Nine years of your life doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re into your thirties, but a lot of living and growing goes on between the ages of sixteen and 25. Now imagine doing it in the public eye. We cringe at the idea of our late teens being recorded for posterity and occasionally studied, but that’s pretty much what happened to Christofer Drew, main man of Missouri-bred band Never Shout Never.
The real surprise, and we mean this with all due respect, is that this band of indie emo darlings have survived for nine years. Weren’t they supposed to put out some radio-friendly rock, play an Alternative Press tour or two, and then disappear into a smog of forgettable solo careers? It didn’t work out like that because, well, evolution and stuff.
Not content to rest on his laurels, pretty singer Drew delved into psychedelic music, explored the limits of pop, and has genuinely grown as a songwriter as a result.
“Probably half of our nine years together, we spent on the road,” Drew says. “Playing every night, playing covers and stuff, you learn a lot. We experimented so much throughout the years, playing ukulele music to psychedelic to pop. It’s just about constantly experimenting and trying to grow as musicians, learning new things. We evolved in a steady, natural way.”
They certainly have: Never Shout Never released five EPs before they put out the debut What is Love? album in 2010. Incidentally, the bandmembers put out a second album, Harmony, that very same year and have been startlingly prolific ever since. As Drew mentions, they’ve gone out of their way to expand their sound. So where does he think that sound sits now?
“I guess this last record we put out is more pop,” he says. “It’s touching on pop, but we’re still leaning toward the psychedelic thing. So psychedelic pop?”
That record is Black Cat, a fun and inventive album that is blessed with more hooks than a fisherman’s shed. Drew is stoked by the reception the record has received by critics and fans alike. It prompts the question, though: When a band is out on the road as much as these boys are, how do they manage to put out so much product?
“I love writing on the bus; last night we had a writing session in the back lounge,” Drew says. “Sometimes the road actually inspires songs. You just have to take an hour away from the day, pick up a guitar and see what happens. I make sure to record everything on a phone, because I forget everything.”
The idea that the road can inspire the writing is interesting, and whether specific locations have been reflected in songs. “It’s not always the case, but there are definitely moments,” Drew says. “One time, specifically, we were in Guam, and I wrote this song called ‘Club USA’ about a weird strip club with that name. The hook is, ‘I’ll never go back to Club USA.'”
Drew, who says that he loves coming to Colorado, is embarked on writing yet another album with his band. True to form, these guys are trying some different yet again, composing a conceptual record and creating an animated movie to go with it. As for the set in Denver, the band wants to give us a little bit of everything.
“We’re playing a lot of really old songs and a couple of new ones, plus a couple of covers,” Drew says. “Have it so that everyone that comes out at least hears a song or two that they really dig.”
And then that’ll be that, for a year or so, anyway. If you can count on anything, it’s that these bright young things won’t stop working, and that is to be admired.
“We’re gonna go back in the studio and work on this record some more after this tour, try to put that out,” Drew says. “Then we’re booking some dates and radio shows, shit like that. We’re trying to figure out our summer and fall, touring-wise. We’re just trying to have a bigger year – we’re trying to get back in the swing of things. We had a couple of lazy years where we weren’t doing much.”
By which he means releasing just one album and completing just one world tour. And they say millennials are lazy.
Never Shout Never plays with Metro Station, Jule Vera, Waterparks, and Kill Paradise at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 at the Summit Music Hall; 1902 Blake Street, Denver; 303-487-0111; $18-$22.