The Drones (Australian band)

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The Drones
Gareth Liddiard of The Drones.jpg
The Drones performing at A Day On The Green in Bimbadgen Winery, Hunter Valley NSW Australia in 2013
Background information
Origin Perth, Western Australia
Years active 1997–2016 (hiatus)
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 rock band, originally from Perth, Western Australia but now located in Melbourne, Victoria. As of 2014, the band consists of vocalist/guitarist Gareth Liddiard - the band's sole original member - as well as bassist Fiona Kitschin, lead guitarist/keyboardist Dan Luscombe, keyboardist Steve Hesketh and drummer Christian Strybosch. The band 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]


Formation and early days (1997-2004)[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 Gutterville drummer Hall and Gutterville guitarist Brendon Humphries (The Kill Devil Hills), who took over on bass after Pereira moved to guitar.[4] Hall soon returned to Perth, while the remaining three recruited Christian Strybosch to replace him on drums. 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.

Wait Long by the River..., The Miller's Daughter 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 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. In 2004, 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. However, it wasn't until 2006 that Gala Mill was released, and the band spent the interim touring Australia and the northern hemisphere.[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 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.

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.

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]

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.

I See Seaweed (2013-2015)[edit]

The band, now with Hesketh as a full-time member, released I See Seaweed in March 2013. Two singles were released from the album - "How to See Through Fog" and the title track, the latter of which had a music video released for it. 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.[15] The band were then nominated for three Age Music Victoria awards in October 2013: best band, best album and best live act.[16]

The album was identified as the sixth-best album of 2013 by FasterLouder. 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]

Following the end of the tour in support of I See Seaweed, Noga quietly departed from the band in 2014 to focus full-time on his solo work. He was replaced by a returning Strybosch.

Feelin Kinda Free (2015-2016)[edit]

The Drones performing in 2016

The Drones released their first single from their then-untitled LP, "Taman Shud," in October 2015. The accompanying music video was satirically aimed at right-wing pundits such as Andrew Bolt and the Reclaim Australia movement. It was followed by a second single, "To Think That I Once Loved You," in January 2016. The album, now officially titled Feelin Kinda Free, was released on March 18, 2016. It was the first album by the band to be released through their own label, Tropical Fuck Storm (TFS) Records. The album was met with widely-positive reviews from outlets such as Drowned in Sound, The Guardian and Music Feeds. The band played their final show in support of the album in December 2016 as part of the Fairgrounds Festival in Berry, New South Wales; and entered a hiatus period following the set.

In 2017, Liddiard and Kitschin were both announced to be a part of a new band, named Tropical Fuck Storm alongside High Tension drummer Lauren Hammel and Harmony vocalist Erica Dunn. The band toured through the US with Band of Horses in 2017.


Current members[edit]

  • Gareth Liddiard — lead vocals, guitar (1997-2016), keyboards (2015-2016)
  • Fiona Kitschin — bass guitar, vocals (2002-2016)
  • Christian Strybosch — drums (2000-2004, 2014-2016)
  • Dan Luscombe — lead guitar, vocals (2007-2016), keyboards (2015-2016)
  • Steve Hesketh — keyboards, piano (2013-2016)

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)



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]



  • "Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands"/"Mean Streak" (2002)
  • "Bird in a Church"/"Slamming on the Brakes" (2002)
  • "Shark Fin Blues"/"You Really Don't Care" (2005)
  • "Jezebel" (2006)
  • "I Don't Ever Want to Change" (2006)
  • "Custom Made" (2007)
  • "How to See Through Fog" (2013)
  • "I See Seaweed" (2013)
  • "Taman Shud" (2015)
  • "To Think That I Once Loved You" (2016)


  • Live in Madrid (2007)
  • A Thousand Mistakes (2011)


  1. ^ a b "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 Retrieved 2008-10-15. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. 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.

External links[edit]