Work Drugs

June 23, 2014

Work Drugs is an American dream pop duo from Philadelphia founded by Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana. The live band currently consists of Crystal, alongside Louisiana, Jonas Ohh, Mr. Kansas City, and Katie Nicks.

How did your interest in music begin? Music has been an integral part of our lives for as long as I can remember. My music interest, specifically, was cultivated on mix tapes that my father would make for boat rides as a young child.

What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? I think a lot of the current music being made is an attempt to not repeat what we’ve done in the past. Trying to find a different way to approach songwriting is also a challenge. I’ve been listening to a lot of George Duke, Donald Fagen, and the Silver Seas at the moment.

If you were a drink, what drink would you be? A Flying Zambo.

Describe your current studio or practice space. A dank basement; a roof-deck greenroom basically. It gets the job done.



Do you have groupies and what are they like? We’ve met fans of the band, and they’ve been very gracious and complimentary.

What other musicians/bands are you interested in right now? Recently it has been late 70’s Beach Boys, Blue Angel, Guided by Voices, and Clarence Carter. Muscle Shoals has been in high rotation recently.

What past trends in music do you think should never come back? That’s tough—I identify so much with older music; I wish we’d hang up our hang ups with compression and put dynamics back in music; stuff is too loud and sounds like crap on any “real” hi-fi system. I miss real soul/r&b—where have all the great singers gone?

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? John Oates, Grayson Hugh, Judith Hill (great voice), or maybe Paul Carrack.

Tell us about your work process and how it develops. Everything is a process—songs are sketched in broad strokes then tracked just as haphazardly, then there is a refining process that takes months, if not years, before they reach fruition.

Where is your favorite/ideal place to perform? We played a festival in Sweden last year, outside, that was pretty cool.



What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? Just to be turned on; the music that speaks most to us is emotive and really has an effect on the listener.

Tell us about your Best-Of album that will be released in the year 2025. It’s coming out sooner than you think.

What are you reading right now? The Pete Townsend bio.

What were you like in high school? Inquisitive; I was more interested in what “bark” was made out of instead of the most popular trends.



Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? I was told once that the lyrics were hard to understand, but that they liked the vibe. I’m not sure how to take that one…

Any upcoming shows or tours we should know about?
NY – Cameo Gallery – July 12th
San Diego – U-31 – August 28th
Los Angeles – The Fold – Hi-Fi – Bootleg Bar – August 29th
San Francisco – Neck of the Woods – August 30th