DRIVE BY WIRE, the psychedelic heavy desert fuzz-rock act from the Netherlands, is coming to Greece for a mini tour of five shows in support of their latest release “The Whole Shebang”. Frontwoman Simone Holsbeek and guitarist Alwin Wubben talks about the evolution of the band from record to record, their music influences, Philip Anselmo and the Greek audience.
Last year, “The Whole Shebang” was released. What happened in the band in the meantime, since “Between The Oceans” was released back in 2008?
Alwin: Lots of touring. We’ve toured England a couple of times, tour through Swiss etc… we were also quite busy for more than a year with our side-project CORDS, releasing an album, making a DVD and also, an extensive tour…
What can you tell us about your newest record and the songs of it?
Simone: What is changed is the fact that we really took a long time for pre-production figuring out how we wanted to sound and which way to go musically. We worked more on the songs themselves, in contrary with “Between Oceans” which was written more as an whole album. We also focused more on the vocals for this record, and it has more “air” in it, more space, less massive. Eventually it was recorded in a studio in an old barn, pure rock and roll place, nothing too fancy and high-tech, it just smells of beer and cows (laughs). There, we were able to capture the right vibe on “tape”. We produced the album ourselves, and then I did mixing together with René Rutten from ‘The Gathering’. We know René for so long, he even was our bassplayer for a while, he really understood which way I wanted to go with this album…
Your style manages to “escape” from the classic stoner/desert rock sound, reaching the vintage rock music genre. How has the band evolved in your opinions throughout those years and how did you want to sound?
Simone: I was listening to a lot of good old 70’s bands while writing this album. Apart from HAWKWIND, also BLACK SABBATH and BLUE CHEER, but also some not that famous bands such as LORD BALTIMORE, BUDGIE etc… so, yeah, you can hear that 70’s kinda vibe back in the songs. While the first album was more raw and the second one more heavy, this one is more balanced, we’re more a tight collective as a band on this album and this time we have more to offer.
Since you are active as a band for about a decade, which is the best memories you have so far?
Simone: Wow, so many great memories… Playing at Paradiso venue in Amsterdam, there is so much music history in that building, our release party for “The Whole Shebang” here at the venue in our hometown. Also, playing with KYUSS LIVES! one of my old time favorite bands. And of course, Greece, absolutely lovely audience!
You have planned a whole mini tour in Greece and not just a single show. Why did you make that decision and how do you feel about Greece and the Greek audience?
Which Greek bands do you appreciate the most?
Simone: NIGHTSTALKER, we played with them in Thessaloniki back in 2008, DEUS EX MACHINA, 1000MODS, and we have some really cool support bands during our greek tour, INSTANT BONER and BOMBING THE AVENUE, check those guys out!
You also chose to cover NIGHTSTALKER in your latest record. However, why did you choose the specific song?
Simone: Well, NIGHTSTALKER is a great band, and “Voodoo You Do” is an awesome song, it’s actually a really bluesy song if you strip it down to the basics and it has just a kickass guitar riff!
Some of your shows in Greece have free entrance which is quite respectful. How hard is it for a musician to do such an act and get a tour or an album ready, given the fact that music is not as profitable as years ago?
Simone: We are not in it for the money, that is not the way to make art. But if you are into traveling, meeting people, having a good time, playing music from your heart, it’s a perfect way of living. The bills can not be paid by music, the music helps a bit but we all have part-time jobs to keep things running. And that is fine because this way we feel artistically the freedom to express ourselves!
Anything to comment about Phil Anselmo’s latest racist behavior? A numerous of musicians expressed their opinion about the certain matter. What’s yours?
Simone: It’s an absolute disgrace and also a dishonour to Dimebag’s remembrance in such an offensive and disgusting way. I don’t know if Anselmo really is that dumb, or if it’s some sort of sick way of seeking attention. Let’s hope we never hear anything from him again.
Do you currently participate in any other project besides DRIVE BY WIRE?
Simone: We extensively toured as CORDS a couple of years ago, made a album with DVD, but for 2016, it’s fullthrottle DRIVE BY WIRE. Just no time for side-projects this year…
How do you plan to continue with the band after the tour and for the rest of the year?
Alwin: The song ‘Kerosine Dreams’ gets picked up right now as single at some underground/alternative radiostations here in The Netherlands and France. Once we return from the Greek tour, we start a club-tour in the Netherlands, some really cool summer festivals (we were just 2 days ago asked to play at the biggest festival in The Netherlands) and we’re working on touring Germany and Swiss again. And then working on new material.