Psychedelic rock duo Drew & Luke aren’t just bandmates offering an electric combination of guitar and harmonica – they’re also brothers. In some cases, growing up with a younger sibling means constant brawling and endless backseat fights, but that wasn’t the case for Drew Cooper, a senior music industry tycoon.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Drew and his younger brother Luke, a student at Santa Monica College, have been producing music in a variety of genres for years. Their latest musical adventure has been performing as a psychedelic rock band, inspired by the classic rock scene of the late 60s and early 70s. From sound to style, the duo seem to have it all figured out.
However, finding their way to the hip music bar scenes of Downtown Los Angeles was not a straight or easy path. It took many years of instrumental practice, experimenting with genre cultures, and practicing audience engagement for the Cooper brothers to get to where they are now. First, of course, they needed the spark of inspiration.
That spark came when the brothers were young, strapped into the backseat of their mother’s car on road trips. It was there, along with the music their mother was playing on the car radio, that they began to develop a love for rock.
“She would play a bunch of old music – Grateful Dead, the Stones, that sort of thing – and quiz us on who sang each song. I was never very good at it,” Luke said. “But she used those long car rides with a captive audience to teach us good music.”
Soon after, Drew and Luke began to dabble in making music on their own, though their early creations differed greatly from what they had heard on those long car rides. Instead, they poured their creativity into producing electronic dance music, naming themselves “CPR,” their vowel-less surname.
Benji Bacharach, a senior psychology major, recalls being roommates with Drew during their freshman year at USC and seeing the dedication with which Drew and Luke collaborated on their music. Hearing the brothers constantly talk about their projects over the phone and experiencing many of their EDM performances live, Bacharach understood the shared dynamic between the duo.
“Luke has always been very good at… creating different music. He would simply say, “I can make you a cool song in five minutes, just give me a second,” Bacharach said. “Drew has always been very good at DJing and able to get a crowd moving… Everyone loved their sound and listened to them.”
Amid the pandemic, however, with the inability to perform live shows, the duo took the opportunity to test out a different style. Returning to the music that had inspired them, Drew and Luke began to create music more in line with what their mother had taught them to love all those years ago.
“We kind of went back to the music of our mother’s teachings,” Drew said. “We just went deep diving and landed on ’60s blues and rock and roll… We picked up the guitar, started singing a little bit, and that’s how it started.”
As their image and musical style evolved, the brothers decided to trade the name CPR for a simpler title: the name “Drew & Luke”.
“We wanted something that was… very authentically our roots and who we are. What’s better than just being our names? There’s nothing hiding behind there,” Drew said.
Having honed their instrumentation skills and decided to the most specific degree what type of music they wanted to play, Drew & Luke are now fully addressing their identity as a psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll duo.
The evolution of their music has proven to be a fruitful endeavour, as the two have performed their latest music for live audiences in venues across Los Angeles, from one night at The Hotel Cafe to their three-week residency. at Harvard and Stone. Accompanying them on stage are friends and bandmates Blake Stamato, Nick Springer and Nick Imig – all students at USC.
The friends of the band, although surprised by the stark difference between the music of Drew & Luke and that of CPR, are greatly impressed by the dedication with which Drew and Luke have committed themselves to their evolution as musicians. The bluesy, late-’60s-inspired rock they play is full of energy, and the duo’s electrifying stage presence only adds fuel to the fire, from Drew’s solos to the electric to Luke jumping off the stage and dancing with the crowd.
“I really like their music now. I feel like it gives him a lot of energy. It’s fun to dance too,” said Bacharach, who is still Drew and Luke’s roommate four years later. “I love reaching out to them and supporting them. It’s starting to feel like a small community… You’ll see a lot of familiar faces there.
In the process of refining their new style, the dynamic of the brothers as bandmates, which Bacharach observed during their time producing EDM, continued to strengthen, with each of them having defined and embraced its role within the group.
“Luke is the leader of the band as the lead vocalist… He really has the main vision musically. Being his older brother, I’d say I’m the conductor in life. So I like to direct it differently,” Drew quipped.
Although Luke handles the organization and production and is the one who gets the band together for rehearsals, Drew takes the lead on the business side of things, contacting venues and arranging times and locations for the band to meet. produce.
“It ends up being a good dynamic,” Luke said. “We wouldn’t play without the gigs.”
Each handling a side of the bar, the duo enters March and April with exciting gigs lined up in venues old and new. While their community of loyal listeners continues to show up and dance, the duo hope more music lovers will come out to experience what they’ve created, regardless of labels or genre restrictions, but simply to enjoy music.
“We draw a lot of inspiration from late ’60s music… But I don’t care what you call it,” Luke said. “If you like what we play, then you like it. You like to come and experience it with us… I want to let you in because maybe I can put you on something.
From electronic dance music to classic rock and from Philadelphia to LA, it all comes down to a team of two brothers who are driven to create and perform, guaranteed to get their feet moving.
Information about Drew & Luke’s tour dates and locations can be found on the duo’s website.