Having just released a new double album, the prolific drummer and experimentalist delivers a wildly unconventional mix, with glitched out edits of Carole King, Sun Ra, GoldLink and more.
Dan Drohan is as prolific a collaborator as they come, having lended his drumming, production, and ideas to a wide range of acts like psych-folkers Olden Yolk, funk/soul artist Nick Hakim, and singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers. With his new double album, You’re a Crusher / drocan!, Dan brings his varied talents into the spotlight, resulting in one of the year’s most inventive, unpredictable releases.
Side one, You’re a Crusher, is the product of Drohan’s solo tinkering over the last few years, with contributions from his old élan bandmates Bobbie Johnson, Derek Smith, and Elan Orr. Lead track “Leave it Loading” opens things with bright staccato guitar notes, chugging bass riffs, and Drohan’s complex drumming, rising to a torrential crashing of cymbals before it all comes to a halt, shifting abruptly into the liquid ambient lurch of “Pictured.” The combination of the group’s no-rules studio sessions and the following chops and edits from Dan (“the playing wasn’t edited as much as treated and mangled,” he says) gives these tracks the sound of IDM played by a live band.
Slow Breathing Circuit · 020: Dan Drohan
With drocan!, Mike Cantor (pictured left above) joins Dan as a major collaborator. These tracks came together in early 2020, and have more of a pop feel to them, with singsongy vocals that recall Animal Collective appearing here and there. But just like his guest mix, Drohan prefers not to leave pop music untouched; sudden sharp turns are still lying in wait everywhere, and at every moment, every sound is in danger of being, chopped, squelched, or squiggled into abstraction.
Read on for a quick convo with Dan about the album’s origins, his guest mix, and Rod Stewart.
Name: Dan Drohan
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Current city / place of residence: Western Massachusetts
Home away from home: Brooklyn
What are you listening to this week? Have you bought any recent physical media in record shops, on Bandcamp, etc?
Been listening to the music of artists whom i’m working with, as well as Debussy, Gerry Gibbs, Luiz Gonzaga, Marylin Mazur..etc. The last thing i bought may have been a Rod Stewart or Tears For Fears record from Travis at Human Head, partly as a joke because I never buy anything from there, and he hasn’t let me as a running joke haha.
Your new record is split into two parts. How would you define the difference between You’re a Crusher and Drocan! What binds them together in your mind?
Well, two major differences that aren’t just the musical identities and concepts, are the facts that YAC was done in 2018/2019, where drocan! was made in Janurary of 2020 and drocan! was also done with Mike Cantor. There’s a sincerity of where i’ve been at in life throughout the record, but what binds them together as a larger piece I’d like to leave up to the listener and their interpretations of this music in general. What do you think binds them?
How did you link up with Mike, and what did he bring to the table?
Mike was a childhood friend of my sister-in-law. It was exciting to connect with him at a time where i had YAC completed, and I knew I wanted to pursue this concept for the record being double A-sides. I had formed a lot of music for the future and when he came into the picture it wasn’t the plan to make this drocan! album, it was just getting in a room and hanging for the first time, really. After we showed each other what we were about as musicians, as artists, and just as human beings, I placed the idea of completing this second A-side and he was all about it. We share a lot of similar energy for things in the art world, but also come from very different places and have different tastes, which in essence is what he brought to the table – fresh energy.
Your guest mix ranges from Autechre to Rod Stewart! Like your album, there’s a chaos and unpredictability to it. Any particular theme or concept going on there? Or even if not, any stories behind any of these tracks?
There are a few purposeful concepts working together here for this mix we made. The subconscious one is actually picking these specific tunes. These are just what we are into. This isn’t the sound of drocan but the sound of drocan making a covers mix haha. We both will probably play this in our cars. haha
Buy You’re A Crusher / drocan! on Bandcamp (limited CD / vinyl remaining; also this Friday is yet again “Bandcamp Friday,” with all proceeds going to the artists 😉