Interstate Drive have honed a funky indie sound that sets out to do something a little different to the norm and what is widely expected of them in the modern music industry.
As Cameron Davidson, the frontman of the Southampton and Porstmouth-based trio, tells us: “We have been called a modernized indie guitar throwback, which I can understand. A drunk guy called us Spikey medicine pop. I have not a clue what that means! We like guitar music and alternative rock, but always done with a melody in mind.
“I think the problem with a lot of music now is that it has to fit within a framework. People have such short attention, if it isn’t ‘hook, hook, Chorus,’ some places move on, which can be a challenge, but it also seems like music has a modern challenge not to become little more than jingles.”
The foundations of the band were formed when Cameron and bassist Paul Irwin played with Hoosiers at the Winchester University Freshers’ Ball. Then, during lockdown at the start of last year, drummer Andy began speaking to Cameron about starting a band and it turned out that Andy and Paul were old school friends. They initially released a lockdown cover of Foo Fighters track Learn To Fly and, soon enough, a new band was formed and their first two singles were released.
As Cameron explains: “It has been fulfilling getting the music out, and we have been able to rehearse and work on new things. It has been annoying that we cannot play in front of anyone. The reception of the songs has been great! Express FM in Portsmouth have been very complimentary, and Simon at VoiceFM in Southampton is an early supporter! There’s nothing quite like playing at volume to people though, and we have really missed that.”
Their debut single in June was Sundowns and Hurricanes, which opens up with a twinkling guitar, then driving drums and light backing vocals. It kicks into a catchy opening verse with Cameron’s engaging vocals supported by lively guitars, then feeds into an equally catchy verse of “If you are the Queen then I’ll be a hurricane, I’ll be here to see you come again, You’re willing to take much more and you’ll break, It’s all you can be, I’ll be the sky if you are a hurricane.” That straight flows into another verse and chorus, then rolling drums and guitar chords support high-pitched vocals, then cries of “I found you, I need you, I’ll bleed for you, I just can’t let you go” lead into a final chorus.
That was followed by Invented, which was released in October. It follows a similar pattern of light guitars and backing vocals flowing into a more laid-back opening verse, then a delicious chorus of “You’re inside my head, You’re inside my skin, Where do I begin? You’re inside my mind, try to see if you can hide, I’ll find you.” A second chorus gives way to higher-pitched vocals and an ascending guitar lick, which flows into a final chorus. Check it out in the video below:
Interstate Drive’s strongest early influences were bands like Feeder, The Killers and Manic Street Preachers and, as a fellow three-piece, Biffy Clyro and the themes and sounds of their Puzzle album. While more recent bands include the likes of Paramore, Don Broco, You Me At Six and Young Guns, as well as bands like Lonely the Brave and Fatherson, who Cameron – the vocalist of indie band 6 Minutes To Sunrise – has previously played gigs alongside.
On what inspires their music, Cameron tells us: “I tend to write about a wide variety of things; mental health and loss is a big one for me. I have a bit of a trick of personifying emotions in order to make them relatable. The first two singles, for example, are possibly not about what you think they are. Sundowns and Hurricanes is about putting yourself back together again after a feeling of loss, and Invented is about addictions.
“We’ve purposely avoided writing about COVID as it is going to be overflowing with songs about that soon. We are working on a new song currently called This Big Machine, which is a bit of a statement about current society.”
Along with that new track is another new song called Mirror Mirror, which is available on YouTube, so keep your eye out for new Interstate Drive music and, fingers crossed, gigs very soon.
And, for a little insight into the band’s mindset, Cameron added: “Andy told us a story recently that made us laugh. He was at the Rose Bowl in Southampton at an Oasis gig quite some time ago, and Ringo (Starr) was there, presumably to watch Zac play drums. Andy ran up to him and expressed how much of a fan of his work he was. ‘Oh, the Beatles or my solo stuff?” replied Ringo. Andy stated: ‘No, Thomas the Tank Engine.’ It’s too amusing not to mention…!”