Giant Drag just finished their first album in seven years with Klaxons’ Jamie Reynolds at The Libertines’ Albion Rooms studio

We caught up with Annie Hardy and Reynolds to discuss making "heartbreaking" new material down in Margate

Giant Drag‘s Annie Hardy has spoken to NME about completing work on the band’s first new album in seven years, with the help of former Klaxon Jamie Reynolds down at The Libertines‘ Albion Rooms hotel and studio.

The new album will be the cult indie grunge band’s first since their second full-length ‘Waking Up Is Hard To Do’ back in 2013, and marks Reynolds’ first time stepping into the role of producer. Speaking to NME, singer Annie Hardy revealed that they recorded 13 tracks for an album, and plenty more material for B-sides.

” I have enough material to do a second album, hot and dirty style,” Hardy told NME. “It’s at least going to be one great Giant Drag album. I’ve never been a huge Giant Drag fan, but this is a good record.”

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Asked about how it feels to be preparing a new record after so many years, Hardy said: “It’s great, because the last one took a long to release it because I thought it was shit. This one is the opposite – it’s me coming back with another musical partner and feeling really on top of my game as far as songwriting and musical ability goes.

“I think I was an idiot savant before, or just an idiot – I’m not sure. I could write songs but I wasn’t really invested. I was always really sedated, taking a lot of pills and whatnot. Now I’m very present and I know what I’m doing for the first time.”

Of the upcoming third album’s sound, Hardy said it showcases a “soulful” new vocal range, leaving the “baby voice” of ‘Waking Up Is Hard To Do’ behind.

“I hate listening to any old Giant Drag releases because of my old voice, but one day after many great trials and tribulations, this soulful voice suddenly showed up – right after my baby died,” she said. “Suddenly I was singing as my way of transmuting pain and I had this voice I’d never heard come out of me. The songs date from 2014 to last month. I feel like they’re really powerful and every song on the album is a hit. I’m stoked for people to hear it.”

She continued: “Lyrically, it’s really running the gamut. I’ve got a common theme of being in narcissistically abusive relationships. When I write a song, it tends to come from a vulnerable place inside that I don’t like to live out in waking life – or it comes from a really c**ty place inside where I’m like, ‘Here, I wrote a song for you and it’s payback for you treating me like this’. I guess that’s a good deal for everyone as I don’t seek any kind of revenge other than that.

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“I’m also touching on the fact that it’s most likely the end of days and we’re all going to die pretty fucking soon here.”

While enjoying “the sense of community” at The Libertines’ new Margate hotel and studio, Hardy also welcomed the contribution of Jamie Reynolds, formerly of The Klaxons.

“Jamie definitely brings something that I would not do myself, which is working to the grid with a click track and trying to cage a wild animal – which he did successfully so kudos to him,” she said. “He also brings a pop sensibility that I don’t go out looking for. I just come as I am and it comes out all fucked up. The first Giant Drag album was made in a similar way as this one. I appreciate the need to pander to an audience that wants to like me, but sometimes I make it hard for them!”

Reynolds told NME how she and Hardy first met at at show in LA in 2007, and took his chances at asking if he could produce the new album when they met again after a show in Margate back in February.

“As a fan and friend of Annie’s, I couldn’t believe that she was in Margate,” he said. “I went to the show and stood at the back watching her. It was so good that I thought I’d chance my arm and just go up and ask if I could produce her record after the show. Straight away she said yes and I was over the moon.

“I’m more of a songwriter and executive producer these days, but I had never produced a record. It’s something that I needed to get under my belt, and it was perfect synergy to find Annie to do it with.”

Describing the record, Reynolds said: “It’s  heavy and it makes you cry, it certainly made me cry. It’s also funny, light and heart-wrenching. It’s genuinely exciting to hear this music at this time.”

The Libertines opened their new hotel, studio, bar and restaurant The Albion Rooms to the public back in September, and Reynolds said that it’s now become “his second home”.

“This is the third record I’ve made at The Albion Rooms and I absolutely love it,” he said. “I’m happy for The Libertines that it’s going so well. The place looks incredible and everyone who works there is so nice. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Asked when we might be able to hear the album, Hardy told NME that fans shouldn’t have too long to wait.

“I hope it won’t be too long. A couple of labels are interested. I figured we might as well make a full comeback now that the record industry is halfway down the toilet.”

After their split in 2014, Reynolds has been working as a songwriter and executive producer, while former bandmate James Righton released an album in 2017 under the name Shock Machine before contributing to Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino‘ in 2018 and dropping his debut solo album ‘The Performer’ under his own name earlier this year.

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