Back in May Far Out Magazine got wind of a new collaborative project that seemed to come from nowhere. With their first single and LP title track ‘Hermits On Holiday’, DRINKS were born, bringing together the talents of White Fence tour buddies Tim Presley and Cate Le Bon and placing them side-by-side as one shared voice.
On paper the combination of San Francisco punk turned psych-king Presley and Welsh oddball popster Le Bon sounds infinitely intriguing, but today the proof is in the pudding as the album is now available for you to earn, via Heavenly Recordings.
To mark the release, Far Out spoke to Cate and Tim to discuss the spirit of punk, the pressures of juggling simultaneous projects and why DRINKS really are a marriage made in heaven…
How did DRINKS come about, was it a natural development that came from you touring together with White Fence?
Cate: We’ve been friends for a few years and have always thought it would be a nice idea to do something together.
We spent a long time touring the White Fence album and that gathered a lot of momentum, but then we decided that had started to become irrelevant and we wanted to do something that we would get more out of.
Does it feel strange having the DRINKS album coming out and a debut tour scheduled for next month while still touring with White Fence?
Cate: We’ve got a week to turn it around [the DRINKS tour], but a change is as good as a rest. You’d think it would be the last thing we would want to do, but I guess there was just an enthusiasm there. It didn’t feel like a chore whatsoever.
How would you describe the record in comparison to previous work with your various projects?
Cate: It doesn’t really feel like a collaboration in the sense that we’ve both collaborated with other people before. It feels more like you’re holding hands with someone and going on this walk. You don’t really know where you’re going but if feels like a really good use of time.
Is it fair to describe DRINKS as a side project?
Cate: It doesn’t matter what people call it. It is what it is, and you can call it what what you want really. I think we’d love to make another record, just as soon as we can find a window to do it.
Tim: We came up with – not a formula – but an idea of how we wanted the whole thing to sound. There’s still a lot we can contribute to another record.
Is Cate going to continue on the road with White Fence?
Cate: I think so. I love playing guitar and I’d do anything for Tim. I certainly haven’t got to a point where I’ve had enough!
What were the biggest influences on the DRINKS album?
Cate: During the process we would sit down and listen to music together a lot. I don’t think I’ve done that with anyone since I was a teenager. Tom Petty, we love Tom Petty. But Tim’s an old punk, so there was plenty of that going on too.
Do you miss making punk music Tim?
Tim: To me punk is something more than just The Sex Pistols or the Ramones or whatever. It’s kind of like a free-jazz way of thinking. Punk could be a really pretty song as long as it has that attitude.
To me punk could be something like not using reverb on a really over the top psychedelic record. It’s kind of like a ‘fuck them’, you know? It’s a way of thinking.
How have you both found the response to the first couple of singles?
Cate: You make an album and to us that’s just what it feels like. The idea of putting singles out can seem ridiculous. We’ve not read many reviews because it doesn’t really matter to us.
Some people will love it and some people will think it’s a bag of shite. Either way is fine. I’ve read some nice things where people have got the intention of the record. We’re not trying to moralise or over-think anything. You sort of just go into it and a lot is left to chance.
Tim: I think it helps that we trust each other musically. If that’s not there then you are compromising yourself musically.
What can we expect from the DRINKS live setup next month?
Cate: We were going to try and get it sorted before we left for this [White Fence] tour. But, er… we didn’t!
We have a great drummer and bassist who have learnt all the songs. And that’s lucky for us because we most definitely haven’t leant the songs!
September 5th – End Of The Road Festival
September 6th – Festival No.6, Portmerion
September 8th – Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
September 9th – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
September 10th –The Lexington, London
September 11th – The Hope, Brighton
September 12th – On Blackheath Festival, London