INTERVIEW: DRIVEWAYS WITH NEW MUSIC ON HALLOWEEN

If your definition of a fun Halloween doesn’t include listening to a new Driveways song, then you are doing it wrong. The Massachusetts natives drop new music every year around the holiday. This year is no different with Into The Past.

The eight-song album picks and choses, at times sounding like a post-hardcore hit and at others like a punk banger. It builds on the band’s 2021 Halloween release of Skeptic, a year after dropping  October Forever. That’s band released maybe its most popular track “Skeleton” 13 days before, you guessed it, Halloween, in 2019.

Why did Driveways decide to become “the Halloween band?” At the very least, they are one of the few bands who work classic literature into all of their new songs. It’s what, in part, makes Into The Past so special. We spoke with band member Pat Finnegan about the creation process.

What was your favorite part about making this album?

Pat: Off the top of my head, I think it was trying to kind of expand our sound a little bit. We always try to stay in our wheelhouse. Stay in our lane. We always try to stay true to the sound. But in this album we tried to focus on synths with each part.

And you set that tone right off the bat with the opening, spooky synths.

Pat: The synths in the first track, I had a logic session going and the fan on. That song came together and we were driving from Columbus to Chicago. We thought we should have an intro session. That one came up cool. Ryan (Passariello) brings a lot of cool, creative ideas.

So you release new music every year, always around Halloween. They pair perfectly! But why Halloween, every year?

I think it kind of happened organically too an extent. It started with EP “Night Terrors.” It started with that. It sounds lame, but we all love the show “Stranger Things.” I got caught up in the music behind it. When we were working on “Night Terrors” and sent demos…. we were told these are really dark. But ever since then we started releasing in October. Because we love the Fall, we love horror movies and everything we create kind of reminds of Fall. People were like you are the ultimate Halloween band. And seeing the response to people expecting it makes us want to do it more. It has almost become a cool little tradition for us. It can be a little challenging, but so far we have been able to release quality music.

You have a song called Salem. You mention Salem at other points in the album. I feel like this is both keeping in the Halloween theme and honoring your Massachusetts background.

All three of us grew up just north of Boston and we are like 15 minutes away from Salem. It’s crazy this time of year. But Salem the song… like the other songs, there are a lot of references on this EP to older books… every song has references to classic literature books. Salem has some references to Scarlet Letter. That was were some of the references were, to the book.

I love the lyrics in “Ambulance.” Does that reference a classic book?

One of the more relaxed, laid back songs on the EP. It has a couple of references to another book…some of the influences are in reference to a book called a “Farewell To Arms”. It is a reference to past difficult situations that people deal with.. making ideas from the book relatable.

“Lights on Long Island” is where the album takes a turn. Definitely more punky.  

Lights was interesting. Lights started as, I have a loop pedal at my house. I was playing a riff. It was clean, it was cool. We wanted a song that was a little more light hearted. A little softer. A little less aggressive. Because this EP has a lot of heavier moments. We picked it for the first single, because it was short and we thought it would make a good single. And like I said, it has themes left over from songs in the album Octobr Forever.

Is there a song you want to bring up?

I really liked “Fog Machines” and “Burning Bright.” I don’t know which one I like better. I like “Fog Machines” a lot. Dabbling into the 80 synth sounds. Incorporating that with Ryan’s drumming and the base. I sent the demo to the guys…it was a fun challenge to make that song into a full fledged “Driveways” songs. We featured another project, The Stars Above on the song because our friend Paul sang on it. “Burning Bright” we wanted it to be the closer the whole time. It has references to Fahrenheit 451. We wanted a song that does a little bit of everything.

Apart from the references to literature, your lyrics seem to incorporate other themes.

We always try to like incorporate other themes into records we put out. Like I mentioned some of the  book references, with this EP, one of the big things is about thinking into the past, that phrase shows up in a shape or form somehwere. It refers to some classic literature or book. But it also refers to someone dealing with the past.

So you all must be big readers?

Derrick and Ryan made fun of me the whole time. I am not a huge reader myself. What happened was “Lights On Long Island” referenced The Great Gatsby and thought “wouldn’t it be cool that every song on this album like lights made a reference to other classic books? We did the thing with the whole EP.

What’s next for Driveways?

We have some shows coming up. We have some shows to Baltimore and Pittsburg December 2 and December 3. We are always trying to play with the restrictions we have, like having families and jobs. We have some vinyl pressings and merch drops coming out and some shows that his the road in the Spring as well.

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