Drax Project Underscores Laid-Back R&B Vibes & Electronic Flourishes on Self-Titled Debut Album: Listen

Drax Project
Jory Lee Cordy

Drax Project

The New Zealand quartet Drax Project -- formed by Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson, and Ben O’Leary -- unveiled their debut self-titled LP Drax Project today (Sept. 27).

The 11-track album explores R&B grooves, trap beats, jazzy accents and dubstep flourishes, blending the sounds into a bouncy melody that seamlessly floats through each song. The Haile Steinfeld-assisted “Woke Up Late” from earlier this year kicks off the album, and the bookend track, “Catching Feelings,” features fellow New Zealanders SIX60.

“We started writing some of the songs on this album two and half years ago, and some of them we finished just a month or two before release day. The songs have grown with us over time and feels like a journey to us,” the band annotated on the album’s Genius page. “Songs like Toto we wrote on the first day we could quit our day jobs to do music full time, to Holiday which we wrote about being away from home and our friends and families. So stoked to finally have it out in the world.”

Here’s what the group had to say about every song on the album, according to the press release:

“Woke Up Late (feat. Hailee Steinfeld)”
“The song that changed everything for us! A story about meeting someone for the first time and the awkwardness that comes with it, sprinkled with a little bit of magic.”

“This song, in a way, reflects who we are as people and what being from New Zealand is like. We’re quite easy-going and the song is about going with the flow and being content with doing whatever someone else wants to do.” 

“Smart Love”
“This one came together really quickly and explores the idea of learning from past experiences in order to have healthier ones moving forward. On the way to the writing session, Shaan talked about the idea of being attracted to someone’s intelligence; that idea moulded into the concept of ‘smart love.’”

“This one’s about reassuring someone that they don’t need to worry about you or what you’re up to. There’s a big clue in the title of what the vibe is; we can imagine bumping this in a convertible while cruising by the beach.”

“Natural Selection”
“When we first heard the saxophone riff put through a talk box, we knew where to take this one. It’s about being stopped in your tracks when you see someone and not being able to handle their beauty.”

“Brain is a cry for help with getting over someone and realizing it’s going to take a lot for this to happen. We wrote the basic structure of the song with a guitar while Matt beatboxed.”

“One of the most open songs we’ve written, it’s about life on the road and being away from friends and family -- but understanding that it’s for the better in the long run.”

“Only Us”
“A song about loving someone to the point where you don’t want to share them with anyone! It’s a bouncy one.”

“The first couple of lines in this song are actual words that Shaan spoke to a friend after quitting his day job. It represents a time in our lives when we decided to go all in and trust that things will work out.”

“All This Time”
“The highlight of our live show for the last couple of years! This song is an insight to how ‘high energy’ our shows can get. We started as a drum + sax busking duo playing all kinds of dirty riffs, so to release one of our own is a cool nod to the early days.”

“Catching Feelings (feat. SIX60)”
“This one is the oldest song on the album in the fact that it was written in Marlon’s (SIX60) bedroom before we wrote Woke Up Late. The bridge section is literally the six of us crowded around a single microphone on that first day of writing. We’ve always known it would be the perfect conclusion to the album!”

Listen to the entire Drax Project below.