Husband-wife country duo The Dryes talk about their forthcoming EP, Vol.1, out July 13.
Formed in 2010 by Derek Drye and his wife, Katelyn, country-folk power duo The Dryes’ upcoming Vol.1 EP is sure to make a splash. We recently premiered their track “Simple Truth,” the perfect launch into an EP charged with wholehearted lyrics and a timeless sound.
Together, the North Carolina natives moved to Nashville, surrounding themselves with prominent singer/songwriters and strengthening their own songwriting chops. Their EP, Vol. 1 (the first of two four-song EPs), was recorded in the heart of Country Music at the renowned Blackbird Studio, a location that proves pivotal in their folk/country sound and lyrics.
Another pivotal foundation toVol. 1 is the couple’s real-life relationship. The moving track “Simple Truth” defines their significance to one another, “June” marks the more difficult times, while “Steal Away,” sings the importance of making time for the important things.
Rounding outVol. 1 is “Amen,” a catchy rock anthem driven by electric guitars and soulful harmonies. The gritty but light track brings light to their first meeting.
Listen to “Amen,” below.
Recently, The Dryes talked with C&I about their recording process, Their single, “Amen,” and their love of rock climbing and scream-punk rock.
Cowboys & Indians: You all have an EP coming out on July 13. What do you hope your fans will get out of Vol.1?
Derek: We really feel like the first four songs you’ll hear really sum up the past 10 years of our life together. Each song has a story behind it and that’s what we feel will connect to each person as they listen through. We really hope people feel a sense of “home” and that they will be able to relate wherever they are at.
C&I: We’ll get a sneak peek with your new single “Amen,” being released on May 18. What made you guys pick “Amen” as your introductory single?
Derek: It hits you right in the face. Aside from the wall of guitar fuzz tones, the song showcases Katelyn’s vocals and I love getting to rip it up on the guitar in addition to singing. It’s exactly the type of upbeat jam that we wanted. It’s sexy.
C&I: What are some memorable stories along the way of getting the EP from concept to actual release?
Derek: While we didn’t mean for this to happen, there’s a natural pressure that comes a few weeks before. This was actually great because we wrote the best songs, two of which were written right before we recorded. One of those songs has an incredible story that unfolded after we recorded everything. It’s one of those songs that connects to your past somehow and you don’t exactly know why…and this song relates to everyone. I really don’t want to give it away just yet, but I’d look out for a fully conceptualized piece of art (video) to come out in September. Let’s just say that it will rip your heart out and it’s based on a true story. And that the two main instruments are cello and lap steel.
C&I: What was the writing and recording process like? Where did you draw inspiration for the sound?
Derek: We wanted to recreate the moment of playing it live, so we recorded it live. While we did overdub some parts, most of what you hear is happening at the same time. No one really wants perfection as much as they think they do. We remember things with personality, which is why we barely touched the vocals in the editing phase. Some of our favorite recordings, even new ones, have little imperfect artifacts that give personality to the listener, so that was our main inspiration going in. This made the execution of our first (recording) takes better. It’s hard because there is more pressure to get it right the first few times, but knowing that you have great players who take direction well helped us cross that line into inspiration.
Katelyn: Our players helped so much because they were really into the idea of live tracking. I mean, who doesn’t want to record a “moment” in the best studio in Nashville?
Derek: Yes! Blackbird is pound for pound the best studio as far as equipment and potential sounds. The historical vibe didn’t hurt either.
C&I: Are there any singers and songwriters that have inspired your creative development and made you want to become artists?
Katelyn: There are so many. When I was younger, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, and the Dixie Chicks really inspired me and lit the spark. As I’ve gotten older I have been inspired by The Civil Wars, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves to name a few. I would always be so excited about getting a new album. I would play it from start to finish and read the lyrics for every song. I would definitely say that those artists and the sounds they created all have played a huge part in Derek and I’s creative process/music/sound.
Derek: Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Silverchair, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Little Big Town. Many more, but that’s probably what was the most relevant in my earlier years of listening/imitating before I started writing my own stuff.
C&I: Do you have a favorite song or track on the EP that your proudest of? Why?
Katelyn: “June.” I love this song because we wrote it in a time when I was really unsure about the possibility of having kids. I had found out some health concerns and felt really fearful of the unknown, since we definitely want to have kids down the road. So we wanted to write a song about our future child and the things we would say to them about life situations. Hope is always there in the midst of whatever someone goes through. We know this song brings hope and that is exciting.
C&I: As a husband-wife duo, what’s it like working together? Are there any added challenges?
Derek: You kind of have to take turns being the punching bag for each other. Not in an abusive way, but a “here’s what I’m really dealing with” way, and “I know you can take it because you understand me” kind of way. When we write, we listen for those statements. They might be takeaways from how we got through something, or they might be a fun upbeat commitment to each other that we sing even when we don’t feel it. The feeling doesn’t make it less real, so we know that when we write, we can eventually tap into an incredible place together. It’s all about leaving room for it. We all used to think at some point that to be creative, you first have to be inspired. That’s actually not true at all. We schedule time to write, and whether inspiration happens or not, we’ve at least shown up and left room for it. So now, inspiration happens more than ever because of that. It’s taught us a lot about our relationship.
C&I: Are there any tracks that didn’t make it onto the EP that we can expect on a full album?
Katelyn: We’ll just say that you can expect more music this fall. It’s already in the works.
C&I: What can we expect in terms of touring?
Derek: This is something we really can’t wait to do. Performing live is what we have done for years. We are booking shows right now and as far as touring for a longer length of time, we are waiting until the time is right and the right situation opens up.
C&I: For our readers, what is something that fans might not know about you?
Derek: I actually really enjoy rock climbing. It keeps me in shape and is one of the only sports I love that’s not necessarily team-based. Therefore, it’s a great mental relief for me.
Katelyn: I used to have a dream of being in a scream-punk band. I went through a phase in high school, let’s just leave it at that.
C&I: As a group from North Carolina, what are some of your favorite places to visit when you’re at home.
Katelyn: I love Lexington BBQ! Kerley’s is one of my favorites. I used to go with my friends before football games on Friday nights.
Derek: We met at a Mexican restaurant called Mi Pueblo, we love to go there at least once when we are home! We also love a bar called Tate’s. It’s downtown Winston Salem.
For more information on The Dryes and their upcoming shows, visit their website. Photography Courtesy David O’Donohue.