Interview: Insider Lays It All Out On New Album “Thousand Mile Drive”

Welcome to BuzzMusic Insider and congratulations on the release of your album “Thousand Mile Drive”. Sometimes the title of an album reflects the theme of the project as a whole! Can you tell us about the concept behind “Thousand Mile Drive” and how the title reflects this?

Thanks for having us BuzzMusic! The thinking behind (TMD) “Thousand Mile Drive” was for us to just lay it all out there; a journey that would take us wherever. To us, that’s what it ended up being, an endless drive that took us to places we haven’t seen ourselves before. We explored many subgenres of rock while creating this, as some of the songs came out differently than expected. We tried to hit hard on his record, and we did that. The title came from our song “Little Less Crazy” as it seemed to resonate with people on the EP.

We noticed classic rock n roll elements in the instrumentation of certain songs on this album like “Little Less Crazy” and “Careful What You Wish For”. Who are some of your influences and how did you cultivate their sound into your own for “Thousand Mile Drive”?

We are influenced by a wide variety of artists. The commonly shared genre among the band is definitely rocking, but we all bring subgenres of it to the table. Classic, Alternative, Grunge, Indie, and Progressive Rock; it’s all there in some form. Some of our influences are the Foo Fighters, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and so much more. We don’t try to necessarily copy anybody's sound, but by listening to these bands, some of their tendencies come naturally to us when we improvise. However, as Tom Morello said, use the key of F# for “maximum rock power,” and that idea is definitely used in a few songs like “Over It” and “18”.

There's a vibe shift with the song “Voices”. Considering this is one of the more sentimental pieces of this album, how challenging was it for you to create this song and how would you describe your songwriting approach towards it?

Voices were actually the first Insider song we ever wrote, and the first time we ever explored making our own songs. The song was written nearly 3 years ago. It started with a phone call, where Zac called Matt at about 2 o’clock in the morning. Zac started playing a Foo Fighters inspired riff on an acoustic guitar, and it ended up being the intro to what you hear now in “Voices”. Matt took the song from there and in one night basically wrote out all of the lyrics to the song, and the lyrics stayed relatively the same. (Yes, we write each other’s parts sometimes). When we got together to start writing in about November of 2018 with Gabri and Hayes, that’s when the bridge and breakdown parts were added. Sentimental is definitely the word we went for when we recorded it. As for creating the song, it wasn’t hard considering when it was made. Matt was in a bad state mentally when he wrote it, so going “the sad route” was the only route imaginable. When we first started writing, it was easy because you don’t know anything. We didn’t know much about theory, how instruments complement each other or making similarly syllabic vocal parts. When you’re clueless, you don’t have any boundaries; your canvas is the world, with your pallet stocked full of whatever you want. The challenge for most artists for writing songs today is just getting started and overthinking. So without realizing it, Matt had made a song about himself, nor did he realize what he wrote. Looking back, the theme is very clear. The stage is the escape.

After releasing a great EP like “One-Forty-One”, what were some of the ideas you had for Thousand Mile Drive” to elevate your sound from the previous project?

After “One-Forty-One”, we knew we had to step up our production quality. So we tried something totally out of the box and recorded the entire album in the band member’s bedrooms. Matt purchased the music software “Logic Pro X” on his laptop to record the album. We then downloaded “EzDrummer2” into the laptop, which is a customizable drum sample app. We created a drum kit through the app, and hooked it up to Hayes’ Electronic Drum Kit (TD-17), and used those sounds as midi. There are pros and cons to recording on an E-Kit, but Gabri fought through the struggles and ended up doing a great job. Hayes then created a bass tone through his processor, and then another tone on Logic. He then recorded both tones through the audio interface (Focusrite 2i2), so every song actually has multiple bass tracks. Matt recorded all of his guitars through a 2i2 and a Presonus interface while creating his Amp and Pedalboard settings in Logic. So the only physical mic that was ever used on the album was Zac’s vocal mic, compared to on “One-Forty-One” everything was mic’d. Matt is a 1st-year production student at Northern Vermont University, so he took over the album and did the mixing and editing. Hunter Myers, a fellow student, tipped in a bit as well. (Hunter will be joining the band this summer.) We are hoping within the next year or so to get in a professional studio and record with a professional engineer and potentially have a producer. But on TMD, the entire album was produced, mixed, and recorded by the band members.

What can we expect to see from Insider throughout 2020?

A massive summer tour! We have about 20 dates in the books right now, and we are just about wrapped up. We will be traveling along the east coast from Montreal to Ashbury Park, to even Philadelphia. It will be both a challenging and exciting journey! The tour announcement should be coming within a month or so. We will continue to write more songs and maybe even do some more recording by the end of the summer.

Listen to "Thousand Mile Drive" here.