ON DIY, WITCHCRAFT, AND THEIR NEW ALBUM
After a few years of making lush and emotional music, Chicago and St. Louis based trio Drama Moth is releasing their debut album In My Dream You Thought You Had More Time. Band members and close friends Archie, Elma, and Michael spent some time telling me about their artistry and their new music.
How did you three meet and start making music together?
E: Michael and I went to high school together but kinda became friends right after high school. I would go over to Michael’s house and watch him produce, because he was already starting to experiment with making music on his own. And then we moved to Chicago.
A: And Michael and I were supposed to be roommates. It didn’t work out, but we all met and just clicked right away.
E: We all had musical backgrounds already and we connected about that right away.
A: Yeah, all we would talk about is music, so we were like “Why don’t we just make music together?”
What are your musical backgrounds?
A: I grew up in a college town with a prominent underground punk scene, and my dad used to be in a punk band. I grew up watching him perform and going to DIY shows. He gave me a guitar when i was 10 and told me to learn it on my own!
E: I’ve been playing piano since I was 10 or 11. I would listen to a lot piano and orchestral stuff, but then a couple years ago I bought a synth and started doing more stuff with that.
M: I just love pop music, that’s literally it. Plus when I was really young I tried to teach myself how to play piano.
Was there a moment that Drama Moth went from something you were doing for fun to something more real?
M: Actually the first time we did anything together., we were like “We should do this professionally.”
A: (laughs) We were serious from the start.
What is the process between the three of you behind making a Drama Moth song?
A: It’s different every time. We do a lot of individual stuff that we just send to each other, bouncing stuff back and forth until it becomes something else.
M: We all add our own little thing in.
E: I feel like in the beginning I would just add a piano part, but now I’ve learned more about producing. The more we work together, the more we all learn.
A: We’re all constantly growing with it.
Do you think there are recurring themes in your music?
M: Oh yeah, we have direct sequels to songs. We’re very theatrical with the way we set up the album. Like, we have a sequel to our song “Sober” called “Jaded” on this album. And it’s about the same person. Same thing with “Trust It” and “The Ground You Bleed”.
I saw you perform at Charm School (a DIY space in Chicago). Are you very involved in the DIY and house show scene?
E: Most of our shows have been DIY or house shows, actually.
A: It’s important for intimacy and finding independent artists, so it’s cool that we get to do a lot of stuff in that space.
What does being in that DIY space mean to you?
M: It’s a place for people like us to express ourself. It’s hard for new artists to start out but the DIY scene is very open to letting people they’ve never heard of get up there.
A: You’ll see talent like no other in DIY. It’s amazing what independent artists can do. Especially underground people that aren’t talked about much. There’s so much there! And nobody knows about it!
E: It’s the best way to find new artists. We’ve played some bars or “real” venues and the vibe is very different.
Your collaboration with Glitter Moneyyy was very cool and kind of different for you. Tell me how that came about.
A: The first time we ever saw Glitter Moneyyy was at Femifest, which is like a DIY arts and music festival for queer artists and marginalized artists. So we were there selling CDs and saw these two women walk by with glitter in their roots and wearing the most amazing outfits. So then saw them perform and fell in love and just from that point in it was our goal to collab with them. And it happened! And we kept it a secret from everyone!
E: We were working one night and had a song we wanted to transition into another song -
M: I think it was “Oskulta”.
E: Yeah. So we made the song that transitioned into, and once we heard it we were like “Should we message Glitter Moneyyy? Should we just do it?
A: i remember talking to them about the concept of it and being like “We want to scream a lot and this song is about how we hate men”.
So the collab ended up being called “Bad Dog”. What’s the story behind that title?
M: Destroying the patriarchy, basically.
E: But like being goofy about it.
M: It’s kinda serious, but kinda playful…but kinda serious.
A: In the beginning it talks about the feeling of literally being mansplained to or talked to like you’re a child, and the frustration of that. It’s mostly about gross men we’ve met in the music scene because we definitely get judgment and unnecessary interactions with men.
Tell me about the new album.
E: It’s extra. I was thinking about this earlier. I feel like it’s more orchestral and experimental. There are so many parts that are all still prominent…
M: It’s literally like three songs in one.
A: I feel like there’s more grit than in Apparition. We were talking about this, we said that Apparition was like Magikarp…
M: And this one is Gyrados. Our first EP is Magikarp. A little weak.
A: And people don’t know what we can do.
M: And now she’s evolved.
E: But we’re still sad on it.
A: Yeah, still sad. That will never change.
Are all the singles you put out in the last year on the album?
M: “Sober” and “Quiet Desert” aren’t, those are kinda their own thing. But “Jaded” and “Bad Dog” are. Oh, and…I don’t know how to say this one.
That was your Halloween song, right? Tell me about that song.
A: We just really wanted to make a Halloween song, and it was three weeks before.
E: I sent a demo that I had, just the first minute of the song, instrumental. It’s funny, because I felt weird about that one. The demo title was just “gros”. Like, gross with one s. So I sent that and was like “This sounds spooky, let’s make a Halloween song”.
You told me you wanted to do a whole Lady Gaga cover set on Halloween. What would be the Gaga song you’d be most excited to cover?
E: That’s a hard question. We’ve been covering “Just Dance” at shows and that’s been getting people really hyped.
A: We also have a “Paper Gangsta” cover that we’ve never performed.
E: We need to perform that.
What are you inspired by outside of music?
A: Witchcraft. Magic. Nature, alot of the time?
M: Yeah, that’s my answer.
E: I don’t know, colors? Like good colors, color combinations. And architecture and interiors.
A: All things cryptic, honestly.
M: Like that graveyard we drove past?
E: I don’t know.
M: Yeah, we’re gonna go back and it won’t even be there.
You said earlier that the color for this album was red. Why red?
E: I don’t know, sometimes stuff just kind of happens when we work together. It just feels good and right.
A: I know what you mean! I can’t explain it.
by Stevie Logan
Photos by Shea Petersen for Bops & Flops
Glove embroidery by Maggie Sommers