Never Shout Never's Christofer Drew is a bit more "relaxed" about his music career -- and his life -- these days.
There are a couple of reasons. After six NSN albums he's "been doing it for awhile. I've really kind of found a joy in it. I've learned that this is kind of what I live to do, making music, and I love being on the road and journeying and stuff." Coupled with a recent embrace of the Eastern philosophy of Daoism, including meditation, the 24-year-old is "pretty chill right now, just enjoying life and music."
Some of that is evident on NSN's latest release, "Black Cat," which came out in November. Coming off a pair of more experimental predecessors, the set is more straightforward musically and also Drew's most collaborative effort yet, with more input from the other band members as well as producer Dennis Herring.
"In the past I've always been, 'Here's how the songs are gonna go' and we record them," Drew, who started NSN during 2007 in Joplin, Mo., says by phone from a tour stop in Minneapolis. "For this one we did a bunch of writing beforehand and really tried to play it right. There was a little bit of a falling out with us and Warner Bros. (NSN's record company) and I wanted to make amends. I was like, 'OK, I appreciate you guys. I'll play the game with you on this one.'
"So we played it and the producer was really involved in a lot of the process and he helped me with some of the writing. And the company was really involved with picking the songs and everything. It was a lot different, but I don't have any complaints. The huge project was a learning experience for me."
Drew says Herring in particular gave him a new way to look at songwriting and then doing more with them once the group was in the studio. "I think the biggest thing was taking time on the songs and letting them develop and second-guessing some of the work," he recalls. "Dennis would go, 'That's great, but what if we tried this and did this, maybe this bridge needs an extra chord.' Or he'd go, 'That lyric sucks. YOu need to do something better.
"I've always been a sponge and learned from my producers and soaked up their tricks to use for our next thing. But I probably learned more on this record than I did on the other ones."
Drew is, in fact, already using those lessons. NSN is about five songs into its next album, which he says is a conceptual piece about self-realization and self-enlightenment. "We're really going for a huge-sounding, psychedelic, indie rock sort of thing," Drew says. "I want to take all these songs and put in all sorts of crazy production -- psychedelic electronic music, crazy sounds, ridiculous synths, huge double drums, everything like that.
"We just want to make something sound crazy and huge. It will still have some folky songs on it, but we really want to go messy on this one and make everybody question our band again."
Never Shout Never, Metro Station, Jule Vera, Waterparks and Me Like Bees
Saturday, Feb. 6. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are $18.
Call 313-961-8961 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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