The gruff voice of Gareth Liddiard aka Gaza, varying between light to gripping from song to song, ‘The Drones’ covers a wide base of emotions in terms of music. The instrumentals are quite intense and way beyond what is considered a typical rock band. Songs like ‘I see seaweed’ to ‘Taman Shud’, can be attributed to being deep and dark to satirical essentially due to their lyrics. This just goes to prove what an Australian reviewer once said “The Drones deal with existential horror”. In addition to the vocals Gaza is also adept with his guitar and keyboard and is the only constant member since its inception in 1997. The other members of the band constitute Fiona Kitschin on bass guitar, Christian Strybosch on drums, Dan Luscombe as the lead guitarist and Steve Hesketh who plays keyboards as well as piano. They are the current members, however The Drones have come a long way from Gaza living with a fellow guitarist and two dogs in a Mitsubishi van.
The band was originally formed by Gareth Liddiard and Rui Pereira at Perth, Western Australia. Along with James McCann and Warren Hall they did a handful of gigs in Perth, till Gaza and Rui left for Sydney in 2000. In an interview much later Gaza has said that Perth was not as supportive a musical community as Melbourne is, which is where they moved to from Sydney. Apart from moving from the Western to the Eastern part of the country, the band has also had to face legal issues in getting their second album ‘Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies will Float By’ released. It was released finally in 2004, after over a year of stalling. ‘Havilah’, ‘I See Seaweed’ and ‘Feeling Kinda Free’ are the albums which were released by The Drones in the later years.
The third album of The Drones was recorded in an old mill at Gala Farm in Cranbook, Tasmania. It was sort of an escapade from their legal battle back home. The song ‘Jezbel’, from this album ‘Gala Mill’ had a disturbing impact overall with its video as well as lyrics. The band has impenitently taken on the grave topics such as war, religion and history. The visuals in the song depicts the cruelty of humanity and inadvertently evokes a feeling of helplessness.
In March 2015 The Drones found Tropical Fuck Storm Records and ‘Feeling Kinda Free’ was launched through their own label. The first single released in 2015 ‘Tamun Shud’ was a pun on main stream and right wing pundits such as Andrew Bolt and was well received, whereas the next one ‘To Think That I Once Loved You’ the next single released in January 2016 was quite intimate and deep.
Even though The Drones is essentially Gaza’s vehicle, he did solo work with the album ‘Strange Tourists’. Gaza wanted to generate the sound of a singer with an acoustic guitar and he felt the outcome was “something super-bleak and super-sparse”. However he also added that he might not venture in to it again, as he said he is “done with dark thing”.