"You can’t see it but Adam Granduciel is smiling. The photograph that graces the cover of the War on Drugs’ fifth album, I Don’t Live Here Anymore, is a candid snap of the songwriter heading to the studio during a blizzard, armed with coffee and a guitar. Because of lockdown, the six-piece band—originally founded in Philadelphia but now spread across the country—was unable to schedule a photoshoot, so Granduciel started a Dropbox where his bandmates could upload photos from their years of sessions together. When he stumbled upon this shot, featuring his bright red flannel against the stark white of the snow, he immediately chopped off the head ('I’ve got this stupid smile... and this weird hat') and decided not to overthink it. 'It’s not perfect,' he admits, 'but it slowly started making sense.'
This lightness is a new mode for the War on Drugs. For a long time, the project has been defined by the obsessive tendencies of its leader. These qualities peaked with 2014’s breakthrough Lost in the Dream and its even more meticulous follow-up, 2017’s A Deeper Understanding. While the 10 songs on I Don’t Live Here Anymore share the arena-ready highs of those records—and at some points, even transcend them—the album is defined by a more freewheeling energy, evident in the music as well as Granduciel’s demeanor as he speaks over Zoom from his home in Los Angeles. In a tie-dye T-shirt and baseball cap, the 42-year-old songwriter exudes an excitable, youthful energy, and is quick to joke about the same intense parts of his personality that once brought him near a breakdown: 'If this was my first time,' he said after discussing the most grueling aspects of the sessions, 'I probably would have quit.'"
Read the full interview by Sam Sodomsky HERE.