music so good, it should be illegal.

by liza darwin

Don't let the name deceive you; Adam Granduciel didn't create his rock project as a statement for D.A.R.E. or anything like that. Instead, this Philly-bred musician formed The War on Drugs back in '05 with Kurt Vile and hasn't looked back since. The lineup may have shifted a bit over the years (Vile has since left), but Granduciel and co.'s atmospheric, folk-rock sound keeps getting better with time. With the release of their sophomore album Slave Ambient, Granduciel fills us in on the band name, dancing in the dark, and hearing his music in public. Get the scoop and download two songs free below!

Did you know you always wanted to play music?

I was always a fan of listening to music but wasn't really involved in the school band or anything like that. I was started playing guitar at my friend's house when I was a teenager, and from then on I was hooked. I began writing and recording songs when I was 17 or 18.

What's the story behind the band's name?

A friend of mine came up with that when I was living in California in 2000 or 2001. We were actually writing a dictionary and had 3 typewriters set up.

Wait, what?

It was the point in my life when we were reading a lot of Kerouac and drinking a lot of wine, you know.... [laughing]. It was just something to do; so we started to write about "the war on drugs" and decided that would be an awesome band name. At that time I was writing and recording a lot of music, and decided to use the name.

What happened to the dictionary project?

Oh, it's probably around somewhere. We gave up soon after that, though, so it's about seven pages long! We didn't get very far.

What can you tell us about your song "Baby Missiles"?

"Baby Missiles" is probably one of my favorite songs. It's simple- just two or three chords- but it's dancing in the dark type of songs. When I'm alone, I'll do my 1985 Springsteen dance in the dark alone [laughing]. It's fun.

How about "Come to the City"?

I used to think there were massive problems with the song, but now I've worked on it forever and grew to like it. It's funny, actually, because the other day I was in Urban Outfitters and heard it over the loudspeaker. I was embarrassed at first- I didn't know what to do! But then I got over it, and it was pretty cool.

Buy Slave Ambient here. The War on Drugs by NYLONmag