Misfits of the Mainstream
CoC interviews California's Drown
by: Adrian Bromley
If Drown lead singer Lauren had any control over things, every corporate whore and reject in this music business would have their throat checked and their head crushed beneath his boots. The music industry hasn't been fair to California act Drown over the past few years and I'm pretty sure Lauren would love to vent some frustration on some unexpecting label hussy.

Instead, despite band turmoil and label jumps, and with true dedication, the band releases to the world their long-awaited sophomore effort _Product of a Two-Faced World_, proving to all that Drown had not gone away -- they just regrouped and organized and a better battle plan.

Singer Lauren starts over the phone from a truck stop somewhere in Nevada: "This record is two years in the making. It was a strained birth if you will, but we are glad just to see it get the light of day. It was a whole mess for us over the last little while [in short: leaving Elektra after their debut disc and onto nonexistent label support from Geffen, which lead them to hook up with Slip Disc Records / Mercury]. It's surprising for us after all the bullshit to have this out and [be] touring the material."

"We have an urge to go back into the studio and work on something new," says Lauren. "This record was a lot of work. We recorded thirty two songs for it and only thirteen made the record. There are several songs we are working with for the new LP, like six or seven new songs, so it shouldn't be that hard to get something going. Writing music is something we don't lag on. My music is a soundtrack for my emotions. It comes out the way I'm feeling. I'm happy to be making music for people to understand and enjoy."

With other members (bassist Sean E. Demott, guitarist Patrick Sprawl and drummer Marco Forcone), Drown is gearing up to face the evolving industry with a fist of fury. No more bullshit. They stand firm and will not be broken like many other bands who litter the wayside of this business. "It's a curse to be still doing this," laughs Lauren. "No, really... growing up, music was the only thing that ever really got me out of bed and going. I dunno, it just moved me and it still does. For me, this is a part of what I am and what I do. It's strange to imagine doing this for as long as we have [the band began in 1989], but it's been a learning experience."

About being in limbo with this record, he says, "It's been an interesting few years with this record and its material. Every time we had something going [i.e., Geffen] the timing or something did not work out. We thought about scrapping this material and putting out an EP, but felt strong with what we had. This whole label thing irritates me. For as much as I am concerned, Geffen has their heads up their ass, as do many other major labels nowadays."

As for signing with SlipDisc, "It was the right choice. They are an independent label and let us do our thing and be in control of how things happen. It's great to be in control and we really are control freaks. We like to know just what the hell is going on with our band. It's great and all how things worked out, I just can't really say how I feel about this industry anymore. It's just a mess."

For those of you not in the know, the music of Drown is a concoction of severe grooves, monstrous guitar riffs and a real knack for delving deep into a truly powerful noise arsenal. Potent, yet in control. "It's hard to really pinpoint where Drown fits in," explains Lauren. "I have been doing this whole thing since 1987 and I have never given in to the trends. A lot of new bands that come out nowadays only have influences that are a few years old. All of the music they are creating is coming from music only a few years old, thus making it fall into the same category as it sounds the exact same. It's scary, but bands nowadays have no real style or ideas going into their music. Influences are great to understand the art of making music, rather than copying it. I can hear the influences of most new bands out there in the first two tracks and that's scary."

He continues: "Take a band like the Deftones, for example. They have been gigging for almost ten years and all of a sudden they are big and all these kids start creating new bands that sound exactly like the Deftones. Why? Why copy something that is already out in the market place? And the sad thing is, labels sign them up because they can. Record labels are brain-dead machines that have no idea about what is going on anymore. Labels are jumping on way too late sometimes, 'cause that wave they have jumped on has already made its way to shore. Labels are just waiting for bands to get popular so they can sign a band, just like that."

More in-depth about label control and aggravation, Lauren comments: "When we were shopping material for our first album, labels were telling me to write a song like Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot" or White Zombie's "More Human Than Human". They wanted to put a tag on what I did. Why would I want to do what those bands are doing when they are already doing it? The way this business is built is pathetic. Most people are idiots and looking for trends to follow. Bands need to be innovative and get out there and do something different. The problem is, labels are afraid to sign bands that are doing something different. They want a sound that's already doing something [sales-wise] out there. They never learn. See what we've had to put up with?" He laughs.

As I end my conversation with Lauren, seeing that the band needs to get to their gig after a short 20 minute break, he says with sincerity: "I hate being in a situation where I can't do things my way. It's been that way for the last little while. Enough of that, I just want to play and make music."

(article submitted 16/1/1999)


ALBUMS
1/16/1999 A Bromley 7 Drown - Product of a Two-Faced World
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