The second album from six-piece Kopecky, Drug for the Modern Age takes the many shake-ups the band’s endured over the past few years and turns them into inspiration for groove-driven, melody-heavy alt-pop that’s intensely emotional and strangely exhilarating. “The album was written in this weird time of so much pain but also happiness, and that really informed the writing and recording,” says vocalist/guitarist Gabe Simon, who co-founded the group with vocalist/keyboardist Kelsey Kopecky in 2007. “Our goal was to talk about all these very serious things we were dealing with, but in a way that felt nothing like wallowing and more like standing triumphantly, or even dancing our way through it.”
In achieving that dynamic, Nashville-based Kopecky (whose lineup also includes guitarist Steven Holmes, bassist Corey Oxendine, cellist Markus Midkiff, and drummer David Krohn) offer moments of symphonic grandeur alongside edgy, electronic-leaning innovation. Meanwhile, their daringly intimate lyrics both unsettle and engage, asking questions and encouraging reflection on the part of the listener. “The idea behind the title Drug for the Modern Age is that we’re all trying to find the drug that helps us get through life and deal with the pressures and challenges that almost everyone in our generation faces,” says Gabe. “Whether it’s love or real connection or even an actual drug, we’re all looking for something that makes us feel like we’re a part of something good and meaningful.”
Formerly known as the Kopecky Family Band, their 2012 debut Kids Raising Kids, had them teaming up with producer/engineer Konrad Snyder. This time around they worked with Konrad again, but took a more slowed-down and deliberate approach that allowed them to bring a new level of sophistication and soulfulness to their songcraft. When it came time to record, the band divided up their sessions between several different locations, including EastSide Manor Studios (an East Nashville facility complete with an old indoor pool converted into a reverb chamber).
Drug for the Modern Age serves up its share of intricately layered love songs, revealing Kopecky’s endless grace in merging sweetness and melancholy. Throughout the album, they also consider the more shadowy dimensions of the human heart. “One of the main things we wanted to address on this album is the fact that, in a time when we’re all so wired in and constantly staring at our phones, we’re not engaging and hearing each other’s stories the way we should be,” says Gabe. Not only essential in helping certain band members cope with major life changes, that telling and hearing of stories went a long way in elevating the band’s songwriting. “We made a point of taking a step back and being real with each other and opening up, rather than just trying to hash our way through songs,” says Gabe. “It really helped us to voice our feelings in our lyrics in a more candid way than we ever had before.”
With the band forever bound by their shared passion for purposeful songwriting, all that revelation and sometimes-painful truth-telling ultimately fulfills something central to Kopecky’s mission: a deeper and stronger connection with each person listening.