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‘DROWND: The ‘Undustrial’ project of Joe Crudgington’

DROWND, the industrial band led by Joe Crudgington, on ‘Sinner’, their upcoming album ‘(an)aesthetic’ and the alternative music scene in LA.

Born in Essex, before living in both Los Angeles and London, DRØWND is the brainchild of Joe Crudgington. With music that delves into the dark side of human emotions, DRØWND’s lyricism and musical style is reminiscent of the 90s industrial scene. Having influences such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Gary Numan, DRØWND’s blend of heavy guitar driven music with an electronic edge is something that made the band coin the term ‘Undustrial.’ Before heading down to Denmark Street for their electrifying Soundwave Session, we spoke to DRØWND about the band’s origins, what fuels the lyricism, and the band’s plans for the future.

DRØWND has been around since 2018, with the band starting as just you alone writing, producing, and recording it all solo – can you describe the process of this?

That’s correct – I basically have a studio set up where I, write, record, produce and mix everything DROWND. I’ll just come up with ideas that can stem from say a weird sample, drum loop, guitar/bass riff (which was the case with ‘Sinner’) or synth patch and build it into a song. I’ve always done everything myself, but it would be nice at some point to write with the guys who are in the live band and maybe even get in a studio with a different producer/mix engineer and see what we can come up with.

You’ve said before that it was Skate and BMX video games that made you first discover industrial and rock music – was that the moment that you knew that music was something you wanted to venture into?

Pretty much – it made me realise how much I loved ‘heavier’ music too, but what really propelled me into doing music myself was because of Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine – the way he plays and the sounds he gets out of his guitar with all those effects just blew my mind. That’s what made me pick up the guitar and everything else just led on from there.

Growing up in Essex, was there much of a music scene there, did the culture of Essex help fuel your music career?

Ah man, in my experience and opinion there was little to no scene – to be interested in any music outside of mainstream radio nonsense was frowned upon to say the least. The best thing about Essex for me was the train out of it and into London.

After living in both Los Angeles and Britain, how has the juxtaposition of these two cultures affected your music career?

LA is mental, but I do love it and the music scene out there as you would expect is fantastic – especially for industrial kinda music. From my experience people seem to be a lot more willing to help each other out and collaborate musically than I found back over here, and I managed to meet some great people over there. That said, London still seems like the epicentre of music and feels like it’s just that little, tiny step ahead with things, though the weather isn’t quite as kind, the cold bleakness can offer inspiration for writing.

DROWND, the industrial band led by Joe Crudgington, on ‘Sinner’, their upcoming album ‘(an)aesthetic’ and the alternative music scene in LA.

At Underground we believe in serving the alternative culture of today, obviously that culture has transformed over the decades, what is personally compelling to you about the alternative scene?

To me, it’s innovating, doing what you want, wearing what you want and not giving a f*ck, that’s what I like about it.

The themes that are explored within the music you create are very dark and very raw, what is the reason for wanting to communicate and explore these topics within your music?

Tough one – probably my inability to express myself in what would be considered a normal sense, so I feel compelled to do it in my music.

Your latest release, ‘Sinner’ is representative of the difference between love and lust, and beauty and darkness, for those who haven’t listened to the song, can you tell us more about the story behind it? 

It’s just a song about excess, animal desire/lust and steadily sort of falling apart, and not knowing how to deal with all of these bizarre feelings and things that you are seeing within the current world as we know it. Although it’s quite a bouncy number with a pop sensibility about it, lyrically it’s pretty dark and depraved.

The compelling music video was created in collaboration with SORTzine, what was it like working with them on the project?

I’ve been a fan of the guys over at SORT for ages and love all their stuff, so to work with them on this project was honestly great. All of our ideas just combined perfectly – they’re really creative and we got on unbelievably well. Everything was professional and ran as smooth as anything. I’d recommend anyone to check out the other projects that they’ve worked on too.

DROWND, the industrial band led by Joe Crudgington, on ‘Sinner’, their upcoming album ‘(an)aesthetic’ and the alternative music scene in LA.

After spending over a year writing, what was it like returning to stage for your shows at Electrowerkz and at the O2 Kentish Town?

Honestly – it was so good – I mean, I write everything with the intention of taking it live, so to be locked down with absolutely no live show prospects for what seemed like a lifetime was tough to deal with and things often seemed somewhat pointless, but I can say that we made up for it with these shows – great to be back and playing cool shows with the rest of the guys in the band.

It is no secret that you are working on an upcoming album titled ‘(An)Aesthetic’, is there anything that you can share with us about this upcoming project and the themes and processes behind it?

Absolutely – the album is written and is just awaiting a few tweaks at the mastering stage then we can set a date for release. The concept behind the album is (again) that of human excess, emotions, feelings of being trapped and to be unsure of the thoughts you think, the things that you see and if they are normal, if you are normal and how repressing them just leads you spiralling down. Real cheerful stuff.

What’s next for DROWND?

More live shows, next single with accompanying video, and also maybe creating some SORT short film which has been on the cards for ages now – I’m just putting the final ideas for it together.

You can watch DROWND’S Soundwave Session here

You can listen to the brand new single ‘FILTH’ here

Artwork for DROWND’s latest single ‘FILTH’

Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.

Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.

Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.

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