On the surface, Drauve may seem like any other dream-pop band looking get its start in the Pittsburgh music scene, but the group has a distinct advantage. In college, lead singer Victoria Morgan was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which has unexpectedly helped Drauve excel in a short amount of time.
“My psychiatrist said OCD is like a superpower,” says Morgan. “Sometimes, even though it causes you a lot of issues in your life, when you learn how to manage it, you can use it to be more productive.”
In December 2017, Drauve band members Morgan, Evan Yester, Nick Linder, and Stephen Grzenda met at a show where their previous musical projects were playing. After chatting and hanging out that night, the group became fast friends and soon Yester, Linder, and Grzenda moved into a house, with Morgan as a frequent visitor. They started jamming together and eventually, Morgan shared a couple songs from a new project she wanted to start.
“I ended up moving into the house with them, and now here we are,” says Morgan. “The tight bond contributes to the band overall. It’s helped us get better faster than if we didn’t all live together. Everything’s very accessible.”
As the primary songwriter, much of the inspiration for Drauve’s music comes from Morgan’s struggles with OCD. Before her diagnosis in college, she was severely unhappy, and like many young adults, had a difficult time figuring out what she wanted to do with her life. After graduation, she decided to give music a serious try, rather than leave it as a casual interest.
“When I said to myself that I was going to center my entire life around music, my OCD definitely [helped] me do that,” says Morgan. “Essentially, I’m thinking about this all the time. New things we can write, new ways to expand our sound; I’m constantly trying to find new bands to get inspired by, constantly working at this.”
In Drauve’s first song release “Haunted,” which debuted in May, Morgan’s soft, airy voice kicks off the track with, “Oh it starts again / I thought that I could shake this feeling but it never fails to find a way back.” The chorus introduces the track’s title with, “Tell me why I’m haunted / Tell me why I’m haunted by regret.”
On the track “Out Of It,” set to drop Sept. 5 through Invertebrate, Morgan sings “I know it doesn’t make a difference / but if I could do it again / I’d go back in time / I’d rewrite the past to write you out of it.” The songs are melancholy but backed with spacious melodies and mellow drumlines, leaving listeners with a feeling of lightness, a key trait of dream and bedroom pop.
After “Out Of It” drops, Drauve will only have two officially released songs, but the band has a slew of tracks that they’ve recorded at Mr. Smalls Recording and Mastering in the North Side – enough for an EP. The slow release of songs, however, is intentional. During the LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival in Lancaster, Pa. earlier this year, Drauve booked a few mentoring sessions, where it was recommended that they first put out singles in order to deliberately choose how they wanted to represent themselves as a band.
Despite the limited releases, the band has been getting its name out in the local scene. This summer, they performed at Deutschtown Music Festival, played a headlining a show at Mr. Smalls, and are joining Ky Vöss, Barlow, and late. during a Crafted Sounds showcase on Sat., Sept. 14.
“[Drauve] has done wonders for my mental health because I have something positive to focus on now rather than obsessing over negative things,” says Morgan.