Dragged Under: Making our UK debut at Download Festival was amazing and terrifying at the same time

Photo Credit: Jake Paulson

Dragged Under made their first ever live appearance on a UK stage at Download Festival – and the Seattle band went big on their first gig on this side of the pond. It capped a welcome return to playing live and continuing their rock n’ roll adventure, after their early steps into the game were cruelly shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They believed, as did a number of their fans in the American punk rock world, that they were on the precipice of breaking through after a stunning tour as support to The Used, but the evil COVID witch had other ideas. “That tour with The Used was my first tour ever. We finished that and got home and then literally the next day the whole world shut down,” recalls guitarist Ryan ‘Fluff’ Bruce.

Frontman Anthony Cappocchi continued excitedly: “This is our first ever show in the UK here today. There had been plans before but the way things were they kept getting moved or changed so it’s been a long time coming.

“We released our record then went on tour with The Used and that was a dream come true. It was like seeing your dreams dangle in front of you then in an instant it was taken away. It was hard to deal with as we have all worked so hard and for so long to do what we are doing right now, giving up a lot. So it was hard to feel like we had taken a step in a good direction and see it actually becoming something, then the next day you are back at square one.”

As the world finally heals and returns to a more normal routine following the end of global lockdowns, which saw live music halted and become a much missed and fading memory, Dragged Under have been preparing for moments such as these. Desperate to bring their songs to live audiences around the world.

“We are a live band at heart and we write songs for the live setting, so that’s what we love to do,” beams rhythm guitarist Sean Rosario. “We are touring now until October. Touring on the road can be tiring, but you wake up and realise you get to do what you love every single day so that pushes you through any bad days you are having, as not many people get to do what we are doing.”

Playing Download Festival is a career high and bucket list goal for most rock and metal bands. Making your UK debut from the hallowed Donington Park ground is an honour, but a terrifying prospect at the same time the band joked.

“This morning I was more scared than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” laughed Cappocchi. “I’ve never seen that many people standing in front of me staring at me ever.”

“Panic attacks all round,” grinned Bruce. “I built this up since the 90s when I would watch bands playing at Donington, so for me it’s a very emotional, personal thing. Download is the single best festival here. There is no one else breaking new bands and giving this many young bands a platform like us to play with the big boys.”

The love for Download is infectious and clearly a unanimous feeling in the band, as drummer Kalen Anderson adds: “There are some newer festivals in America which are doing well now, but there is nothing like here and Download has perfected festivals. You are efficient, do it so well and we are stoked to be here.”

Written by: Eric Mackinnon

Dragged Under‘s new album Upright Animals is out now via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group, available to stream or purchase HERE

Eric Mackinnon
Long time journo who sold his soul to newspapers to fund his passion of following rock and metal bands around Europe. A regular gig-goer, tour-traveller and festival scribe who has broken stories of some of the biggest bands in the world and interviewed most. Even had a trifle with Slash once. Lover of bourbon, 80's rock and is a self-confessed tattoo addict.