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The last time we spoke was the night before that masterstroke of a record was even announced when, deep in the throes of the personal and emotional turmoil inextricably linked with his making of it, Granduciel was far from in a position to deftly introduce it.The enduring beauty of the album was the way emotional disconnection and intense isolation bled out through the very sonic texture of the songs, and the feeling of listening to them rather than just specific lyrical content.But after a decade as indie-rock outsider as frontman, songwriter and de facto autocrat for his Philly-based project, , the spiralling success for his glimmering last record has seen him cast in a different role: as reluctant modern bannerman for the preservation of classic rock’s spirit.It’s a spotlight that can be largely attributed to the global acclaim for that last record, , which inspired reams of critical acclaim (not least in these pages), massive shows the world over, a Brit nomination, and a gold certification for 250,000 record sales – of which a reportedly large percentage came from vinyl purchases – and hinting at the audience it awakened with the artists it was indebted to without sounding quite like any outright.True to that, the real narrative of the record revealed itself to Granduciel not in an immediate lightbulb moment but as he got to know it also.“The only way I really learned about the last one was when we started playing it, and I would sing it every night,” he explains.

Thinking about songs in the context of a record to get, say, a consistent evolution of a drum sound…it takes a while to shape everything into its own self”.Grabbing “just one random box from [his] storage unit”, he tucked himself away with a first clutch of demos in the Sonora Recorders studio, with just the records in that box for company – Wilco’s took on him personally, has he felt any pressure about being able to hit the same creative heights without going through the same emotional trauma? I think that record was a specific set of circumstances in my life where I was experiencing things for the first time.Where the record was necessarily ‘about’ that stuff, I’m not sure, but I was learning about that as I was writing that record, and writing it in the context of the rest of my life.”, but he remained insulated from his surroundings and by any distractions of success from both his work ethic and his commitment to its follow-up.“I try not to let any of that stuff define what would come next or what would remain important to me about going to work every day in the studio.The context of an album is maybe even better – knowing that it was written in a certain amount of time is maybe better than it being written about a certain amount of time”.The writing of a Drugs song is only the first piece in the puzzle before the mammoth task of realising in the studio the tones and sounds in Granduciel’s head.

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