I sat down with Allusondrugs band members Andrey ‘Drey’ Pavlovic and Damian ‘Damo’ Hughes on Wednesday night, ahead of their show in Sheffield, to find out everything there is to know about one of Yorkshire’s hottest up-and-coming bands.
This evening at Sheffield’s Bungalows & Bears saw the end to a fortnight of co-headline gigs with ‘Brawlers’, a fellow Leeds group (although Allusondrugs actually hail from nearby Castleford), on what has affectionately known as the ‘Brawlusondrugs’ tour.
“There’s definitely been emotions at play…of all kinds!” guitarist Drey joked. When asked to pick a highlight from the tour, green-haired fellow guitar-player Damo told of the previous night’s performance at Chester’s Live Rooms, a venue he described as looking like a scene from Robocop! “There was crowd-surfing, and I got my guitar stuck in the ceiling – it was really good!”
Choosing an all-time favourite show from their relatively short, but action-packed three years as ‘Allusondrugs’ proved a more difficult task. “Ever!?” Damo gasped when asked, before Drey explained how their busy touring schedules make it hard to remember very far back.
“It’s difficult because it gets to a point where I can’t look back further than five or six months. So there might have been a really good show in year one that I don’t remember because I can only remember our most recent shows. So I’d probably say Twisterella (a recent festival in Middlesbrough), that was really good. ”
Despite coming from just outside Yorkshire’s biggest city (light-heartedly defining themselves as a Castleford supergroup), the band have been labelled as a Leeds band for a while now and are on of the city’s most exciting prospects. Next month they return to their home city for a special one-off performance at The Library on 27th November. “We haven’t headlined Leeds for a while, so tell everyone about it!
“Home town shows in Castleford at little crazy pubs are just insane. But this is a proper city home town show which will hopefully have the same vibe but just another level up. It’s a more mature venue…it’s got a projector and we’re going to use it! It’s going to be ace”
The biggest shows of their careers came during a tour supporting the hugely successful and popular Enter Shikari and Drey explained that the experience “did more good than not” for this growing group.
“That was the biggest tour we’ve done, we were thrown in the deep end. It was really nerve-racking because you’re playing to 3,000 people who aren’t there to see you, they’d rather you just f*cked off and Shikari came on you know? But we learnt a lot from it in terms of how shows of that size run.
“It was interesting reading the Twitter comments afterwards. We got a lot of praise and a lot of hate. But we’d rather people said something about us than nothing! Barrowlands (Glasgow) didn’t like us, I think somebody even threw chewing-gum in Jason’s hair!”
Last year also saw the five-piece – who are completed by Jason Moules (the lead singer, who joined us briefly to tell that he is inspired by Simply Red!), Jemal Beau Malki (Bass) and Connor Fisher-Atack (drums) – support Marmozets. And it was this tour provided them with their happiest Sheffield memory to date.
“Corporation when we played Marmozets, hands down. Before then every time in Sheffield had been really rubbish and no one cared. But since the Marmozets show on the small stage, it’s been rammed every time and we’ve had two almost sold-out headline shows there.”
One pre-Marmozets Sheffield show that they did speak fondly of though, despite what they called a “smelly stage”, was their 2014 Tramlines Festival performance at Millennium Gallery, where they also worked with videographer Giannis.
“Giannis is a guy who does videography work for us under the name GSK videography. He follows us around everywhere and that was the first show he provided us with all the services – interview, filming a song etc.
One thing I do remember from that Millennium Gallery show is that I’ve never seen a sound guy rock out so much – he was loving it!”
The most recently Summer has been another good one for the band, musically at least. “I hate summer because I’m not very good in hot weather” Damo explained, “but the festivals we’re really good!”
July’s Y Not Festival in Derbyshire was picked out as a particularly great day for the band, Damo reminiscing on clearly fond memories of their afternoon performance at the event.
“Y Not was especially good. It was the first time in ages we’d played this really old song called ‘Plasters’, and the tent was packed with everybody front to back clapping. That was ace. I never smile on stage but I did at that…I’ve learnt my lesson though, I’ll never smile on stage again!”
He may not have been smiling tonight, but the green-haired backing vocalist/guitarist was at the forefront of a powerfully impressive performance by Allusondrugs.
It was clear that the band, playing at this small venue for the first time, were not overly impressed with the setting. “We’re never playing here again. If I wanted a steak or pie I’d come here, but not a gig.” Drey bemoaned before Damo agreed: “There’s definitely better venues in Sheffield. Absolutely”, picking out the larger and more gig-friendly Corporation as a favourite.
But they made the best of it, thrilling the large crowd on a tight stage that struggled to contain the band’s energy, especially as audience members joined them up there on occasion! Their energetic performance style along with possible implications of the band name have led many spectators to often come to the wrong conclusions, something that has clearly touched a nerve with the band over the years.
“That’s just pure energy. We’re never off our heads. The name is more than what people think!
“Its meaning came quite naturally with what we all stand for. Allusondrugs is essentially that everyone is on some sort of drug, whether it’s being hypnotised by TV or radio or being dictated what to wear or eat or what social groups to fit in to, all for the sake of driving up profits for major corporations. In a way everyone’s on drugs without really realising.
“Its too late to change it now anyway!”
It is clear from spending just half an hour in the company of the band that they truly love what they do, despite the negative aspects, and have worked incredibly hard even to get to where they are today.
“We’ll play a gig every night, even if it’s a crap gig, just for the sake of playing. We’d rather do that at a weird venue, like this, than just sit at home. The worst thing is it hardly pays and it’s a lot of hard work!
“Matt from Brawlers raised a funny point earlier – if we put as much effort into being investment bankers as we did into the bands we’re in then we’d be millionaires by now!”
So what’s next for Allusondrugs? It may be the end of their latest tour but the remainder of 2015 is going to be action-packed for the five-piece. This weekend they head to London to play Vans Warped Tour at the Alexandra Palace, before heading out on tour again – this time supporting We Are The Ocean.
“The first time I ever heard of We Are The Ocean was on a blog a few years ago titled ‘The stupidest band names’! But I’d never heard any music until the tour offer came in, then I checked out some their stuff and it seems pretty cool. It’ll probably hit me a lot more once I see it live and meet all the guys. Right now I’m not personally a fan, but I’m sure I will be!”
On top of that, a new EP has just been announced for imminent release and although it will not feature any new material, the band described it as a nice “round up of the past couple of releases” – including the tracks ‘I Should Have Gone To Uni’, ‘Am I Weird?’ and a new version of their old song ‘Sunset Yellow’.
There are no plans in the near future for a full album however, which is something that Drey explained can leave bands in a dilemma. “Having an album opens doors for you but having it out at the wrong time means album sales don’t do very well. It’s all about timing.
“We definitely will do an album, we just don’t know when. Not yet.”
The lack of a full-album doesn’t seem to be holding back this exciting band much though and it is clear from their talent, hard-work and love for what they do that they have potential to go far. And their final message to those bands just starting out?
“Grow a thick skin, because you’re going to need it. But don’t let that put you off, it’s really fun and if you really want to do it then just do it! And be nice to each other.”
A huge thanks to Andrey, Damian and the rest of ‘Allusondrugs’ for taking the time to chat. You can keep up to date with all things ‘Allusondrugs’ over on their Facebook page