Backed by the weight and grit of a brand new release entitled Whatever, songwriter Warren California rebrands as the creative entity DRQLA, and kicks off this era with absolute intention.
We caught an interview with the artist behind the music, to find out more about the project, the song, and what lies ahead. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Warren – thanks for the interview! Congrats on the new release, refreshingly heavy and stylish all at once. Great bass, a little Nine Inch Nails influence.
What can you tell us about Whatever – how and why did you create it?
Thank you. I’m flattered you liked it.
Thematically, it’s about fake ass friends who talk a big game about Loyalty, then stab you in the back. Or pull the rug out from under you. Choose your analogy. It’s something I believe everyone has experience with and can relate to.
With Whatever, the vision was to achieve an effect that was mellow, yet wildly aggressive and intimate in its delivery. I wanted to sell the idea of a simple, almost childish bass line plodding along repetitively. Everything else is woven across this framework, then fine tuned and infused with cruel intentions.
I’m very proud of this piece. It’s personal; and it should feel that way. To me, the end product was brutally raw in its honesty; but still modern enough to satisfy my own pop sensibilities.
DRQLA is a solo project featuring yourself as multi-instrumentalist and producer. Where do you begin with a new track – acoustic instruments, studio software, pen and paper?
I think I’m old skool like that as it almost always begins on pencil and paper. 99% of the heavy lifting is done by instruments (real or virtual) and studio magic; but that only helps to define the final result, to “confirm” the vision, in a sense. But it invariably begins as a tune I hum and get obsessed with in my head; that ends up needing to be poured out on paper.
Is there a heavy editing process or do you keep things as they emerge?
There’s definitely a heavy editing process.
Whatever began as a very simple, bare bones track. What you hear in the final product is me polishing it, thinking about it from different listeners’ viewpoints, and then making it ‘elegant’; smoothing out the jagged edges, almost like sanding down an unfinished piece of wood. I’m not a fan of keeping things too organic/unedited, that sounds ‘old’, at least to me.
Also, I’m not really in the ‘keeping things as they emerge’ camp, as I have a very clear vision of how things should work out; and that’s distracting.
What does DRQLA represent, and was there a reason for this as a name over simply your own – does an AKA allow you to feel more freedom to express without fear?
I always felt like the people I chose to surround myself with (in the past) sucked the life and living hell out of me. DRQLA represents my vengeance on this world. A world which created me; the name being a tribute of sorts to the trauma I have had to endure. Never forget. Like the Nosferatu, I came back. Drained, haunted and scarred, but I am back for blood. In that respect, I’d say yes, the banner of DRQLA enables me to express that idea a little more freely, distinctly.
“I wholeheartedly welcome you to partake in my chaos.”
Love the solo during the latter half. You’re primarily a guitarist on the live scene – where can people catch you playing, and what would be your dream venue, event or stage to grace?
Thank you, I’m really stoked you enjoyed it! Please follow @drqla.jpg on Instagram to keep up to date with Live shows. With regards to your other question.. If we’re talking crazy without limits, I’d love to be the first band to play a show on the moon! Just imagine the logistics. Realistically, I’d say Madison Square Garden.
Considering the little jazz outro of the new single, will future releases be a fairly mixed bag artistically?
Absolutely, always. I’d never limit myself to a single genre or box myself in, so to speak. I feel too much to not seek out variation, it’s almost a natural instinct for me to try/explore new ground. Nothing is sacred. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is; you’ll see on the upcoming debut album.
Does your creativity manifest itself in any other ways?
I design most of the visuals for DRQLA, so graphic design is the most common way it comes out. Lately, I’ve been interested in video/filming because of TikTok (@drqla.gif). It’s been stimulating and I love creating content on the fly. Such an unparalleled buzz, really. With such technology at hand today, there’s no excuse to be doing nothing (creative)!
What’s next for the project – what can we look forward to?
DRQLA’s full length debut album coming right up. If you liked Whatever, then you’ll definitely want to check it out. Even though the tracks are stylistically different from one another, the one thing they have in common is their intensity. I wholeheartedly welcome you to partake in my chaos.
Is there anything else we should know?
DRQLA is born of a true loathing for society and the human condition. I created it to have ownership over myself and to know how much of me was truly left. I hope you have fun peering into these shards. Thank you so very much for your support; I hope you enjoy the ride.
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