Our Two Year Anniversary Show Interview AND Video Premiere: Drop Electric
Drop Electric has had a whirlwind last few months. Immediately following the release of its label debut on Lefse Records, Waking Up to the Fire, the band saw a barrage of national attention. Drummer Ramtin Arablouei took a break from the band’s preparations for DCMD’s 9:30 Club show this Saturday to talk to me about the reception of the new record and DE’s plans for 2014.
But before we get into the interview, Arablouei also presents Drop Electric’s latest music video for “Lucille”, from the band’s latest album. The video is one of the most compelling works that the group has released thus far. Watch it below:
DCMD’s Two Year Anniversary Show with Raise Your City is January 25 at 930 Club. Get your tickets here. Drop Electric, Young Rapids, The Seal Life, the Raised By Wolves, and DJ’s Ryan Ulbrich and Van O are performing, alongside live art and comedy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Girls Rock! DC.
DCMD: What has the reception for the new record been like? It seems like people outside of D.C. are starting to sit up and take notice of you guys? Do you get that sense?
RA: Reception for the album has been great! Probably not everything we wanted- like we aren’t quitting our jobs yet- but we can’t complain. We’ve gotten positive reviews from a bunch of national and international blogs and other outlets like Consequence of Sound, Under the Radar and The 405. Our music is now being played between segments on NPR shows, the album was premiered by Pandora, and one of our videos is on MTVU.
We always considered this to be a super experimental album for us. Anyone who chooses to write positively about an album with a track that is one minute of droning noise is going out on a limb, and we feel fortunate to have gotten any positive response.
We definitely get the sense that people outside of D.C. are paying attention to us. Before getting on Lefse Records and releasing this album, most of the major outlets would have just ignored us. Now, some of them reach out to us wanting to premiere our new material, so that’s been really amazing to see.
D.C. has been more of a mixed bag. We’ve gotten more positive press nationally than locally, save a few exceptions (DCMD for one!). I’m not really sure of the reason for this, but it’s been a little surprising and frustrating, given our fans in D.C. are as supportive as ever.
DCMD: With the band’s rising profile, how do you feel you’re being perceived by new fans and/or media that haven’t been exposed to you before? What do you think of how you’re being portrayed?
RA: This has been one of the strangest parts of doing a label release. Because we released an electronic album on a label with a lot of great electronic artists, I think we are perceived as an electronic band. Then people come to our shows and are probably really surprised by how guitar heavy and loud we are. We’ve also for the first time been called a “pop band” (!) or the especially outrageous label “post pop.”
A lot of the media seem to be intrigued by the ethnic makeup of the band. We definitely look different than most indie bands, but it’s not really something we carry around. Most of our friends are as diverse as the band, and we live in Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the most diverse places in the world, so it is just a reminder of how not diverse the industry is.
Many of the people who interviewed us for this release seemed to be surprised by how laid back and silly we are as people. We take our music seriously but certainly not ourselves. I think many people think, probably because of our song titles and lyrics, that we are super contemplative people, and we really aren’t. We are actually quite insane.
DCMD: It’s not long after the year just got started, so I have to ask: what are you guys up to in 2014? Will you be touring behind the new record? Making any new music?
RA: First, we are recovering from the insanity that was releasing the last album. Finding a national label and releasing a record has always been our dream, but I don’t think any of us realized how much work and pressure is involved. We are all still mentally recovering.
Touring is really expensive and the offers we’ve received to tour have never quite made financial sense, given that we all still work regular jobs. Some bands have the luxury to tour through family support, or they’ll raise funds online, but that just seems a little silly given the current economic climate. We’d certainly love to play other cities that people have been asking us to come to, but for early 2014 we are going to play mostly in D.C., Baltimore, and NYC where we can actually fill places up.
We are also excited to be working on our next record. We feel like it is our best material to date and is a return to our heavier, guitar driven sound. We are all very excited about it! We hope to release it in 2014.
DCMD: Do you all have any thoughts on the show on the 25th? How are you preparing? What can fans expect?
RA: We are very excited for the show! Obviously 9:30 Club is a special venue in D.C., so we are itching to get on stage.
We will be playing a few songs off of Waking Up to the Fire, and a few that will be on the next album. We always like to play new stuff live to keep things fun and fresh.
We’ll have a new, revamped visual show. It is going to be amazing to see it up on the big screen at 9:30 Club. We played the Fillmore earlier this year, and it was incredible to see the visuals and lights come alive.
We now have a lightning engineer, Jesse White, who runs our lights so that’ll also bring another element that we didn’t have before.
People can expect a loud, weird set from us.
DCMD: What have your past experiences playing 9:30 Club been like?
RA: This will be the third time we’ve played 9:30 Club. The first time it was with eight other D.C. bands as a part of a tech conference opening night. The night was a blur.
The second time we opened for Papadosio from Asheville. It was a sold out show, so it was amazing playing in front of a thousand people. The venue is first class in every way. They treat the bands with respect and the staff is super friendly. We can’t wait to do it again!