I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over again, but it’s such a pleasure discovering new French bands every single week! Meet the French hardcore band Drive North. I had the pleasure to chat with Damz and Seb about their band and their latest releases. Check out the full interview below!
Picture by Kaïzoku Photography – Annabelle Chevallier
Hey guys! For those who might discover your band via this interview, would you mind introducing yourselves and your sound?
DAMZ: Hi Valentine,
So Drive North is 4 guys – Seb (vocals) Will (guitar) Martin (drums) and Damz (bass) – who have been hanging around the punk, hardcore and metal scene for a while now.
DN began to take shape during lockdown. In fact, I already knew it, but the others didn’t. When I left my old project, I had a clear idea of where I wanted to go musically and especially with which team I wanted to do it. So, I went looking for guys I knew well, who were cool, who I knew were motivated and for whom making music wasn’t just a hobby. We started talking seriously about this project with Will and Seb during the fall of 2021. Martin was the last to join the adventure in January 2022.
The 4 of us have touched almost all styles of rock, from pop to metal and even electro for some. But our hobby is still something between hardcore punk and metal. Huge sound, straightforward and catchy, resolutely turned towards live.
SEB: As long as it comes from the guts.
Let’s talk about your debut music video for “Light & Dark”, released beginning of June 2022. How was the shooting of the video?
DAMZ: We weren’t specifically looking for an overly advanced concept for this first clip, rather a business card focused on live. A kind of “Hello, it’s us!”
It was a nice experience. An intensive but truly rewarding day. The filming took place at the Transbordeur in Lyon. Unlike other music videos that we have been able to shoot in the past with our other projects, this time we took the project head on. We did a lot of things ourselves: design, lighting, management, editing, calibration… We came close to doing the shots ourselves, but we decided to leave that to a pro, Alice aka Mlle Dou (http://www.mlledou.com/). Annabelle, our dedicated right arm / lighting engineer, was also there and helped us a lot.
SEB: timing and budget wise, we couldn’t afford to script much, so we focused our approach on movement and sensations. It was quite nice to confront this energy with the idea of restraint and shackles that we tackle in the lyrics.
This song is taken from your new EP. How long have you worked on this release?
DAMZ: When we started the band, I already had a lot of music in store. Pieces that I had all the time to refine during lockdown and the hazy period that followed. This is what I presented to the others when I approached them to set up Drive North.
So we got down to business right away from the first rehearsals, set a deadline to record the Ep, chose the 4 tracks and off we went.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done in just 4 months. Martin joined us in January and in April Drive North was in the studio.
SEB: we’re used to saying that we are always two weeks behind schedule, so we try to make the most of the slack moments to move forward on all fronts, and hopefully be a few steps ahead.
So yes, the time spent on the EP may seem short, but we approached the thing meticulously, with set preprods and a fair idea of the the sound and the direction our first release should take.
How would you describe your usual writing process?
DAMZ: For now, we are still working on the tracks I had in stock. We are moving forward. Seb is always one step ahead. He puts vocals on the instrument tracks and when the piece has all it needs (music and voice), we all work on it together to put our own personal touch on it. This allowed us to move forward quite quickly and put together a live set, our priority.
So, it’s still quite a rigid process for the moment, but I can’t wait for us to start composing more together. Particularly concerning Martin’s drumming which is not fully exploited yet, he brings a different sensibility that sets him apart from a typical hxc drummer. I think Drive North is only halfway there at the moment, so what’s next is going to be really exciting.
SEB: In a hurry but with reflection. As for singing, we experiment a lot with Damz, on lines, rhythm and heights in particular. We set ourselves a framework and we try to fully exploit the possibilities within these limits.
Please describe the artwork of your EP.
DAMZ: The artwork was done by Will, our guitarist. The original is a photo he took during his visit to prison…. as a tourist of course! A good amount of photoshop and voila! Don’t look for a special meaning or symbolism, we just wanted something cool that wouldn’t take 6 months to agree on.
SEB: We needed a business card, the idea was to emphasize the name without distracting too much attention. Not too flashy, simple, clear and not too cliché. At the moment we are working on our merchandising, and it is rather this state of mind that we follow.
You got the opportunity to share the stage with Psykup for your first show. How was this experience?
DAMZ: Well really, really good! We had a great time and the feedback was really positive. We had a lot of pressure for this one, we had to build the set in a hurry but as it was our priority to perform live quickly, we were ultra motivated. The Totem Live trusted us for our first show and we thank them. They supported us faithfully on this one and the reception was overwhelming. It was a pleasure!
We had to find our balance between us and for some reacquaintance to the stage. Personally, between the pandemic and leaving my former band I had not set foot on a stage in 3 years. It had never happened to me in 30 years of music… Funny feeling. But damn it felt good to get back to business.
As for the composition, we are still in the ascending phase concerning live shows, first steps went very very well, can’t wait to see what it will be like when we go into full war machine mode!
SEB: As for playing with Psykup, it was the icing on the cake, these guys are great and put on a show made for live performance. They really have something of their own, it’s pretty crazy live.
The conditions for a first scene were really cool: the location, the people involved on this date and the conditions were top notch. As Damz says, despite a huge amount of concerts with our different experiences, it was the first post-lockdown concert, and especially Drive North baptism! We can only thank everyone who was a part of this show and their kindness so much. Especially Annabelle and Greg for the lights and the work on the sound who did a titanic job.
The last words are for you. If you have any other projects in the making or a message to convey, here’s your chance!
DAMZ: Yes, we have a lot of projects in the near future: we are currently recording pre-productions for the future album. In parallel, we continue working on new songs to add to the live set, we try to book a maximum of concerts for 2023, we are working on the next clip too.
For the rest of the adventure, we are looking for partners (booker, label) to do things well. Come see us live, that’s where Drive North takes on its full meaning!
SEB: Thank you for this interview. Do, create, invent. Don’t see your age, your gender, your means as obstacles. Seeking validation is a waste of time.