Club Drive is one of those bands who suddenly blow up out of nothing. If you don’t want to get left behind, make sure you get all the goss on the three-piece with our exclusive interview. Fresh from performing at this year’s Fusion Festival, we got on the phone to lead singer Aaron.
For those who haven’t heard of Club Drive, how would you describe your sound?
I would say… let’s try and make it like a hybrid of people you might have heard of. I would say it’s kind of like a hybrid between the old elements of Maroon 5, like early album stuff. The kind of poppier, groovier stuff – and I don’t mean the kind of groovy how old people would say it, it’s in the groove of the music, but maybe the groovier, funkier edge of DNCE; mixed with the kind of poppy rockier elements of Paramore. If you kind of mashed that up in a pot you would come somewhere close to Club Drive.
You sort of touched on one of my other questions already… you’ve been compared to and described as the next Maroon 5 quite a lot. But who would you say are your biggest influences musically? Are there some out there artists that others wouldn’t necessarily associate with you when they listen to your music?
Oh, 100%. We take influence from a) the broadest amount of genres, ever. And b) probably the weirdest and most wonderful artists you’ve ever heard of. There are so many people that we listen to and we take influence from loads of stuff, as I’m sure so many bands do. We listen to so much music, we listen to hip-hop, we listen to metal, we listen to classical; we literally listen to everything, so it’s hard to pinpoint one thing.
I think it would be a lie if we said there weren’t elements of influence from Maroon 5 because all of us do like their music, so I guess even if it’s on a subconscious level they’ve obviously influenced us somewhere. We never set out to be like right there’s a gap in the market, that’s what we want to do. We literally get into the studio, we write songs, we write songs that we enjoy, we’re really really fortunate that other people seem to as well. It’s been really great and not at all expected! I think we just kind of go with it, our influences are a lot of as much as it pains me to say, we have to thank our parents for their music taste. Our mum’s and dad’s listened to a lot of Phil Collins, Queen, Stevie Wonder, all sorts of like now legends. Obviously, to them at the time it was just another artist, I think we pick up a lot from probably like 70s, 80s music as well which is probably where we take a lot of influence from.
Your parents could have listened to much worse.
Oh trust me, they did. I’m just being kind and not mentioning the ones that they did.
You’ve just finished the festival season, what’s it like playing festival slots compared to smaller gigs?
It’s so different! For me, personally, there’s a lot more to consider. When we play a gig, I’ll have to be conscious – and this sounds like such a diva thing to say but it’s really important for a singer to warm up properly before they sing – at festivals you don’t tend to get as much opportunity to do that because there’s a lot of other things going on in the day before you actually get to go on stage. That differs for me on that front, but in terms of actual performance, it’s mad. We don’t often get, not yet anyway, a chance to play stages that big when we’re playing a venue. Realistically, until you play arenas you’re not going to get that chance. It’s a great opportunity for us to maybe push ourselves a little bit more, we get a chance to show people a little bit more of what we could do and we’ve got bigger stages to perform on. We’re quite an energetic band anyway, we thrive on a bigger stage, with a bigger audience; we’ll put that extra effort in because we’ve got the room to do it. I think for us, festival season is our favourite time of the year, I would say we kind of see ourselves as a festival band. It’s a slightly bigger stage and an unknown audience, I quite like that, I like the risk involved. Obviously, the level we’re at at the minute, not a lot of people know who we are, so turning up to that many people who don’t know you yet is a huge risk, but we thrive on that a bit. We like the fact that we’re not sure what response we’re going to get, hopefully, we’ll convert a few people along the way.
That’s part of the beauty of festivals for people going to them too. They’ll go see people who they don’t know just to find out about them as well.
It’s perfect for a band in our position, we’ve been really really lucky this year with festivals and I know we’ve got a lot more coming up next year.
If you could create your dream festival, who would you have as your headliners?
Argh, that’s such a good question. Are we talking dead or alive?
Let’s throw it open, why the hell not?
Okay, I don’t know why I said that, I’ve made it harder for myself. Let’s just say it’s a 3-day festival so I can get 3 headliners in. I would say, Friday night, go old-school and you’d have to have Queen, they’re an unbelievable band. Then Saturday night, big headline act, you’d have to go for someone like Michael Jackson, standard. Then Sunday, I’ll try and keep it current, I feel like I’m about 70. This is a bit of an out there one, on our kind of scene not a lot of people are into them, but I absolutely love Coldplay. I’ve seen them a couple of times, I was really lucky to see them at Glastonbury and then recently, they are unreal as a live band. They are always a perfect headliner.
Sounds like a decent festival, we’d be down for that.
If I could resurrect the other 2 then you’re welcome to come along.
Thanks! You recently hinted you’re going back into the studio after the hectic summer season, has that process started yet? Do you have songs ready to go when you go in there or is it just like a session?
It’s going to be a bit of a funny process. We write in a bit of a disjointed fashion. Tommy our guitarist will often come up with the initial start of an idea, however, saying that me and Christian also come up with our own bits. Then we’ll get into a studio together, sort of amalgamate it all and see what comes out, then we’ll play it through live and see what it sounds like. At the moment Tommy’s already in the studio, bless him, working hard. Chris and I are going to be joining him really soon and we’re going to start work on, officially I guess, our debut album. It’s going to be exciting, I think we’re going to try a load of different methods and just see what sounds right.
What’s the best and worst thing about touring with your bandmates?
Ohh, can I dish the dirt? The best thing is we get to see, and we know we’re really fortunate to do it, we don’t take it for granted, we get to see so many places and we get to meet so many people that we wouldn’t if we weren’t doing music. I think traveling the country and to a degree the world, there are various other foreign places we’ve been that we’ve been lucky to do, getting to see different places is definitely the best bit.
The worst bit is probably like it is with anything, I guess it’s more like being a family. You fall out with your brothers and sisters because you get to see their horrible habits and bad bits as much as you get to see the good bits. I think when you’re that close with your friends and in our case band mates, and it does become that close and you’re literally sharing rooms and sharing a van everywhere you go, every day. You are obviously going to have little fall outs. Saying that we actually do get on really well, but when it gets to night time and you’ve got 3 guys who’ve all got a tendency to snore, tempers can fray a little bit.
You released the music video for ‘International’ pretty recently, too. Tell us a bit about that. Do you have much say in the creative process?
We’re quite lucky, we’re still at a level where we get a lot of artistic control. We still get a big say in things like the music videos and the direction and styling behind it. The people that we work with are really, really great and actually friends of ours as well, so they’re quite open to hearing our suggestions. The ‘International’ video for us was quite a special one because it was filmed in so many different countries, we had the chance to go to a lot of places ourselves, which was obviously great. Also, we had the chance to call on a lot of friends, we’ve got a lot of friends around the world in different places and it was so nice that everyone brought all of that stuff together. We were never sure how it was going to turn out because of the way we filmed it, when you see all those people do their own little bits and then you put it all together, then it did really work. It was really nice for us, it was almost like an unveiling, we hadn’t seen anything altogether in one place until the final video – until about two days before it went out. For us, it was a nice reveal at the end to see how it all came together.
We have to talk about Steve leaving the band, will you be replacing him or is there anyone else coming in?
Initially, we had a lot of questions around it, we had a lot of people asking what was going to happen. A lot of people were then worried that we were going to split up and that absolutely not the case at all. It was completely friendly, we were all really really good friends before we were in the band anyway, so we’ll continue to be that. Steve’s going to go and do his own thing, which is absolutely fine and we’re just going to stay as a three-piece. What we’ll do is; for live shows it will still be exactly the same as everyone’s ever seen. It will just be someone else playing bass, we’ll get a session musician to come in and play for us. We already have a couple of other guys who play with us live anyway so we’ll just get another session guy in to play bass. The band as itself will always just be me, Tommy and Christian now.
What advice would you give to people who want to make a career out of their music?
I always say this, and it sounds so cliche but it honestly couldn’t be truer. It’s, ‘don’t give up’. Be the last person standing. If you’re the last person standing, doing whatever you do, it doesn’t matter what it is you’re going to get a level of success from it, because if nothing else people will respect you from the amount of hard work that you’ve put in. Obviously, there is a huge element of luck, there’s like 10% of having to have some talent, you have to be okay at it. I’m not saying we are, I’m just saying to get anywhere you have to have some talent. Realistically, I just think it’s don’t give up, if you work hard enough and you want it and you are lucky as well. You’ve got as much chance as anybody else, why not give it a go?
Nice advice! What’s up next for Club Drive? Where do you want to see yourselves in five years time?
I’m loving this, great questions. What’s next for us is a lot in a nutshell. As you said before, we’re into the studio, we’re going to have new songs so that means new videos to go with those songs. We’re going to be touring a lot, we’re going to be doing more headline shows, there’ll be a lot more festivals next summer, like I say the imminent release of a debut album at some point next year. We’re working with a lot of people at the minute, producers, stylists, fashion brands and stuff, hopefully, off the back of that, we’ve got some different and exciting doors opening.
In five years time is a huge call, we’ve only been together two years in May. I think if someone had said when we set out, “Look, you’re going to play the Main Stage at a major UK festival, you’re going to do gigs abroad and you’re going to get songs played on Radio 1, all within the first 12 months”. We would have literally laughed them out of the door. Honestly, in five years time, I’ve got no idea. I would love to play an arena at some point, even if we went out and did some kind of support show, I would love to play Glastonbury at some point in my life – that’s a dream. To be honest in five years time if we’re still making music and there are still people that want to buy tickets to see us and want to buy records and still enjoy what we do, then I feel like we will have achieved something by that point. That’s enough for us.