Interview – Drones

Drones are an up and coming British punk band with a fantastic sound to their music. They will be releasing their second album, Our Hell Is Right Here, in February, so we thought it was time to have a chat with Lois McDougall to see how things are going for the band!

By Jane Howkins

You have a new album coming out titled Our Hell Is Right Here. What can you tell us about that? What is the title a reference to?

We sure do. There’s a variety of songs on this record about a load of different subjects including alcohol abuse, climate change, break-ups, body positivity… so lyrically it’s quite diverse. Musically it still has that Drones kick but it’s definitely more refined than anything we’ve released before.

How different was it from making your last album Exiled? Has the writing and recording process changed much for you?

It was actually pretty similar to the last time but this time around we spent a lot of time focusing on the mixes and smoothing out smaller imperfections in the recording process. We recorded both albums with our guitarist Tim who has a studio called Signal House Studios in St Albans. The writing process was fairly similar for both. For some songs we’d create fully structured instrumental demos and I would add vocals to those and with others they were more pieced together via phone recordings and sending parts back and forth via messages. 

The album features Ren Aldridge of the Petrol Girls on the title track.  How did that collaboration come about, were you already fans of their music?

We’ve played live with Petrol Girls before and they are an incredible band. We admire their attitude, especially when it comes to activism. Ren is a friend of ours and felt like a natural fit for Our Hell Is Right Here. We were looking for a powerful voice and you sure get that with Ren.

What sort of music have you been listening to recently, and what would you say has influenced the band the most?

Personally I’ve been listening to Arlo Parks, Girl in Red and our new label mates Prey Drive. But when we all come together in the van, the usual go-tos are bands like Dinosaur Pile-Up, Rise Against, Stray From The Path, Anti-Flag, Marmozets, Bring Me The Horizon, The Bronx.

You’re based in London. What is the punk scene like down there? Any bands you can recommend we check out?

Well pre-Covid it was thriving! Fingers crossed some of our favourite venues survive this rubbish time and we can return to see some awesome artists like Delaire The Liar, Bob Vylan, Burnt Tapes again!

How did the pandemic affect the workings of the band?

Well we haven’t all been together since March 2020!… so it’s been interesting trying get an album wrapped up and out into the world like this. It’s been challenging at times but we haven’t let it affect our dedication to making the record that we wanted. We miss live shows so much though and desperately want to get back to it as soon as possible.

Do you have any gigs lined up for the near future?

We do… and we don’t… it’s hard at the moment. Like most bands, we’re doing what we can to line things up for when things get loud again and when we can be more certain that shows will go ahead, you’re definitely gonna hear about it!

What can fans expect from a Drones gig, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

Come and find out…

Any last words for the fans?

We know things are pretty rough at the moment but we’re here if anyone wants to talk. Drop us a message. AND we hope you’ve sorted your pre-order of Our Hell Is Right Here so that we can all hug our copies together on 12th Feb.