Dream-pop duo Drinker, which joins singer/songwriter Aaron Mendelsohn and composer/producer Ariel Loh, are proof that long distance relationships can work. Having met and formed a writing partnership together while both living in New York, Aaron recently moved to the opposite coast in Los Angeles. Regardless, Drinker lives on.
“We’re kind of a recording duo”, Aaron explains, sensing my confusion as to how a band can possibly function with 2,789.4 miles separating its two core members. “I’ve put together a live band out here (in LA), but the recording aspect is still something Ariel and I are continuing with — he’ll be coming here in May, and I’ll be heading back in June so we can continue making these songs.”
In fact, Ariel has set up a backing band for them in New York also — as long as Aaron is present to sing the songs and play guitar, the show will go on, whether it’s on the east or west coast. It’s all very 2017.
“It started out as just Ariel recording my songs,” Aaron says, sensing I’m still incredibly confused by it all. “But then our work took on another level of collaboration. I think the combination of our input gets it to a certain place that we need each other for.” So how did all this come about? “Well, Ariel and I knew each other for a few years prior, through former bands who used to play shows together in New York. I noticed Ariel was doing a lot of good production work, so he always seemed to be the person to go to for when I started writing my own songs again.”
“One weekend we drove out to a family home Aaron has outside of New York,” Ariel says. “We took some equipment and set up shop for a few days and that was the first time we ever wrote or did recording together. The first track we did ended up being the first song on our EP.”
Despite only forming in September, Drinker have been keeping busy. As mentioned, they put together an EP, Which Way Is South, which dropped on April 27th. Using their unorthodox methods for performing with or without each other, they’ve already played some shows, one of which was through Sofar Sounds in New York.
The things they say are seriously backed up by the music — Aaron’s voice and his songwriting contribution is very strong, and Ariel’s production is pretty formidable. It’s almost Bon Iver meets The xx, with Aaron’s voice sounding a little like José González. There’s small elements of that kind of folk, pleasingly swallowed up in processed beats, analogue bass lines and electric guitar. Lead single, Which Way Is South, is sure to turn heads at the end of this month.
Ariel recently completed his first film score, which explains the cinematic quality to the duo’s music.
“I believe the movie came out in the UK just recently,” he says. “It’s a horror film called The Eyes Of My Mother. We’ve actually borrowed some of the sounds and eeriness from the film music world for this project. I’ve worked with quite a few artists, but Drinker was the project where it felt like a real collaboration and not just me producing it.”