Hampshire newcomers Drug Store Romeos are destined for your sound of 2021 playlists.
Firmly established as key players amongst the new music scene, the trio’s intricate and playful sound intoxicates its listener using subtly powerful grooves, hypnotic vocal work and minimalist arrangements designed to play with the senses.
Having been firmly hooked by latest single Quotations For Locations, in which the trio explore the intricacies of life, we spoke to Sarah, Jonny and Charlie about the journey from sixth form to a musical career, allowing themselves to be vulnerable and learning how to tackle the importance of social media in the modern day music industry.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and how long you’ve been making music for?
J: As a band we've been making music for a bit under 4 years. But individually we were all having a go at it long before that. The first notable moment for Sarah being when she would go round neighbours houses and entertain them with her original flute creations. Charlie and I both played our respective instruments in projects before we first played together. But it was in this first band we had together, a punk band, that we each started trying our hand at the mystery that is song writing. Needless to say we quite liked it.
At what point in your life did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
C: For me that point came 5 months into my first year of sixth form. I had chosen media, history and English lit/lang as my subjects. These were all things that I did well in at secondary school and had an interest in. However in sixth form found that these subjects failed to ignite the passion in me that I hoped they would. I felt like I was still in secondary school. This was negative because I had studied really hard for my GCSE’s and the thing that I kept telling myself to get through it was that after my GCSE’s I would never have to learn and study things that I wasn’t interested in ever again. Unfortunately for me sixth form wasn’t a place that inspired curiosity and a drive to deepen my knowledge in my chosen subjects. I was really struggling to maintain an interest in my college work.
There were also a few other things that caused me to detach from sixth form. Firstly it was my growing fixation on songwriting. Every day after college I used to come home and run straight to my room to make songs using the garage band app on my step dads I-pad. It was the first time in my life that I immersed myself in the songwriting mindset and I found I really loved it. A large majority of my thoughts soon became melody / song ideas and I found I could get completely lost in this sonic world I had created for myself. It's so wonderful because you create this combination of sounds that make you feel these rich emotions, and you feel good about yourself for being capable of doing so.
Secondly 2 months into sixth form I had also started going to gigs in London with Jonny and a few people I had met through twitter. This was the first time in my life that I was partying every week & meeting loads of new people/ having constant new experiences. This further detached me from my interest in college work.
Thirdly we had started Drug Store and it felt like a real thing that had promise.
Finally it came to my first round of mock exams and I didn’t do nearly as well as I should have. Jonny’s mum is a careers advisor for a secondary school and she had heard about a new productions and performance course at ACM in Guildford. I applied, got in & then dropped out of sixth. From that moment on I decided that my life was going to be in the music industry.
What is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
S: That’s tricky to be honest - I guess I would say Broadcast, many solo artists from the 60s like Sandie Shaw etc and American girl groups at that time like The Shirelles. Then I listen to a whole lot of italian filmscores, exotica, and many other worlds within music but I suppose the main trend is the music tends to be made before I was born or before mid 2000s. I find so much comfort in the warmth they give me. Though I am sure they influence me, when it comes to that moment writing, I rarely think about it. I am more consciously influenced by words, their connotations and the scenes they create when I put them together. I will either find a documentary or even mockumentary and write down all the words and phrases that excite me or cut out words and phrases from different magazine of contrasting subject matter that make me feel that way and let my eyes dark around them as I improvise to myself. My instruments and their tone also influence me.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through making music?
S: I am a perfectionist to a fault and it is really something I am trying to work on. The art of self belief, for me, I must belief and trust in myself. When I trust myself and I let myself be vulnerable with myself then it feels like I turn on my antennas and a door in me opens. I find you can fake it til you make it when writing and in life.
What is something you wish you’d known when you first got into the music industry?
C: I guess I didn’t know how important social media would be in being in a band in 2020. It wouldn’t have changed my decision to go into the industry but it is something i’m still having to come to terms with a little.
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from the city you live in?
S: There are so many!! Though the people that just come to mind are Vanity Fairy (they aren't from London but play London all the time so I count them) Katy J Pearson, Paradise Dose, Platonica Erotica, Vanishing Twin (some of them live in London last time I heard). I’m sure there many more I’m momentarily missing.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
J: For a dream tour I'm torn. Either work our way down South America reasons being all of the natural beauty, rich culture and banging food or start in Canada and go down through the USA, start with beauty end in chaos. Weed and delicious food on the rider (no seafood sorry).
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
C: I think our music would fit coming of age films. My dream is for one of our songs to be in an edgar wright movie like scott pilgrim vs the world. I can really imagine an instrumental version of the chorus of Frame of Reference fitting a euphoric moment of realisation that results in action from the protagonist. I can also imagine the instrumental of quotations fitting a Wes Anderson film
S: It would have been crazy fun to have been the opening song for some 90’s high school TV show like My So Called Life and then to actually soundtrack the whole thing like ballads for cheesy love scenes and existential bed laying.
J: The US Office.