I think one of the best bits of writing for With Guitars is when you get a chance to have a chat with some of the bands and having recently reviewed their fantastic EP ‘Monument’ I was really happy to get the chance to have a talk with Paul Johnson (vocals, guitar), Dave Kerridge (bass), and Lee Jenkins (drums) representing all of The Drawing Of Three.
H: How did the band form? Have you been friends for long? Have any of you been in bands before?
PJ: Lee and I have known each other for around 10 years. We were in another band called Red Eye Flyers with our good friend Damien Walsh, but after our last bass player left we downsized to a three-piece and changed direction slightly and I picked up the bass. Bass players had come and gone and we thought we would get some stability just the three of us. Dave joined us mid-2011 after Damien had emigrated, which freed me up to return to guitar which I’m really happy about!
LJ: I have been playing drums since i left school and have been in to many bands to mention them all!
DK: I played in another band for 5 years learning my trade; they split up January 2011 with a band member emigrating. Through a friend I heard about the position in The Drawing of the Three, I listened to their demos and really liked the sound, so applied had an audition and joined. Perfect timing like fate.
H: Where did the band name come from?
PJ: When we became a three-piece we decided on the name The Drawing of the Three, after a Stephen King novel which was on Damien’s bookshelf! It seemed to fit nicely…
H: What were your earliest musical influences and do you think they have changed over the years?
PJ: I’d say my musical taste has mellowed over the years. When i think back to my school days it was bands like Green Day, Rage Against the Machine, Presidents of the USA and Foo Fighters which got played most on my old cassette Walkman! But it was Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins which really influenced me as a developing guitar player and songwriter, and as I learned to sing I looked into the likes of Matt Bellamy, Thom Yorke, and John Lennon amongst others.
LJ: My earliest musical influences are The Clash, Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath but I listen to most different types of music.
DK: My earliest influences were being brought up on Queen when I was a kid. Getting into my teenage years I discovered Britpop and Madchester and embraced bands that are still my favourites like James, The Charlatans, The Stone Roses, The Bluetones, Cast, Dodgy, Space. From then on it was always Indie music that was my main focus and bands like Doves and Kasabian kept it going.
H: ‘Monument’ is a great EP and definitely has that “I want more” quality but what was it like going into the recording studio? How did recording the EP differ from the live recordings? Which was the most fun to do? Are there any plans to make a video for any of the tracks?
PJ: Thanks, we were all really excited to go into the studio and record that EP. It was our first taste of recording with the current line-up, and on a personal level I felt like I could go in there and really express myself. I’ve put a lot of work into my guitar playing over the last couple of years and I think that shows in the recording. We had enough time to add some nice layers, although we could have carried on with Fear of Flying and made that about 20mins long! I’d really like a choir and a string section on there! The live recordings later on in the year were a real bonus, as we didn’t know our set was being recorded at the time. A nice snapshot of where we were at the time, some of those songs are still works in progress. As far as a video goes, that would be nice! I’m just starting to play around with video editing and I think we could get something done pretty cheaply with the proper planning in place. Maybe something to support the new EP, or for the album we plan to record in 2013.
DK: The recording was a great time, we knew that we had some great tunes and probably all had a vision of how it would turn out. The end product we’re really proud of. It’s always enjoyable in the studio building up the tracks and adding in new parts when it feels right. A video would be a good next step and as Paul says he’s been videoing bits and pieces and editing things so fingers crossed we should get something sorted.
H: Very excited about the new EP ‘Explosions In The Sky’ and really looking forward to hearing it next year. Will it be longer than ‘Monument’? Care to give us a hint of what to expect on it?
PJ: The next EP has an acoustic feel to it, it always interests me when my favourite bands put out alternate versions of songs and that’s the route we’ve taken for Explosions in the Sky. Plus we had a couple of tracks which were knocking around which had that chilled out kind of vibe, so it all came together nicely. We had a little more time to record this one so we’ve laid down 5 tracks, including an acoustic version of Fourteen Two, which appears on Monument in a much heavier form. There are a couple of tracks which we have been gigging with, Tears on the Windshield and Tonight we Fly, and brand new songs ‘Explosions in the Sky’ and ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today’. There is a trailer online now which includes a sneak preview of some of the tracks:
DK: Really looking forward to getting this new EP out there. An acoustic EP is very different to the first EP but in a good way that shows a different side to some of our tunes.
H: How did the touring go? Did you enjoy going on the road with The Twang? What were the best and worst bits of being on the road? Any tips for coping with the challenges of going on tour?
PJ: This year we had some real success on the road, which we hope to build on in 2013. Playing with the Twang was amazing, a step up for us really, which led us to headline a show at The Fleece in Bristol, one of our favourite venues on the live circuit. The best part about hitting the road is undoubtedly getting on stage and playing to new people, and seeing their reactions to our songs. It is hard sometimes, as we all have jobs which we have to fit the band around. Hopefully someone will sign us up and we can give up our day jobs!
LJ: I really enjoyed playing at the Guildhall with The Twang, it was cool to have our own dressing room, which you don’t get at the average gig! And the sound was good on stage, probably the best all year.
DK: Playing with the Twang was a really enjoyable experience and probably my favourite gig this year. All year we’ve had some great shows and met loads of new people, had some really great feedback. Feel like live is where we really shine and for me feels like we’ve gelled in this line-up really well now and its showing. The best bits is definitely getting up there and playing songs that we really like and believe in and seeing the audiences enjoy them too! Worst parts is all the set up carrying your own gear and packing up, roadies would be very welcome, that and having to fit it around full time jobs. Like Paul says hopefully that can change!
H: You’ve hinted at a festival spot next year…how much mince pie bribery will it take to get you to reveal any more about it? Any other plans for live shows next year?
PJ: Ah when we can announce full details we will share!!! Make sure you’re on our mailing list or social media links! Besides, I think I’ve already had one or two too many mince pies already! We’re looking into a few dates between February and April in support of the new EP, then we hope to have saved up enough cash to go in and record our first album. I’m in touch with a few festivals at the moment so i imagine our summer will be full of those, plus our former band member Damien is getting married so we’re booked to play that too. No doubt the biggest event of the year for us!
DK: I’ll let Paul tease everyone with the details but I’m really looking forward to the festival season and hope there will be many more to confirm soon. Sure we will be back on the road promoting the EP and playing new material.
H: Speaking of mince pies (tis the season after all) what are you hoping Santa will bring you this year? And have you made it onto his naughty or nice list?
PJ: I’m always good! A new guitar would be nice, I’ve been looking at some resonators but I’d really like something with humbuckers on to give me an alternative to my single coil Telecaster. Although I think realistically a big fat stash of CDs is more likely, fuel my habit!
LJ: I am hoping for a new cymbal and some new sticks because i keep breaking them!
DK: Like to think I’d be on the nice list! If Santa would like to bring us a record contract that would be an awesome present!