Sound Lab: DRVR Artist: DRVR Set list: Chief, October, Silver Years Audio engineer: Nate Merrill Filmed and edited by Jeremy Long, FlipsidePA.com Jeremy Long, FlipsidePA.com
We're back with another edition of the Sound Lab, where we highlight local musicians. This month, a band signed by Stranger Thing Recordings hit the Sound Lab studio, as Lancaster's DRVR joined us for a jam session.
Strap on your seat belt as we take a ride with DRVR.
Band name: DRVR
Band members: Sy Rossi, Jalen Cliatt, Garrett Moore and Ryker Keath.
Location:Cliatt – "I would say Lancaster is our home town."
What each member does: Rossi, bassist and singer; Cliatt, lead singers and lead guitarist; Moore, keyboard and singer; and Keath, drummer.
Meaning of the name DRVR: Cliatt – “It’s pretty ironic. We are jumping my car right now, and the reason we came up with the band name was that I was one of the only kids in high school with a car. I would meet the most random people at different places. I met so many people and heard so many stories. It was going to be chauffeur, but we thought DRVR was a better fit. There were a lot of things with the name Driver. DRVR is a lot easier. It’s a little bit of an anagram when we need it to be.”
When you got started: Cliatt – “We had a few other members when we started in May 2015. The band didn’t actually kick into gear until May 2016. We found Sy and Ryker around May. That’s when we started putting out music and took ourselves more seriously.”
Musical influences: Cliatt – “I would definitely say Django. I can’t really name anyone else off the top of my head."
Rossi – “I would definitely say The Beatles and The Beach Boys. There’s also The Strokes and Dr. Dog."
Moore – "Musical influences of mine are The Shapes and Andrew Bird."
Keath – “The Mars Volta, The Wonder Years and The Roots.”
Activities outside of music:Cliatt - “Every Tuesday night, we have a card night where we hang out in Ryker’s basement. We also always go Pokemon hunting together.
Favorite album: Rossi – “My favorite album is 'Shut Down' from Beach Boys.”
Moore – "'Riding on an Empty Street' by King of Convenience."
Keath – “'Frances of Mute' by The Mars Volta."
Cliatt – “It would probably be 'In the Court of the Crimson King' by King Crimson."
Favorite song: Rossi – “'Wouldn’t It Be Nice' by The Beach Boys. I have it tattooed on me actually.”
Moore – "'Mislead' or 'Cayman Island.'"
Keath – “'Cissy Strut' by The Meters.
Cliatt – “I’m going to say that my favorite song is 'Helter Skelter' by The Beatles."
Most meaningful song that you’ve written:Cliatt – “I would have to say the song that means the most to me personally would be ‘Chief.’ I wrote that in my head with no instruments when I was hospitalized with a mental breakdown. I heard it all in my head and cycled the lyrics in my head. I got out, and I put the music to it acoustically. I showed it to the original band, and we played it on the streets of Lancaster. We got a $20 tip from someone, and they said that we should take it somewhere. We then made the band. That means a whole lot to me.”
Claim to fame: Rossi – “The biggest moment was after we were created, we showed stuff off at LVC and got signed by Stranger Thing Recordings. The following month, we played their campus show and we headlined. It was for the label but endorsed by the school.”
Favorite song to cover: Cliatt – “We do covers live sometimes. We don’t want to hammer people who don’t know us with our stuff. We do covers to keep people interested. We don’t really focus on them, though. I would have to say we do a very alternative indy breakdown of 'I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You.' We strip it down to a raw sense of itself. They do what we do. They take serious lyrics about sad stuff and don’t allow it to get sad. That song gels with us.”
Number of albums: Cliatt – “We don’t have any albums out yet, but we do have an EP out. It’s self-titled. The album is out around November.
Where can people find your music: Cliatt – “iTunes, Spotify, Reverbnation, Stranger Thing Recording, Bandcamp and Soundcloud.”
Focus on singles or albums: Moore – “Our philosophy is that we do what we’re feeling. We do things in the season that we’re writing. If it’s a single, we will put it out. If it’s an EP, we will wait and put it out. If it’s an album, we have been thinking about it and put together all of the songs for it. We don’t limit ourselves for everything. We put together two singles because we thought it worked. We then put the EP out because people were asking for some music. Then we have the album coming. We will do some singles or EP’s if we are feeling it.”
Favorite performance: Cliatt – “I would say as the permanent band that we are now, it's the show we headlined. They threw it to us because they liked us. That was huge for us. That boosted our confidence a bit. My personal favorite one was when we performed ‘Chief’ on the streets of Lancaster.
Where do you see your band in five years: Moore – “In five years, we could see ourselves headlining bigger shows. I could see us moving throughout the country with an organized tour. Ryker’s dream is to open for Kanye West. We want music to be the priority for our career as a group.”
Advice to aspiring musicians: Moore – “My advice is to find an environment that is nurturing for creative growth. Starting out as a musician with the idea of creating a band, you want an environment where you are sharing your music and getting constructive feedback. Hearing that criticism with other musicians that are hoping to grow is big. If you can find ways to seek out that environment or create it with musicians your age, the band can form out of that. I think that’s very valuable.”
Favorite part about performing: Moore – “For me, I really enjoy whenever someone brings a song sketch to the band initially before we get to the performing stage. The band is really open to hearing each other. That translates into our music. When you listen to the songs, you’re hearing something that has been molded by all of the members. It’s just that moment where we share ideas. That kind of trust and relationship with the bandmates is important because we are sharing those moments with the crowd.”
Rossi – “I was an audio engineer, so my favorite part is the recording process leading up to live shows. For actually performing, it’s seeing that people are enjoying what they are hearing. You’re providing a service, and it’s great seeing people enjoy you wrote.”
Keath – “My favorite part of performing is connecting with the fans. You get to see the music you made and how it affects people. You don’t know if your music is going to go anywhere. You can see that you can touch people positively with that song you made.”
Cliatt – “My favorite part would be when it’s over. No, I’m kidding. Honestly, I’m going to be cheesy and say the same thing. I hate the music I put out. I hear myself, and I can’t get into my own music. If other people like what we do or ask about our music, screw me, you know? It’s not about me anymore. It’s about the other people that do appreciate it.”
What’s up next for you: Cliatt – “I think it’s safe to say after the album releases, we are doing more shows and more music. We can do more recording. It’s always super fun watching Sy record it. We have a show coming up at LVC on Sept. 10. It's the EP release show. Fans can buy the EP and get a T-shirt. The big goal is to put out more songs.”