Donella Drive is a band whose sound and onstage energy has gained them a name that is recognizable in a music scene that is progressing quickly; with that evolution, members of Donella Drive have evolved too. On their new EP “Anomalous” the band wraps itself around that progression and brings music that is worthy of the changing landscape.
The sound of “Anomalous” is a frenetically soulful sound wrapped in a raw and charged shrink-wrap. The cadence of vocals and rhythm complement each other well and is filled with unexpected highs and lows.
We had a chance to sit-down with bassist Andrew Salazar to talk about their new E.P., where the Donella Drive sound comes from and the changing scene in San Antonio.
Shortly after Salazar’s previous project “Brotherhood” ended, he started playing with his brother (and soon to be Donella Drive guitarist) Aidan Escalante. After conducting instrumental shows while searching for the right vocal fit for the band. They finally found what they were looking for in Gabriella Macias and thus Donella Drive was born.
Sobre Sound: How has your approach to writing music and creating as a whole changed since the formation of Donella Drive?
Andrew Salazar: When me and brother formed the band we went in to it without worrying how heavy something was, how technical something was, or how many breakdowns you could fit in a song. I wanted a project that was based on feeling and great songs. Everyone's mentality changed from when they joined the band, ‘cause we all compromise with each other. Everyone brings their ideas in and we just see what works best for the song.
SS: What is your personal favorite track off of “Anomalous”?
Andrew: They are all awesome! They all take me to a different place when I play them but I would say "Alone with the Devil,” "Shadow People" and "Deadman" are my favorites.
SS: Every group and team has their dynamic. What role outside of playing bass do you have in the band?
Andrew: I handle the business end of the band. Booking, merchandise, promotion, and collaborate and write with the band. Everyone always contributes in some way though. Colt [Wrangler Lyons, drummer]‘s always doing something mechanical for the band and Aidan and Gabriella are always writing. Without these pieces the band couldn't work.
SS: When I talk to someone who has been to your shows they talk mostly about the energy that you guys exude on stage. Where do you think that energy and stage presence comes from?
Andrew: I think stage presence is very important. If people see you feeling your music then they are going to get in to it. We just believe in putting on a great show and want people to remember us long after they saw us on the stage.
SS: The band’s sound has been compared to Glassjaw and Circa Survive among others. Do you agree with that? What band would you personally say that you guys could be compared to? Does the comparisons to other bands bother you?
Andrew: I think we are more on the Glassjaw side than Circa, but we love both bands. I don't think we sound too much like exactly one band though. I think you will hear influences from all kinds of styles and genre's we love. I've heard people compare us to At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta, Fall Of Troy, and even Paramore. If people want to compare us to bands that have been successful that I like then that's cool with me.
SS: On this album in particular, how did the lyric writing get done? Do you guys all contribute to that side of things?
Andrew: Our vocalist Gabriella handles all of the lyric writing. She usually has melodies and vocal patterns set. Then we collaborate and tweak things as the writing process moves along. We didn't contribute to her parts until we hit the recording studio and helped her with harmony and melody ideas for songs.
SS: The music scene in San Antonio is changing and growing. I remember back in the day it wasn't possible to be taken seriously unless you were a band that sounded like Creed or had a metal sound. How do you feel it’s changed? Where do you hope that it is going?
Andrew: I know for sure no one wants anything to sound like Creed (laughs). But some good metal bands like Upon A Burning Body and NothingMore from San Antonio have been picked up and are doing big things now. I definitely do think people are always looking for good music and I hope that we can be that next big thing everyone checks out.
SS: What is your favorite place to play locally?
Andrew: I do miss that White Rabbit stage, but I like playing Hi-Tones for the vibe there. Fitzgerald's has a cool stage too.
SS: What is next for you guys?
Andrew: To keep playing in and outside of San Antonio and get people out to our shows. Continue writing for the next E.P. or whatever we decide to do next. Hopefully get the band to that next level where we want to be.
Keep an eye out for Donella Drive and be sure to pick up their EP “Anomalous,” at www. donelladrive.bandcamp.com or at one of their upcoming shows at The Korova on Friday, July 10, at Tonic Bar on Saturday, July 25 and Friday, Hi-Tones on Aug 28.