I'm With the Band: Drowners
Drowners are currently making their way around the West Coast in support of their debut self-titled record. In their downtime between Coachella weekends, they made a stop in Los Angeles to bring their melodic, jumpy jams to The Roxy. Drowners are made up of Matt Hitt, Jack Ridley, Erik Lee Snyder, and Joe Brodie. I had a chat with Matt and Jack to talk about where the band is at right now, their favorite songs to play while DJing, and more. —Maddie
Since we last talked you had your debut record come out. How was the recording process and putting it out?
Matt: We finished it about nine months before we actually released it, like a human pregnancy, so when it came out, we were ready for it to come out. It was kinda sitting on the shelf a bit. We did it over three weeks last May in a basement under a bar and Gus Oberg and Johnny T produced it. My 25th birthday passed as we were recording it, and that’s pretty much all I remember about it.
Matt, you've been part of other projects in the past. What's different about Drowners as opposed to your previous projects?
Matt: Literally only that I sing in this one. I do Threats with Jack. I kinda stopped doing all the other shit before Drowners started, so it's really just Threats and Drowners. The only differences are that I sing in one and Jack sings in the other, and he writes all Threats and I write all Drowners. Basically the only thing that switches between the two is who stands in the middle of the stage.
Tell us a little bit about the influences that went into your self-titled.
Matt: The things we were influenced by to record were like, The Vapors, Gun Club, and we were inspired vocally by like, when you listen to '50s and '60s shit, like when they scream and the mic blanks out. That was kind of a main point of it. Slickness of Vapors, energy of Buzzcocks, yeah.
Jack: I would say for me, since he obviously wrote the thing in his bedroom, I think it was done with a lot of pain and fun and late nights and such. You play in a different way when all that is going on around. Depending on how you feel you play a bit different. I feel like a lot of long nights and mild suffering in different ways led itself to a nice product.
Matt: There’s like twenty different versions of the same song, depending on how we feel. Particularly live, it completely changes. Like how hard you want to play or how much you want to scream or how much you want to move, that’s just night to night. When we were doing the record, it was like Jack said, fun and pain; basically two sides of the same coin, where you’re like one or the other.
How would you describe Drowners in three words to someone who has never heard you before?
Matt: “I’d hit it.”
Jack: “Totally fucking awesome.”
Matt: Yeah, do that one.
What is your dream venue or city to play in?
Matt: I’m gonna sound biased in L.A., but this is only the second time in L.A. and I’ve fucking had a right laugh both times I’ve come here. There’s not like ideal size or whatever. I like playing in front of people who give a shit, because that’s not always the case. That’s my favorite thing. When people give a shit it makes us get hyped on it.
If you could have a tour with anyone, who would it be? Dead or alive.
Matt: On the top of my head, we did four gigs with Cage the Elephant and I’d want to do another tour with them that was longer. I only had four days of ultimate bliss and I’d like to have like, a month with it.
When you're not playing music, what are you usually up to?
Jack: Drawing or skating and walking around. Cuddling with puppies. Cuddling with puppies and watching Law and Order SVU.
What are your go-to tracks when DJing?
Matt: I want to preface this with like, we DJ a lot because we’re absolutely broke and we all need to make money. It’s a job and shit. I started DJing after I moved to New York because I'd sit and listen to Jack and some other people DJ. My favorite three to play I stole completely off Jack. Gun Club "Sex Beat," "Red Hot" by Billy Lee Riley, and "Train Kept A Rollin'" by the Johnny Burnette Trio.
Jack: I would agree with that as well.
Matt: ‘Cause I stole it off you!
Jack: “Love and Desperation" is creeping up on me. That’s a sexy song.
Matt: That is my new absolute favorite song! It’s the singer of Gun Club.
Jack: Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
Matt: It’s the best shit I’ve heard since “Stoned and Starving” by Parquet Courts.