Your weekly go-to new music guide brought to you by our London music journo, Peggy as she uncovers the latest ‘bands and artists to watch’ in the post-punk, new wave, jazz and indie communities. This week she discusses BMX's, gigging with Sports Team and hungover recording sessions with dream-pop-trip-hop 3-piece, Drug Store Romeos.
In your hometown of Fleet, Hampshire, how did your three paths originally cross?
Jonny: Me and Charlie met when a friend invited him mountain biking with us. He turned up on a half functioning £30 BMX and spent multiple hours riding and pushing it at the back of the pack. The friendship came later and the music not long after. We met Sarah quite a few years later when we advertised for a bassist on our college message board.
Seemingly rooted in electronic alt-pop with enchanting pixie-esque vocals (the mythical creature not the American rock band), how would you best describe your style and influences?
Sarah: A while ago Charlie came up with the name ’Dream Pop Trip Hop’ to make sense of 'Now You’re Movings' sound when it first came out. We decided that was what we were but our music kept wanting to change and I think we wanted to resist that change. We wanted to be Dream Pop Trip Hop, but by putting ourselves in a box like that we became a little stuck. I call it creative castration, when you’re not letting your music be what it wants to be. I think it’s good to see your sound or style as a world, and there are many places and characters that exist there and all of it is you. I like to think we are still Dream Pop Trip Hop (it’s a great name) but its definition will change as we do. Our musical influences can be very different but also very similar. There are things that we listen to that others of us just hate but I think that’s a really good thing. We can be pretty different in that sense but it just works.
Can you talk us through the themes and production behind your latest single ‘Quotations For Locations’?
Sarah: Quotations is the first song we recorded with Charlie Andrews and technician Matt Glasbey. It’s a song we’ve had for a while, demoing it in Havant with producer, musician and friend Ben Sherman. It was recorded after a heavy night of drinking and Jonny, having the worst hangovers of anyone ever, spent the whole next day of recording, room spinning, in their guest room of their house. This meant there was no chance we were getting drums out of Jonny that day, so we just smashed the freshly written song out in an hour or so, added some electric drums and done! I still love love love the demo but we had to rerecord. So we worked as closely as we could to the demo and Charlie just brought it to life in a wonderfully new hi-fi way. It was truly special working with them both. We were all from the get go hyperaware of how simple the production must be which in turn became pretty complicated. That balance is so tricky to get and after 5 listens you just have no idea anymore. Though we knew we wanted the vocal super dry and the instrumentation to be clean, full but stacked neatly on top of each other. Thankfully Charlie Andrews’ magic musical antennas guided us through the confusion. The song plays with the feeling of self-inflicted solitude. I never know how much to give away.
Any debut EP and/or LP releases on the cards?
There is - we begin the recording of our album in a couple of months!
Often seen performing in and around Hampshire and London, where and when did you first become regulars on the live gig circuit?
I think as soon as we did our first gig at our sixth form we were eager to take any gig opportunity that arose. But the first time we actually got into a good rhythm of playing and receiving shows was after our first couple of London shows. It started after Charlie spent a morning emailing over 20 London music promoters. Only Fluffer records promotions replied. They put us on 3rd as a part of an all dayer in london in a tiny venue under a railway track. 3 people were there but luckily a rising Sports Team putting on their first london headline at the lock tavern saw our name on the fluffer records poster & invited us to support them. After that Sports Team show we never had to send another email asking for a show ever again.
I had the pleasure of watching your live set at the ‘So Young Exhibition Launch’ at The Social in London earlier this year, but which show(s) holds a special place in your memory books?
It could of been at The Finsbury a few years ago when we played with the main singer of a band that played at Aaron Pauls wedding. I remember coming off stage his Noo Yawk city accent telling me I was a rock star. I felt like the cats pyjamas. That aside it was a great show, that's my favourite stage to play in all London. It’s heavy wooden panelling, red curtains and elevated stage are just beautiful. I hope it never changes.
Having shared stages with the likes of HMLTD, The Big Moon and Talk Show, which fellow artists left a lasting impression?
Artists that we’ve shared the stage with that have left a lasting impression would be:Barbudo when we were starting out they were such an inspiring live act. Their songs were cosmic & catchy and their live sound was perfect. They were also really lovely people. They are from the south of England also so we played so many shows / festivals together. They had an amazing home recording setup and we recorded the demo for qfl with Ben last year.Seeing Happyness made me jealous of their encompassing full live sound and inspired me to start writing songs that had that characteristic. I also loved their awkward but endearing stage presence.Finally the Orielles because they are into a lot of the same music as us and they have big audience - very motivating.
Given that the pandemic has hit especially hard on gig venues and music promoters alike, who in particular do you think needs our support throughout the crisis?
Charlie: Venue MOT, the Windmill, the Victoria, the Shacklewell Arms and Moth Club. Also Bird on the Wire who have a donations page up and running. They put on some of the best shows in London so it would be just awful if they didn’t survive this. Hopefully because people have been cooped up so much that when gigs return people will go wild so will probably be buying much more alcohol and attending more shows.
“When not playing in Drug Store Romeos I enjoy long walks on the beach and…”?
Sarah: Finding stones with holes.
Name one song that we cannot leave this Earth without hearing…
Charlie: I think this song would be a nice accompaniment to actually leaving Earth for the last time -'Alex G - Clouds'.
@drugstoreromeosband Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/00yYbmR2BbBLTdUYAtkqbd?si=ZMkunC_oS32W7v5X7M03Ag YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0VR6-z4huo