When Chordblossom came into existence, it was always our aim to shine a spotlight on the artists and bands that make up the music scene in Northern Ireland. We’ve been doing it for over ten years now and one of our favourite methods is our Introducing feature.
Put the kettle on, curl up on your sofa and and join us for a quickfire Q&A with some of our favourite new musicians. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover your new favourite artists.
This iteration of Introducing features the musical talents of Drew Makes Noise who just released their latest single ‘This Matter’.
What was the inspiration behind your artist name?
Truth be told Drew Makes Noise was my email address for the longest time. Belfast is chock full of full-time musicians of which I’m one. I think I had an idea of using that name for business along those lines or something, but maybe it was a little kookie for that. After I’d written enough tunes to start releasing and needed a name, this seemed almost second nature to use as I’d already had it as some form of my identity.
It fits the bill for a few reasons. It denotes that this is a solo project. Also the only thing I knew about the project was that I wanted it to be eclectic and to have songs that could go any direction. I found the name to be kind of permissive in that sense. The only genre rules here are that there is noise and I’m making it.
You’ve just released a new single. How did it come about and what does it mean to you?
The track came about as part of my writing sessions for the album. Previously I had just written tracks, but during covid I made the conscious decision that I was gonna make an album. Its genesis was the marimba sound and the little progression it plays. In hindsight, it reminds of the Hans Zimmer track “Your So Cool” on True Romance. It has a really childlike, music box quality and there’s definitely an innocence in the song that’s grappling with real-world stuff.
Lyrically it’s one of the only tracks on the album where I dipped into previously written “lyrics”, as opposed to coming up with stuff on the spot. “What would it matter, if all of this matter is only the paper for your picture.” From blurred memory, I think I’d gone on a kind of rabbit hole quest to try and understand what exactly “matter” is at base level.
In the hopes that maybe if I understood the world more, maybe I could exist in it better. I’m not sure if I got a satisfactory answer there, but somewhere along that journey I think I had a mini epiphany that ultimately – it didn’t “matter” and that the only important thing was what you do with all this “stuff.”
Have you any more releases or studio time lined up for later in the year?
Yes yes yes. Two further singles and an album at the end of May. I’ve been on a mammoth journey of doing videos and other creative stuff in support of this batch of songs and as fun as all that stuff is I’m absolutely aching to get back into my home studio and get back to writing music.
I’ve got a load of overspill from the last writing process which is a little different – more electronic, and a tonne of stuff that’s more stripped back and acoustic guitar inspired and I’m dying to get working on it.
Tell us about your song writing process.
My writing process has been very solitary thus far. I enjoy that. I enjoyed being a contributor in a process with Ed Zealous, and I suppose as a sort of reaction to that I wanted to disappear into my home studio and just get lost in my own imagination with no boundaries other than my own abilities and imagination. There are a few different processes.
Some songs I work up on a guitar and have nearly done before I ever commit them to tape. But more often I’m just hitting record and working and reworking in the moment. Mostly with drum machines and synths. I find it very exciting to be just freeform painting with sounds and loose lyrics. Very right brain almost. And then letting the left brain, order police come in and tidy up the mess.
I think going forward I’d like to open the doors a little. I work with so many great musicians for performance both for Drew Makes Noise and work gigs and I’d like to tap into some of that going forward.
Who were your favourite artists/bands growing up? Have your influences changed over time?
I was a card-carrying grunger in the 90s. Although I’m making slightly more ornate music – I think that mindset really informs what I do. A kind of counterculture ethos maybe. Despite the card-carrying I also loved all kinds of 80s and 90s pop. I took a walk yesterday in the sunshine to the greatest hits of Deacon Blue and had to hold back tears of joy.
My influences broadened somewhat over time but I think I’m normally looking for those 2 kinds of extremes – either, gritty angsty and real, or just kinda flamboyant and joyous.
The 2022 NI Music Prize has just concluded, what’s been your favourite album and single released this year?
Locally – I really love the Ferna track with Joshua Burnside “Morning After”, so playful and beautiful, and I’m looking forward to her album.
Non-locally – I love the new Gaz Coombs record “Turn The Car Around” and dig “Sonny the Strong” as a single.
If you weren’t a musician, what line of work would we find you in?
God only knows. I have a strange fantasy that if it all goes to shit I’ll be a happy postman with a sideline in boutique furniture making.
If you could collaborate with one artist or band from NI, who would it be and why?
Crikey- the list is long. But I’d love to stick a weird vocal and bizarre guitar solo on an Arvo Party Track. I put Arvo Party on and go walking or running. He’s the shizz.
It is intensely difficult to be successful in the music industry. What does NI need to do to invest in/develop to boost your chances?
Gosh thats a hard question. I think there are so many strange idiosyncrasies around putting out music these days that are baked into the big picture. I could go on for days bemoaning how awfully bad I think most forms of social media are for upcoming artists.
It might appear on paper that there are plenty of outlet platforms but they all come with serious parameters that gently (or not so) push artists to behave a certain way or do things to placate algorithms that I find appalling and robs them of some of their spark. But that seems too big to try and fix.
NI itself is pretty good at investing in arts, and we have a wonderful community of musicians and organisations that offer help, of which I’ve benefited greatly. Maybe we could invest a little more in getting musicians to perform outside of NI. There’s a good amount of cash that goes into sending people to Nashville but I feel like it might be money better spent sending more acts to London or Dublin.
What does success look like for you?
Ha – success is such a moving target. In some sense, I feel successful just for getting an album out. This creative stuff so far has all been money-in. If I ever put a meal on the table with money from a song I’ll feel amazing.
Also, I travel the country every week and set up my own gigs from scratch and perform – always saying “Some flippin’ day I’ll have a roadie” – so yea – if I ever have a roadie – I’ll mark that as a win.
You’re going out on tour and can have anything you want on your rider, what would we find on yours?
Findus Crispy Pancakes and Angel Delight.
Where and when can we next catch you live?
My album launch is in the Ulster Sports Club on 24th May 2023. Album is out that day and it’s my birthday. I’d love to see you there. Mine’s a Dark and Stormy.
If you enjoyed this feature and fancy discovering some more new artists, we suggest you jump on over to our archive of Introducing pieces.
If you are a band or musician based in Northern Ireland interested in taking part in our Introducing feature, we recommend submitting new music to us via our Contact page and if we enjoy it, you’ll no doubt hear from us.