It is an honor to be able to do this interview on the occasion of your Spanish tour in viriAOR.
Alicia: You came to Spain in December 1989, opening for Bon Jovi in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian, some lucky we were there, I remember that we hardly knew DRN however we were pleasantly surprised. Do you have any memories of that?
DRN: First let me say thank you for this interview and that myself and all the members of DRN are thrilled to be returning to Spain after all these years! I remember those shows with great fondness, and the amazing cuisine in every city as well! But other than the great honour of opening for the Stones and being greeted with such hospitality and good vibes during the shows, my favourite memory of that tour was visiting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I was deeply moved by the art, passion and vision of Gaudi… and to know that generations after him were continuing the work to finish and realise his vision was simply awe inspiring. It said a lot about the human soul and it’s desire to reach for beauty when honouring any form of higher power.
Alicia: After of almost 25 years decide to return to the music scene, what are the reasons for it?
DRN: I left the music business because it became for me more of an experiment in marketing rather than a reach for melody, intention, and rhythm. When I felt more like a product than a musician i knew it was time to take a break. I had no idea that break would be so long, but when I was asked by a Tibetan Monk to teach him ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen one day while doing our laundry in a stream high up in the Himalayan Mountains in 2003 I was reminded why I loved music in the first place. It was communal thing… it was an art that crossed all boundaries, languages, religions, race, sexual preferences… music is, or certainly should be, a healing, a way to bring balance to the day, to release some tension, to give hope. It was then I knew I wanted to come back to composing music again. In fact the first song I wrote after many years of not being creative was a song called ‘One Your Side’ that I wrote as a thank you letter to the monks for inviting me in to their world and inspiring me to write again. The ‘reason’ for coming back to music, and even with DRN reuniting, is to once again get back to bringing smiles to the faces and souls of those who attend our shows and listen to the music. At least that is the hope.
Alicia:What changes have occurred in the band at this time?
DRN: The keyboardist and background vocalist of DRN ‘Blake Sakamoto’, although instrumental in promoting DRN reforming, had to quit the band for personal reasons and was replaced by ‘Rob Daiker’ in 2015. Rob has co-produced most of my solo albums, created some great music videos for me and performed with my solo band throughout Europe and the US. With Rob’s addition DRN is firing on all cylinders now more than ever as he is a creative powerhouse and a great artist and songwriter in his own right. Blake was never a main composer in the band or creator of the keyboard parts on the DRN albums, but he was an amazing live performer, superb vocalist and the consummate emissary for DRN which I will forever be grateful for. What Rob adds to DRN is another composer and also great live performer who pushes us to reach higher with songwriting, production, and our live shows.
Alicia: His latest album Fight Another Day has been well received by critics and audiences, the truth is that it is a certainly interesting album, and although it still has the label of the band, it seems a more evolved album in both lyrics and sound, moving away from pop and tending to modern rock and electronic sounds. Tell us about this.
DRN: All of us in DRN felt that it was important to not try and recreate our sound from the late 80’s/early 90’s and instead focus on making an album that reflected who we are now in the 2000’s. Less idealism, a more realistic view of the conflicted world we live in, and try to find some light in the midst of a very divided world we currently live in. The Funk is still in there on tracks like ‘Infected’, ‘The Brave’ and ‘Champion’, but we definitely wanted to put out an album that rocked with a view to the future with using electronics a bit more. It was a conscious effort to pay homage to our past while not trying to relive it.
Alicia: You have performed a series of gigs after their meeting in the US, Europe and UK, which is the public of DRN, that historic audience that listened to the band in its beginnings in the eighty or are the new generations who are going to your gigs in this moment?
DRN: It’s quite interesting at our shows because we have both those who were in to DRN back in the day, and often their children and their friends who are now in their teens and 20’s attending the shows, so we are seeing at least two generations at the shows, sometimes evening three! It’s very inspiring, and a great honour, to witness people of all ages grooving at our performances. I remember going to see AC/DC last year in Berlin and seeing 3 to 4 different generations in attendance was mind boggling!
Alicia: In November you will come to Spain again, what we can wait in your shows?
DRN: Our live performances are bombastic expression of funk and rock, but also of letting go of the tensions of the day, a release of conflict, and a celebration of life. We are told that the DRN live shows are some of the most fun experiences due to all of us being good friends, which comes across on stage even more so than on any of our recordings. So expect to dance, be surprised by going off of our set list, and dancing! Unlike many bands our set changes every night 🙂
Alicia: What are the future plans, release new album soon, complete the previous album tour?
DRN: We will be back on tour in November as you know in Spain, but we will also be touring in Portugal, Germany, UK, Sweden, and even possibly Egypt. We will be recording a new single in the UK in December for a possible new album in 2018, and next summer will be playing in Australia and summer festivals in Europe. We are also releasing a new video for the song ‘Infected’ off of ‘Fight Another Day’. So we are definitely keeping busy and excited about creating and releasing new music!
Alicia: Where the inspiration comes from, I know it is a question very asked but a band with a sound so difficult to label, we are curious to know their influences.
DRN: Each member of DRN have very different influences which is why we compose music that is so varied. Some of us have our roots in funk music, others in hard rock, jazz… but we all hunger for music that has ‘soul’ and a strong lyric and melody. We also always imagine what our music will evoke when played live to an audience. So the songs having a strong ‘groove’ of some kind is always most important. We love the bass to thump, we love to rock out hard, but we also like telling stories with the lyrics. In other words we attempt to put out music for the mind and for the body 🙂
Alicia: Finally, a few words for all Spanish readers.
DRN: We are thrilled to be returning to your beautiful country and looking forward to meeting all those who will be able to attend our upcoming shows in Madrid and Barcelona! We have gotten many requests through the years to return and we are honoured to finally make that become a reality. So please help spread the word, bring your friends and come celebrate the future with us come this November!
Thank you very much for your kindness and we will see you in November in Madrid.