In fact, the five-person, female-fronted indie rock band has so much in-house talent that the members were able to record and produce their debut album almost completely on their own.
The record is consistent in its quality and each song feels like a different page in a rock 'n' roll yearbook. Big Drag's genre-bending sound travels from '70s psych and acid rock into '90s jam band and early 2000s emo.
Founding members Nathan Brown and his girlfriend of seven years, Kacy Epperson, started the band on a whim one evening in 2020 when a spontaneous date landed them in his recording studio, Spanky’s. That night, in an attempt to pass the time while her shop Brass Rabbit Tattoo was temporarily closed because of COVID-19, they ended up writing six of the 10 songs on their self-titled album, released last November.
Big Drag's songs are now part of other couple's first dates. For the past few months, the group has taken to Denton and Deep Ellum stages.
Epperson, a tattoo artist and business owner for nearly eight years, leads the band’s vocals, and Brown accompanies her on guitar. The frontwoman says she is “not the typical Whitney Houston” but has loved to sing since childhood.
“What drives me to make music is just, you know, I grew up in the '90s watching MTV and I was pretty obsessed with music videos and Beavis and Butt-Head and all that, and I always wanted to be in a band,” she says.
Joining the couple is Brown’s brother Wesley on the drums, Beau Sexton playing percussion and Matt Neal on the bass. Brown served as the producer on Big Drag’s first album, which was mixed by Kennie Takahashi and mastered by Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal Recording. The instrumentals were laid down in Nathan Brown's own studio, but the main vocals were recorded at Split Window Studios in Denison by Chris Romain.
All in all, it took them about a year and a half to record and release the album, but the full-length project was not without setbacks.
“We had a lead guitar player that moved mid-recording and so we had to work up new leads and kind of rearrange a few things so it took us a little bit longer than expected,” Nathan Brown says.
It's no surprise that Epperson grew up listening to girl-fronted groups such as No Doubt, Garbage and Hole. Their influence is apparent. Against a backdrop of hypnotic rock, Epperson's voice is original yet entirely familiar in a way that transports listeners to the golden age of female rockers, when pre-pop Gwen Stefani ruled the '90s alternative scene.
Someone once told Epperson that Big Drag sounded like a mix of No Doubt, Jefferson Airplane and Paramore. She agreed. The singer also takes a lot of tips from Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, her all-time favorite band.
“What drives me to make music is just, you know, I grew up in the '90s watching MTV and I was pretty obsessed with music videos and Beavis and Butt-Head and all that, and I always wanted to be in a band." – Kacy Eppersontweet this
“She is probably the absolute coolest frontwoman in the world,” Epperson says. “I love that her outfits are over-the-top.”
Her favorite song on Big Drag’s new album is the final track, “Dark.”
“It’s kind of a slow, draggy song,” Epperson says, “kind of sensual, Western-sounding, which I really like.”
Nathan Brown’s input also makes the record memorable; the part-time bail bondsman has plenty of practice playing a variety of instruments including drums and the trumpet in, at the moment, four other bands. While Epperson creates the melodies and lyrics for their music, Brown writes almost all of the instrumental parts.
The Brown brothers have been playing music their whole lives. Growing up in the tiny town of Bells, Texas, they often heard their mom drumming along to songs by Tom Petty and Janet Jackson.
“We always had a drum set in the house,” Nathan Brown says. “Whenever we were younger we would pretty much just mimic whatever she played until we got old enough to start playing in bands, and during high school, and right out of high school we started playing and touring in kind of like DIY bands.”
After a lot of deliberation, the group decided on the name Big Drag, and at the time they released their music they found no other music published under that name. But a few months after they debuted online, a '90s band from Texas with the same name started, for the first time, releasing its music across all digital platforms.
“The Big Drag band from the '90s is actually a pretty good band too,” Nathan Brown says. “So hopefully there is no bad blood or confusion there.”
Big Drag will play at Ruins on Feb. 25, where they will co-headline with horror rockabilly band Nocturnal Cvlt. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.