Sat somewhere between a DIY indie star and, by some accounts, The Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen, Drew Makes Noise manages to produce a deeply personal, idiosyncratic take on quirky, personal pop, and a welcoming and at times memorably upbeat exploration of the realms of his own pysche.
In recent release ‘The Whole Tape Run’ he’s gone ‘semi-DIY’ bringing in producers to polish off his lockdown bedroom records that explore his own spirituality and look at life through the lense of him and his connections. Rarely producing two tracks that sit close to each other in terms of message or feel, his repetoire is a beautiful exploration, a journey without a destination. I spoke to Drew about that latest offering, below…
First of all, tell me about ‘Let The Whole Tape Run’
The title is a lyric from the song Hey. The sentiment is kind of “in the fullness of time” vibe and I felt it was appropriate for a few reasons. It was mostly written and recorded during the pandemic and mixed remotely by Math Bishop in LA. It’s a hybrid of bedroom production, with guitars and drums recorded at Start Together Belfast and Attica Donegal respectively. There’s no real “concept” per se other than it’s a spin round my own psyche and a document of my place and time in the world, both musically, personally, spiritually for want of a better word- told in stories that are partly about myself and partly about others and my connection to them.
How does the album compare to your previous work?
It’s similar in that everything I do seems to be quite the kitchen sink affair. I just enjoy mixing up sounds and styles that are disparate. It’s different in that, while the scatterbrained vibe is still from previous singles – perhaps lyrically it enters a much more contemplative arena. They are philosophical meanderings incorporating themes of anger, confusion, lost youth, paranoia. Ya know all that light stuff, and ya know it was a weird time. Musically too it his an angry point with ‘Something To Kill’ and even quite a sad song called ‘Flame’. But my hope is that even in some of those depths that I can still be playful enough for it to be eh – fun?
Is ‘Lemonade’ a fairly good example of what to expect?
Hmmm. There are definitely a few tracks that have a mix of shimmery synths and guitars but I think to quite different effect. I’m fairly sure that no 2 songs are quite like the other but I think it all gels weirdly. I was a big Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness fan in my teens and so I’ve always believed that an audience doesn’t need everything to be in the same lane for a record, as long as there’s some kinda through line.
Your videos are obviously something you put a lot of effort into. Where do the ideas come from?
I find it very odd that I went down the video making rabbit hole. It really came from not wanting to fork out for someone, and we’d done vids with other people in my old band and I never really enjoyed the finished product. I thought at least if I do it and I don’t like it – that’s on me. I always settle on a rough idea with my cameraman friend Deci, we throw a ball to each other and brainstorm in his back yard, and then I take the idea away and lose myself in it. We started the vid for ‘Satellite’ – which was a load of action men figures going to space – and I got totally lost in it and spent 4 months on it, making mini sets and stuff. My house was coming down with spaceship cockpits and the like. Then the pandemic came and I filled my time doing more of that – it was seriously cool escapism. Another place ideas come from is me literally just learning editing and vfx software and in that process of messing with stuff – ideas form.