By: Chris Pizzolo
Drug Cabin released their debut album Yard Work this week via 401 Music. The band, comprised of onetime Ambulance LTD frontman Marcus Congleton and former Pretty Girls Make Graves guitarist Nathan Thelen, make some pretty special music. Their sound is warm and welcoming, yet contains all of the melodic undertones that you might find on a visceral punk album. We were fortunate enough to talk to the Los Angeles based duo, Nathan and Marcus, about their experiences working on this release.
Play Too Much: We were recently sent your music and I’ve gotta say – it’s really lovely. I love the sonic pallet you’ve created on this album. It is full of retro charm, while maintaining contemporary grit and perspective. I’m curious about how you started this album? Can you talk a little bit about the process of how it started, and how the song writing developed over time?
Nathan Thelen: Thanks for saying so. We have been writing songs for these records for the past few years but they really shaped up to their current arrangement in the months leading up to recording them. The overall sound of the record comes from an effort to keep things really simple, whether it be the playing, arrangements or equipment used. You don’t hear many flourishes or effects on Yard Work. We wanted it to sound like us playing the songs live in a nice room on a good day, and that is pretty much what happened. As far as song writing, there isn’t really a formula or method we have adhered to. We do go back and forth between writing songs together and accompanying each other’s individually written songs. That keeps the energy fresh and allows for different approaches.
PTM: The song “Noche” – How did that one in particular come about?
NT: “Noche” is kind of a strange country-ish song with a drone-like rhythm and a gentlemanly sounding guitar/pedal steel solo. I believe its the only “solo” on the record.
PTM: Right on! In the song “Jesus”, you’ve seemed to channel Phil Collin’s “That’s All” and some Bootsy Collins slap funk. I enjoy the chord changes on the chorus, they almost remind of something the Chili Peppers would do.
Marcus Congleton: I wrote “Jesus” a few years ago in NYC, on garage band. It wasn’t meant to be serious, just fun and funny. When Drug Cabin tried playing it, it was too funny not to do. The Phil Colin’s melody is in lots of songs, Bob Marly ‘Brother your Right’, others. Brandon Owens played the slap bass as a joke, and it stuck.
PTM: That’s great! It seems like you guys have a communal sense of humor. Does that play into the name at all?
NT: I came up with the name Drug Cabin for the first recording I did and it turned into the band name as time went on. It is just an abstraction, not a band manifesto or anything but it does make for a fairly interesting google search.
PTM: What were you listening to around the time you started making this album?
NT: We were listening to a lot of reggae. Studio one classics. I really love the production and musicianship and everything else on those records.
PTM: Yeah those albums have such tremendous musicianship. That brings me to my next question. Who else is playing on this album?
NT: Brandon Eugene Owens and Sheridan Riley were the rhythm section for both records. Franky Palmer plays the pedal steel on the songs. Marcus and I played guitars and harmonize most of the singing.
PTM: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
NT: Thank You. Our records Yard Work and Wiggle Room are coming out soon in reputable stores here and there and internets everywhere.