In the spotlight: Interstate Drive

Interstate Drive are a Southampton and Portsmouth (UK) based Indie-Rock band. Frontman Cameron Davidson grew up playing guitar and violin, and working in a studio as an assistant. He used to write and record songs in the spare time there, finally forming a band and eventually touring.

Bandmembers Andrew Syson and Paul Irwin went to school together and played in their first band together.

“At their very first rehearsal, the music room was locked so they went to Andy’s house, and he played cardboard boxes as drums. Their first song was Basketcase by Greenday! Paul has played in numerous bands, most notably a band called Blink Daze, who are very successful.”

What can you tell us about Interstate Drive? How did the band form and get started?

“Interstate Drive were formed in lockdown. Cameron had been playing acoustically and with a backing band, of which Paul was a member, but wanted to form another band. Serendipitously Andy messaged about playing drums, and then mentioned to Paul about it, Paul decided he wanted to be involved too, and the band were born!”

Who came up with the band name and is there a story behind it?

“The name comes from a feeling of escapism. One of Cameron’s parents lives in America, and the long drives between States would be spent listening to music or writing lyrics. The idea for the name came from that.”

Cameron, you’ve played in 6 Minutes to Sunrise and went solo after the band broke up. Did you miss playing in a band?

Cameron: “I had some great shows as a solo name, and it was easy to rely purely on yourself logistically, but it was quite lonely sometimes, driving to a gig, playing, then waiting around and leaving. It never felt like a gang, and as I was using a loop pedal for the live music, it was quite intensive the level of concentration you’d have to use! Plus, that feeling of setting up the amps, drums and then starting a song with your band, I missed that. It was so exciting to be able to form a band with Paul, and the fact that it was with Paul’s school friend – they hadn’t played together since then! – was really special.”

Who are your main influences as a band? 

Cameron: “Anything with a melody, an edge, sadness, joy… I am a sucker for a good melody and a good hook. I try to make sure that there is progressing within the songs. Influence wise, we are into bands like Paramore, Don Broco, Biffy Clyro, Manic Street Preachers, and The Killers. Driven melodic pop-rock with an edge basically. Or a modern indie rock throwback as someone has called us!”

You’ve released three singles, ‘Sundowns and Hurricanes’ was your debut single, which was followed by ‘Invented’. ‘Invented’ is currently in our chart. The lyrics might imply that it’s a love song, but I read it’s about addictions. What can you tell me about ‘Invented’?

Cameron: “I like personifying the lyrics or characterising them as it makes them easier to relate to for listeners. I also like people being able to have their own meaning about them if they wish, so I purposely make some of the meanings slightly ambiguous. Invented could be read being about someone, or something, or even somewhere. I know what it means to me. For example: The line: “You’re inside my skin, where do I begin?”. It could be talking about dissociation or it also could be talking about frustration with a situation.”

How important are lyrics to you? What inspires your lyrics?

Cameron: “The lyrics play a large amount of what the song is. I spend quite a lot of time on them. I talk about things such as addictions, love, loss, grief, mental illness, hope or lack of it, or sometimes observations on life.”

A video for the next single ‘Open Your Eyes’ is already available on YouTube. When will it be released on Spotify? What can you tell me about the song?

“The song is aimed to be out at the end of August. The song is a driven rock song, that talks about denial about an event or situation, a fight for acceptance of it, and hope that you will pull through. It has got some great reactions so far, and we really like the sound of it.”

“The video shows different contrasts between things; good and bad, and the hope that things will get better. There is one scene where it shows someone hugging and cuts to someone holding a statue. I really like that cut and the metaphor behind it.”

What is your creative process like? Do you enjoy the process of creating? 

Cameron: “That was my main background, in songwriting since I was a kid. I used to take a guitar and 2 cassette machines into the school music room with the drums and overdub songs I had written. It built from there really.”

“There are quite a few songs in both finished states and ideas stored on the computer. I love writing songs and lyrics and creating the song around differing hooks. I tend to hear how the song sounds in my head with all the instrumentation and how it fits together, and it is a question of capturing that. Sometimes it starts with the music, other times, a really good lyric comes first that we can put the music to.”

In previous projects you’ve played alongside some amazing bands including Nothing But Thieves, who are one my favourite bands. If you could pick any band to support on tour, who would you pick?

“6 Minutes to Sunrise played with Nothing But Thieves just before they were signed, at The Garage in London. They were nice guys, and it makes a great story!”

“We really like Biffy Clyro. Their albums Opposites and Puzzle are brilliant, so we’ll nominate them.”

What’s your opinion on the modern music industry? If you could change anything in the music industry what would it be?

“Whilst streaming is amazing, it lets you discover anything you want, in our view it also changes how much you emotionally connect with music. I remember buying CDs and reading the lyrics and art, and you’d make a connection to the whole album, and listen to it as an art piece. The onset of streaming makes every song individual, and also people skip a lot, so the songs have developed into almost jingles to grab attention quickly. You cannot put the genie back in the lamp, but I sometimes miss the old way of discovering music. I suppose that is what is fuelling the Vinyl revival though.”

What’s next? What are your goals for the next 12 months? 

“We would love to secure a team around us; be it an agent and manager and tour! We have been locked up for too long! It would be nice to build our audience some more, and release some of the music we are sitting on.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool 20?

“Lyon Tide – ‘Someone’. Cool atmospherics and vibe!”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“We will go old school on this one! I love this album so Idlewild – ‘Actually It’s Darkness‘.”

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Published by leancool20

Drinks tea, not coffee. Usually dressed in black.

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