Q&A with solo musician Drew Makes Noise

Drew Makes Noise debuted his song ‘Satellite’ on March 6th via One Inch Punch. Originally part of the Ed Zealous band, the band has performed alongside musicians such as  Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, and Maximo Park. The band also had a feature in the renowned CLASH Magazine, and received radio play BBC Radio 1. Now pursuing a solo career, Drew Makes Noise has already gained support from BBC ATL Introducing. Drew Makes Noise grew up listening to classic rock ballads with his Dad’s approval. His friends would introduce him to 80’s and 90’s pop, he would become a fan of the guitar and develop an obsession with the acclaimed band  Nirvana. His current sound would be described as neo-pop melting into psychedelic pop. Bands that sound similar to him include MGMT, Foster The People and M83. We find out more about the artist here in our brief interview.

What emotions do you want your listener to feel when listening to ‘Satellite’?

Lyrically I’m usually going for something a little poetic and with a few layers and maybe enough vagueness for you to join the dots your own way. In general, this song just sounded so triumphant that I was happy for the lyrics to seem almost throw away enough that you can just sing them without a hint of thought or irony and just be lifted by the song. The “satellites” part just literally just came out when I turned on the mic with no thinking involved. I can’t escape my little cynical side, so sometimes I kind of see the singer as a little “off on one” and I sing them from a distance like its not me. But sometimes I’m just all in.

 When did you decide to pursue a solo career, and why?

Ed Zealous was very much a leader with others firing ideas at his songs. I enjoyed that process and learned a lot but I knew when it was over I wanted to have the chance to write music that was all me. I just wanted to exercise that muscle. I didn’t really have any ideas about doing anything with it yet. It was just for the sake of it. But as it started to come together I guess I became used to the idea of being a solo artist.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

I have alternative and psychedelic rock fantasies but live a synth-pop reality. That or vice-versa.

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?

1) The best of the Monkees – songs songs songs. I heard them before I got onto the Beatles at about age 4. It just drove me wild. I loved the tv show. I still put on the best of the jokers before going out.

2)Nirvana In Untero –  the perfect synthesis of punk rock mentality and pop song hooks.

3)The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin. If I was a cricket ball flying in grunge trajectory this album was a cricket bat that sent me for 6 in a whole new direction. The spaces, the screaming falsettos, the emotions, the orchestral stuff, big trashy drums all coloured me prog.

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?

Moogs, Rat distortion, Cathedral Reverb, Pigtronix distortion, Sylenth, Reason, Strings.
Is there any “non-musical” ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?
There is but my favourite auntie might be reading this.

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Hmmmmm. I love to gig. I love to sing. I love being in a live environment. Its a thrill. I find it almost meditative. But the process of making music, thinking stuff through and tinkering with gear is what keeps me sane and gives me a focus in life. Coming up with a riff, melody or lyric. Finally putting the nail in the coffin of a song that has been avoiding capture forever. That’s where it’s at for me. I’m a sociable person but I also really love solitude and being alone with my thoughts and schemes. If no-one heard my songs I’d still write them.

What has been your most memorable performance so far?

We did a show with ED ZEALOUS that was supporting the Ordinary Boys in the Mandella Hall Belfast on St Patricks day. We hit the stage at 8 which would normally mean playing to a stiff, cold sober, disinterested room. But praise be to the Saint, the place was packed full, there were pints being thrown everywhere and everyone was smashed. I think we had just as big a reaction as the headliners. There was crowd surfing – the lot. Best fun.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?

We had a show with an old band at Halloween. We all dressed up as zombies and had a bottle of something stiff each first. Instead of the audience, it was us who were tooooo far gone. The guitar player fell off the stage, all the amps blew, there was melting makeup everywhere and no-one knew what the fuck was happening. Lesson learned.

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?

I see you did an interview with New Pagans – they are amazing. Saw em at Stendhal festival in Ireland last year. A stage off in the forest. It was like Noah and the Arc style rain. You could barely stand in the muck, just slide. Everyone stayed to see the band tho. Energetic, passionate and class.

If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?

I’d like to write a duet for Tom Waits and Mark Lanegan and just stand by the sub woofer as they both sing big gravelly low notes.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

A gardener

Trent Reznor once said “To me, rock music was never meant to be safe. I think there needs to be an element of intrigue, mystery, subversiveness. Your parents should hate it.” What are your thoughts on this statement?

Eh – yea, I think that can apply, although it could also be a kind wafty, meaningless statement at the same time. Isn’t intrigue very subjective? What is really subversive?  When Billy Corgan slagged off slam dancing as “over” ever since it was in Millar add – I was slam dancing and thought I was being subversive, but I was being marketed to. I read a Cornershop quote the other day – “There’s not a lot of politics in music. Paloma Faith isn’t politics. That’s business.” The idea that your being subversive or even political can often be a co-opted commodity. When I listened to Rage against The Machine as a kid I hadn’t the faintest idea what they were on about, but I connected with the emotion. I think as long as something is coming from a place of truth and delivered with sincerity then its a valid art form (that’s at least equally as wafty lol) – Rock music or not.

Tell us about any upcoming shows or releases you have in the pipeline.

So I have a single release in Voodoo Belfast on 26th March. It’s our 1st show. I am excited as hell. I play music for a living and have no stage nerves – but I’m joyfully nervous as hell at the minute. May band “The Big Waow” are veterans. So its gonna rock. Then I have 24th May in Ulster Sports club. I booked it cause it’s my birthday.


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