Band names are often arbitrary: inconsequential words sandwiched together to form a semantic flagpole that in time will encompass everything we hold dear about our most treasured collectives. Simultaneously, they can mean nothing and everything. That said, other months are available, we tell October Drift frontman Kiran Roy.
“We did try a few other ones, but there’s something about our vibe,” he says. “A sombre feel, like a changing of the seasons. Drifting into winter…”
Based in Somerset, October Drift have been refining their high-energy, alt.rock sound since the mid-2010s. Lock Joy Division and Nirvana in a room and the result wouldn’t sound too dissimilar – granted, it would lack October Drift’s modern sheen. “Bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine are massive influences, so there’s definitely 90s grunge and some shoegaze,” Roy says.
Completed by guitarist Dan Young, drummer Chris Holmes and bassist Alex Bispham, the band’s second album, I Don’t Belong Anywhere, is out now. Lead single Airborne Panic Attack is no less thrilling than its title. Stinging guitar riffs lash around surging rhythms and Roy’s anthemic vocals. The frontman reckons this follow-up to 2020 debut Forever Whatever is more direct, polished and gloomier. “It isn’t completely devoid of hope, but it’s darker,” he says.
With a reputation for being a phenomenally energetic live act, October Drift made an appearance at this summer’s BST Hyde Park festival – slotted between Pixies and Pearl Jam (albeit on the smaller Birdcage stage). Considered and unassuming with his answers, it’s hard to imagine the werewolf-like transformation that occurs once you hand Roy a microphone and a stage. At BST he decided to scale a tree mid-song.
“I did that on the fly,” the singer laughs. “I stuffed my microphone in my pocket and started climbing, but then I was like, ‘Shit, I’m not gonna make it!’ So I was just hanging off! We do get quite intense and we’ve always tried to outdo each other. Maybe it comes from growing up on Queen and David Bowie.”
Having toured voraciously for years, they’ve encountered some odd audiences. “We’ve played hundreds of gigs in empty rooms,” Roy says. “I remember one at a youth club and the audience was just two teenagers getting off with each other in a corner and then a mother and baby with a pram. It was a real Anvil moment.”
But whether it’s warming up for Eddie Vedder or rocking out for a few punters at the Dog & Bollock, October Drift are the kind of band that live and die by their gigs. “Even if it’s for 10 people, the idea is that we give everything we’ve got and make sure it’s memorable,” Roy states. “We want to do this forever if we can. But I think we would even if we were the last people on Earth.”
I Don’t Belong Anywhere is out now via Physical Education Recordings.