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Work Drugs: New Album Coming Next Week!

June 14, 2013

WorkDrugs01smallText and images by Megan Matuzak.

It takes a long time to find it but when you want to ride it, that ghost is gone. – “Mavericks

“Mavericks” is a sonic groove that seeps into your skin like the hot summer sun. This title track reveals the impetus of Work Drugs’ new album, which is due out on June 21st.

The band began writing “Mavericks” after a weeklong excursion to California last summer. The way that the surfers at spots like Big Sur made their boards carve through the bright blue water impacted the Work Drugs duo of Tom Crystal and Ben Louisiana immensely. The surfers seemed like outlaws. The freedom of that  lifestyle, which seemed to come so effortlessly, manifested itself in other tracks on the album, including “West Coast Slide” and “Young Lungs.”

“I like the idea of taking a trip to some place, using new imagery to get you moving,” explains Louisiana, who plays keyboard. “It’s great when people can draw from their day-to-day, but sometimes it gets so mundane. The impact of Philly today on me would be different to someone who hasn’t been here before. We felt that way when we were out there cruising on PCH, or in Big Sur. You see all these spots and it gets the wheels turning.”

“Sunset on High Street” was inspired by Los Angeles’ homeless on Skid Row, which has one of the most consistent homeless populations in America. Skid Row is surrounded by what most people would consider paradise. The weight of such irony struck a chord in the bandmates.

WorkDrugs02smallA little bit of Philly also made its way onto the album in “Tigerbeats.” The song transports you over the trolley tracks to Frankford Avenue, with the boiling anticipation of what lies beyond the entrance of The Barbary for their particularly rowdy Monday night dance party.

That single, as well as “West Coast Slide” and “Young Lungs,” have already been posted on the band’s Facebook page, well in advance of the album’s release. Simply put, Crystal and Louisiana love to make music, and a lot of it.

“You feel it on your first gut instinct and you come up with something really quick off the top of your head, ” says Crystal, the lead vocalist and guitarist. “You’re like, ‘Ah! this is good!’ If it’s easy, it’s going to be good.”

In many ways, the duo has it all figured out. They toured with Two Door Cinema Club in their earliest stages, when they only had three songs written. They opened for Peter Bjorn and John at the Trocadero in 2011. The band will head to Sweden for the second time to play the Hultsfred Festival this summer.

Without management or support from a major label, Work Drugs defines success by the reception of their music by audience members.

“We sold 200 vinyl records,” Crystal says. “They can steal all of it. They can listen to it on Spotify. But people have bought it. People have bought T-shirts. People bought homemade CDs we made. There is this one guy from Sweden who has bought everything we have ever put out and outbids everyone when we put stuff up on eBay.”

Crystal and Louisiana have assembled a solid live setup with the talents of Mr. Kansas City (bassist and vocalist), Katie Nicks (percussionist, saxophonist, guitarist and vocalist) and Jonas Oesterle (drummer). Even though the live band members are not a part of the writing process, Crystal and Louisiana refuse to play a show without them. On occasion, they have turned down a good bill simply because of a scheduling conflict for one of the live members.

“The music industry has changed so much that anyone who claims they know how it works now is lying,” Louisiana says. “Because they don’t. It’s a brave new world in the music industry, as everyone tells us. We like challenging that and doing things differently.”

It’s the music they so easily create that has made them so popular. Simple as that.

“We don’t really care what is trending right now,” Louisiana says. “Good is good.”

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