Q&A: The War on Drugs


(Photo courtesy of Secretly Canadian).
(Photo courtesy of Secretly Canadian).

Adding to the list of bands with socially relevant names that lack actual political advocacy (Anthrax, Beirut, etc.), The War On Drugs makes fairly listenable music that has the potential to be pretty revalent in its own time, and potentially beyond it. Their self proclaimed, “spaced out, psychedelic,” music is very much within the lo-fi movement, but has a little something in it that prevents it from becoming trite. The band started when Adam Granduciel and his friend Julian were having "a wine and typewriter night" in Oakland, CA. Ganduciel offered up answers to some of questions regarding The War On Drugs.

The Daily Texan: How do you think Philadelphia shaped your identity as musicians? Although it is definitely an important city musically, it doesn't seem to be as central to the indie music scene as New York or LA is.

Adam Ganduciel: There's a lot of great bands coming out of Philadelphia right now. Lots of bands that are touring constantly and people who are really digging their heels into the turf. Kurt Vile, Bleeding In Rainbow, are dominating it. There are all these bands from Philly. I can name a few bands from New York, The Who, but I don't even know if they're still touring. I can't think of any other of any other bands from New York really. Maybe The Stones. The Stones out of Toronto.

DT: You were really influenced by the mistakes on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde. Do you take steps in your music to make sure that small flaws or anything make their way onto your records?

Ganduciel: I guess, so I don't know. You just go with the moment. If it's appealing and it works in the moment then I go with it. That's kind of the most important thing in recording. To make sure everything feels good. It's not a matter of it being perfect. It's just those moments that happen without you planning them or writing them or whatever.

DT: You guys run into a serious problem when people Google your name. War On Drugs yields a lot of results that aren't really relevant to your band. Did you think about that at all when you were coming up with the name?

Ganduciel: Nah, I just thought it was a good name. Two nights ago some guy who actually works in Columbia on the War On Drugs. He came up to me and was like, "Dude, I'd love to meet up and talk." I was just like, "I have no idea what the hell you're talking about." Just because a band is called the Grizzly Bears doesn't mean like... you know what I mean? It's kind of a shitty analogy, but you get the point. I don't know how he could have sat through our spaced out psychedelic set, and then thought that for some reason we were gonna fly to Bogota with him.