PREY DRIVE (from l-r): Paul Gaul (bass), Steve Larke (guitars), Brad Smith (vocals), Christian Kett (drums)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Prey Drive are a four-piece from Norwich.
Playing a dynamic style of post-rock/alternative, with frequent tempo changes and a heavenly vocal delivery from frontman Brad Smith, the band have been growing in stature throughout 2017, having released a debut EP to rave reviews, as well as embarking on a successful tour of Europe.
However, despite all the praise currently coming their way, the quartet are not resting on their laurels, with a new single, taken from this summer’s offering, just unveiled, and plenty in the pipeline.
The Norfolk outfit told me more about everything when we chatted recently.
How did the band form?
We’ve all played in bands in and around the Norwich area for the past ten years, so we knew each other’s bands.
Back in 2015, Steve had just finished playing with his old band Darwin & the Dinosaur, and was still writing songs, which he then demoed and decided to team up with Brad to get some vocals on them. They’d previously played together in the band Deers.
Then for about two years, nothing happened, until Steve decided to try and get a band together to play these songs in a live capacity. After seeing Christian play live several times and being well aware of his ability, Steve asked him to join.
He suggested his good friend Paul on bass, and after one practice, we’d already worked on two songs and they sounded great, so it came together real quick and just seemed to work right off the bat!
From where did the name Prey Drive originate?
Brad is the most lyrically creative in the band, and had a list of names he suggested we use. There were a few interesting suggestions (Death Breath was one), but Prey Drive was the one that stood out.
Prey Drive is an animal’s instinct to hunt, and as a keen animal lover, Steve liked this the most. He then put it to Paul and Christian, and they liked the name, so it stuck.
It’s quite different to anything else out there, and lends itself very well to the imagery of our first EP cover!
What is the band’s approach to songwriting?
Usually, Steve will have an idea, he will demo it, and then we will work together on structuring parts at our rehearsal space. Brad has written a couple of the newer songs too, and we’ve reworked them as a band, which has been really fun and challenging.
For the new material, we’re writing in a similar way, but also Paul and Steve are meeting up to work through ideas together, which then get brought to practice and put into song structures.
You released your debut EP, ‘Tabula Rasa’, in June, and you have recently brought out one of the tracks from it, ‘More Than Magic’, as a single. How well do you think they have all been received up to now?
We’ve not received any negative feedback or scathing reviews – so that’s definitely a positive!
As one of MANY bands playing rock music on the underground/DIY scene, it’ll always be difficult to be heard – but I hope people are maybe drawn in by our sound and perhaps the video to ‘More Than Magic’ will grab people’s attention. Brad does look lovely as a magician!
We’ve received airplay on a lot of radio stations, most notably, we were on Alex Baker’s Fresh Blood show on Kerrang! Radio for four weeks on the trot. He has also exchanged advice with us via e-mail and is a fan of what we’re doing, which is amazing!
The band went on a European tour earlier this month. How was that?
Europe is amazing for small bands. They don’t seem to care if you’re on a major label or just doing this in your spare time: if they like the music, they’ll help you out.
They treat you with so much respect and we were treated like kings. We were fed twice a day, got paid, played shows to great people, always had a drink in our hand, and sold a lot of merchandise.
People just want to talk to you about your music – in the UK, people seem to want to compete with you, but in Europe, they’re more about celebrating your art.
Steve booked the tour himself, as he’d been out there three times before with Darwin & the Dinosaur. We made great contracts and are already planning on returning next year for more shows.
What are your plans now that the EP has been released and the tour’s been completed?
We’re currently demoing new songs and writing for an album that we’re going to start recording next January. We’ve literally just booked the studio to record drums in, and the rest will be a DIY effort – much like ‘Tabula Rasa’ was.
We’re keen to get involved as much as we can, keep costs down, and have full control of what happens. We’re lucky that Steve can engineer a lot of the music, Christian can do the artwork, and Paul the videos, so that helps a lot.
We hope to release the album next spring, get it pressed to vinyl, and hopefully back it up with some UK shows and another European tour.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
That’s always a difficult question, but we all just want to continue to have fun playing in the band and explore new places whilst doing so!
We definitely want to get back out to Europe again, and Japan would be a dream, but we’re not sure how likely that could be…We hope people continue to enjoy the music we make, keep coming to shows, and buy our merch. Without them, we can’t afford to keep going, so we’re extremely thankful!
We’re all very excited by the album and having our music pressed to vinyl, and anything other than that is a real bonus for us.
FURTHER INFO ON PREY DRIVE CAN BE FOUND BY VISITING THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://preydriveband.bigcartel.com/