WE TALKED TO DREW MCDOWALL ABOUT ‘COLLAPSE,’ COIL, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
My favorite performer over the past handful of years has been an unassuming, 54 year old Scottish man. If you regularly attend electronic shows in New York or if you have been fortunate enough to catch this guy on the road, chances are that our opinions on this matter might line up. His sets are nothing short of captivating; bringing the spectator to full attention and rendering entire rooms completely vulnerable, leaving those present emotionally pulverized to the point of near devastation. Seeing Drew McDowall live is an experience of equal parts pain and beauty. Simply put, It is the work of a master.
In 1978, Drew started his career in Glasgow with his post punk band The Poems (also featuring his then wife Rose McDowall, who would later become a household name in some circles through Strawberry Switchblade). After moving to London, he stepped away from guitar-based music and fell in with the burgeoning industrial community. Drew joined Psychic TV and began collaborating live with Coil, who he joined as an official member in 1994. During his tenure with Coil, he played on such classic albums as Astral Disaster, Musick To Play In The Dark, Worship The Glitch, Black Light District, and Time Machines. He also contributed heavily to the Nine Inch Nails remix album, Further Down The Spiral.
(Author’s note: Drew has a pretty crazy past. Zachary Lipez sat down with him and talked about some of the gritty shit from his childhood in another interview for Noisey.)
When Drew moved to New York in 2000, he decided to part ways with Coil. He signed on for several collaborations, notably with Kara Bohnenstiel in the group Captain Sons And Daughters (CSD) and with Tres Warren (of Psychic Ills) in Compound Eye. Both groups received a good deal of acclaim and Drew became an essential cog in the gears of the New York City experimental music world. On any given night you will find him at a show, exuberant and visibly in love with the activities happening within the community around him. Ask anyone who regularly goes to live events around these parts who the most supportive people in the scene are, and Drew will appear towards the top of the list.