Jumping In With New York City’s Drowners

22_Drowners_1Photographed by Dan McMahon. Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
For a band without an album, Drowners are doing pretty well. The four-piece met while partying in Manhattan and soon realized they had the same taste in music as well as booze. With leather jackets and black jeans, the members exude a sense of Lower East Side cool, but lead singer Matthew Hitt is actually a Welsh transplant. Before joining the band, he worked as a model (he was discovered by a talent scout in Times Square), but has since committed fully to the life of a burgeoning rockstar. We caught up with the band in a Tribeca bar where the members scarfed down sandwiches and pints, as we talked about the band's upcoming debut, its recent tour with Arctic Monkeys, and getting a record deal.
Drinking Buddies
Matthew Hitt: "I moved to New York two years ago and met all these boys through boozing with them, basically. We found out that we all played instruments. We all have a common interest in rock 'n roll music and then could go off on our other tangents."
Erik Snyder: "Everybody had a lot of common ground."
Jack Ridley: "Our friend/photographer/tour manager introduced me to Matt. Matt had known Erik, and I knew Lakis. It was his idea to play. But, yeah, pretty much he'd just come to my bar, Welcome to the Johnsons, all the time. We had a practice place next door."
Arctic Monkeys
Hitt: "We got announced after all the gigs had already sold out, so we didn't know if people would care that we were there. But, when we got to the gigs, I guess we have a crossover fan base, because people were wearing our T-shirts and singing along. I think it was a good pairing in the end, and we had a lot fun."
Ridley: "Every venue was different, but all of them were fun. And, it was more fun from one to the next — Toronto was really fun. It was a really crammed place, and I crowd-surfed three or four times. I hadn't done that in a while, and it felt really good."
Hitt: "Our tour manager, Pete, was the guy who introduced me, and Marcel, our merch guy, was a friend of ours. The tour was just a traveling version of what we do anyway. We were all mates."
22_Drowners_2Photographed by Dan McMahon. Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Hitt: "We recorded some demos about two months after we started playing together, and then about nine months later, [the label] Frenchkiss came to see us play a few gigs. We had a few meetings with them, and we liked them. Syd Butler, the owner, was in [Les Savy Fav] and sort of got it more than other people we had met, who seemed a little more industry-leaning. We signed with them almost a year after we sent them our demos."
Dropping the "The"
Hitt: "There was another band called 'The Drowners' from Sweden in the '90s. We had a gig, and the promoter needed a name for the poster. Without googling it, I just said it. Later when I did have the Internet, I found out [about 'The Drowners']. I prefer it without it though. It's snappier. It takes less time to write it down with a pen."
The Future
Hitt: "We play some CMJ shows and then we have a single out in October. We're going to do a couple videos before Christmas, and then the album will come out in January. It's finished now. We did it in about about three weeks in May and June. We've pretty much been playing the whole record on tour. All of the songs existed in a gig setting before we recorded them. It was pretty easy to transfer them to a live setting."
Lakis Pavlou: "They keep changing live. Morphing and creating a life of their own."
Ridley: "Is that that Barclays' Drowners/Stones show, happening still?" [laughs]

All clothing by Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, available at Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren.On Lakis: Black Canvas Field Jacket, $245; Black Slim Fit Denim, $185; Black Jersey Tee Shirt, $29.50; On Jack: Black Denim Jacket, $198; Black Slim Fit Denim; On Matt Black Denim Jacket, $198; Black Jersey Tee Shirt, $29.50; Black Tapered Straight Denim, $125; On Erik: Black Chambray Shirt, $98; Slim-Fit Rigid Selvedge Jean, $185.

Hair and Makeup by Heather Heiman

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