We chatted with Matt Hitt from the New York City band Drowners. Their self-titled debut full-length comes out January 28th on Frenchkiss Records.
NT: Tell me a bit about the band’s musical background. The name of the group comes the title of a Suede song. As well, you draw from many different musical genres.
MH: I really listened to quite a bit of 50s and 60s rock n roll when I was growing up — I still do today actually. The band really bonded and came together from these sounds. Personally, I really got into punk and post-punk later on, which the band obviously gets its sound from as well.
NT: You moved from a small town in Wales. What was life like growing up there? How have you adjusted to living in New York City?
MH: The town that I am from in Wales is so small, it’s barely a speck on a map (lol). There was really not much music there to be found. I used the internet to find most of the music that I really like. I had visited New york City, and really liked it. I came back and got a job teaching guitar. It’s a bit tough at times living in the city. Don’t get me wrong, for a band it is pretty great, there are always so many places to play shows.
NT: Your live shows definitely come across a bit more energetic than your recorded music. Was the band trying to produce a more layered type of sound in the studio?
MH: Yes, we definitely didn’t want to record a live or rough sounding record. I think our goal was to record a bit more of an intricate sounding record. Our live sound is definitely a bit more aggressive and raw. I really do have a fear of effects pedals. I only use one when we play live. It is definitely a lot less nerve-racking.
NT: Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange) appears in your video for “Long Hair.” Are you guys big fans of his?
MH: I first met Devonte in New York. I’m definitely a fan of his writing. The director of the video for “Long Hair,” Alan Del Rio Ortiz, directed one of Devonte’s videos. We really wanted something similar to what he had done with him. Devonte was also in the bar when we were shooting. We were happy he was around to be in the video.
NT: Your upcoming album is coming out on January 28th. Can you share some of the album’s details? Who did you work with and what kind of sound can we expect?
MH: We worked on the album with Gus Oberg and Johnny T. We recorded at the same studio as The Virgins’ “Strike Gently.” Gus had worked on that album as well as a bunch of other great albums, including a couple of albums by The Strokes. We really wanted something similar sounding to the EP. This time the recording session was a bit more natural. When we recorded the EP, “Between Us Girls,” the band had only been together a month. We had also only played a couple of shows. The album was recorded over a three-week period. I think we are pretty happy with it.
NT: The band played a couple of shows in Brazil this year. The fans over there can be pretty passionate and intense. What was the experience like for you guys?
MH: It was a bit surreal. There were fans at the airport waiting for us when we landed. The dedication to music in Brazil is really quite intense. There were so many kids waiting at the club for us as well, but they couldn’t get in due to age restrictions. We ended up doing sound check gigs for them. It really was quite a bit of fun. We ended up giving the kids who couldn’t get in a bunch of t-shirts and other stuff.
NT: Can you tell us five of your favourite albums from your collection?
Pulp – “His N Hers”
The Smiths – “Hatful Of Hollow”
The Buzzcocks – “Singles Going Steady”
The Replacements – “Let It Be”
Buddy Holly – “Singles”