Black and white photo of the band Casual Drag
Credit: Bearded Punk photography


Edinburgh’s Casual Drag are garage punks who make one heck of a racket, which is exactly the point. As they release new single ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ and gear up to play a couple of dates, Richard Clarke (lead vocals, guitar), talk to us about the origins of the band.

How did Casual Drag come together as a band?
Dom and I met while working together in Edinburgh and after discovering a shared love for bands like the Amazing Snakeheads and Idles – we hit it off immediately and ended up jamming song ideas together. We managed to rope in our previous drummer Christian via Gumtree and had a short period of activity before COVID hit – Christian moved overseas over lockdowns so we had a mammoth search for a new drummer when the world re-opened. It was getting a bit Spinal Tap-esque at one point with auditions – we tried maybe 12 different drummers– but just before we were about to give up, Matt reached out via a wanted ad and we knew within 2 mins of a session that they were right for us! The rest is history.

Can you share a little on the inspiration behind the new single?
This is the first song we finished together with Matt, so its’s a bit of a rebirth and refresh. We wanted something furious to set our stall out and show our intent going forward. The song is inspired by coming through hard times – be that trauma, personal tragedy or prejudice. It’s a rallying call for the beat down, and anyone who has had to deal with the hard brutality that life can dish out-and come through it the other end as the victor – not a victim, the first line sets the tone. I had a bit of a health scare recently and spent a bit of time in hospital – I finished the lyrics from a hospital bed.

What is your creative process?
I must say we are fairly measured (eg slow) at writing as a band, mainly because we have a perfectionist attitude and don’t want to settle for what are, in our opinion, sub-par songs. In the main it’s a collaborative approach, I can bring a song/riff or lyrics to a session and we craft the music as a trio to be a Casual Drag song, the studio is our creative space where we experiment and really bash things into shape. I’ve definitely developed a thick skin working in this band as 90% of my ideas get rejected as rubbish haha – there’s no room for ego or sensitivity though. The best stuff we have written together comes quite immediately, the three of have a great chemistry and we know when something works.

You have gained a reputation for your frenetic live shows, earning support slots with Joe Talbot, Flatworms, JOHN, Lice and Hotel Lux.  What does it mean to you to play live?
You’d get a different answer from each member of the band, but for me it’s a great release and always has been. Personally, when you stand up on stage it’s an opportunity to be the real you for an hour – completely honest with yourself and the audience. I’ve always found that like a sort of therapy. A good Casual Drag show also really depends on the relationship with the audience, the best shows we’ve played have always been when the band and audience click and we feed off the energy coming from the crowd, and vice versa. We are by no means the finished article and we are always looking for ways to improve our live set – I think as a band when we go onstage we want make it a raw and visceral experience – with a bit of chaos and dancing!

Can we expect more new music from Casual Drag in 2024?
We are currently working on our debut album and are still considering how to release it, this is the problem I think a lot of DIY bands face these days – do you eek it out to keep your profile up or do we just unload it all in a one-r? We are still deciding but we may do another single release before the year is out. We recorded a few songs at Green Door Studios in Glasgow as part of the session for CYHMN, so we shall see! Our main focus is on writing and finishing up a cohesive set of songs for the album.

Do you have any live dates scheduled at the moment?
We’ve got a couple of big headlines later this month to celebrate the single release. We play the best grassroots venue in the world, Sneaky Pete’s, on Friday 17 May with the Crails and 3p Slot Machine. Any Edinburgh gig-goer will know how great the shows are at Sneakys so we can’t wait for that one. We also play Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on Sat 18 May with Vos Rough and Opium Clippers– which will be our last DIY headline for a wee while so we hope we can go off with a bang. We are hoping to play some English dates later in the year.
(Please note: these dates will have taken place before this article is published.)

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I think?
Wow this guy really, really, likes milk! (I have a 1 year old daughter who rules the roost now).

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.