It seems ironic to hear these words from a singer who can’t seem to wipe a perpetually sweet smile from her face, a singer whose first impression feels nothing but bright. But looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to lyrics, and Drootin’s band Consafos brings songs that speak of sadness, shattered hearts and insecurities wrapped in indie folk melodies.
Having just come off tour as a musician for Bright Eyes, Drootin will go from one tour bus to the next, back on the road with Consafos. But Drootin doesn’t stop at this – tour headliners The Good Life also features her on bass guitar, keyboards and vocals. Take it one step further and you’ll find a fourth band she’s involved with called Azure Ray. With this rotating cast of bands, why start another?
"Consafos was actually a band I was in before any of the other bands," she explains. "I love to play music so much that this was a way for me to duck away and work on doing my own thing." Besides that, says Drootin, "We are really great friends."
Made from a host of different personalities and musical influences – which include Dave Osborn on bass, Billy Talbot on guitar, Alance Ward on drums and Laura Watral on violin, piano and vocals – Consafos’ members are like family. So despite her busy schedule, Drootin fights to keep the band alive.
Having just released their album Tilting at Windmills, Consafos’ music goes beyond the usual indie rock tag. Using a variety of sounds and instruments such as the mandolin, trumpet and harmonica, songs take on an experimental life of their own. A song such as "Wide Eyed" has more of a county feel, where "On and On" carries a beautifully constructed pop melody. Yet one constant seems to pervade their music – a gray cloud of sadness.
"Sad emotion is so intense and so passionate," says Drootin, ready to stand up for the emo crowd. "There’s so much feeling behind it. Feeling sad is painful but sometimes beautiful. You can be sad because you’re missing someone or loving someone, which is so beautiful."
One song that is particularly haunting is "Chelsea’s Got a Knife," about a personal experience that Drootin expresses through song.
"We lived in Winnetka House, a house that a bunch of us lived in. We were taking care of two friends who were trying to get off drugs, and one of them stabbed the other one in the house.
"He ended up being OK, but it really shook me up. I was so scared, I didn’t want to walk anywhere by myself," continues Drootin. "It was an extremely haunting time in my life, so I wanted the song to sound nightmarish. Because in reality, that’s how it felt."
On the flip side, Consafos’ first EP, titled Such is the Way of Things, includes a song called "Billy’s Porch." In the lyrics, Drootin looks back on good times and good friends while living in Simi Valley.
"We would drink and dance and have fun at the Trailor, which was this place in Moorpark where a bunch of our friends lived. No one was wild or vicious, and we would all just release ourselves – a lot of laughing, crying and always with music surrounding us. It was such a great time and really molded who a lot of us became, just being around such great people."
Though Drootin confesses that sad music can feel good, it seems that lyrics can be deceiving.
"I’m not sad all the time at all," she says with that perpetual smile. "Actually, I try to be as happy as possible."
Tilting at Windmills is currently available. Consafos will play with The Good Life, The Velvet Teen and Bella Lea on April 24 at the Glass House in Pomona and April 25 at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. For more information, visit www.greydayproductions.com/consafos.