If you're writing love songs, chances are you will be asked who your muse is. Everyone assumes it's your past/current/almost lover but who is it really? Drax Project chats with Lillie Rohan about the love language of songwriting and the muses who inspired their hot hits.
If you don't know who Drax Project is by name, you will no doubt recognise their hot hits like Catching Feelings and Woke Up Late.
The Kiwi band is based in Wellington and its four members, Ben O'Leary, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson, and Shaan Singh are pretty down to earth when it comes to their drive and motivation because it's quite simple, they just love making music. They have ever since they were youngsters.
But there are cool things they get to do alongside their passion, like travelling and playing to crowds.
"After 2020 our appreciation for everything about playing shows went through the roof; from the food, seeing people singing and just appreciating every person's role in making shows happen."
If you're like me and wondered what kind of fancy food is served backstage at a concert, yes, it is as good as you would expect.
"One time there was a full seafood spread of like 15 crayfish, paua, everything. Another time there was 48-hour braised beef. The food is always amazing, it's the key to happiness."
Originally we were going to talk about how romantic partners are the best kind of muse but the more we spoke the more I came to understand the true muse and the real heart-warming story, is the tight bond between the four men.
"We're always working together, we're touring together, we've lived together, studied together we are quite close and open amongst ourselves with everything that's going on."
But the band did give a humble shout-out to their mothers.
I asked them who their muses were:
"Our mums," they agreed.
"They're the main people who have passed music on to us, where we have got that inspiration from."
"There's no way we are going to say our partners don't inspire us but it's probably a lot more boring of an answer." They say through laughter.
From fighting about playing Justin Bieber in their flat, to busking on Wellington streets, a shared passion for music might have ignited the spark for Drax Project but it's the strength of their friendship and mutual respect that makes them a captivating band with a talent for songwriting.
A perfect example of this, the band says, is their song Holiday.
"It's probably the most 'real' song we've written so far, it's about being away from our partners and family back in 2019 when we were living in LA. We had no reservations about it being too much of an insight into our private lives, we just wrote the song."
"Applying real-life experiences and emotion to songs can help the music reach a greater depth."
Their admirable ability to be so open with each other reflects in their music and it led to us discussing toxic masculinity and whether they think their music is helping other men be more open with their feelings/emotions.
"I don't know if we've really thought about it like that."
"Within the group of us, we're pretty open with each other so writing those sorts of songs and talking about things in a reasonable truthful manner is fostered and if that blows over into other people feeling they can be comfortable talking about things then that's great."
The up-and-coming Kiwi band has ticked off some great achievements, like opening for Ed Sheeran, Camilla Cabello, Christina Aguilera, Lorde and Six 60, as well as releasing hot collaborations, and playing to 50,000 people at Eden Park. But they tell me they're just getting started, so what can we expect next?
"New music, more shows! Much of the same, really. We're finishing up a pile of new music right now and are figuring out how to best show the world. We love being home in Aotearoa and can't wait to play our own tour."
You will be able to hear that new music in the next couple of months and, if you're attending one of their shows, even sooner.
Advice for aspiring musicians?
"Record as many ideas as you can and don't be too precious about the micro details of a song – we're still learning this."
A song you're proud of?
"Tukituki Te Manawa."
Someone you'd go One Direction crazy for?
"Justin Bieber, Phoebe Bridgers."
If the men of Drax Project have melted your heart and you want to revel in their talent then you're in luck because they are kicking off their New Zealand tour tonight and you can get all the information and tickets right here, or catch them on their social channels – heads up, their TikTok is pretty funny for a bunch of millennials.