Written by Steve Jenkins
With a fire lit underneath and them, post-hardcore outfit, Drown This City, are set to make their mark this year with a huge label signing to UNFD and an upcoming release for their massive sounding new EP titled Alpha // Survivor, out Friday, July 5th. It's a new era for this exciting and fierce group, who are experiencing a resurgence, more focused and energised than ever before. Drown This City have resurfaced and are ready to take on the world, and we were lucky enough to talk about it with lead vocalist, Alex Reade, who explains that the five-piece are now a more solidified and stronger group than ever before.
Hi Alex, thanks for chatting with us about everything that's happening with Drown This City. Firstly, congratulations on your big announcement regarding signing to UNFD. Is this something that you and the band have been working towards for a while now? Or did it all just fall into place?
Well it was a bit of both really. We've always been wanting to work with UNFD and they were always our label of choice, but we were definitely prepared to keep working independently if we had to. But we were lucky enough that they wanted to work with us, and we did sign quite a while ago and we've kept it under wraps for the better half of about six months. I guess it was just good timing and we had something that they wanted and they were also ready to develop us. So yeah, it just worked out really well.
Awesome. Your upcoming EP, Alpha // Survivor comes out on the 5th of July. Is that what you were working on for the past year when the band sort of went a bit quiet?
That's correct, yeah we were. You know, we lost our songwriter, and he decided to leave the band at the end of 2017 and we still had a lot of music that we had started to write with him, and we just kept working with that. We started working with a new producer and a different songwriter who's also a good friend of ours, and we just went a bit quiet and wanted to make sure that we were still working on keeping the band together. And then before we knew it we managed to find our new guitarist, Josh, he joined us and wrote a couple of the latest songs that were included on Alpha // Survivor, and with a year and a half gone now we're signed and we've got new music ready. We've got this new product and we're back at it and more ready than ever, it's almost like it never happened really.
Was there a moment in time where you had thoughts or doubts that the band might not continue?
For sure. I think it's really good when bands go through things like this, because you try so hard for certain things not to happen. If we lose someone, we're doomed, if this happens, we're doomed. But when you go through those things you sort of realise that any band can go through changes and survive. You might lose a member here or there, but that doesn't mean you can't continue, even if you think that you can't. It was good for us to sort of realise that sometimes change can be very much needed and also a positive thing. We've now got a better dynamic, we've got a better group of friends now who respect each other more. We enjoy writing together more now, so really it was the best thing that ever happened to us, even though for probably about six months we didn't know if we could recover or continue on. But we did.
Where does the Alpha // Survivor title come from? Is there a special meaning behind it?
Yeah, it's to do with the lyrics of the second track on the EP. "Stay Broken." It's sort of a strange concept, it's sort of like feeling a really vulnerable and broken person, but the next day feeling like you're an absolute alpha and you're a strong person, a leader. It's about having that mixture of a personality and cultivating being an alpha. I've always been a very shy person, probably not one that wanted to lead or wanted to speak out, and I just sort of started thinking a lot about being an alpha asking myself, am I afraid to step up? Am I afraid to bush the boundaries and cultivate this part of me, why not? Why can't I do that? So we just started really developing this concept with all of the songs that we wrote, but in this particular song "Stay Broken" that's sort of the main lyric and I think it's probably my favourite little powerful message in the EP. It says "Alpha, realise your power". and it makes your realise that you can be an alpha and a strong person if you really want to.
What type of music really kick-started your passion and desire to become a vocalist and to be in a band? Was it similar to what you do now with the heavy/hardcore style that you're doing at the moment?
I love Muse! They were the first band that I really listened to properly, and it was the albums 'Absolution' and 'Origin of Symmetry' that made me go, "Holy Shit!" Because I used to sing classical when I was really young, and I never really considered singing in a different style. But I heard Muse, and I realised that you can do some really cool things with your voice, and just the expressions that they had, it was so energetic. It was at the same sort of time that I started listening to bands like Alexisonfire, Parkway Drive and As I Lay Dying, and I just thought... Could I scream? I don't know? Then I actually figured out how to do it, and yeah, it just happened.
Very good. Are you keen to head up to Sydney and Brisbane later in July for the string of AM/PM shows as well as your hometown in Melbourne?
Yes, and we're driving to Sydney we've decided. We don't normally drive because it's just so far to drive all the way around Australia, it's so big and it takes forever. Plus we've all got jobs and that sort of thing. But this time we're going to jump in the van and just enjoy the road trip, there's honestly nothing better than best friends on the road together. Shenanigans! It's just so freeing and so much fun, I can't wait.
Drown This City played UNIFIED Festival for the second time earlier this year. Was that sort of a comeback show for the band once things started working out?
Well we had actually finished writing everything for the EP, and we actually signed with UNFD on the day of the festival. Am I allowed to say that? Yeah, I think I am. We signed the deal like literally half an hour before we went out on stage. So we signed it, then we went out on the huge fucking stage and it was just so surreal, it was crazy! So yeah, we've had a lot of things in the works silently for quite some time now, we've just been chillin' on it. We were in negotiations for months and months, and it's all about the right time and being able to tour when you're not competing with other things that are going on. Plus finding a good time that they can dedicate towards us as well. I don't know if it's much different for other labels or not, I mean, this is our first signing you know? We're just so happy with how things have worked out.
Do you have the rest of the year mapped out in terms of what you want to do and perhaps any goals that you're setting out to achieve?
Yeah definitely, and it's kind of hard to plan things. I know some friends that are in much bigger bands than we are and I've seen their schedules and they've got their whole life sorted, or so it seems. Like a year and a half or two years ahead with just full on written up spreadsheets. But for a band like us, we have a lot more freedom to pitch for tours and know that we want to go into the studio and start recording at a certain time. But we've got to be flexible with what other options come our way as well, so we'll always have our own plan of releasing new music, playing more shows and doing bigger things. But then also being ready to put that to the side if we get an even bigger opportunity, then we'll jump on that. So it's pretty open at the moment, whatever happens happens.
Are there any other Aussie bands you've got your eye on when it comes to maybe wanting to do a few tour dates with them?
I mean, everyone's doing such huge tours these days and doing massive things at the moment. That's a really tough thing, the Aussie music scene at the moment is insane. Like everyone's touring, everyone's going overseas. I don't really know, but we've got our eyes on some things, but we'll have to see. Maybe in 2020, there's a few things that I know that I want us to do, so we'll see if those things come to fruition or not when we chat next time perhaps.
Given the chance I'm guessing you'd love to go overseas and play shows in Europe and the States?
Absolutely. That is one hundred percent on the agenda. The minute we get the 'OK' for that, we are there! I just want to get out of Australia. I want to wake up and walk out of my tour bus and just be in Europe. I could die happy. That's it, that's all I need.
ALPHA // SURVIVOR, available worldwide on July 5 via UNFD. Pre-order HERE.
Listen to the latest single "In Your Image" below:
Grab tickets to their upcoming tour dates here: https://am-pm.lnk.to/dtc