By Ashley Troost>University of Maryland
It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m at NYC’s Delancey Lounge sitting across from John Drake, drummer for the up-and-coming electro pop band, The Main Drag. The band, composed of John Drake, Jon Carter, Matt Boch and Dan Cardinal, has gained recognition from the indie music scene when they opened for The Arcade Fire, Hot Chip, The Unicorns and The Young Knives. If that doesn’t impress you, they recently received a spot on the New York Post’s “Six promising acts to watch in 2010.”
Drake explains he was shocked by the news: “I knew we sent them a record and I assumed they didn’t listen to it. There are big acts and small acts [like us] on that list, and our picture is next to Ke$ha’s. I mean, I know everyone wants to touch our junk as well, but it’s definitely different.”
Besides being self-produced, Drake says their newest album, YOU ARE UNDERWATER, is a lot more electro and pop sounding than the band’s two previous albums. “[In this album] we have cool synth sounds and it’s very yelpy.”
Even though this Boston-based quartet is new on the music radar, these guys have been around for eight years. Three of the now four-person ensemble met the first day of freshman year at Harvard, where they formed a post-punk band called Blanks. As undergrads, the band’s influences were Prince, XTC and the post-punk genre. Now their musical influences have changed to more electro bands such as Architecture in Helsinki, MGMT and Passion Pit. In fact, the guys love dance music so much that lead vocalist Matt Boch created a remix portion of the band’s website where fans can remix parts of The Main Drag’s songs to their own liking. Drake notes, “Our record is creative comments, so why not let our fans [play around] with our music and do their thing?”
The guys of The Main Drag aren’t just musically talented on stage, but also on your television screen: Their song “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” is featured in the hit video game Rock Band 2. If that’s not cool enough, the band actually works for Harmonix Music, the company that created Rock Band. Drake, who is the head of PR, is involved with special projects and band interviews. He pulls out his iPhone and shows me his background: a picture of him with Paul McCartney and Ringo Star. Without thinking, I ask if it was photo shopped. “Do you see that crazy face I’m making?” He smiles, “No way, it’s not photo shopped!” Drake, along with Carter, is now working on a project called Rock Band Network, where gamers can buy their favorite songs for only a dollar and play them. “Now my main focus is to convince indie bands to sell their songs.” I guess Drake’s pretty convincing, since Flight of the Concords, The Shins and even Billy Idol have recently uploaded songs onto the network.
Even though the band just released YOU ARE UNDERWATER, Drake says they would like to put out another record before the end of the summer. When asked which bands he would love to tour with, Drake chooses camaraderie over admiration. “I’d rather tour with a band I’m friends with rather than a band I admire,” he says, pausing, and then adds, “But I do think touring with The Flaming Lips would be f–king insane.”