Work Drugs are your holiday escape

Work Drugs are your holiday escape
Chris Sikich

For the sixth year in a row, Philly-based dream pop duo, Work Drugs, will be performing their Holiday Spectacle at Boot & Saddle. If you’re looking for an escape from the east coast’s bitter cold or need to chill out from the stress of the season, their summery, west coast vibes are the perfect remedy. We got to chat with Thomas Crystal, who plays vocals and guitar, about the meaning behind their band name and what we can expect from this Saturday’s holiday show.

Can you tell us about your music for people that may not be familiar with it?
I would say it’s upbeat pop music with an early alt-rock feel. It’s kind of softer, but it’s also got a good groove — so it’s danceable. It’s appealing to a pretty wide range of people. We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have younger people who are way into it. The crowd’s pretty diverse.

At its core, Work Drugs is a duo but at this show you’ll have a full band?
It’s me and Ben [Louisiana]. For the live show, it’s a four piece and at the Christmas show, it’s going to be a five or six piece. We’re going to have special guests, extra singers, extra horn players — so it’s going to be kind of a big thing.

Your songs are really freeing. What inspires your writing?
We wanted to write music that we like. We spend a lot of time out on the boat, a lot of time on the roof deck, and just being inspired by the outdoors — being on the sea, being out in the water.

I don’t often ask this question because it’s overdone. But I’m really curious as to the significance of your band name.
Initially it was a very literal sort of phrase that we had seen once on a television show, and it was something that we just liked when we decided this project was going to be a thing. It didn’t really start off as a serious project and we kind of, for better or worse, stuck with the name. It resonates with a lot of people though.I wouldn’t take it as “drugs” literally, but I think it’s whatever helps you get through the day. Whether its music, caffeine, drugs — whatever that is. That’s kind of how we look at it.

What can we expect from the holiday show?
We love Christmas and the holiday season. It’s an opportunity to get some friends together, get some special guests together. Go out there and play some Christmas songs, play some originals — but make it more of a party than a very strict show sort of thing. It’s pretty neat. A lot of people come up to play with us that we know from the Philly scene and it’s a fun thing. It’s kind of just grown into a tradition, really.

Who will be sharing the stage with you?
A band called RFA. They’re a great band — really high energy, so we’re excited about them. We’ve always tried to cultivate growing bands that are newer on the scene. We’ve had different bands over the years, like Vita and the Woolf last year.

What are your hopes for 2017?
I think with all the protesting and all the division in the country, let’s just pull together and try to make the best of the situation and have a fun year, good year. Hopefully some good music comes out and it can distract us from the craziness of the world. That’s my part. I don’t need anything physical.

If you go:
The 6th Annual Work Drugs Holiday Spectacle
Saturday, Dec. 17
8 p.m., $10-$12
Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad St.

Check out the Work Drugs holiday cover of “Alone at Christmas” below: