Interview: Matt McAndrew of Rain City Drive Talks ‘Medicate Me’

To Better Days is a soundtrack—from the constant sonic building of the first song, awaiting the drop, crashing and bursting onto the second track through heavy guitar riffs and a resonant bass line, it was meant to be a soundtrack. Through both anthemic and melancholic melodies, Rain City Drive crafted a record that deserves to be listened to from front to back.

With such a strong debut as Rain City Drive, their history and previous years were shed, a new identity coming to light as a modern melodic post-hardcore band. Their self-titled, second release in 2022, Rain City Drive, furthered their venture into their vision of modern rock, pushing boundaries of what we, as listeners, know as modern music.

That’s the thing about Rain City Drive—They engage you, whether it’s challenging what you, as a listener, perceive as modern music, your own emotions, your own experiences, or luring you into picking apart the layers upon layers of tracks that weave together an intense yet harmonious experience—They invite you into their world.

Rain City Drive was born in Manchester, the “rainy city,” their name, “a nod to how we all met,” lead vocalist Matt McAndrew explains. The formation of Rain City Drive stemmed from an emergency, as the instrumentalists needed a vocalist; McAndrew recalls his knee-jerk reaction of, “Yeah, I’ll do it,” before hopping on a plane to Manchester, where they “all met for the first time.”

While the band was created out of necessity, it was not done without careful consideration and appreciation. Working together for the first time in a live environment, there was chemistry and an unspoken understanding between vocalist Matt McAndrew, guitarists Felipe Sanchez and Weston Richmond, bassist Colin Vieira, and drummer Zack Baker. They all wanted the same thing—to push the boundary of modern rock with their post-hardcore roots while capturing elements of contemporary pop rock.

McAndrew explains that pop is “a genre that by definition has to evolve and change, and grow, and self-reflect. A good example is Post Malone—That sound was not pop, but post-Post, it is. Or, before Billie Eilish—That wasn’t pop, and now, that sound is popular. Like, if we were to say Miss Suga got 40 million monthly listeners, that would be pop.” The genre is “flexible because it has to be.” And with rock having such a rigid structure with specific rules, “It’s harder to break boundaries because you get questioned with, ‘Is this rock?’” And, to Rain City Drive, “To be a modern rock band is to be a modern popular rock band,” so they aim to push those boundaries.

Formed in 2020, the band, known for tracks such as “Talk to a Friend,” “Heavier,” “Prayers,” “Waiting on You,” and “Blood Runs Cold,” released a brand-new collaboration with Rory Rodriquez of Dayseeker—a first-ever for their discography. “Medicate Me,” featuring the Dayseeker’s vocalist, is a cohesive fusion of modern dark pop and melodic rock. With a thudding synth running throughout the verses, powerful choruses, and a breakdown complimenting a trade-off of vocals, there’s something for everyone. “I want to be a rock band that lives in a harder space, but that you can still play for your mom.”

McAndrew elaborates that, “It’s sort of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, but you don’t have a picture reference on the back of the box” when writing. Their album, to be announced, is supposed to be pieced together from the likes of dark, electronic pop due to its near seamless ability to transition into a breakdown and hard rock, similar to “Medicate Me.” With their rising status, the band rely on intuition and feeling to guide them through their exploration into genre-bending and blending. So far their intuition has served them well in piecing together the picture that is Rain City Drive.

“Medicate Me” with Dayseeker’s Rory Rodriquez is out now and you can find it on all major streaming platforms. Follow Rain City Drive and Thriller Records on Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Thriller Records

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