Drummer/composer Dan Drohan lends his percussion talents to many, such as psych rock outfit Olden Folk, Maggie Rogers’ Blood Ballet (an album on which he also served as co-producer), and future pop project Dreamaway. But on his own he makes experimental beat-based music that sounds like Madlib, Battles, Animal Collective, and a touch of Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips. Ghostly vocals(reminiscent of Panda Bear) coalesce with distorted breakbeats and wonky electronics, giving you the feeling of coming across some alien radio station late at night.
With Drohan’s upcoming album, You’re a Crusher/drocan!, Dan goes all in with the experimentation and expert rhythm making. There’s a manic energy that permeates the record, and lead single “Strength” is the perfect proto-track to introduce you to the sonic world you’re stepping into. What’s it sound like? It’s a hip hop-inflected beat lathered in layers of garage rock grime with touches of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch. The aged quality of the sound gives it a Madlib-esque vibe, but this is very much a Dan Drohan production.
Here’s more about the project:
The first half of this project—You’re a Crusher—was put together slowly over the course of two years while Drohan was still living in Brooklyn with his family. He moved to New York in 2011 after several years studying at the Berklee School of Music and playing gigs around Boston. One of the projects he took on after his relocation was élan, a quartet with guitarists Bobbie Johnson and Derek Smith, and vocalist Élan Orr. With their help, he developed the YAC material, recording demos with the group that he would then tweak and manipulate on his laptop while in the van or on airplanes during his touring gigs or quietly in his kitchen in the mornings while his son slept.
And here’s what Dan had to say about “Strength” and the second half of this project, ‘drocan!’:
“Strength” is an experience more than anything else. Like most work of mine, it’s a combination of certain drum recordings and experiments with recording and other sounds, guitars, vocals, synths that were from all different time periods and combined… This one was made over the course of 2019 but then really found its form after Mike Cantor of drocan felt it had to be released. So I used his energy in the room. It turned into an anthem for us and we kept trying to pinpoint what music it reminded us of. It ultimately is a great example of what a lot of this music is, which is that it completes some sort of void that we can find fragments in with other artists music but haven’t felt them together before in one song. The lyrics to this song will come out later after people absorb it for what they think it means to them 🙂
This album documents the very first time Mike Cantor and I ever have been in a friendship or a musical partnership. He had known my wife’s family since they were in high school. After moving from Brooklyn to Massachusetts, I had a period where I wasn’t making nearly as much music with other people than before. It was an interesting transition in my life and serendipitously Mike and I linked up. His taste in music is so crazy and he’s a super talented all around musician and technician. One of the first times he came over to my studio, I was a nut, going on about all this material I had been making on my computer and I didn’t know yet what to do with it all. I had sourced so much of it, creating this language but couldn’t yet write stories with it. It was all from these sessions I call TOTAL TOKYO. Mike came into the room just being like, “been there dude..haha.” He got me out of my head at the right moment and into feeling empowered, not confused. We started just showing each other stuff and things we made, like “Through the Night” or “Strength”. He got all the things is was trying to convey and he was about it. We ended up committing to making an album within a month and completed “drocan!” In a whirlwind. It was so much fun and we distilled so many things we like in all kinds of music we both listen to or want to make.
You’re a Crusher/drocan! will be released on June 26th, 2020. You can preorder it here. And check out “Strength” below.