Never Shout Never's third album, "Time Travel," has been out for just over a month, but group founder Christofer Drew has its successor "completely written." And he says fans should be ready for a change.
"We're going in more of a rock direction, a little more rootsy and a lot more organic," Drew tells Billboard.com. He adds that the quartet "probably won't be using more synth work" as it did on "Time Traveler," but he still plans to go for "a f***ing big beat."
"I want to make it danceable, but rock 'n' roll," Drew explains. "There won't be a lot of four-on-the-floor kind of stuff. It'll be stuff you can shake your tail to, but totally our real instruments. That's kind of our goal. I haven't heard a record like that in awhile." He also says the sound will be "very blues oriented -- psychedelic blues. A lot of fun guitar work. Caleb (Denison), who's playing drums mostly, he's a great blues guitar player and he's been having a lot of fun with it. I'm excited to hear those licks doubled and tripled down in the mixer."
Never Shout Never returns to its native Joplin, Mo., after wrapping up its current North American tour on Nov. 6 in St. Louis. The group doesn't tour again until January in the U.K., and Drew says it will spend its time finishing the Loveway Studio it's building and then getting to work on the album, which he hopes will be recorded by Christmas and come out in the spring.
"That's kind of how we've always worked," say Drew, who started Never Shout Never as a one-man project in 2007. "I'm always the type of guy who's working on the next record, which is kind of a blessing and a curse. I listen to all the old Never Shout records and I'm like, 'Damn, these suck!' But that keeps me motivated for the stuff to come. Right now I feel like me and the guys are developing and really trying to figure out a sound we completely enjoy playing and completely portrays who we are. That's our goal. And the biggest part of that is getting the studio done so we can literally go in and jam and record 24-7. I feel like that's gonna be the biggest thing."
That doesn't mean Drew is dissing "Time Travel," which came out in September and debuted at No. 35 on the Billboard 200. It's the first Never Shout Never album recorded as a group enterprise, and produced by the band, though while Drew feels it's "a solid release" and enjoyed "the freedom to do exactly what he wanted," he also considers it "maybe one of the first stages of growth for us, musically."
"I just hope nobody thinks that if the synthesizer stuff works we're gonna become a gimmick," he says. "I feel like that threw a lot of people off. I've always been against snyth work, but on this album we got a little too stoned, maybe, and put 50 synth tracks on songs. But there's some integrity behind it; I hand-programmed them all on my computer before I uploaded them to the mixer, so there really is a musical element to it. We do them with a real rock feel live, and I think that's throwing people even more."
In addition to making music, Drew has been active in helping Joplin recover from the tornado that ripped through the town in May. He created a special video for "Time Travel," and working with the United Way has raised more than $1 million to aide in the city's recovery.
"It was the least I could do, y'know?," says Drew. "My house is fine, but my mom's place, her apartment complex, was completely destroyed. Our bass player (Taylor MacFee) and merch guy's houses got hit, too, our guitar player's parent's house...It as really intense, man. "It was a time for gaining a little bit of perspective, for sure. It made you realize how fragile our entire means of life is; in a split second, your entire life can change or disappear. I'm just glad we could do something positive."