Interview: The Download Tapes – Dragged Under

Dragged Under started their European tour at Download. Ryan “Fluff” Bruce (lead guitar), Kalen Anderson (drums), and Sean Rosario (rhythm guitar) chatted to Mark Bestford about the ups and downs of touring with The Used and Beartooth and why it takes so long for the band to make an album.


Your new album has literally just come out yesterday. What’s it been like being back in the studio recording?

Fluff “Nice. The way we work we work pretty weird. So like, we will do riff salads and we will come up with ideas, basic song structures, just about everything and then our singer Tony will sit with it for six months, eight months and shape those songs with producer Hiram, then when it’s time to write lyrics, him and Hans our bassist will go in and kind of put the icing on the cake as it were. And so by the time the album is done, like it’s been forever since we’ve actually heard, it will go six, eight months not hearing anything ourselves because they’re the cooks in the kitchen as it were. It feels amazing when it comes out.”

What’s it like to come to a festival like Download and actually play new music that no one’s heard before?

Kalen “It was stressful. Playing a new song for the first time in front of a crowd is stressful to begin with. And then have it be at Download Festival, something we’ve dreamed of playing our whole lives to just add to it. But it was a lot of fun.”

So what’s the album about?

F “I mean, it’s kind of a commentary. It’s a couple of different things. I don’t want to speak for Tony too much. However, the title refers to humanity and all of the splendour that we have access to as modern people yet we’re still fighting over the same old stuff, money, wars, politics, but you know, we can poop 30,000 feet in the air which is incredible on a plane, like we have, you know, all these things. We’re still bringing children and kids into this kind of world. Amongst other things. Again, I don’t want to speak too much for him. But the overall arching theme is we need to take a look at ourselves, more.”

The world is pretty screwed at the moment.

F “It really is. It really is.”

So with how the world is at the moment, how do you guys like to cheer yourselves up? What do you put on to listen to and just go ‘I want to cheer myself up.’

F “I actually listened to a lot of old 70s rock. Tom Petty, Eagles. I don’t know, it kind of reminds me of a simpler time, like when I was a little kid. And I don’t know, that’s what I do, I listen to old stuff.”

Sean “I mean, I’m a big fan of… God, I have a very eclectic music taste. So I’ll listen to 80s music, I’ll listen to, I mean 90s alternative is probably my favourite. And then I’ll even venture off into like, Euro pop like Eiffel 65 and bands like that, too. But I mean, just anything that’s kind of nostalgic.”

K “Honestly, I’ll put on our own music. Because if it wasn’t for that music, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing right now. We’re literally living our dreams. So it just, it reminds me to not stress, just live in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing. Because not a lot of people get to do it.”

The American scene is a lot different to the British scene. How important it been to you guys.

F “You know what? This was actually our first show over here. I think for me personally, everyone is so nice here. I mean, America is so rude I’m realizing.”

K “Even at the airport, they were kindest people, dealing with all of our mishaps. In America, it would be the exact opposite.”

Some of the tour stories that are written about the British guys, they’ve gone over to America. And they come back with what sound like horror stories.

F “America is very negative today. And that’s been for many years, but I don’t know, I think they could learn something from the English. It’s just my opinion.”

What have been your best moments touring?

F “Oh, man, I mean, we’ve been really fortunate to do a lot of really cool tours. The Used literally changed our lives. Beartooth was amazing. Beartooth was like a highlight for all of us because I think all of us are massive fans of Beartooth.”

K “Maybe a little show we played an hour ago.”

F “Yeah. And then also starting off a tour at Download is unbelievable.”

So where are you? What are you doing touring after today?

F “So now we go up to Glasgow and then we go back down and then we hit the Netherlands, France, play a few more festivals like Hellfest and then end the tour at Full Force and then Germany.”

So, Friend or Foe? You pick a side and give a message for that side.

F “I would pick a foe.”

What would be your message for your enemies out there?

F “Spend more time on themselves.”

S “If I get this question, I pick friend. I’m a very, how do I say, an empathetic person. So if I kind of see myself and a lot of people, which is like, you know angst, and worry, and overthinking sometimes, and I can connect with those people. And I feel like I can share a moment with them about relating to that feeling. And just saying, like, you know what, like, everything will be okay. Nothing’s the way it may be perceived. So just live in the moment, like Fluff was saying, and Kalen was saying that earlier. Don’t worry about the future or the past, like right now is the most important time.”

You’ve got quite a bit of touring to do, how are you going to try and wind down in between shows?

K “Well just do what you can to try and relax for the little bit of time that you have and make the best of it. You’re going to be tired, you’re not going to feel your best every day. You just got to make the most of it. You’re doing what you love to do. There’s nothing to be upset about.”

F “Yeah, I like peace and quiet. I have to just kind of do me for a little bit of time. And then I’m okay.”

S “Actually, I was gonna add to that, too, since we’re in a totally different country, I think, you know, me and Hans talked about, at least trying to explore as much as we can around the venues because there’s so much history around here. And it’s, it’s a lot older than America is. And I feel like that’s a great way to wind down. It’s just cruise around on foot and just go places and just see as much as you can.”

We mentioned earlier some of your best moments on tour, do you have a worst moment on tour?

K “The hotel when the fire alarm went off.”

F “Dude. Okay, so we had gotten into a hotel, you know, middle of the night, was one of those long drive nights. Not a lot of time for sleep. We got into this hotel at 5:30 in the morning, we had to be up at eight or nine. We had literally two and a half hours to sleep as much as we possibly could before we had to leave to meet the next show. And about 10 minutes into checking in our hotel rooms the fire alarm, in error, went off. The whole building, we had to evacuate and sit outside.”

K “The fire department came.”

F “For about 40 minutes. We were very upset. And that was when you’re so deliriously tired, it makes it really tough to kind of check yourself in reality. That was horrible in that moment.”

It must have been a pretty tough show to do afterwards

F “Oh my god, we were so tired.”

K “That was on The Used tour, wasn’t it? Yeah, so we played shows on all of our off days. So we didn’t really have more than like four true days off. So we would go like 12, 13 days in a row just constantly grinding without any time to rest. Yeah, next days are pretty tough.”

That makes a change from some of the shows I’ve heard about from bands going over there. There was a band called Chaos UK and the police would raid their shows as they were playing.

K “We haven’t had that happen yet.”

F “Not yet.”

K “We got held in the airport jail for about three hours. That’s the extent.”

S “And they were really nice, I was like ‘I could hang out with these guys outside of this situation.’ They were just like, we just got to make sure everything’s okay and then you can cruise through.”

Interview and photo by Mark Bestford