“It’s not your sadness, it’s just sadness that’s near you.”
Forming in 2015, London based trio Drones Club specialise in melancholic, space-disco. We chatted to the band about straddling the line between self doubt and self belief, star jumps and Busta Rhymes.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
Listening to the emotionally warm, beautifully psychedelic record DJ Koze has brought out. Substantial, inspiring bit of kit. Reading the Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald – the psychogeographic rambling of a genius. Watched a sick film last week called the Ballad of Narayama, a sort of pastoral meditation on what it is to be human.
It’s set in a Japanese village in the foothills of Mount Narayama and shows us the last year in a woman’s life, as she tries to tie up all the loose ends in the lives of those she loves before ascending the holy mountain to die, as is their tradition.
The hard drama of village life is interspersed with footage of wildlife from the surrounding forest, the animals are indifferent to the tribulations of humans, concerned as they are with their own survival.
The mountain appears in the background of every scene, silently waiting, inevitable, but moments of absolute beauty emerge from the harshness of the film’s reality.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
Don’t know about the biggest but the most constant would be that sort of oscillation between self-belief & self-doubt. When you choose to make music you’re choosing a life of relentless self-interrogation: am I good enough?
Your daily process becomes inextricably linked to your self-worth and they feed eachother. It’s a balancing act. When it’s good it’s good and when it’s bad it ’s so bad.
There’s no overcoming, just balancing, I think. Drones Club is in one sense a structure built to provide the support of the collective to the individual within it: a spider’s silk is technically stunning but is only beautiful taken wholly as a web.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
We retreated to the highlands to write for a while, those days were pretty perfect. Watching the sun rise and light the Summer Isles pink, one by one.
Hot porridge and filling the wooden croft house with loud music for hours. Being whisky drunk by the graveyard on the beach listening to the waves and the fire until the cold came in.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
The chance to make music and have people listen to it, to participate in culture! What could be more beautiful?
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
A belief that things will be OK. Not an intellectual understanding but a sort of ambient feeling of safety.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
At Drones Club HQ we eat vegetables from Lidl in quantity and variety, keeps us sharp.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
Make it up man, life’s too short. You wanna star jump? Absolutely be my guest do a star jump. Squats? Get down. Wanna go swimming? OK, the canal’s filthy so maybe don’t do that.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
Conkers. I had a conker tree in my garden growing up so would have some of the best conkers in the playground come autumn. I remember the rush of like twenty kids to stamp to bits someone’s defeated 7er. Absolutely brutal.
People would have all sorts of techniques to harden their conkers, freeze them, bake them, soak them in vinegar.
Some people would even paint pebbles to look like conkers. Looking back on it we were obsessed, mass hysteria for like a month.
What three songs lift your spirits?
Arthur Russell – Instrumentals Volume 1 Part 1 from First Thought Best Thought. Without words Russell manages to evoke an infinite kindness, a stillness at the core of the universe, for real.
Busta Rhymes – Thank You. Absolutely relentless, triumphant march, zippity-boof.
Rhythim is Rhythim – Strings of Life. Hahahaha 🙂
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
‘In the beginning, Eurynome the Goddess of all things rose naked from Chaos, but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon and therefore divided the sea from the sky, dancing lonely upon its waves.’ from the Pelasgian creation myth. I find it really comforting that one of the earliest recorded beliefs was that Eurynome could create something beautiful from nothing, just by dancing.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
It’s not your sadness, it’s just sadness that’s near you.
Treat yourself with the deep compassion you would anyone else who struggles. And take your time, shit ain’t easy.