Sydney based alternative rockers DRAW have just released their debut single ‘I’ll Save You’, and are gearing up to take the East Coast by storm with a run of tour dates. Tomatrax caught up with Michael Rappel from the band to talk about their music.
How did the band form?
It was my second year of uni and we were playing “Take On Me” – the Reel Big Fish ska version – for our ensemble class. We were kind of just lumped together in this class but it worked – everyone was hungry to learn and get into the music. We started a band called “Seed No Evil” and would rehearse and write for about 15 hours of the week. We’d sometimes skip classes and just jam. We played a couple of gigs but the band fell through. Brad and myself were pretty gutted but we pushed on and once we had about 7 songs we asked Aaron, who had played with us in Seed, to join us and add his magic. We went through a ton of drummer auditions and we were also still in need of a bassist. Pat eventually answered an ad which made us really push harder to find a drummer. We played with different session drummers so we could keep gigging and that cost started to pile up. Kai eventually auditioned and got in so we just flew into getting a EP done with what we thought were the best songs at that point and here were are.
What inspired you to name your band after the Lotto Jackpot Mega draw?
I was eating a laksa at a Chinese deli in Adelaide, just chatting with a mate about a good band name, and I looked at the Lotto poster next us and just said “Draw”. The more I thought about it, I liked it. It has the simplicity and openness to it which I like about some band names. I wrote a demo album which I gave to everyone I knew for Christmas one year. After Seed fell through, I got drunk with my main man Brad (Keys, Guitar, Sax) and said we should pick up Draw from where I left off and he liked where it was coming from.
What’s it like to have your first release out?
Really great. I feel it is the right time for us. We experimented quite a bit and it took us a while to find a sound that pays tribute to what we love about Rock’n’Roll but also has some elements of things we love outside of that. In the beginning we were going in all sorts of directions musically, some of them quite fun and others quite wack, but we decided to go narrow and deep for a while. I think putting some constraints on what you can do presents more of a creative challenge and we definitely enjoy that process. Also, recording through a great SSL console and having Dave Longo produce us helped us lift our game to a new level. Everyone is really pumped with what we achieved and is looking forward to more of that in the future.
What made you pick I’ll Save You as your debut single?
We really like all the songs we have recorded and it seems each band member’s preference shifts from week to week about what song they really resonate with.
We had a lot of people tell us that it was a great song and when our publicist
echoed that, it helped us make the choice.
Where was the video for I’ll Save You filmed?
It was shot at Button Bar on Foveaux Street, near Central in Sydney. Our friends from Sydney Film School scouted it out and we were really happy with the vibe of the place. The look suits the song.
You also have an EP coming out, how will the rest of the EP compare with I’ll Save You?
They all deviate from that song a bit – all our songs do really. The others show different aspects of what we love about 60s folk rock, 90s grunge/new wave and the Factory scene in New York in the 70s. I’ll Save You is a bit bluesier than some of the others and has just a little less space in it, but it is all tied together with the sounds our producer helped us achieve. He has a great ear for that.
Do you know what the EP will be titled?
It will be the “Wave Rider Blues Ep”, coming from a song on it with the same name. It is a song that really resonates with us.
You are probably not going to hear it on the radio anytime soon – it’s a longer journey but we really learned about what space can do to a song emotionally while recording that.
When is it planned to be released?
Probably late October/early November but we will let you know once we finalise it.
You’ll be touring in October, what can fans expect from your show?
They should expect to hear us play in one of most exciting times of our lives. We have a good palette of songs for people to hear some part of our love letter to Rock’n’Roll. Expect energy and to get laid like all those teen party movies where everyone goes home with someone.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
I personally don’t like to that much. Maybe after a cheeky joint I’ll put it on and think in my best Jeff Spicoli voice, ”Dude, whoa, you did that!” It’s probably the only time I can shut off the inner critic and listen to it like an audience member.
What music do you listen to?
I am always looking for people who influenced the people I started listening to in some attempt to find a sort of musical blood line. I also keep my ear out for really fresh sounds and songs that I wish I had written to give
a new perspective on what I am writing. I started listening to Cambodian rock music from the 60s, just before the Khmer Rouge came in and crushed the scene. It is so great to hear their fresh take on the music they were absorbing from The Beatles, The Stones and The Beach Boys.
What do you plan on doing following the release of your EP?
We will follow that up with a longer east coast tour in early December and then begin the process of getting songs ready for another EP, so hopefully we can be back in studio early in the new year and keep being the band we want to be.
DRAW will be touring the East Coast of Australia in October. Check out their Facebook page to find out more!