THE RECOMMENDER: Swim Deep’s James Balmont on Drones Club

12 Feb 2016

The Swim Deep multi-instrumentalist on the unignorable, cult-like pull of Drones Club


The Recommender is a new regular RFB feature where we get established musical hotshots to tip their favourite new acts: an internet-based passing on of the baton, if you will.

This week, we have Swim Deep multi-instrumentalist James Balmont on enigmatic new South London troupe Drones Club. While Swim Deep may have emerged as part of the carefree, party-starting Birmingham scene that also spawned Peace and Superfood, 2015 sophomore album 'Mothers' saw them blossom into an altogether different beast. More Beefheart than B-Town, it drew on a wildly eclectic pool of influences from psychedelia to rave, glitching samples to twitchy pop to create genuinely one of the year's most exciting and forward-thinking records. It's no suprise then, that the band also have a pretty damn good ear for new music: head down to any emerging band show worth its salt in London and you're likely to find one of the Swim Deezy boys down front. We'll leave it to Balmont to explain why Drones Club are the pick of the crop...



"My first encounter with Drones Club was a little over a year ago when I went to the warehouse space where [Swim Deep's] Ozzy and Zack live to play around with some ideas. When I turned up, to my horror, the main living space was already occupied by another band. The cheek of it! It turned out that Joff and Theo [Wolf Alice] had moved out and this guy called Louis Morlet had moved in, and with him came this mad industrial techno-influenced trio called Drones Club, who we all took an immediate liking to in spite of my initial rage.

This same situation has repeated itself numerous times over the past year or so because Drones Club are rehearsing all the bloody time, all over the bloody kitchen table. Except every rehearsal they do seems to be pre-empted by several hours of discussion between the three of them over what their week, month or year-plan is. I’ve never seen such a well-prepared band before in my life. God only knows where we might be with that kind of focus.

Of course that’s a major factor in why Drones Club are such an interesting prospect - it’s not merely a bunch of dudes making music; it’s a meticulous arts project that focuses as much on visual content and self-marketing as they do on their music. And you only need to listen to clubby drones like ‘Cold Hand’ or industrial throb ‘Sphinx’ to hear that there’s a whole spectrum of dark electronic music flowing through their veins. But they’ve got this whole world they’ve built around them as well, which is mad considering that they’re still relatively secretive about their own identities.

Louis is an amazing visual artist - when we threw a party party with Converse in East London last March we got him to design all these mad projected visuals in neon colours all around the room to set the dark, acid-y scene we were going for. And they have all of that for their mad (mental) live shows as well, along with strobes and all this cryptic iconography everywhere. It’s a real experience. Almost like a cult. And that’s what’s so freaking exciting about them. They don’t let you get away without leaving an impression."


Drones Club play Corsica Studios on March 10. Tickets here:

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