Interview: A Drug Called Tradition

A Drug Called Tradition’s debut album, Medicine Music, is an intoxicating braid of genres that sounds like shoegaze with grinding garage rock twists and a Southern psych rock flair. The Atlanta trio recorded their album at Matt Patton’s (Drive By Truckers and The Dexateens) studio in Mississippi and has just returned to their local stomping grounds from a Midwest tour.

Bon Allinson (guitar/vocals), Puma Navarro (drums), and Asha Lakra (bass) will be performing at The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom this Thursday, engaging patrons with echoing guitar riffs and a raspy ooze of vocals fit for any shoegaze fan. I spoke with A Drug Called Tradition about recording, spending time on the road, and the band’s relation to a short story.      

Tell me how you guys met.

We’ve all known each other for awhile from playing in bands. Bon and Puma were in a band together called Abby GoGo. After the dissolution of that band, Bon started work on some songs he had left over. Needing a bass player, Bon and Puma thought of asking Asha.  She had previously been in a band Tikka, but they had just broken up.  So we asked her if she would be interested in playing.  We got together and played and we all just clicked.   

Does your name have any reference to the Sherman Alexie short story?  If so, how do you think your sound reflects that story?

Yes. Bon had just finished that book of short stories. He had written down several titles for potential use of song titles, etc. When it came time to name the project we all liked that name the best. The name means a lot to me [Bon] personally. I’m not going to get into all of it but, like the story, our music has many mysterious layers to it that are difficult to explicitly describe. Rather, it is a journey that must be experienced.    

Why do you think ADCT works so well together musically, personality wise, etc.?

We have all three grown pretty close in the past few years and have really learned how to feel each other out when writing/playing as a band. We are all pretty patient with the songwriting process and I think that has been key.

You guys just released your debut album. How would you describe your new album?

Very honest, both lyrically and musically. Matt [Patton, engineer] and Bronson [Tew, producer] really captured where we were musically at that point with the material we took down to Water Valley, Mississippi and cut the record live to tape at Dial Back Sound. Basically, what you hear is what went down over three days in studio. We are all very pleased with the outcome.

Tell me about recording and what surprised you most about how the album came out.

We had booked three days at the studio. As mentioned earlier we cut everything live on the first day. It was a marathon session. We cut the whole thing basically in ten hours. A few overdubs and Patton and Bronson handled the rest as far as the mixing and mastering. Not really any surprises considering the way we did it. What you hear is what we sound like.  

You guys just got back from the road. Where was the most memorable place you played and why?

The road is always an interesting adventure. For anyone who has ever toured in any capacity you know what we mean. Everywhere has its own memory so to narrow it down to one would be tough. We got to see a lot of great people and friends, and make new ones along the way. Ttotals from Nashville were defiantly awesome!

What can we expect from your show at The Hummingbird?

We will be playing songs from Medicine Music along with new material and some Galaxie 500 covers.

What’s next for you guys?

We plan to keep riding the wave. Expect new music, tours, and try to take it as far as we can before we have to grow up.

A Drug Called Tradition will be playing The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom this Thursday for the PBR Ranking Party, 8:00 p.m.