(l-r) Lakis Pavlou, Matthew Hitt, Erik Snyder, Jack Ridley
At 2:30 p.m. on the day after Halloween, Matthew Hitt, the Welsh guitarist and front man of the pop-punk band Drowners, has only been up for an hour. "Me and my friends were Reservoir Drags, which basically entailed a suit and makeup," he said of his costume. "And I did that thing where I drunkenly do too much Instagramming."
A prolific 'grammer, 25-year-old Hitt's account is essentially an ongoing archive of stills from the Drowners' video for "Long Hair," a garage-pop track from their 2013 debut EP Between Us Girls. "I am a massive creature of habit," says Hitt, who, after leaving the UK to teach guitar at a summer camp in Vermont, modeled on and off before settling in New York in 2011. Bringing back the romance of bygone downtown New York, the video, filmed in VHS, tracks the band, which also includes guitarist Jack Ridley, bassist Erik Snyder and drummer Lakis Pavlou, as they hang out around their favorite East Village and Williamsburg haunts with an in-crowd of friends like Alexa Chung and Kenzo model Marcel Castenmiller.
The band met as regulars at Lower East Side dive staple Welcome to the Johnsons, bonding over moody music and cheap beer. "Sad pop is the common ground of all of our interests," says Hitt, who cites Jarvis Cocker's dry, perceptive lyrics as a major influence. "I like messing up the 'happy' in pop music by throwing misery in it -- masking sadness with jovial music."
The band's self-titled debut LP, out January 28th, blends Hitt's heart-on-his-sleeve lyricism with the other members' fondness for American rock 'n' roll, punk and electro. "I wrote the songs, but when the boys played them, they twisted them a bit," says Hitt. "Lakis is into all this weird electro stuff and his drum patterns reflect that. The other dudes make it way more interesting than just my straight-up British shit."
Drowners is out January 28th via Frenchkiss Records.