Interview: Drakelow

The renovation project of Birmingham stalwarts, The Young Runaways, new outfit Drakelow create catchy and clean guitar-pop sounds. Having played only a couple of live shows to date, they launch their debut single, ‘Amber’, with a party at The Victoria on Fri 29th November. 

We chat to lead singer and guitarist Matt Pinfield ahead of the show to find out what to expect. 


You used to be Young Runaways. What’s different about Drakelow – have you retained any elements of your previous outfit?

I’m still writing the songs but other than it’s a completely different band, musically speaking. The orchestral arrangements have taken a back seat so I think the songs are more direct and simpler on the whole. There’s a lot more space for the melody to breathe and the guitars are probably a bit more prominent and also completely electric.


You obviously work well together as a group of people and musicians – what is it about your relationship that makes it work?

That’s hard to say but I think it hugely comes down to the fact that we’re all on the same page musically. We get on great as friends and there are certain personality types within the group that perfectly complement each other. Mainly what happens is when I’m having a neurotic moment, everyone else goes ‘hang on that’s fine, everything is going to be alright, it’s only rock and roll.’


Talk us through your songwriting process.

The big difference with Drakelow compared to what I’ve done before is the songwriting process. In the past I’d come to the band with everything fleshed out in my head. Now I deliberately under-write, knowing that my songs will be exponentially improved by working them up with the band and everybody contributing. That’s been the big step forward for me, and sound-wise it’s so much more natural because of this.


What do you like about music?

I’d have to say mainly the cocaine and the fast cars. Everything else I can take or leave.


You launch your first single, Amber, at the show on Fri 29th November. Tell us about the song.

Amber is the first song we wrote where I felt we’d really nailed most of the elements that I love about our music into one song. Lyrically it’s partly fictional, partly autobiographical and it’s the first time I’ve deliberately written around a central character.


Where was it recorded and how long did it take to come together? 

We recorded it ourselves, mostly live at our practice space and then a few overdubs at my studio. It was done fairly sporadically but I suppose it took the best part of a month altogether including mastering in New York with Alan Douche at West Side Music.


You’ve played a handful of shows as Drakelow thus far, how has the reaction been to the material?

It’s been really good so far. We’ve enjoyed the shows immensely which I think always comes over in a performance. The material seems to have been well received even though we’ve put very little out for people to listen to as yet.


The Facebook Event for the launch show promises free gifts and unannounced surprises for attendees – can you give us any hints?

Surprises may involve balloons although they definitely won’t be blown up as I am terrified of them. We’ll have free CDS and hugs for people and as it’s almost Christmas, free shots of mulled wine.


What else can people expect from your performance?`

All the thrills and spills of the world’s best bar band up close and personal.


Only Shadows and Mutes are also on the bill, what do you make of these bands?

Both of those bands are blinding, I know Only Shadows are very tight and can make a lot of noise which should be fun.


We’re getting close to Christmas – what’s on your Christmas list and have you been good enough to receive it?

Heck yes I’ve been good enough this year. Nothing particularly special on my list, I’m hoping for a new scarf from Lucy. It’s in the public domain now so she has to buy me one now really doesn’t she?! No excuses.


What are your plans for the new year?

Hopefully more cocaine and fast cars, all the good stuff really. The band may do another single, maybe an EP and certainly more gigs and festivals. It’s going to be a lot of fun.


Drakelow play The Victoria on Friday, November 29 with support from Only Shadows and Mutes. Tickets are priced at £5 advance and are available here.