Speaking down the line from Barcelona, where Drahla open for Metz tonight, Luciel Brown is weighing up the reality of 2017 versus the trio’s initial expectations. “I think we’re all pretty blown away by where we are now,” she muses, before being momentarily distracted by bandmates Rob Riggs and Mikey Ainsley ordering drinks and tapas. Red wine requested, she continues: “We started creating music purely for our own satisfaction – as most people do – so the opportunities we’ve had so far have just been incredible.”
Aside from the aforementioned European dates – incidentally, their first ever tour – the Leeds-based trio cite performing with their heroes Wire at the Brudenell Social Club as a particular highlight of the year. And that’s before you even broach the calibre of their recorded output this past 12 months. November’s self-released EP Third Article and preceding singles ‘Faux Text’ and ‘Fictional Decision’ were all produced by Hookworms’ MJ, and have rapidly cemented Drahla’s reputation as one of the UK’s most promising new bands.
The seeds were first sown for the project back in 2015. Rob and Mike had been in a band together previously, and Luciel and Rob were working on home recordings as a duo, but when the three of them attended a mutual friend’s wedding, they agreed to book a practice space together the following week. In the intervening period, they’ve developed an economical but brutally effective sound, that’s progressively becoming increasingly experimental. Often characterised by serrated guitar feedback, rumbling bass lines, and the deadpan, drawled vocals delivered alternately by Luciel and Rob, their compositions bring to mind a composite of Gang Of Four, Swell Maps and Ought, with the odd nod to No Wave ringleader James Chance. And speaking of Montreal’s finest, Drahla have just been confirmed to open for Ought on their UK tour next year.
There will be plenty more live dates in 2018 too, as well as time dedicated to recording new material. Luciel becomes more guarded when I broach the subject of debut albums and record deals, but there’s a sense that there are some very exciting developments on the horizon. Quite right too: if anyone deserves success it’s Drahla.
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