Drew Carmody, aka LDRU, drank a sleep-inducing amount of red wine, reclined in the plush seat of a Virgin Australia 747, and travelled from Palm Beach, Australia to Palm Springs, California by way of LAX. The carpenter-cum-producer loves a road trip and treated himself accordingly. Instead of being on-stage, LDRU went to the festival as a fan, got loose, and tore it up with the CONVICTS crew.
On the way back to LA, we got the word from Drew on his favorite Aussie slang, the value of travel, and the fact that, if you’re doing something for the right reasons, nothing is out of reach.
Hey, mate how’s it going. To begin, can you tell us who you are and where we are right now?
I’m Drew from LDRU, I’m one half of Carmada and we’re in Venice right now.
Tell us about your trip from Australia to the States?
Nice usual day in Manly, had a look at the view, had to push it to make the airport on time, got there, got into the Virgin lounge it was amazing, good fun, got a nice little glass of champagne, some orange juice then had a bunch of red wine and passed out.
What about when you touched down in LA?
Venice beach is epic, they got the skatepark there, hot chicks, great food. Brilliant. Then we jumped in the car to head to Palm Springs. That was pretty cool, sat in the car a bit, made a bit of music, I’m a guy who likes to take it all in, enjoy the scenery, so we listened to some music and just hung out with the boys, stopped off at a really cool spot to get some photos, had some quad biking going on in the middle of the desert. I thought there would be nothing going on there. That’s about it.
We hear you’re a fan of In-N-Out Burger.
In-N-Out is brilliant. It’s like gourmet McDonalds. I love it. I don’t get to eat it that much.
Talk a bit about the desert out here?
Australia is kinda similar, but there is a cultural difference. Going from home to here in such a short time was really weird. When I got here, it still felt like I was at home? Once we got to the festival and realised where we were and saw everything, that’s when it was different.
What was the atmosphere like at the festival?
Weekend two was a little bit more chill, everyone was there just for the music, not too many Instagram people running around with fifteen-thousand followers trying to get photos with everyone. The atmosphere was great, everyone was vibing having a great time. Fucking very, very hot weekend though.
What’s your impression of America?
Eminem was my impression of America back when I was a kid. I always listened to his stuff. The skateparks, the surf-everything was really intriguing to me. I always wanted to come over here as a little kid, and now I’ve finally gotten to and it’s brilliant.
What are the little things you’re looking forward to on this trip?
In-N-Out, partying, catching up with friends. Partying.
What else did you do in Palm Springs?
We went for a swim on the last day, heaps of food, mostly just going to the festival.
Talk about being on the audience, rather than the artist, end of this festival?
I haven’t done a festival as a punter in a while. We scored some artist passes which were great. Just to go and see all these artists which I haven’t seen in years, like Justice. They were my fucking highlight for sure.
Talk about the differences between Australian and American culture.
Definitely. I’ve noticed that a fair bit in the fashion. In Australia, depending on which festival you go to you get all these roided-up people with their shirts off. Over here, everyone’s just wearing their bandanas. Shirts off, but not so much roided up. In Australia, it’s a bit more about getting loose whereas over here it’s more about meeting people you’ve never met before and hanging out and enjoying the music with each other.
How does being under the influence affect you creatively?
Being sober listening to and making music is always good. You can always pick out the little things. You enjoy it a little bit more. Being under the influence is also pretty good when you are making music: it takes you on a journey and you can gather different thoughts and perceive the way you listen to it a little differently.
What influence do you think drugs have on electronic music as a whole?
Everyone’s different, not everyone takes drugs, but the people that do they are no different than anyone else. I think it’s a good and a bad thing. Sometimes you get a bunch of people in the crowd that are way too fucked up and probably shouldn’t be there, and then you get sober people who are there having the best time of their life. It’s a 50/50 situation for me.
What are you reaching for?
Well, my latest single ‘Keeping Score’ just went double platinum which was fucking very very cool. My next goal will be to make it to the Grammy’s for some reason, whether that be a nomination or just hanging out.
Nothing’s out of reach. If you were to sell somebody on Australia, what would you say?
The beaches, I reckon. They’re so nice. The northern beaches, the east coast and the west coast. The waves are beautiful. The scenery is amazing. The food, the barbecues, the beer.
Can you run us through how you came to be a DJ-what was that fuck it moment?
I was a carpenter when I first started out, did that for about four years and fell off a ladder at work and that took me out of work for a year to a year and a half on and off. So I started making music on my laptop, I was DJing since I was sixteen or seventeen and sneaking into clubs to play. When I fell off that ladder a year later it was kinda make or break moment, the fuck it moment when I wondered ‘Should I just do this full time and give it a good crack or just wait until my back gets better and stick with carpentry?’ I was like ‘Fuck it let’s stick with the music thing and hope it gets better.’
How are the hours?
The hours get pretty intense. They have their ups and downs. A good example: six months ago I did the East Coast of America on the bus tour with NGHTMRE and SLANDER. I think we played fourteen shows in sixteen days. That was very very intense. We’d rock up to the venue at like 3pm in the afternoon. Everyone would get set up. You’d play a show from twelve to one. Wait for the boys to finish at three or four in the morning. Jump straight back on the bus to the next destination do that all again. That was solid for two weeks straight. It’s pretty intense sometimes.
Any advice for young DJ’s in Australia?
Definitely Triple-J Unearthed. I love that platform and Triple J. They are so amazing at helping young artists out. That’s what their whole thing is. Do that. Go and hang out at your local club, meet people involved in the industry. Make sure your face is being shown and you actually care about where you are going and what’s happening at the time.
What’s your worst experience?
Worst experience ever would have to be at Splendour when Max and I played a couple years back got up on stage and our USB’s wouldn’t work in front of 15,000 people. We just looked at each other and freaked out and had to grab a spare backup one super quick and just winged it.
How many drinks can you have before your performance starts to deteriorate?
I could definitely start on about four beers and work my way up, once I hit about seven I start going downhill, but you get the occasional random loop that I do that would be really good so it could work in both ways. Because when you get a little too drunk you get a little overconfident and do things you normally wouldn’t do.
Favorite Australian slang words:
Sick cunt: All round good person. A dooley: Someone that’s kinda a kook in life and not killing it all. Shithouse: When something has gone terribly wrong. Pipe down: When someone’s being a bit too loud and obnoxious at the pub and starting to get a bit rude. Maz: Where you wank off, where you pull your dick.
When were you most loose playing?
Would have been shitfaced a few years ago when Max and I were playing, I just got up on stage and had no idea what was going on. It kinda worked out alright.
What’s the best thing to do in….
Backyard: Drink beers and play cricket. Bedroom: Get naked and down to it. Festival: Piss in the crowd while no one is looking. Shower: Maz.
Talk about the global nature of EDM like the fact that anyone can pick up a laptop and potentially pick up a really good track. How does that make you feel?
Take Marshmellow for example. The kid’s killing it. He’s got a laptop, a USB and headphones, writes all his music on there. I’m sure he finishes them off in the studio. Now he is playing the biggest festivals in the world. Also, it’s kinda disappointing, because it’s more accessible to all the young kids out there who are in it for the wrong reasons. But if you are in it for the right reasons then it’s really, really cool.
What are the right reasons, then?
Passion, if you truly enjoy making music and being around the culture then I think they are the right reasons.
Do you find travelling important?
It’s very important for your career. Not so much for your health. It’s important to travel and meet new people and experience new cultures that make you approach music differently. So yes, the short answer is: it’s very important.
What excites you about travel?
The adventure, the journey, getting to the destination: that’s all more important than actually being at the destination. Having fun along the way with friends and family. Just hanging out with everyone and having a good time.
Do you think travel’s attainable for everyone?
Definitely. I get to travel a lot for my work and I’m very appreciative for that. It’s definitely a lot harder for other people. Save as much as you can, and make sure you go and experience new cultures and new places because it’s going to open up your mind and make you an all-round better person. Everyone should travel at least once in their lifetime.
Does travelling inspire music at all?
For sure. Even trees and different scenery makes you think differently. When you get into the studio, new sounds, like planes flying over, helicopters or an animal you’ve never heard before those’ll make you think differently when you get into the studio to write something down.
There a rumor going around that you are the politest person in the Australian music industry.
I’d like to confirm that straight up. Everyone’s a little bit rude every now and then. But I do have very good manners. Thanks mum and dad. I always say please and thank you. I think it goes a long way.
Proper gentlemen. Anything else you want to say mate?
Thank you Virgin Australia. Much appreciated: anyone else who wants to fly with them please do it. They are the greatest airline ever. Big shout out to every virgin out there.
Right on. Thanks man, and see you soon.