The Drowning Men:
The TVD Interview

Gearing up for the release of their sophomore LP, All Of The Unknown, and wrapping up their nationwide tour with River City Extension, California’s The Drowning Men came through Chicago and Schubas Tavern last Thursday, 6/27.

Recently signed to Flogging Molly’s new Borstal Beat Records label, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nato Bardeen was nice enough to sit down with TVD before the show to chat about the upcoming record.

Can you talk a little about how you got hooked up with Borstal Beat Records?

Through Flogging Molly. When we did our first tour with them, we found out that they were releasing their newest album on their own label, and they were interested in signing us. So after contracts and meetings and things, we finally decided, let’s do it, let’s go Borstal Beat. They’re a new label too, we’re the first ones. It’s like an adventure that’s new to us and it’s new to them too, so let’s do it together.

Can you walk me through the songwriting process for your upcoming album, All Of the Unknown?

I think late 2011, early 2012, I started fooling around with writing stuff – I’m always writing. Individually, they’re all different. Sometimes, the song is there within thirty minutes, and sometimes it takes me like 3 months just to finish something. I play around with it for a long time, and then I get stuck on something that I think sounds rad and I just keep playing that over and over and over again. Eventually I think, “OK, I have to come up with another part.

Do you like working them through, or is it nicer when it comes quick and easy?

I don’t know; I think once you write something or jam out something that makes you move a little bit, and you think will work for the whole band, it’s like, “this could be cool.” I usually don’t show them until I have most of it complete.

I’ll have the parts and we’ll kind of arrange it all together. On this album, All Of The Unknown, we worked with a producer too, so I got with him and we went over some stuff and jammed out the choruses together and that kind of thing.

Was the vinyl re-release of your first LP, Beheading of the Songbird, just a label decision, or is it something that you’ve wanted to do?

The re-release happened because we had already done it ourselves, and they liked it and wanted to put it out, so they bought it and re-released it. I was stoked about that, because I love the album, but we can’t market it. It just seems like that’s what you have to do nowadays, too. 10-12 years ago no one was doing vinyl, it was just CDs, but now that’s the only thing that’s going to last. I wouldn’t doubt if [vinyl and digital] is what it’s only going to be very soon.

I absolutely love the album art; who put that together?

The guy is Sonny Miller. I kind of gave James, the guitar player, “you just take care of this,” and he came up with this idea and showed us some pictures. Our first picture that we had was from the San Diego Zoo and it was this crazy looking bear that was drawn like that – kind of evil looking and weird. We were like dude, that’s rad. He brought that to Sonny, and he put this collage together of crazy creatures and it was perfect.

All of the Unknown comes out in about 3 weeks, just after this tour is ending. Do you have any plans after the release?

I don’t know the exact date, but we will be touring the end of August. That will be somewhat of a quick one because I get married in the middle of September, and I’m sure that we’ll be back on the road after that.

Look for The Drowning Men’s sophomore LP, All Of The Unknown, on vinyl via Borstal Beat Records on 7/17, and if you missed their incredible tour with River City Extension, keep an eye on the SHOW page for upcoming dates.

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