The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel: “I think this is the first time I’ve actually been excited to release an album”

The War On Drugs
(Image credit: Shawn Brackbill)

After the Philly-based indie lords in The War On Drugs won a Grammy – taking home the token for Best Rock Album with their 2017 opus, A Deeper Understanding – it makes sense that they’d spend a little more time than usual simmering away on the next record. In addition to being a critical darling, A Deeper Understanding also marked the band’s commercial peak: it was top-ten record in the US, top-five Down Under and top-three in the UK – hell, it outright topped the charts in Belgium and came just one spot shy in the Netherlands, too!

So yeah, there was a little bit of pressure on the sextet for album #4. Thus led to one of The War On Drugs’ most conscientious endeavours in songwriting; they spent three years chipping away on their next LP, holing up in seven studios between LA and New York to hash out over a dozen sessions. They expanded the huddle beyond just themselves, bringing in a pack slate of new collaborators and fresh voices. And when the album was done, frontman Adam Granduciel tells us, he and producer Shawn Everett went back to the decks and pulled it all apart, rebuilding their labyrinthine puzzle from scratch.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…