If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that we have a lot of love for our local Indy scene, Regular readers will also know that one of our absolute favorites is progressive stoner/post-metal trio Drude. Formerly known as Burn the Army, Drude has a new album ready to come out just in time for their appearance at the inaugural Doomed and Stoned Fest the weekend of November 18. Guitarist/vocalist Jordan Smith answered a few questions for us via email ahead of the big fest.
Indy Metal Shows: First off, I want to ask about the name change. What prompted it? Given that you’ve released music as Burn The Army, was there any concern that the band might lose momentum as a result of the name change?
Jordan Smith: We had talked about changing the band name for quite some time. We all agreed that the old name just didn’t quite seem to fit the tunes we were writing for this new record. We figured that any “loss of momentum” wouldn’t really matter in the long run. After all, our contact list was still relatively small at the time of the change. We still have the same rapport with the same people who have helped us out. The first song we wrote after the first record was titled “Drude” and we felt like that was the point at which we finally realized our sound. There were no conscious changes of format or songwriting style, just natural evolution as we aged and became more comfortable as a unit. I guess it just needed to be the right time. We wrote this new record, took a step back from the music, and all came to the unanimous decision that Drude simply felt more fitting.
IMS: How’s work coming on the new record? Do you still expect to have it ready to drop around the time of D&S Fest? How would you compare it to The Tide to Sink The Summit?
JS: We actually just got the masters back and it is ready to hit the press! We are doing a “soft release” of the new album at Doomed and Stoned Fest. We will have it available on CD and will be taking pre-orders for a special edition of the LP, which will be coming out in March of 2017. We will also have it streaming on several major platforms in the months leading up to the LP release. This album is self-titled with respect to the name change. It was tracked, recorded, and mixed with our good friend, Wes Heaton at the Pop Machine in Indianapolis and mastered by Brad Boatright at AudioSeige in Portland, OR. We are very anxious to release this new record, but the diligence it deserved took more time than originally projected. We would rather take 3 years to put out another record than to rush something simply for the sake of releasing content at this point. As compared to The Tide…, we just feel like it’s the next record. No real departure from our original sound, just the result of 4 more years of improving our craft. You will still hear songs from The Tide To Sink The Summit live for the foreseeable future.
IMS: So all three of you share vocal duties. I’m curious as to how that came about. Was it a case of all of you wanting sing? None of you really wanting to do it? I can think of some bands that have two vocalists – Neurosis immediately comes to mind – but very few with three.
JS: You nailed it! We all just wanted to do vocals. That’s really all there is to it. We like the idea of splitting vocal duties. Our dynamic as a band keeps a pretty even keel, so it’s only natural that we all pitch in ideas when we have them.
IMS:. I’m curious about your songwriting process. You seem to rely a lot on interlocking sections and shifting dynamics instead of the more traditional verse-chorus-verse song structures. Do you all write separately and bring things in more or less complete? Do you jam things out in the rehearsal room? A combination of the two?
JS: Our songwriting process has pretty much been the same the whole time. I generally write all the riffs and the dudes work their magic to expound upon my bare-bones ideas. Despite being the primary writer, I often feel like I am the least talented person in the band, haha. Usually I bring the riff, Corey writes a bass line to it, and Dyllen will usually decide on the overall groove of the piece. On top of this, about half of our parts are conceived “off the cuff” while jamming and then refined. We have never written a complete song at once. Usually our songs are a months long process of trial and error. Riffs and parts are always being swapped out and moved around until we all feel it is just right. For lack of a better description we just patch riffs together until we feel like it’s done. We pay particularly close attention to the transitions and making sure everything ebbs and flows as a cohesive song.
IMS: One of my favorite things about Drude is your live sound. I noticed that you and Corey both use Emperor cabs. Can you talk us through the rest of your live setups? What do your pedalboards look like? I’m particularly curious about what sampler pedal you use to do your live loops.
JS: We are both huge fans of the Emperor stuff and typically grab it up whenever we are able. As of about two years ago, we both are using Verellen amplifiers as well. Seriously the most well-made and best sounding amps we’ve ever owned. Anybody who is serious about tone should check them out. I currently play the 100-watt Verellen Skyhammer and Corey plays a 400-watt Verellen Meatsmoke. The loops are done with a Line 6 DL4. Other than that, for guitar I use an Earthquaker Devices Ghost Echo, Black Arts Toneworks Quantum Mystic Overdrive, and a Boss DD-3. My pedalboard has been the exact same for the past two years or so. I like to keep things simple and I feel like I’ve found “the” pedals I was looking for. Corey’s Verellen generally handles the bulk of his sound. Thing is a beast. For certain sections he incorporates an Aguilar compressor pedal to really pull that grind out of his high-gain tone. He recently has incorporated a Microtubes B7K Analog Bass Preamp pedal for an added tone option. He tends to be all over the place with his bass tone and contributes a large portion of the dynamics of our overall sound. Dyllen is equally particular about his drum sound. The dude is more serious about the drums than anyone I have ever known and it definitely shows in his playing. He likes Tama stuff. His current setup is a birch/bubinga Tama Starclassic, Dream Energy Crash and hi-hats, and a Meinl Mike Johnston signature ride.
IMS: You guys have been part of the Indy scene for a while now, both with Drude and other bands. How do you think it’s changed, for the better or otherwise, over the last few years?
JS: The local Indianapolis music has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 6 years. There are a lot of amazing bands and new venues popping up all over the place. The 5th Quarter Lounge has been our home venue for years and they have been getting some truly killer shows in the past few years. Mona really works hard to bring some real heavy hitters into town. The revamp of Fountain Square over the last few years has really brought out some amazing talent as well. There has been a noticeable increase in national acts coming through as well as small venue shows giving new bands a chance to cut their teeth. RJ Wall and Dahlia Presents have been doing some killer shows here lately as well. It’s nice to see some heavier local acts starting to play venues like the Vogue. We are stoked to see that Indianapolis is becoming more of a place for great music to thrive. We’ve had so many great artists and bands come out of Indianapolis since the city’s inauguration, but lately the sense of community seems stronger than ever.
Drude’s next show will be at the Doomed and Stoned Festival at the 5th Quarter Lounge on November 18th. Buy tickets here!