Jack O’Brien, Owen Bogart and Austin Mohaupt are Draino, a progressive grunge band from Manhattan Beach, Calif.
The three met in middle school when they started smoking weed together. Eventually, their individual passions for music began to grow.
Bogart and Mohaupt have been playing music together for about 4 years under unofficial bands, going through a long list of guitarists and vocalists before O’Brien came along, and Draino was created; with O’Brien on guitar, Bogart on drums and Mohaupt on bass and vocals.
They have all been playing their individual instruments for about three years. According to them, playing in a band has allowed them to build their personal music skills.
“It’s made us a lot better at actually playing,” Mohaupt said. “If you wanna get better as a musician, just join a band.”
The band’s inspirations span anywhere from metal to classical music.
“I practice a lot of songs from this band called Necrophagist,” O’Brien said. “I learn the riffs just so I can improve as a player. I use that skill and take it into the band.”
“Before, we were really stoked on fuckin’ Pink Floyd and Black Flag, which is a weird mix, but we just said ‘Fuck it,’” Bogart said. “It’s always changing. We love Jane’s Addiction, we love Tool, we love The Melvins, I really like Butthole Surfers, just a lot of shit. At one point we tried out some Jazz shit which is sick.”
“We kind of all bring something different and we combine it,” said Mohaupt.
Draino’s focus has always been on the music itself — creating something that feels true to who they are. They take influence from a variety of punk and hardcore music while also adding elements of psychedelic rock and grunge to create a unique blend of sounds.
When asked how they would describe their sound, Bogart said, “Maybe like, progressive grunge, I don’t know. Kind of like real early Soundgarden, that sick shit, but more technical. Like we have these influences, but we’re experimenting with different time signatures and all this different shit. It’s just changing.”
The band practices in Bogart’s garage, which they have decked out in graffiti art all over the walls and floor. There are multiple ways the group goes about writing new music.
“I’ll just be playing on something and I’ll make a riff out of that based on whatever I’m feeling in that moment or whatever I want to create. I make a riff like that, and I’ll come here and show it to them and say ‘Hey, do you guys wanna do this?’ and then if they do wanna do that, then we’ll create a whole song out of it and we’ll throw in other influences and things we want to add to it,” O’Brien explained. “The other way that we sometimes write is Owen will just start playing drums, and then Austin will come in with some bassline or something, and I’ll just create something out of that. In the end, we can weed out all the extra shit and just make a song out of it and build off of that, spontaneous in the moment.”
When it comes to lyrics, Draino’s discography covers a range of different topics. Mohaupt writes most of the lyrics for the band, and details his writing process as such:
“I usually take words, just from like random books, and then piece them together, or just create a whole idea off of one word. It’s a weird process, I don’t really have a specific thing that I go into like ‘I wanna write about this or this,’ it’s just kind of like whatever,” Mohaupt said. “I also try to keep it pretty minimal, I don’t really want to talk about things that are too big, like you really have to think hard. I want it to be very minimal, but you also have room to think about it.”
Draino is currently working on recording a new seven-song EP, titled Acedia — meaning “spiritual depression” — which will be recorded through analog tape. The band is hopeful that the EP will be released in the next month.
This EP will also span a variety of topics, including sobriety, as Bogart and O’Brien are both sober.
“One of the songs on the EP, some of the lyrics, they’re kind of epiphanies that I had in sobriety,” said Bogart. “I’ve been trying to get sober since I was like 14. It’s been a long journey, I’ve relapsed a bunch of times, and now I’m in a sober living. The lyrics, they’re things that I have learned in this recovery. They’re really neat epiphanies, and I want to put it into songs.”
“I think [sobriety] mostly influences the connection we have with each other, just sticking together with music and most of the aspects of our lives,” said O’Brien. “Just that motivation to help keep us doing this, because I feel like music is a huge thing I can lean on for myself, and having that with other people who are also sober is really helpful.”
Draino hopes to play more shows across Los Angeles County in the near future. They are currently working on a free show at Dockweiler Beach with the band Relapse from Hermosa Beach. You can message Draino for booking on Instagram.
Currently, Draino has three singles available for streaming on all platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Check out their YouTube channel for live videos of Draino performances. Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date with upcoming shows, new releases and more.
Watch the full interview here!