recorded in 2013. This new album called “drawers” has been released last week and we are now rehearsing for playing a whole new set on our next tour in March.
Q3 – So, where did the name DRAWERS come from.
There is no amazing story behind this name. We couldn’t agree on a name and one day one of us came with this one. We though the sound of this name was good so we kept it. Of course it could mean several (and strange) things but we just like it because it sounds well to us. It is a short and simple word to remember, no other meaning…
Q4 – What bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album made you decide to become musicians.
As a band, we were strongly influenced at the beginning by bands like, Es la Guerrilla, Hangman’s chair or Crowbar for all these down tempo tracks and their low tuning. Beside we are still influenced by Mastodon, Torche, Baroness or Kvelertak for the bright side of their music.
Q5 – Let's talk about your brilliant new album. Awesome album. Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.
At first it was a bit difficult to change our way of writing songs. It was particularly challenging to try new tones and make shorter songs. But after the second song, we found some new automatism in our writing process and the rest of the album was easy to write.
The recording was also a new way of working for us. Half of the instruments were recorded live (guitars and drums) to keep a fresh and roomy sound.
Q6 – I have to ask this question. Your new album is totally different to your début album. Your sound is more direct and more diverse than ever before. Why did you feel the need to change your sound and was that an easy decision to make.
It was great to write and to record “All Is One” but we wanted something different for the new album. There was no point to have a second “All Is One”. We wanted a shorter, more compact and more efficient album. We thought there are too many long tracks in All Is One. And this album is definitely too long (about 50 minutes). That is why “Drawers” has been written to contain few songs, and to be short enough to be listened several times in a row.
This decision was quite easy to make, we needed to play something more enlightened. There was this necessity to try new ideas, and to include new influences to our music.
Q7 – As much as I love your début album, your new album is so much more powerful and packed full of better riffs. Despite being 25 mins shorter. Are you pleased with the final version of the album. Would you change anything about it.
As I said before, it was our goal to record a compact / straight to the point album. There are all the new things we wanted in this new record: short songs, no interludes, live recording, bright and shiny ambiance, it is spontaneous and looks like us. I think I wouldn’t change anything on this album.
Q8 – Were you afraid that your new sound may alienate some of your long-time fans. Or was it a risk worth taking.
Changes were made from “All Is One” to “Drawers”, especially on the album’s ambiance. But some “old” elements are still here. I am thinking of the guitars and bass sound, Niko’s voice and many other things. Sure there was a risk to see long-time fans disappointed but for us it is just a natural evolution of our music. Our influences have changed a bit and we need to play fresh new bright songs on stage.
Q9 – The album is starting to receive some stunning reviews already. So you guys definitely made the right decision. Have you been pleased with the reviews so far.
Of course, we are very pleased to read those reviews. We were a bit nervous about how people would react, especially outside France where the previous album was not so much appreciated.
It is a great stimulation to have such good reviews.
Q10 – What is your favourite song off the album and why.
Shadow dancers has been chosen as the single because it is catchy and easy to remember, but I think mourning is my favourite one. There is a very particular ambiance on this track. It is a catchy song and I am satisfied of all the riffs but there is something more with Niko’s voice on this one. The lyrics are about a very personal and sad moment. Voice recording on this song was a rough time for him and we can feel it at the track’s end. It gives me goose bumps each time I hear it…
Q11 – Do you guys tour a lot in your local hometown or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.
We use to play a lot in Toulouse few years ago, but now we try to limit our shows there once or twice a year. Our goal is to play outside our hometown, discover some new places and meet some new people, but it is not that simple to play everywhere we want yet.
Q12 – The album is being released on Kaotoxin Records. A very cool record label indeed. How did you guys become involved with them.
We already knew Kaotoxin because our friends from Nolentia (Toulouse) signed on this label. We met Nico before one of our show in Lille for an interview and we thought it could be great to work with him some day. He was one of the first to propose to sign us while we were searching for a label.
Q13 – I am huge fan of the French Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. As you could possibly tell with the start of this interview. Lots of great bands coming from France. What is the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene currently like in France. Do you guys sell lots of merchandise and perform a lot of gigs there or do you have to rely on foreign markets to get your music more well known.
Actually we're not really into the Stoner/Doom scene, despite it's quite big here. And there are not so much of Sludge bands in France. So the Stoner/Doom/Sludge scene is really into...Stoner. Also we come from the Hardcore/Punk scene and we play Sludge Metal music, so it's a bit hard to find a lot of gigs. But things are going better and better, Sludge music is going bigger than before. We sell a lot of merch and albums on foreign markets, even North America which is really far from us. It's really cool to see that our music is being enjoyed even in countries we never been to.
Q14 – Can you recommend any other bands for our readers to check out.
There are a lot of very good bands we have played with, in France and in Europe.
I recommend to listen to Hangman’s chair from Paris. They are some of our early influence and their last album has a very particular powerful and depressive ambiance.
I also have to mention our good friends Your Highness from Antwerp, Belgium. We played several times with them and each time they perform a very groovy and energic show.
Q15 – What albums are currently rocking your world. Old or new. Any recommendations you like to tell us to check out.
We all listen to many kind of music, so different. Check the Winterfylleth stuff, it's UK black metal, Conan - english perfect doom, De Mysteriis dom Sathanas of Mayhem, Steve Moore and Zombie, The Prodigy, old Mastodon stuff, the new Ringworm, Hangman's Chair from Paris, all the Torche albums, Nails, Black Breath...
Q16 – In 5 words or less, describe the live DRAWERS experience.
Spontaneous. loud. hairy. heavy, groovy.
Q17 – What is your verdict on the Crowd-Funding Scene that bands and musicians are currently doing asking fans to fund their latest release. Are you a fan and would you consider doing that yourselves.
Great question, we're actually talking about it. Some of us think it's cool, some of us don't care, some us are really against this. Before, bands had to work hard to record a disc and pay for it. Now, the disc industry and internet change everything. But for me, asking people to pay for something you can hardly get by yourself, it’s too easy. And in this kind of music everything is totally hard to set up : merch, shows, communicate, instruments, recording, find a label, getting a van, gasoline, ... When the album is out, it must be a result of a hard teamwork. That’s my opinion (Olivier).
Q18 - If you could give advice to someone wanting to start a band. What advice would you give them.
Don’t do music like a hobbie. It’s not only an afterwork amusement, practice more than once in a week, work hard. get on stage and play it loud.
Q19 – So apart from your new album being released, what other cool plans do you have in 2014. Any plans to tour overseas.
We were on tour two weeks ago and there we met Corrosion of Conformity in Paris ! We had 2 releases parties, one in our hometown (Toulouse) and one in Lille a few days after.
We will be sharing the stage with almighty Crowbar in june, and doing a couple of gigs in the summer.
We’re working on new plans to play outside of France, and the recording of the music video.
Q20 – Finally guys, Thanks for talking to us. Good luck with the album in 2014. Do you want anything to say to your fans here at Sludgelord.
Listen to what you like and not what it’s cool to like, and don’t lie to yourself even if you’re an asshole ! LOVE.
Thanks to DRAWERS for taking the time to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ. If you haven't checked out their new album. Then do yourself a favour and check it out now. It's a stunning and brilliant album.
Check The Band From Links Below
BandCamp - You can download All Is One from BandCamp Buy Now Deal. An excellent debut album.
BandCamp - You can download All Is One from BandCamp Buy Now Deal. An excellent debut album.
Written by Steve Howe