by Polly Hember
Polly Hember talks to Sam and Tommy from new band on the scene Dreebsby. Fun, fierce and fresh – their unique blend of indie pop is dangerously catchy. We talk about creating their own record label, music influences and llamas.
So it’s been a pretty big month! Your new single ‘Synthesis’ has just been released, and you’ve played the Dublin Castle in Camden, which sounds like it went swimmingly. Congrats! How are you feeling?
Like going for a swim (please expect this standard of humour from us). We’re excited to finally have Synthesis up, which is a really personal song, and are really grateful to have gotten an opportunity to showcase our stuff at Dublin Castle – it’s such a cool venue and the vibe is really sick. And the positive response we got from the new material is really encouraging.
Have you got many more gigs lined up over the next couple of months? Tell us where we can see you live!
We’re actually going to be in Singapore over the next few months recording the new material that we tried out at Dublin Castle, and are hoping to be back in the UK during the Summer.
What’s been your favourite live gig you’ve played and why?
Dublin Castle! We took a gamble by playing a few new songs live and saw a 70-year-old man groove to them. We’ve never had people singing to new material before. It was surreal. Plus - we misplaced a pineapple at the gig and tried to get some people in the audience to search for it. It’s still missing.
What are you most excited about for 2018?
Adopting a llama (seriously). And coming back here in the Summer. Right now we’re speaking to booking agents and firming up the dates. We’ll let you know as soon as we do.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you first got into music?
Sam: I had a rocky start, failing at piano lessons when I was 7 because I was more interested in the chocolate my teacher had to buy my attention with. I started teaching myself guitar after discovering Santana, Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple, John Mayer… but when I heard the Chili’s ‘Stadium Arcadium’ album – it changed my life (I am over-dramatic). I began exploring and learning all their work, their influences, their influences’ influences, their influences’ influences’ influences… it’s a inspiring interconnected web of music. I had a funk rock band in law school and played in a couple of other bands but nothing serious. I then trained as a lawyer in Singapore while writing and recording on the side. Once I qualified I figured I probably wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t try so I teamed up with Tommy, recorded a couple of songs I had written, started a music company called Goose Infiniti (which Dreebsby is signed to – totally legit), and we came to the London to play the music.
Tommy: Music has always been in my childhood: choirs, piano since age 4, several school rock bands, learning drums and guitar. But music started taking off at University when I was studying Chemical Engineering and would play an open mic 5 or 6 times a month. I was struggling to work out what I wanted to do with my life – Teacher? Banker? Engineer? I had options that would feed my brain but I wanted to feed my soul. I know it sounds cringe-y but it’s true. I spent a few years of soul searching and started a few bands here that didn’t go far then moved to Singapore to be a cover musician playing bars… and now I’m back here. I run an events company in Singapore where I do weddings and stuff. [To Sam] Dude I’m a wedding singer on drums? Hahah!
What did you grow up listening to – did you have a musical childhood?
Sam: Oh yeah. My parents were big fans of stay-in music weekends where they would make the kids move furniture around the house and distract us with good music: Santana, The Eagles, Bee Gees, Gypsy Kings, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Clapton, and some bootlegged CD that was definitely a Filipino Man and not Elton John. School was more of the Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Eminem… and I had a massive Bowling For Soup phase.
Tommy: Yeah. Family car journeys we’re really musical for me. Disney. Genesis. Phil Collins. The Police. Dire Straits. Elton John. Queen. But at school it was Linkin Park, Creed, Audioslave, Alter Bridge, Bon Jovi…Pop Punk stuff. Oh we also had a similar bootleg except this Filipino guy was doing classic rock hits.
Sam: He had a pretty good voice!
Tommy: Not ours man. He was awful. We got rid of it
What do you find is the most challenging thing about song-writing?
It’s probably conveying what you actually mean; some lyrics might make sense to you but not to someone else. And if you’re committed to being authentic there’s an added challenge of facing certain experiences or emotions you tap on to create a narrative.
And what is your favourite thing about song-writing and performing?
People relating to or grooving to the music.
What do you get up to when you’re not recording or performing?
Sam: Writing more music, self-development, hot sauce and cryptocurrency (shoutout to Cardano for funding this UK stint). And managing Goose Infiniti…which basically manages Dreebsby… so in reality it’s just a vicious cycle of mismanagement interspersed with some legal work, the odd marketing campaign with llamas and launching the Doggo Jumpers.
Tommy: Something else music? Self-development. Rock-climbing. Tennis. Lately I’ve been getting into video making. Travelling. Building a studio.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Sam: Vulfpeck, Anderson .Paak, Rex Orange County, Kendrick, Royal Blood, Tyler The Creator. Dreebsby? Is this the part where we plug ourselves?
Tommy: Cat Empire, James Veck-Gilodi, Vulfpeck, Lake Street Dive. Dreebsby? I think this is the part where we plug ourselves.
A few animal-related questions for you: why the dog on your ‘Out the Door’ album cover? He’s adorable - is he yours?
Sam: Yeah – his name is Ollie. My mum organised for some family photos (you know, the kind with everyone dressed in the same colour, smiling as a unit of loving dysfunctional sociopaths?) so I asked the photographer if he could just take some of Ollie. And he just sat there and posed to our utter disbelief.
Tommy: Oh god you’re not THAT guy who just Snapchats his dog all the time, aren’t you?
Sam: What? Who even uses Snapchat? That was so 2017.
Tommy: Don’t avoid the question.
Sam: Yeah okay fine I am but he does such weird and cute things I can’t help it.
And where did the idea to include the llamas in the ‘Out the Door’ music video come from?
Sam: I’m gonna level with you… I just Googled “Copyright Free Videos of Llamas” and took it from there.
Tommy: We’re committed to authenticity AND copyright laws.
We love ‘Synthesis’ and ‘Out the Door’. When can we expect your next music release?
March! Our next single is called Elephant In the Room. Followed by Cigarettes With Wine and 💃.
Final question – can OTB convince you to come to Bristol to perform any time soon?
Hell yeah - Summer 2018! Any takers?
'Out the Door' and 'Synthesis' are available to listen to on Spotify.
Dreebsby's 'Out the Door'