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Ground Control Touring Welcomes Draag

Ground Control Touring Welcomes Draag

Posted 04/24/2024

Draag began when Adrian Acosta (songwriter, vocalist, guitarist) revived songs he recorded on his karaoke tape deck when he was 10 years old. Growing up in the northeast San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, there was nothing for kids to do. Adrian ran the DIY punk scene movement there as a preteen. Backyard shows happened every weekend by word of mouth and flyers at school, with some shows ending in drive by shootings from rival gangs. As a kid, Adrian purposely used warped tapes and dissonant sounds without understanding what he loved about it, but upon discovering artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, and Throbbing Gristle, he realized he wasn’t the only one. Adrian started Draag in 2013 as the full realization of what he’s always wanted to hear. Adrian met Ray Montes (guitar), Nick Kelley (bass), Eric Fabbro (drums), through many years in the music community in LA, who also took the craft of music seriously, running their own labels and going on tours at a young age. He met Jessica Huang (synth, vocals) through an ad on Craigslist looking for a female vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. She had a different musical upbringing, classically trained in piano and played the alto sax in marching band, and was on tumblr instead of at backyard shows.

Five-piece Draag gained a reputation for their sonically immersive live shows, mostly by word of mouth. They became known for being able to transform any type of space, from a garage with one outlet to a high production venue into a lush wall of sound, described as a storm in slow motion. Equally blissful and painful, Draag interweaves shoegaze, electro-industrial, and punk elements into a bittersweet ballad. For many years they would find themselves in all different scenes, playing metal nights, dark wave shows, shoegaze shows, etc. and still belong, while never quite fitting in. There was a long period of being misunderstood and overlooked. Close friends in the LA music community, such as Marina (The Witching Hours), Kenny in the band Goon, and Shawn in Cryogeyser, saw the vision, and provided Draag with a platform to play with like-minded bands such as Wednesday and They Are Gutting a Body of Water who subvert the shoegaze genre into something far more interesting.

Draag’s songs are often heavily melancholic and intense. It naturally became an outlet for emotional purging and catharsis from life experiences as highly sensitive people, making some wonder if they’re actually having any fun. Following two EPs “Nontoxic Process” and “Clara Luz,” their first full length self-produced LP “Dark Fire Heresy” immerses itself in stacked layers of guitar, nintendo era synths, and warped reversed tape samples, and directly faces personal experiences recovering from addiction and religious trauma/spiritual abuse. The visual world building became more prominent with the LP, collaborating with queer graphic design artists and photographers in Guatemala and legendary LA graffiti artist Sickid for the album art, and shooting ambitious one-take music videos with videographer and photographer Devonte Johnson.

Their upcoming EP “Actually, the quiet is nice,” releasing under the Philadelphia record label Julia’s War, is the liminal space between LP1 and LP2 that further explores the depths of nostalgia (a Draag specialty). Inspired by TikTok slides of anonymous Flickr uploads of someone’s friends, neighborhood on a summer day, their bedroom, etc. it struck an obsession with that particular feeling in childhood, while knowing you could go back, but no one would be home. Growing up with immigrant parents in the suburbs during the 90s is the landscape of the EP. Following the release, Draag is supporting Wednesday’s West Coast tour in May.

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