You’ve probably heard the stories about the front man of Never Shout Never – let’s just say, you’re about to hear some new ones!
When I answered the phone, Chris Drew immediately apologised to me for “oversleeping”, although I reassured him he wasn’t late. After a couple of minutes of speaking to him all the way from Joplin, Missouri he quickly started feeling like a long lost brother. Despite his rockstar reputation we can confirm that he’s a great guy with a sharp wit. If anybody thinks he’s not on the ball, he gave some of the best answers and most real reactions we have ever had during an interview. (no rehearsed answers here…)
Never Shout Never is the alternative band where legions of girls go completely wild in hopes of buying tickets within mere seconds of their concerts being announced. With a new album Recycled Youth Volume 1 on iTunes now, and their most commercial album ever (his words, not mine) entitled Black Cat due at the end of the Summer, you’re not about to forget about them any time soon. With years of success already behind him at such a young age, Chris Drew has lived life in the fast lane and he has big plans for the future with his sights set firmly on headlining Madison Square Garden in New York.
If you think he’s just another guy in a band you’re about to learn a thing or two ’cause this guy has a rare, honest and true artistry and vision.
Check out the full interview below:
1. You’ve just released Recycled Youth Volume 1. The concept behind it is very interesting, as you’ve re-released older songs in a new arrangement and production. It must be weird to sing the songs you wrote when you were much younger. With today’s maturity and experience in life behind you, do you think some of these have a new meaning?
A lot of songs brought me back in a weird way and made me feel funny feelings [Laughs] – I was trying to recapture the feeling of adolescence, but also adding a new twist to it.
2. The album artwork is amazing, am I right in saying that it mixes your childhood in Missouri together with a futuristic mythological world with the stars and fairys etc?
[Laughs] You can definitely say that! It was actually going to be a merch item, but when I saw it I said that has to be the album cover. I’m really big into the visuals, making music come alive.
3. The sound of this new album is very mature, mixing your commercial side with a more rootsy folk/acoustic feel – (with violins etc) – the production remains modern and slick. What were your inspirations behind the “Sound” of the album?
You know, I think some of the older folk singers like Bob Dylan. I wanted to make it super chill and real pretty.
4. How much do you think that the environment of the studio you’re recording in impacts the final sound of your album? And what are some of your favourite places to record?
I think it really comes down to who you’re working with and the scene you’re in. For this album, we were out in LA working with this guy Eric, but I pretty much did it by myself, that’s the crazy part. It was just a different experience. I like to go back and revisit old places and challenge myself. You know, can I do this? [Laughs]
5. So off the back of this new sound what can we expect from Never Shout Never live in concert from now on?
We just got a new guitar player, his name’s Ian and he’s a super talented dude, so that’s been a new addition. There’s a lot more jamming, we’re gonna jam between songs and also take the old songs and make them new – like this last show we did a song Trouble, we did it totally different. We just try to mix it up ’cause a load of the old songs get boring.
6. What’s your favourite part of touring with different artists?
I think my favourite part about it is learning from each other. I like when people are fun and outgoing, and we stay up all night – that’s what I like to do.
7. If you could play any venue, stadium or arena where would it be and why?
I always wanted to play Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s just always been my goal… and i’m working on that. [Laughs]
I always thought Red Rocks was pretty cool.
Red Rocks would be amazing! I actually went up there once on a road trip to hike with my band and we just jammed ’til sundown and bullshit like that. That place is amazing.
8. The merchandise you guys have goes above and beyond the usual band shirt. The designs are really cool and interesting, how important is fashion in the music world for you? Does fashion influence your style of music?
Thanks man that’s really appreciated. You know, i’m like a very visual person, I like it when it all connects. I think it’s fine without the visuals, but with merch it is just another outlet to be creative. We’ve been working with the Warner art department for like eight years now and spent a long time designing these pieces. It’s not all about the visuals but it definitely helps. The last tour we had some really cool stuff, like lightning bolts shooting out of eyes and lots of crazy shit.
9. You’re from a small town called Joplin in Missouri, it actually borders the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. What advice would you give to a band that isn’t from a big city in America like New York or LA to get their music heard and to become as established as your band?
I’d say just put stuff online and then try to hustle on that. Back then, I used to put stuff on Myspace, but now times have kind of changed. Practice songs that you like, put up YouTube videos and play as many shows as you can.
10. In 2011, Joplin was severely hit by a tornado, you helped United Way to raise over $1.2million for your hometown. How did it feel to be able to raise so much money for such a great cause?
I mean, it was amazing because we didn’t even put that much into it… yeah it was pretty crazy man, I really didn’t expect to raise that much money but I guess it worked out!
11. You’re now known for being Vegan but in the past at the beginning of your career you’ve also led a less healthy lifestyle. How much better do you feel every day with the positive changes you have made to your life?
I feel good man! I mean you know, I was trying to get healthier and sort my shit out. I was kind of in a weird place for a couple of years. Recently I just quit drinking, which is a huge step for me because it’s my ultimate vice. A little partying’s good for the soul though.
12. Your instagram @lovewayrecords gives us a glimpse into the life of a pro musician. There is pics of you on stage, in the studio, touring, on the road etc. What’s your favourite part of sharing photos with fans? Does it help you connect with them?
Yeah totally. A lot of people on social media are so sweet, like I read the comments and just think wow! There seems to be a lot of people out there that dig it, so that’s cool.
13. Have you got any new tattoos lately? IF so what are they?
Dude I stopped getting tattoo’d [Laughs] – I had two face tattoos removed and I have some kisses on my hip that had something to do with my ex girlfriend. I was thinking about getting those removed too, ’cause you know…[Laughs] I was thinking about getting something on my back, I’d like to get a big piece but I don’t know what just yet…
You could get wings or something
Wings? YEAH!! Ok done! That’s funny, I thought about getting a fox with wings!
14. You were recently in Toronto playing a show, did you get the chance to check out anything cool while you were in town?
You know what, it’s actually funny because we were sitting in a cafe in Toronto called Il Gatto Nero? It’s Italian for Black Cat. We’re actually releasing an album towards the end of the summer called Black Cat, which is all new material. So I was sitting there hanging out before the show which was really cool. I didn’t get to see much of the city though unfortunately.
15. What can we look forward to from you and Never Shout Never over the next year?
We’re gonna do the same summer tour (Warped Tour) that everybody does. Also towards the end of the summer/early fall we’re gonna release a new originals album “Black Cat” – it’s the most pop record yet. We’re actually going to try to connect with a more mainstream audience on it which is a first for us. This week I’m gonna work on the album art, it’s gonna be a three eyed black cat with flames shooting out of the third eye, or something like that.
16. Ok so, final question of the interview. What does Paradise mean to you?
[Pauses] I think that, it’s where you can close your eyes… and know that everything is perfect.
Artist: Never Shout Never
Album: Recycled Youth Volume 1
Label: Sire Records/Warner Bros
Buy the album on iTunes
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