By Marcia Hunt
The album’s cover. Designed by Rosa Carmichael. Photo courtesy of Bandcamp.
On September 18th, Death Drive, a Purchase-based experimental band, released their album: Handle with Care. An album made over the course of 11 months, it’s the product of extensive experimentation and hard work.
The experimentation and hard work are evident in their production process. Raj and Evan, the members of Death Drive, both act as the band’s producers. Evan focuses on live instruments and lead vocals, while Raj works with computer programs and production.
“I don’t use a traditional music program. I use a tracker, which is meant for short sampling. When I show people my computer screen, they just don’t understand what’s going on,” remarked Raj about the process.
When asked, the band described their sound as “experimental electronic, with a focus on sound collage and distortion.”
“Really, it’s sort of genre-neutral,” said Evan, a Music Major.
“We really wanted to break down the barriers to music and get rid of preconceptions of what music is supposed to be,” said Raj, a Psychology Major.
The overall vibe of the album is perfectly summarized in one word: weird. This was obviously what the band aimed for, as indicated by their strange album art, which depicts Evan and Raj wearing Donnie Darko-esque animal costumes next to a creepy black hole. Even the band’s name has an interesting origin.
“The death drive is this weird thing in psychology where we are born with this pursuit of happiness, but we’re also born with a death drive,” Raj explained. “It’s what makes you want to be destructive and think about death.”
“The band name is sort of a triple entendre,” added Evan. “It’s like the drive for death, and the car crashes we mention a lot in our lyrics, but also like a hard drive, which we used to make our music.”
The band hoped that the album, with its explicit, in-your-face sound, would serve as “a destructive musical force which fully opposes any norms in the music industry.”
For Evan, the project was about destroying people’s perception of music entirely. Fortunately, it did just that. This album carved out a place for Death Drive in Purchase’s music scene, which heavily influenced the two musicians.
“We were really inspired by the people making music at Purchase, especially Lip Critic, Dumpster, Little Cliff and April Gloom,” explained Raj. “The whole music scene is so accepting.”
In fact, fellow Purchase musicians Claire Parcells (Dumpster) and Neil MacLeod (Little Cliff) are featured on two of the album’s tracks.
The band agreed that the most notable track on the album was track 12. “[The track] encompasses all the different elements of what we do,” said Evan. “It has some of the only discernible lyrics in the album, but it’s also loud.”
The album, which (fittingly) comes with a content and volume warning, can be streamed on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. All proceeds will be donated to the individual Venmo accounts of people in need.
“We wanted to give the money directly to people, rather than big organizations,” explained Evan. “We’re focusing on donating to black women and LGBTQ people in particular.”
At its core, the album is a testament to Raj and Evan’s friendship. “Evan really gets me,” Raj said. “I couldn’t pitch this idea to anyone else. This album is just about me and Evan and our distorted perception of how life is.”
Evan agreed, adding “It’s also perfect if you want to permanently destroy your hearing.”
About the Author:
Marcia Hunt is a junior journalism major with a sociology minor. She has just transferred to Purchase College this semester. As a former flute performance major, she has an extensive background in music, so she looks forward to immersing herself in Purchase’s music scene. Her favorite genres of music are alternative rock and indie pop.