Never Shout Never- the band we have all listened to at least once and can sing every word to the older hits such as "Big City Dreams," or "Trouble." They're back recently with a new EP The Black Cat and touring the US with it. During their Houston stop we loaded up the tour bus and interviewed Christofer Drew, the band's iconic front man. Just getting back from a Whole Foods run, he actually gave us some beautiful words on changing life and going with it. Keep reading for the full interview!
Could you start by introducing yourself? What you like? What you do?
I’m Chris and I like to play in this band called Never Shout Never. And uh, just always writing songs and hanging out and having a good time.
What did you before Never Shout Never, like in the very beginning? Were you just solo by yourself?
Ummm, you know I did all sorts of crap.
You used to scream right?
I did, I was in a couple different bands. Was really into like hardcore music when I was growing up, so I played in a couple of those bands, and that was fun so. We still play shows from time to time, for a little bit.
Do you like to go home a lot?
I do, yeah. My family and my dog. It’s real homey. In LA, I just pretty much go out there to write songs and whatever you know.
Do you play any shows at home when you visit?
Yeah, we just did a holiday show in like our hometown area. We did like the whole holiday theme show and had all the cool indie bands from around and just though it together and just like, just got shitty drunk. Tried our best just to get through the set. Had our family out, ya know it was just a real good time.
Do people back home know who you are? When you walk through the grocery store do people know that you’re famous?
Yeah, I mean I don’t know. Joplin’s not that big, but we’re from there and it’s a small town, so word gets around and everybody is usually pretty nice to me and we can’t really complain. I like that it’s a little more simple out there. Like, you know sometimes in bigger cities, if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be kinda weird. But it’s all good. I personally just try to just go with the flow and not worry about anything like that. I couldn’t care less.
Do you meet people that don’t know your music and you tell them about it? Or do you just let it go?
I don’t tell anybody about anything that I do. I just, people want know I just tell them, I just hang out. If they ask me what I do. That’s a good way to end it. I just hang out, that’s all I do.
Never Shout Never-- There’s 3 of you in the band?
Yes, there is 3 official members and then we’ve got two extra guys that are playing with us live right now.
You have been around a long time, haven’t you? Has it always been the three, or has it kinda changed a little bit?
We’ve been through a couple different line-ups. We actually started out just me on acoustic, then as time progressed we started out with more members. Then we got to about a 6 piece for a couple years. Then we went down to 3 piece again and now we’re up to 5 piece again. Always people kinda coming in and out but two core guys, Hayden and Taylor. They’ve been jamming out since day one.
In the beginning, Never Shout Never was spelled as one word correct? What made you separate it into three words and decide it needed to be separate and not the whole one thing.
I don’t know, I mean it just kind of happened by accident really. I don’t know I really didn’t think about it. You know I was like, I think somebody asked me like “this next record you want to have it all together or space it out.” And I was like lets space it out. Lot of people try to put meaning into it, but no real meaning other than just like uh thought it would look cooler separated.
As your band has moved from a 3 piece to 6 to 3 to 5 piece, do you feel like your music as a whole has changed or has it stayed pretty steady in the same genre?
Well, we have always experimented and I feel like that is what makes our band a little different than most. Is that every single one of our albums is really stylistically kind of different and my voice is always changing. Like every album I go for something new and uh we just like to keep it fun and fresh. We love change ya know. And I’ve always loved change and I’m changing as a person. Transforming into different people as I go along and its. I think there is something beautiful in embracing change and you grow from it too. We’ve grown as musicians so much as well.
Do you think your fan base has changed with your music?
It’s really broad these days. Um, we’ve got a lot of younger kids coming out still. And it doesn’t seem like that is going to stop for some reason. And uh, we’ve got people your age coming out too. They like the songs, they like to reminisce and whatever. But you’re know we are working to where we can make some music that everybody is going to like no matter what age you are.
What’s your favorite part about being a performing musician?
Ummm, I really love to just travel and I love meeting people. And I love meeting the people that come out to the shows. And uh, ya know whenever I’m off tour I’m a pretty simple guy, so I stay with my close knit friends and just kinda chill and ya know don’t think about it too hard. But when I hit the road I kind of dive in and do it, socialize, party, do whatever. You know it's just fun. I get a kick out of it, I really do. I used to not. I used to hate touring, but I’ve learned to enjoy it.
What is your favorite place you have traveled to on tour? Do you have a favorite place to play or anything like that?
I like going to South America. Its always real fun down there, its good times. Also like, hmmm, also playing like in, We only played there once, but I thought Japan was real cool. I really love the culture out there and I don’t know. I just got a kick out of it. I’m hoping we go back soon sometime.
When you’re trying to write a song, what inspires you?
I think it's just you know, just the uh, just the whole action of it brings me joy. Ya know and I feel like it's just fulfilling to create and whenever I have something that I think is really cool, then I’m buzzing about it. You know, so I follow that joy and pretty much all aspects of life. Follow the joy and happiness and then you know, all the rest can go to hell really.
Do you feel like that reflects in your writing a lot, you’re just carefree style about living life and beautifulness?
I try to you know, write about that stuff too. Life is so many different things, you know. One moment its joy and then one moment it's you know it's stressful and things aren’t going the way you want them to go and so it's good to write about everything. And everybody feels everything. So I feel like what I like about our band is that what we’ve done so far is that we’ve captured a lot of emotions, a lot of different emotions. People will tell us that we’re on their sad playlist and their happy playlist. I think we’re doing alright.
Do you feel like you’re motivated more by your happy feelings or your bad feelings? I know people say that people are motivated more by bad feelings than good ones.
You know it’s about turning your bad feelings into good feelings. Changing your approach, or changing something in your life to where you know whatever is bringing you down is going to help you grow. That’s my thing. That you should grow and not get held back by their fear and their doubt. And just live. My whole thing is to just not think about it you know. Just enjoy and be simple. That’s the best thing you can do.
How is it recording this past album, Black Cats? How did that album go?
Well, it was an LA album. So we were out there recording for about 6 months. In downtown LA, in the arts district. Which is nice atmosphere to record. We were there drinking high end coffee and taking care of business. And uh, we took about 6 months on it and made some of our best songs yet. And we’re starting to, starting to do the whole roll out plan that we had for the album. It’s taken a little longer than we thought. But it’s starting to really shape up. Feeling good.
What genre would you classify it as?
You know, I would says it’s really uh. I would call it like a knee-popper, chill pop songs that have a hint of indie rock to them. So, but its mostly just feel good pop stuff. There’s a few songs dashed in there that are mysterious and psychedelic.
Do you have a few favorite songs off the album that’s your favorite to play? Or your favorite song altogether?
Yeah, I feel like I really like the song Red Balloon. Which would end up being the single. Which we just figured out in the last two weeks. I had to like fight for it to be the single but, we uh. I really liked that one because it tells a real nice store. My favorite song to perform… I don’t know, let me think. I always get a kick out of playing the song Sweet Perfection. Its pretty mad kazoo line, so I get to rock the kazoo like a freaking champ. But I like playing them all. We get a kick out of it no matter how old it is, we can make it into something pretty cool.
Do you have that one song that you’d say that you like every single time you play it the crowd goes crazy and knows every single word, kind of thing?
Yeah, we have a few like that. Those are always fun to. And the ones that are more like just the tentative and listening to the music.
Do you still play some of your older classic stuff?
We play like most of it. That’s the fun stuff, cause you know the crowd is feeling it and we are getting into it too. But we still do what we want. We throw in some weird covers and throw in some new songs. Its gonna turn people off but win them back over with the next one.
Would you rather perform or write?
I think it’s a balance you know. I like writing because it’s freedom of expression, ya know anything goes. And then performing, I love the social aspect. I love the interacting with the crown and its funny. I just crack up thinking about it. I really do. It cracks me up. Looking out and everyone is freaking out. I just try to be goofy these days, try to be stupid and silly on stage. It just cracks me up. I like making people laugh, so I don’t know. I like it all. It’s all very fun.
Do you all write together, or do you all write your own things and then bring it to the table?
I have been writing the majority of pretty much everything but the other guys have been getting more involved lately and bringing some cool stuff to the table.
My favorite thing to ask for the last question.. If you had one goal in your music career to accomplish, what would it be? If you haven’t done so already.
I guess really like, just um I guess to create an album that is like I guess just a really really good album. And I think we’re still working to make that album. And that would be cool to have one album that is our little masterpiece. That everybody’s like, man that album's good ya know. We’re still working on that though.
Have you had songs through your recording process that you're like, no this is so good great I have to save it for my masterpiece?
No, I usually just go with the moment and just try not to overthink it.
interview and photographs by Rebecca Reece- fully copyrighted.