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DREW DAVIES

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST DREW DAVIES

Hiya Drew, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I think it was at first a reaction to the conveyor belt education process in the UK; I realised I wanted to have freedom to express myself and get outside the box, avoiding the 9 to 5 and social patterns presented to me. Then the first time I saw Queen live at the Milton Keynes Bowl on VHS (at school) I realised peacocking for a living was of interest to me.

Introduce us you and your musical history?

I’m originally from South Yorkshire, from there I moved to London and sang in a number of rock and roll bands before joining The Mercy House. We toured and played festivals like Download and Bloodstock and had tracks featured on Rock Band; it was a fun time. After that I worked in sessions and studios as a singer for some time and playing function shows. I was in a number of projects with some underground players down South but got weary and after a weird dream I decided to take the plunge solo. After a few years as a solo artist I moved to the vibrant city of Glasgow…I worked with a number of great musicians on this record, Dany Serrano, Chris Haddleton, Andrei Ilie and Dion Palumbo.

What was life like for you before music?

It’s cheesy but it’s hard to imagine time before music…I was always around music, whether around my grandma playing the piano and singing or my mum’s own singing at home…But my first love was sports if I’m honest, I’m still a huge sports fan and enjoy training and pushing myself physically…so I guess life before music consisted of me running about the place like a loopy child with tons of energy.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

Hard to say really, but I think 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson. I distinctly remember playing that record for the first time when my parents were out one day and it totally blew me away. I used to blast that album and A Night at The Opera whenever my parents were out. I think that planted some seeds.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

DREW DAVIES

That’s difficult to answer…I’ve been in bands chasing the dream with agents and tons of press and I’ve scrapped at the bottom as an independent; I’ve also been part of projects that were destined for success and did nothing so I think I have a decent amount of experience of both sides of the coin. I’m sitting at a point where I’m proud of my work and understand the industry to a degree and the shifts it’s taken. Frankly I try to detach from where I sit and view it like I’m a painter; I’m very happy to keep painting pictures and sharing them with the outer world. Hopefully these connect with people and mean something but I’ll just be over here painting irrespective.

Whats the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

I’ve learnt a lot but finishing is everything. I’ve learnt it watching and working with artists who never put a song down, always tinkering. Also, the fear to release things can take over and I try not to let that dictate what I do. For me it’s imperative to give music time and love and then to put them down, if I still enjoy it listening back years or months later I know it’s something I’ll want to release. I have some songs I release years later, The Bitter End was written maybe 5 years ago and I was waiting for an apt record or time to put it out.
So, be fearless and finish.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?

I was a member of the spandex reform church.

I have had one amateur boxing match.

I have performed alongside an x factor contestant.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

I think a shift in the culture around music consumption where people value the art form more and artists are better renumerated for their efforts. A less disposable, fast food approach to music and it’s consumption.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Oh I try to stay out of it all; I’m not into virtue signalling or witch hunts in the name of following the crowd. Music is for expression and frankly I believe everyone should be able to say what they want; but it needs to be backed up with knowledge, compassion and understanding. Zealotry is dangerous in all forms.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If no why not?

I love a good conspiracy theory and I’ve definitely done my time watch UFO documentaries – (David Fravor I salute you). I greatly enjoy diving down the rabbit holes and I’m currently background watching the X Files so ask me about unexplained phenomenon anytime ha ha. I find them entertaining.  

Seriously though, I think Christopher Hitchens had a good line on them, “Conspiracy theories are the exhaust fumes of Democracy…” I reckon that’s fairly pertinent.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Oh I’ve had a few that’s for sure, I once performed at a Nationally televised Spanish festival with a band (not to be named). By the time we took the stage it was around 1am, boiling hot, humid and we’d been plied with booze all day; factor in that the monitors were off and we couldn’t hear the drums – this was not our tightest show! We played but I learnt years later that our management had had to wrestle with the TV company so that the footage was not broadcast…Other notable mentions…being inappropriately handled by a female crowd member at a Camden club show and terrifying a man sized dinosaur mascot whilst playing at an outdoor event…good times

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?

I have an international rugby player in my live band and another who is from prog rock royalty. You might be surprised to know I’ve sung on Coca Cola adverts, performed a live dance routine in Hamburg and am currently working on both my Springsteen and Vangelis eras concurrently.

What makes you stand out as an artist?

I make powerful rock music, I combine genres and approaches and I make music with real emotion which aims at being strident and bold. I’m not into the lo-fi trends and making everything look and sound bad or ‘edgy’ and I’m not afraid to say what I think of those trends.

I think algorithm’s and playlisting promote a homogenised sound and production methods.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

I’ve just released The Bitter End, a hard rock synth rollercoaster of a track. I wrote it after binging on 80s horror movies as a form of self-help. That’s why it’s drenched in obscure soft synth and sharp metallic guitars. It comes off of my sophomore album where I really think I found a unique dark rock sound of my own. I’ve another single ‘You’re The Only One’ due out in mid-January before the album on January 26th.

What was the recording process like?

I produced the record home alone during Covid, late at night and staring out onto the sights, sounds and smells of Holloway Road. Once I had a body of work which sat together and represented where I was at I drafted in some close musical partners from my past and fleshed out the record. It was a very fun and experimental approach for me; I tired to break as many rules as I could within the confines of the songs. Guitars as synths, synths as percussion…a wall of sound.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Keeping things moving, new songwriting tricks and keeping the listener engaged. I’m not a fan of when I can tell songs are just cut and paste sections of arrangements. It’s super common in heavy music especially. I lyrically wanted to be honest and open as well and try not to get carried away. So I think this is my truest work in that respect.

Would you change anything now its finished?

Like I said earlier, you can change things forever…maybe I’d have spent a little longer working on a mix here or there, but it’s done and I’m incredibly proud of it. So, the answer is no – Holloway Nights is perfect in its imperfections.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Be excellent to each other this Christmas and keep your eyes peeled for more news on my upcoming releases.

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