The War on Drugs to invade ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to music, Adam Granduciel is like a mad scientist, obsessively concocting sounds, snagging samples and mixing and layering it all to create sonic wonders in his home studio in Philadelphia.
The frontman for The War on Drugs worked four years on “Slave Ambient,” which was released on Secretly Canadian in August.
“I was just spending a lot of time in my little studio experimenting with different techniques and accumulating a library of sounds and ideas,” the guitarist said. “I was doing a lot of sampling of my own recordings and experiments, just trying to come up with sounds that couldn’t be recreated anywhere else.
“But the songs kind of poke through sometimes then you have a little a-ha moment.”
The singer-songwriter is all about the creative process — and improvisation. He leaves songs unfinished until it’s time to record.
“I was working on the songs for so long, I would always have these little lines in my head as I’m listening to it back in my house — I love listening to rough mixes while I’m cleaning the kitchen or something, I just always come up with these little lines in my head or when I sit down at the mic to do it, these little gems just fly out sometimes.
“And I think that’s the stuff I can’t really sit down and write in a moment; it doesn’t come to me the same way as it does when I’m closing my eyes with the headphones on listening to the music,” Granduciel said during a phone interview from his Philly home.
“Slave Ambient” washes over listeners.
“I just wanted [the disc] to be something that whenever I listened to all the songs, I got something out of it; it made me feel something,” Granduciel said.
Critics say The War on Drugs channels Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.
Granduciel described the quartet’s sound: “It’s a fairly enjoyable modern take on classic rock radio or classic American songwriters or classic rock in general. I think in a way it could be considered easy listening, depending on the song.”
Granduciel said the band’s name gets mixed reviews.
“It’s an easy name to love or hate or make a joke out of,” he said. “There’s something to it, the way it sounds — the music could be anything.”
But there was that one time the group was pulled over while driving early in the morning in the middle of nowhere in Texas.
“[The policeman] was like, ‘What’s the name of the band?’ And I said, ‘The War on Drugs.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to assume here that you’re against drugs.’ And you could tell he was getting ready, not for a fight, but he was getting ready,” Granduciel recalled. “Then he asked what we sounded like, and I said we sound like Tom Petty. And he said, ‘Oh, I love Tom Petty; you guys go.’”
The War on Drugs — Granduciel, bassist Dave Hartley, drummer Steven Urgo, and keyboardist and guitarist Robbie Bennett — will come to Mickey Finn’s Pub, 602 Lagrange St., for an 8 p.m. show Dec. 8. Still Corners and Arc in Round will open. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.