The War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel on searching for "A Deeper Understanding"

Indie band The War on Drugs
Indie band The War on Drugs 03:45

Last Updated Aug 28, 2017 11:26 AM EDT

In the studio, Adam Granduciel, leader and songwriter of The War on Drugs, is a sculptor of sound. For the past 12 years, his Philadelphia-based band has been an underground favorite among fans and music critics, but it was their 2014 record that skyrocketed them into sold-out tours and onto many year-end "best-of" lists.

Their latest album, released Friday, seems poised for even greater success, reports "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Anthony Mason.   

"I try to just keep chipping away at, you know, this little idea you may start with and then work on something for seven, eight months," Granduciel said. "Eventually it just kind of turns into something."

It's turned into unexpected success for the indie rock band, whose last album "Lost in a Dream" sold more than a quarter of a million copies. 

Growing up in Massachusetts, Granduciel has always loved music. But his passion deepened as a teenager, when he picked up an electric guitar at a friend's house. 

"I remember hitting this red Washburn and, like, the ground shaking. I knew actually when I did that, I was like, this is the greatest -- single greatest moment of my life," he said. 

Granduciel was living in Oakland in 2003, when he suddenly moved to Philadelphia in search of a music community. He took part-time jobs at first.

"I was a bouncer, if you can believe it for a while in a sports bar," Granduciel said. "I let everybody in."

In Philly, he found a kindred spirit in musician Kurt Vile. 

"That little window like 2004 through like 2010 was probably the most, like most inspiring time of my creative life, for sure," he said. "I think we were both kind of feeding off of each other's, like what we were both searching for, you know?" 

They started playing together as The War on Drugs at a local bar called Johnny Brenda's.

"When they opened the upstairs, we were the first band to play," he said. 

After the band's first album, Vile left in to pursue a successful solo career. But The War on Drugs' following has grown with each record. A few months ago, Granduciel found new rehearsal space in an old technical school in south Philly.

"I needed a place. I had some of my gear in Los Angeles. I had some in storage units. The band's stuff was all over the place. I needed a place where everything could be in one spot. And the band could rehearse and get inside the music and just a place to grow." 

Their fourth album, "A Deeper Understanding," is also their major label debut.

"I guess the only thing that's different with this record was I knew there was a little bit of an expectation about it," Granduciel said. "I just knew I needed to push myself to a place where I felt like I went all the way."