Three or four years ago Leeds band Allusondrugs were tipped for the big time, their psychedelic, grunge rock songs were starting make people sit up and take notice.
But then they suddenly dropped off the map, and it seemed maybe they could be chalked up as another great lost band who never quite made it.
However, late last year, the renamed, revamped, allusinlove emerged to play a four-night residency at the legendary Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. The boys were back.
Now a four-piece instead of five, guitarist Andrej ‘Drey’ Pavlovic, explains they lost guitarist Damian Hughes when the band and their former management had a crisis of confidence: ‘Basically our management at the time had a lack of faith in the direction we were going in.
‘The level of touring we were doing, it meant we had to sacrifice pretty much everything else, and it was difficult. That lack of faith resulted in Damian leaving. He’s got his own project now.
‘He wanted to leave because he believed the band had no future, and that’s absolutely fair enough.’
The remaining four honoured their outstanding dates, and went to ground, trying to decide their future.
‘After that tour we took quite a lot of time off, and we were like, okay, what are we going to do? Shall we disband or shall we try and demo some new songs?’
Drey and singer Jason Moules began writing together and they found a new manager – or rather he found them. Jonathan Smith emailed them out of the blue saying he wanted to manage them, so they told him fine, come see us in our rehearsal space.
‘He drove for like seven hours from Devon to come and see us. He came in with a huge bag of snacks and and treats and beers, and told us: “You’re the best band I’ve ever seen and I want to get you everything you deserve”.
‘Fast forward eight eight months and he’s somehow got us a five-record deal.’
Over the sweltering summer of last year they were packed off to London’s Assault & Battery studios to work with legendary producers Alan Moulder (The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, U2) and Catherine Marks (The Killers, Foals, Wolf Alice).
‘They sent us to London to record the album with people we never ever thought we would be working with, which is insane. It was just surreal. Alan Moulder’s such a nice humble guy who’s so relaxed and calm. He listens to you and we really got on. Just to be able to sit next to him and work on my music was phenomenal.
‘Working with Catherine as well, it was the first time we’d ever had a female energy in the dynamic, in the studio. She was almost like a mother figure to us, you know: “Come on boys”.
‘Some of the situations we were in in the studio, if a guy had been telling us what to do there would have been a few arguments, but with her she was the voice of reason and it really shook things up in the best possible way.’
So with the debut album in the can, they are now road-testing their new material. But before then there’s a new EP, featuring the raucous and anthemic lead track, All Good People.
As Drey explains, the band has lost some of it’s harsher edges, but they haven’t lost sight of the band they were.
‘We gave Catherine and the label 31 songs, which was like years one to five of the band – it was everything we had recorded, and they picked six songs that they wanted us to aim for in terms of sound.
‘Their idea is to take a rock band and make it a bit more commercial again, so it can even possibly chart and sit alongside a pop song. They wanted to bring in the psychedelic guitar ambience we were doing, with the delay pedals and reverb, but with more of a pop song arrangement. And a bit less of the screaming!
‘Live, we’re still playing some of the older ones. It’s all about the vibe on the night, rather than just showcasing the new material –we like to retain some of the band we were as well.’
Drey is aware that this new direction might not sit well with some of their older fans.
‘I think the album will surprise a few people, and it won’t be what they’re expecting at all. I think it’s going to be a weird one.
‘You know when a band you love changes their sound, or changes its line-up… I suppose it’s whether the audience are ready to embrace the change.
‘Inside the band, it is what it is and as much as I would love for us to be the band we were years ago because that’s more up my street, in terms of why I started being in a band, those things can only last so long before they change and you adapt.’
And he strikes a note of sadness when reflecting on Damian’s departure.
‘I really wanted him to stay – it was essentially me and him that started the band. I’ve been in like five other bands with him. It’s a bittersweet thing. Me, Jason and Damian, this was all we ever wanted, to have a major recording contract, to be signed working musicians and that’s where we are, and I kind of want him to be here, but that’s the way it goes.’
However, the band are no longer content to be just playing in the margins and you get the sense they’re tilting for the big time.
‘We’re trying to do something that we want people to get on board with, but if you don’t like the new image or new sound, then fair enough, but I suppose there will be people who will and those who won’t.
‘It’s a big experiment for us. Before we could dictate every single element, but now we’ve put it on the hands of other people and you have to trust that they will promote it right.’
Monday, February 11
Wednesday, February 13