Drones Club is a new band started by three Londoners: Rory Cottam, Charlie Dobney and Louis Morlet. They say it’s more than just the name of a band, but also of an art project- they even have an ‘introductory video’. They believe that people have become alienated and numbed by modern structures of control, and people have become robotic drones ‘observing without participation’. Considering the name of their introductory video ‘We Can Help’ and that they have called themselves a solution to ‘the 21st century problem’, they think they improve the situation. There’s something strangely intriguing about Drones Club’s frequent use of what is almost poetic language.
Drones Club introductory video ‘We Can Help’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7HH1Q1slaQ
The press release on the band’s website states that they ‘demand reconnection to the physical universe’ and will settle for ‘nothing less than total upheaval of the musical and artistic landscape’. So how does all this philosophy fit into their music? Drones Club say their music is all about rawness and vitality.
They have recently released 4 post-pop style tracks titled ‘It Rolls On’, ‘Notion’, ‘Cabin Pressure’ and ‘Sphinx’. Robotic vocals from all three members of Drones Club are at times more like chanting than singing. Hypnotised repetition, that when layered up with their music, manages to sound somewhat disco-esque. Their music ranges from 70s funk to 80s electro and not just the vocals, but their overall sound makes you think Kraftwerk and Pet Shop Boys- but modernised.
Deep, echoing analogue bass underpins their music and allows shimmering synths that wouldn’t be out of place on a Swim Deep song and funky riffs which are, in their own words, Nile Rodgers-meets-Krautrock. The electronics from Rory are mesmerising and capture the element of each song in a different way. Lyrics are a mixture of natural imagery and deep messages that really tie into the whole idea of the band slash project that is Drones Club.
It’s a hard to highlight a stand-out track because they’re all so different yet so similar. They’re all brilliant anyway. The 10 minute track Sphinx layers together melancholic chant-like vocals over a looped electronic drum beat which sounds almost like a heartbeat and chimes which make you think of the Far East. It’s the sound of Asia favoured by Swedish rapper Yung Lean and Canadian dance artist Grimes. On the other hand, Notion is more stripped down. It’s more of an indie pop song. It incorporates more catchy melodic vocals with shimmering poppy synths.
Speaking to guitarist and vocalist Charlie this week, he told me that they started Drones Club because they saw a flaw in the system and they wanted to show people that their is ‘another way’. When I asked what the future holds for Drones Club, he replied that they want to be wildly popular because they think the best way to change things is to permeate culture. “We want to reconnect people with the brave world” he said. Moving on to live shows, Charlie tells me they see their shows as a ‘spiritual awakening’ and that word again, a ‘reconnection’. “Everyone on stage plays a symbolic and ceremonial role”.
Drones Club’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/drones_club/sets