INTERVIEW: Work Drugs
I’m gonna put it out there straight, I have no idea what ChillWave means- but I know I like it. When I chatted to Work Drugs they weren’t quite sure either.
Whatever it is, they’re doing it right.
The Philly duo, Benjamin Louisiana and Thomas Crystal, came together over a love of one of the best genres out there, Yacht Rock, and out of that love came- Work Drugs. Their debut Aurora Lies was the perfect summer companion for chilling out on your yacht (don’t worry if you don’t have one, its goes really well without too) and their upcoming sophomore effort Absolute Bearing looks like its going to continue the trend if “Boogie Lights” and “License To Drive” is anything to go by.
I chatted to Tom about beginnings, yacht rock, influences, that Adele cover and so much more.
Interview after the jump
So, who are Work Drugs?
Work Drugs is the sedative-wave / smooth-fi group from Philadelphia fronted by Benjamin Louisiana and Thomas Crystal. Work Drugs makes music specifically for dancing / yachting / sexting, and living.
Were you born and raised in West Philadelphia and did you spend most of your days at the playground?
Not exactly… but we did spend a fair amount of time in Key West… and every winter in Bel Air with out Uncle Phil. The original inventor of the genre Uncle Phil-wave.
What brought you all together up to this point as Work Drugs?
Ben and I met in sailing college and we’ve been buddies ever since. We bonded over classic smooth sailing tracks by Kenny Loggins, Hall & Oates, and Michael McDonald. It was only up to a few years ago that we decided to write some music together… and well, now we have Work Drugs.
How do you guys approach writing/producing a track?
It usually starts on the roof deck with a few song ideas on the acoustic guitar. After several rounds of Becks and VO we end up with something that resembles a song… at least in our own mind at the time. We like to sit on the ideas for a few days and if it still sounds good to us, we proceed to record it.
What influences you to write a track?
In all honesty, we never stop writing.
How did the cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” come about?
When we did our tour in 2011 opening for Two Door Cinema Club we ended up listening to that song in the van quite often. It seemed to become somewhat of an anthem from the trip. When we got back one of our friends suggested we try a cover it…. so we did… and people seemed to like it!
Any other covers on the horizon?
I think the rule is one a year. Hopefully we can top the Adele cover with the one we are working on right now….
What is your favourite track to perform?
Probably Ice Wharf. Short and sweet little pop song about our time in Camden Town that a lot people seem to enjoy.
Ice Wharf by Work Drugs
What would be your ideal venue and who would support you?
Well the Fillmore in San Francisco was number one on that list until we played there last year. The next one on the list is the Hollywood Bowl… hmm maybe opening for… Kool & the Gang?
What would you say are your biggest influences?
Our biggest influences are many of the late 70’s / early 80’s soft rock and disco artists. I think Ben and I will agree that Steely Dan has been one of our biggest influences. And of course Phil Collins, but I feel like that’s a bit of a cliche answer these days.
You’re a part of the ‘chill wave’ genre, can you explain what that means because I’m still not sure…
Neither are we. I prefer sex-fi over chillwave. Or maybe Uncle Phil-wave.
You say your music is made specifically for boating, sexting, dancing, yachting and living…have you ever done all of these at the same time? Which is your favourite one?
Well there isn’t really much payoff in sexting, so I’d have to saying living. Living is pretty cool.
What artist/song are you really excited about right now?
I really love the work that a young Frenchman named Madeon is doing these days. Incredible tracks and remixes.
Gun to your head (I’m sorry) but one album/one song that you had to listen to for the rest of your life?
Hall & Oates Greatest Hits (itylts-a fine choice)
Do the drugs work?
As long as they work for you, they work for me.
What are you really into at the moment- book/tv/film/meme…?
Trying to get caught up on season 2 of Louis. Such a hilarious show. I can’t believe it’s still on FX. That and Storage Wars.
What would you rather have- a puppy sized elephant or an elephant sized puppy?
Kitten sized velociraptor. **GAME CHANGER**
What’s next for Work Drugs…I’m pretty excited by all the new material especially “Boogie Lights”
Our new album “Absolute Bearing” is coming out on July 10th via our label Bobby Cahn Records. We are very excited / proud of it. We hope the next single “Pluto” is going to be a crowd pleaser. Just wait for the 12” mix. (pre-order Absolute Bearing here)
This is I Think You’ll Like This Song…so…what do you think we’d like?
Ben Louisiana’s “Sunday Morning - Paris Cafe” playlist on Spotify. Perfect. Sunday Morning - Paris Cafe