Interview of drummer Dan Drohan by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture - Picture by Emile Bertherat

Dan Drohan (for You’re a Crusher / drocan! out on June 26) – ITW #26

On June 26, drummer Dan Drohan releases You’re a Crusher / drocan!, his not-so-solo project in the form of a double album.

This forthcoming album is the kind of creative work made to be enjoyed from A to Z without interruption. Not because the tracks are inaccessible, but because tasting them one by one would remove the true value of experiencing Dan’s music.

The music itself and the way it unfolds is unexpected, protean, highly energetic and yet delicate, definitely measured. Yes, pun intended.

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Our interview with Dan Drohan:

The gig economy reality seems to have motivated you to flutter from project to project. Did you see in You’re a Crusher / drocan! opportunities to reaffirm your musical identity after years of supposedly unchosen projects?

Dan Drohan: Well, like with most of my solo music, it was the place for me to do whatever I could possibly dream up or desire to do without limitations. Complete freedom. My musical identity is affirmed in everything I do: drumming, composing, producing or making visual. They’re all tied in together.

YAC/drocan! enabled me to express more of what is in my heart and expand my identity beyond bands or certain records that I’ve played on. My hope is that listeners can link all of it together: hear my drumming from a country record and then listen to CUPOFDRO off YAC and see exactly how it’s the same human expressing themselves.

The albums contain a significant amount of samples and programmed beats. From concept to production, weren’t you afraid to not be able to recreate these segments in live conditions despite the technology available?

It’s heavily based on drumming i’m recording live. When producing, I have it on my mind to either stick to something being “performable” or totally throw that out the window. It will be exciting to replicate and reinterpret these concepts and productions live, when that’s possible again.

My approach to music in general comes from a jazz sensibility, so it’s about opening up these ideas to further expand on them, let them be alive and grow as time does. The electronic aspects will be conducted in experimental ways, similar to the process of making the body of work.

For drocan!, I’ll perform as a duo with Mike Cantor who will run things like a DJ, with decks, and laptop, effects, and even midi guitar. The Crusher material is based on different elements of solo drumming through contact mics, pedals, effecting through the computer, and stuff like that.

Some of the songs were even recorded live with a band in a room, like Leave It Loading and You’re A Crusher, featuring Derek Smith on bass guitar and Bobby Johnston on guitar from élan.

How did you manage to keep your direction while collaborating with so many guests?

It’s always fun creating and conceiving an idea for a track then opening the environment up to others. Direction is an elusive thing sometimes. Maybe for this body of work it was more about being honest with what I was expecting out of things and the outcome I was looking for.

Cohesion takes place throughout YAC/drocan! But in unexpected ways that aren’t too forced. The collaborators on YAC are bandmates of mine in élan. We’ve played together 4-5 nights a week for 4 or so years, so we know each other very well musically to be able to accept any chosen direction and leave room for interpretation.

Much of the drocan! side features Mike Cantor who is technically the other half of the band for the album. Our relationship is newer, and in that way open and honest. It’s helped me keep an open mind and as long as we feel empowered by what we’re making, the “direction” is right I think.

To our ears, valuable overdubs enrich You’re a Crusher / drocan!. How do you usually define your « that’s it for this track » moment?

It is tricky. I like to set timelines and guidelines. If a concept is achieved then it’s working in my book. The song could be a success in different ways.

The guiding light is usually an emotional place that it reaches. I love things that are imperfect and also I love things that are worked out for years. So at the end of the day, if it seems done, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. This twin album represents periods in my life and that’s more important to reveal in a way. Like The Chemical Brothers said they could keep working on things forever, and I believe it’s true.

I always think about how Dali knew to stop, or call it finished. Maximalism was also a theme through the drocan! side.

Drums seem to really catch the public eye nowadays, after years of disdain and reluctance. How do you explain this switch of perception? Could drummers dust off the guitar hero image and give birth to the figure of the drums hero?

Hahah I’m not sure I ever noticed the movement of not watching the drummer and being awed by it. From African ceremonies to Buddy Rich, from Elvin Jones to John Bonham, from Meg White to Zach Hill, Tony Allen to Malcolm Catto.

Drummers are heroes in a way and always have been to me… maybe my perception is particularly skewed because I am a drummer haha.

There’s room for reinterpretation as culture evolves each generation and I think what a drum hero looks like is changing in really exciting ways.

Dan Drohan, You’re A Crusher / drocan!

Out on June 26.


Daniel Patrick Drohan (BMI)
Writer, Producer, Drums, Percussion,Computer, Drum Programming, Vocals, Sounds, Mixing (All Songs).
Mike Cantor (BMI)
Co-Writer (10-13,15), Co-Producer (9-15), Mixing (10-15), Vocals (9,10,15), Moog (9,10,11,14,15), Guitar (11, 14, 15), Bass (12,14), Drum Programing (15), String Programming (13),Ringmod and berhinger deepmind 12 (12)

Bobbie Johnston – Guitar (1,3,6,8)
Elan Orr – Vocals (3,6)
Derek Smith – Bass Guitar (1,3,6,8)
Anna Cantor – Vocals (15)
Porchea Tipton – Vocals (15)
Charles Pinel – Executive Producer

About Dan Drohan

Dan Drohan is an American drummer, producer, composer, and visual artist. He grew up in Rochester NY and studied at Berklee College of Music in 2011. Dan has worked as a drummer and/or producer with Maggie Rogers, Nick Hakim, Tei Shi, Wilsen, Ang Low, Olden Yolk, Sid Sriram, Uni Ika Ai, Ben Talmi, Ginla, Rocco Delucca, élan, Carrtoons, and more.


Picture by Emile Bertherat

Written by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture.

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