The Drowning Men wash through Bar Pink with a new album
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
Hailing from Oceanside, Calif., indie-rock quintet The Drowning Men have always enjoyed defying genres and creating the music they want to hear.
“We’ve been playing music for a long time, so we’re influenced by everything that we’ve ever done in the past,” guitarist and vocalist James Smith said. “A lot of people don’t really know who to compare us to because we don’t really fall into any type of music in particular. It’s just what we happen to play.”
Joining Smith are Nato Bardeen on lead vocals and guitar, Todd Eisenkerch on bass, Rory Dolan as percussionist and Gabe Messer on the keyboard. They describe their music as “a glorious melting pot for our uncertain times,” and promise to play each show as if their lives – and yours – depended on it.
“We only started touring seriously a couple years ago. We were kind of a local band for the first few years,” Smith said. “Rory, Todd and Nato have been playing together in various music circles since they were about 16 or 17 years old, growing up in Oceanside, and we’ve all been playing together in some form or another since 2005.”
The band released their first EP, “Kill the Matador,” in 2007, followed by their debut album, “The Beheading of the Songbird,” in 2009. Both were self-released, but this year’s July album, “All of the Unknown,” was their first since they signed on with Borstal Beat Records.
“We have more resources now,” Smith said. “I think our last record sounded a lot more like what we sound like live. The newer record is definitely a lot more polished and mature.”
They will be hosting an album release party for “All of the Unknown” on Aug. 25 at Bar Pink, a stage they know well from years past.
“It’s been a couple years since we’ve played Bar Pink, but every time we play there, it’s been great,” Smith said. “It’s a fun place to play. You can always expect a built-in crowd there and the stage is really low, so you’re face-to-face with the crowd. It’s really intimate.”
“All of the Unknown” was a long time in the making, considering the group recorded the initial five songs with producer Billy Mohler of Hurley Studios in early 2011 but did not finish the album until nearly a year later. In between, they were flooded with opportunities to tour with acts like Alkaline Trio, Airborne Toxic Event and the Irish punk-rock legends, Flogging Molly.
“We were on the road pretty much all of last year and got signed while on tour. By the time we finished the record, we had a label backing us, [we] had more resources and we had developed more of a relationship with our producer,” Smith said. “We got to really focus on that second half of the record and really think about every sound that we laid down.”
The band has stayed true to their North County, beach-town roots, and said they continue to approach their music with art in mind, not money or popularity.
“We’re blessed to be able to travel and play our music for people. Not everybody gets the chance to do that,” Smith said. “Any day that you get to do what you love to do is a great day.”
Bar Pink is located at 3829 30th St. in North Park. The Dirty Ghosts and Bella Novela will join The Drowning Men for the album release party, which kicks off at 9 p.m. For more information visit barpink.com or call 619-564-7194.