Interview with Ben, Mark, and Chris  |  By Ridge Briel

Alternative rock/metal is usually the last place I look for good music, but as soon as I heard these guys, I was hooked. Bass heavy grooves, catchy drum work, and vocals that straddle the fences of ambient, pop punk, and alt metal, it all culminates to an excellent self-titled four track EP. They all share a lot of previous experience (Mark Engles from Dredg, Ben Flanagan from The Trophy Fire, and Chris Robyn from FAR) and their resumes shines through on this stellar effort.

First off, let me say that I think the EP is amazing! It’s a real pleasure to listen to. How did you guys meet and decide to form a band?

Black Map - Driver EP

Ben: Thank you. Mark and I had been talking for a long time about wanting to do something heavier musically. We had some riffs lying around that didn’t really seem to make sense for any of our other bands and they were just sitting there without a home. We essentially were just talking over drinks about how much fun it would be to play in a band with Chris Robyn who was one of both of our favorite drummers growing up. Dredg and The Trophy Fire had both toured with Far and we had become good friends so we already had a good report. When we all got into a room together and plugged in we knew that this was something that was really going to work. It was a pretty great feeling.

What does the name of the band signify?

Ben: We wanted the imagery of this band to be dark. The way the songs sound, the things I’m writing about all have a tinge of something dark and maybe a little sinister at times. I think we just wanted a name that was vague, but still captured that kind of spirit: something in the shadows, not knowing exactly where you are going.

How has the reception been thus far in regards to your EP?

Mark: We’ve been really happy with the response. It seems to have a pretty immediate feeling, I guess. There’s been some very gracious reviews and more importantly, kind words from our peers who we hold in high regard. Oh, and my mom likes it!

Ben: Yeah, it’s been a really great response. It feels so good to have so many people we trust and respect reach out to us and tell us that they are really into this project. When we started it was really just about getting into a room and seeing what would happen, so to come to this point where we have something out there seems to be moving people, it’s a really good feeling.

Will you guys be touring anytime soon or will it be mainly one off shows?

Ben: We definitely hope to get out there and tour sooner than later; hopefully this summer. This band is still so new and we are really just in the initial stages of everything but we are definitely going to start looking at getting out on the road.

Will there be an imminent full length in the near future?

Mark: That’s the goal. We already have enough material for a full length, but we wanted to get a small taste out there so people knew what we were about. It should help us get shows/tours and just more interest overall.

Mark, how will this project affect Dredg, if at all? Is there any news from your front?

Mark: It doesn’t affect it at all. Dredg has been a little quieter recently and we’re all staying busy with other projects, work, and life in general. We are doing a short European tour in April/May. I’m excited for that.

Chris, being a Sacramento native as well, I absolutely loved Far! Please tell me that there will be something new from you guys soon?

Chris: Truly appreciate the love for FAR. I am very proud of all that we accomplished and created. However, there is nothing new planned from FAR anytime soon.

Ben, The Trophy Fire came out with their third album this past summer. Will you guys be playing any upcoming shows to promote the record? Have there been any talks of new studio material?

Ben: TTF toured last summer to support the record, but has been relatively quiet for the past few months. We just recently started recording songs again and will most likely be releasing singles online this spring. We don’t have enough material for another full length at the moment but still want to get music out into the world.

Any last words for the fans from you guys?

Mark: Thanks so much for supporting us. It means a lot.

Purchase Driver on iTunes here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/driver-ep/id827767415

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