Even though three-piece U.K. band Superdrone is in its early days, the band has already been played on the BBC and has a few famous followers such as Nick McCabe from The Verve and Neil MacKay from Loop. Guitarist Tien Ren took time to talk with us about his previous musical endeavors, how Superdrone was formed and some of the challenges the band is currently facing.
The band consists of Ed Richards on bass and vocals, Tien Ren on guitar and Ash Hudson on drums on percussion. With influences ranging from Spacemen 3, Loop and Brian Jones Town, they describe their sound as “Stadium Drone with a twist of lime,” going for a drone/fuzz/psychedelic vibe while also trying to appeal to the mainstream.
Richards and Basher have been in a few local bands before joining Superdrone. Ren was part of the electronic duo Lien, which appeared in the list of up and coming bands in the documentary about Shoegaze music called “Beautiful Noise.” Lien also released several albums that were reviewed on NME.
After that, Ren was in the duo Dahlia FX, which was signed to a label in USA but only released two tracks. This prompted the following events and eventually the formation of Superdrone to occur.
“Ed had been in a band for a short while with Ash,” said Ren. “Ed had also seen my first ever band called Parachutes back in the early nineties when he was younger and so knew of me. I went to see Ed do a Nirvana tribute night, playing a great set of early Nirvana tracks at the Joiners Arms in Southampton. I told Ed that Dahlia FX had run its course and played him a few tracks. He wanted to start up a drone project and said he would play some guitar. I said how about we meet for a beer and talk drone. So we did and he told me about Ash.”
Superdrone had its first jam session about one year ago. Ren uses a Gretsch White Falcon and Gibson 355 through an ART SGX2000 linked to an Alesis Midiverb2, amped up through an AC30cc2. His pedal board contains a Turbo Rat through a Jen White Pot Wah and lastly a Russian Big Muff. Richards is described as being a Fender and Ampeg man while Hudson uses whatever kit he can get hold of.
Ren said the band hadn’t planned to do a complete album but the ideas kept flowing during the first jam sessions.
“I think in the first session we knocked out six ideas in one go, one after the other,” said Ren. “It was an odd experience to get in a room with two people I had not jammed with before and just jump in to an almost completed set that was written on the fly.”
The band has uploaded songs to Soundcloud that are home produced demos used as a reference for playing live. The recorded tracks are basically a way of catching the moment. Ren began passing the demos around and BBC Introducing picked up on it and played Drone 1.
“Ed has been in talks with a label in London and tour people so we can get a support slot but nothing has been confirmed yet,” Ren said. “I think we have enough to do a support slot.”
Currently, the band’s biggest challenge is time management. Red and Richards both have families with newborns so finding time to work on the music and fighting off sleep deprivation is an issue.
“Try mixing a demo when you have a head cold and can’t even tell if the mastering EQ plug in is turned on,” Ren said. “Yeah I actually did a mix and forgot to turn it on. I thought the mix sounded uncomfortable in my ears but just assumed it was my head thumping and all blocked up.”
Superdrone is working on new material and will certainly be a name to be reckoned with. Ren said that for anyone who is in a band, making music is not about making lots of money or getting a large fan base, but rather about making music you love and enjoy playing. Ren said, “If you want money and fans join One Direction.”
Stay up to date with the band’s latest work on Soundcloud.