Interview: Five Minutes with Drew Makes Noise

Growing up, Drew Makes Noise was exposed to his father’s 80’s and 90’s rock ballads. His friends would introduce him to pop music of the 80’s and 90’s variety. He would develop a love for the guitar and appreciation for the music of band Nirvana. Years later he would join the ED Zealous band, supporting acts such as Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, and Maximo. Fast forward to the future, Drew Makes Noise has released his debut single ‘Satellite’. We find out more about the ‘Satellite’ artist in our exclusive interview.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

The noise in my head hasn’t stopped since I wrote my first song at about age seven. I could sing it from memory but I’m not sure how that might affect my street cred. I’ve worked every factory, office and service job imaginable and I enjoyed all of em with my own soundtrack running through my head.  Coming up with something cool or finishing a song that’s been festering for years is better than any drug. It’s a high that’s connected to my self-worth. If I couldn’t create I’d be lost.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

A mix. It always used to be the sound. A lot of time its synth or drum beats, which aren’t my actual instruments, but because I don’t know what I’m doing there, I get the same buzz and the same kind of surprises I used to get from playing guitar. I find it hard to write on guitar any more, as there has to be a certain amount of mystery in what you’re doing or else you detach. More and more though I’m learning to go out for a walk and quiet my mind, and let the noise come in from the ether, then run home and capture it.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

At the minute it’s all me. Ed Zealous was a project where I threw ideas at someone else songs. Drew Makes Noise is really about taking the cool things I learned from that but getting back to expressing my own vision. I’ve enjoyed the loneliness of it.

What’s on your current playlist?

low-fi stoner vibes – Conan Mockasin, Pavement, Kurt Vile, Bill Ryder-Jones

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I’ll tell you in two weeks.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Writing drums and keys parts from the standpoint of having no real technical ability, just my imagination.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I have a home setup, where I record everything apart from drums. I get up, try and get my various bits and pieces out of the way as quickly as possible. Set up a protools session. Go out for a walk with my dogs and get my inner monologue running. Come back and mess around. After Ed Zealous I hadn’t had that feeling that everything was on me for a while. This resulted in writing a million half baked ideas but not having the confidence to finish anything. I think it comes thru in the songs as a little scatterbrained which I like. I had recorded a lot of music before going to a producer to record drums and then mix the songs. I hadn’t worked with anyone in a while and I came in with strange mixture of severe tunnel vision and crippling self-doubt. His time was spent trying to ride that wave. lol.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

The first time I smelt the wood of my first acoustic guitar.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

One beer if driving. Five beers if not.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

I’ll keep it local Arvo Party, New Pagans, Me.

What gets your creative juices flowing?


Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I’ve been deep in a soft synth and drum sequencer world because I can’t play those instruments, but I’m determined to write music on them. I really didn’t want to have anyone else playing on these tracks, as I had to put out something that was just me. Even though it’s not the most expressive drum program – I love the drum sequencer on reason. I know the flaming lips use it for shed loads of writing so I’d like to expand my areas of capability there. Now that we are getting in a room with the band tho I’m salivating over some tasty moogs.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Nothing at the mo. A few members of my band and a few friends have been sending me ideas. When I have time I’d love to tinker with em.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Learning to create space for good art to happen. Surrounding myself with good people to play music with. Learning to hear my own voice and quiet other noise in my head. Northern Ireland is the home of working musicians so I have become at home on stage. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year is about getting the songs I have recorded out. Making the video DIY has really opened my head to the visual world, so I think a slew of singles with some more expressive vids will be the order of the day. So people can get an overall vibe of what’s in my head. The band are people I play with lots. So I think we will be kick-ass from the get-go, but it will be nice to get some bounce back from the audience at live shows. Live shows and getting back to writing are my current buzz.

Famous last words?

This one?

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