The Drones (Australian band)

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The Drones
Origin Melbourne, Victoria[1]
Genres Alternative rock, garage rock
Years active 1997–present
Labels ATP Recordings
In-Fidelity Records
Bang! Records
Spooky Records
Website The Drones official website
Members Gareth Liddiard
Fiona Kitschin
Christian Strybosch
Dan Luscombe
Steve Hesketh
Past members Rui Pereira
Warren Hall
Brendon Humphries
Mike Noga
James McCann

The Drones are an Australian band that rose to prominence in Australia when in 2005 their album, Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, won the inaugural Australian Music Prize.[1] The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Gareth Liddiard, bassist Fiona Kitschin, lead guitarist Dan Luscombe, keyboardist Steve Hesketh and drummer Christian Strybosch.


Biography (1997-2013)[edit]

The Drones were formed in Perth, Western Australia in 1997 by Gareth Liddiard and Rui Pereira as an outlet for Liddiard's songs and the unorthodox music the pair had been making together after meeting in high school in 1988.[2] Their most recent band The Gutterville Splendour Six, led by singer Maurice Flavel, later started working simultaneously as the original four piece line up of The Drones minus Flavel (with Warren Hall on drums and James McCann on guitar) playing a handful of shows in Perth and recording an unreleased EP before Liddiard and Pereira left for the eastern states in January 2000.[3] The pair originally planned to move to Sydney but after a short time there, decided Melbourne would be a better place for the band. They were soon joined by Drones/Gutterville drummer Hall and Gutterville guitarist Brendon Humphries (The Kill Devil Hills) who took over on bass after Pereira moved from that instrument to the guitar.[4] Hall soon returned to Perth while the remaining three recruited Christian Strybosch to replace him on drums and began playing shows and recording. Humphries then moved back to Perth and was replaced by Fiona Kitschin (who had previously played with Liddiard and Pereira in various bands) on bass once she had relocated to Melbourne from Perth. The new line up of Liddiard, Kitschin, Pereira and Strybosch then went on to record the band's first three albums Here Come The Lies (2002), The Miller's Daughter (2005) which included tracks recorded with Humphries in Melbourne and the original line up in Perth and Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By (2005).

In 2004 during legal troubles that delayed the release of Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By, Strybosch left the band and was replaced by drummer Mike Noga (Legends of Motorsport). The band used the initial period of their label limbo to go to Tasmania and record the album Gala Mill but it wasn't until 2006 that Gala Mill was released and the band spent the interim touring Australia and the northern hemisphere.

Pereira departed in 2007 and was replaced by guitarist Dan Luscombe (Blackeyed Susans, Paul Kelly, Spencer P. Jones' Last Gasp) during a period of constant touring lasting until 2008 when the band stopped to record their fifth album Havilah in the Victorian alpine valley of the same name. The band then continued touring until 2010 when Liddiard recorded the album Strange Tourist and the group took a break from their constant activity.

In 2011 the band released the live DVD A Thousand Mistakes which was made up of live footage from Australia, Germany and France. It included a session recorded in Melbourne with keyboard player Steve Hesketh who had previously played with the band on Wait Long By The River and The Miller's Daughter. The release was followed by an Australian tour as a five piece.

In June 2012 the same five piece line up recorded the sixth Drones album I See Seaweed which was released in March 2013.

Wait Long by the River... and Gala Mill (2004–2007)[edit]

Sessions for what would become their second album Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By were undertaken during 2004. But once the album was completed, the band had legal problems that stalled the release for over a year.[5] Influential Melbourne indie music figure Bruce Milne's In-Fidelity label eventually released it in early 2005,[6] to enthusiastic reviews from the underground music press. The album was also nominated for Triple J's inaugural J Award prize in 2005[7] (which was eventually won by Wolfmother), and topped many Australian critics' end-of-year Top 10 lists.[citation needed] Furthermore, Triple J put the album tracks "Shark Fin Blues" and "Baby²" on medium rotation.[citation needed] During an extensive six-month tour encompassing Europe and the US, All Tomorrow's Parties issued Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By outside of Australia towards the end of 2005. Strybosch left around this time to join Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males, and Mike Noga (Sandro) took his place.[6]

In 2006, a record of outtakes from Here Come the Lies and Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By called The Miller's Daughter was released by Bang! Records (a Spanish label which has many other underground Australian bands on its roster). Later that April, Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By won the inaugural Australian Music Prize, in contention were other notable bands such as Wolfmother, The Go-Betweens, TZU, The Devastations, The Mess Hall, Tex, Don & Charlie and Ben Lee.[1] The Drones continued to tour throughout the year, including a support slot on You Am I's Australian tour in July.

In September 2009 Wait Long... was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.

In a poll of contemporary Australian songwriters organised by Triple J, "Shark Fin Blues", was voted by as the greatest Australian song.[8]

The Drones third studio album Gala Mill was recorded in an old mill at Gala Farm in Cranbrook, Tasmania. It was released in September 2006. The album was also nominated for the 2006 Australian Music Prize.[9] The Drones were also nominated as 'Most Outstanding New Independent Artist' at the 2006 inaugural AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels Association) Chart Awards.[10]

In late 2006, Liddiard announced that Rui Pereira had left the band, to be replaced by Dan Luscombe[11] (The Blackeyed Susans, Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males, Stardust Five). Luscombe debuted for The Drones at the 2006 Meredith Music Festival.

On 15 November 2006 The Drones, through the American label, Spaceland Recordings, released a live album recorded at Spaceland an nightclub in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

In 2007 The Drones toured with the Big Day Out before undertaking a four-month tour around Europe (with shows in Norway, France and Italy), commencing in April with a performance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in the UK, curated by Dirty Three. The band's European tour was followed by a national tour of Australia, with Snowman. 2007 also saw the release of the band's first DVD, Live in Madrid, a live performance by the band at the Gruta 77 club in Madrid.

Havilah (2008–2012)[edit]

In July 2008 The Drones released a digital/12" EP featuring new songs "The Minotaur" and "Nail It Down", the first songs from their next album Havilah. Havilah was released 20 September 2008 in Australia, with a worldwide release following in February 2009. The band undertook a national tour to promote the album in November, performed at the Falls Festival in December and toured Australia in February 2009 as part of the St Jerome's Laneway Festival.

More European and American dates are confirmed for 2009 including a performance at the All Tomorrow's Parties New York Festival in September.

At the fourth annual AIR Awards held on 22 November 2009 The Drones won two awards, 'Best Independent Album of the Year' for Havilah and 'Independent Artist of the Year'.[12][13]

At the inaugural Australian Rolling Stone Awards, held in Sydney in January 2010, The Drones won the 'Best Live Act' award.[14]

I See Seaweed (2013 onwards)[edit]

In mid-August 2013, The Drones were a 'First Longlist' finalist for the 9th Coopers AMP for the album I See Seaweed, alongside artists such as Kevin Mitchell and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. The Australian music prize is worth A$30,000 and the 2013 winner will be announced in March 2014.[15] The band were then nominated for three Age Music Victoria awards in October 2013: best band, best album and best live act. The Age music awards are voted on by the public and the 2013 winners will be announced on 20 November.[16]

The album was identified as the sixth-best album of 2013 by the Faster Louder publication. The article referenced the online publication's March 2013 review of the album, in which it stated: "I See Seaweed often feels less like a rock album and more like a demented film score".[17] Over 100 writers from the website ranked the album first in its list of the "20 Best Australian Albums of 2013".[18]


Current Members[edit]

  • Gareth Liddiard — Lead vocals, guitar (1997-present)
  • Fiona Kitschin — Bass guitar, vocals (2002-present)
  • Christian Strybosch — Drums (2000-2004, 2014-present)
  • Dan Luscombe — Lead guitar, vocals (2007-present)
  • Steve Hesketh — Keyboards, piano (2013-present)

Former Members[edit]

  • Rui Pereira — Bass guitar (1997-2000), lead guitar (2000-2007)
  • James McCann — Lead guitar (1997-2000)
  • Warren Hall — Drums (1997-2000)
  • Mike Noga — Drums, vocals, harmonica, percussion (2004-2014)
  • Brendon Humphries — Bass guitar (2000-2002)





  1. ^ a b c "Music to their ears band highly prized by peers". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 March 2006. 
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Last FM: The Gutterville Splendour Six". 
  4. ^ Nicotene, Jean. Rave Magazine |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  5. ^ Reid, Graham (2 September 2013). "Gareth Liddiard of The Drones Interviewed (2013)". Elsewhere Ltd. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "The Drones: Doing Things The Hard Way". Upfront Online. 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  7. ^ "The J Award 2005". Triple J. 2005. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Donovan, Patrick (30 October 2009). "Drones' Shark Fin Blues tops rock list". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 November 2009. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Faster Louder news - 'The inaugural AIR indie music awards kick off this November' (3 November 2006)
  11. ^ Mess & Noise news - 'The Drones Confirm New Guitarist' (12 December 2006)
  12. ^ "2009 Air Awards". AIR. November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Cashmere, Paul (24 November 2009). "The Drones Take Home The Major Air Award". Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Australia's first Rolling Stone Awards". Bigpond. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  15. ^ Mike Hohnen (15 August 2013). "Nick Cave, The Drones, Bob Evans Make Longlist For $30,000 Coopers AMP". Music Feeds. Music Feeds. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Martin Boulton (11 October 2013). "Drones in form for Age music awards". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "FL's Top 50 Albums of 2013". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Dan Condon. "THE 20 BEST AUSTRALIAN ALBUMS OF 2013". Street Press Australia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 

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