Yet another promising and up and coming band is starting to make a name for itself. Sugar Red Drive is four guys from the small town of Poughkeepsie, New York who have barely been together a year and a half and have already been fortunate enough to play with bands such as Seether, Theory of a Deadman and Live. The band takes their inspiration from the ‘90s grunge and alternative rock scene which has helped them in coming up with an up tempo, alt rock kind of vibe to their music. The group’s debut, self-titled full-length album is currently available online and will be released on CD sometime in the spring. Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Sugar Red Drive’s lead singer Archit Tripathi to tell us a little bit more about the band, their debut release and what we can expect from them in the future.
There’s quite an interesting story behind how the band Sugar Red Drive came to be. Can you briefly tell us how you guys met and formed the band?
Archit: Very briefly, PJ, Dave and Jim had known each other for a while and had been playing together under the name Mercury Rising. Their original singer quit to join the armed forces and they started looking for someone new. I was at Vassar and was pretty tired of the campus scene. I went to MySpace and put up ads for ‘singer seeks band’ and started answering everything that said ‘band seeks singer’. We met up, I auditioned and the rest is history.
Now Jim, Davey and P.J. had already been friends for a while and been playing music together. Did this make it difficult for Archit to fit into the mix at first?
Archit: Barely [laughs], all of us are by nature very laid back easy going guys, very friendly and always joking around. I fit right into that pretty well actually. On the musical front, we all have a huge range of influences but we have a lot of things in common too, especially our dedication to crafting the finest song we possibly can. Our motto is ‘serve thy song’, whether it’s 2 notes or 200.
When Archit joined the band, you changed your name from Mercury Rising to Sugar Red Drive. How did you come up with this name? What’s the meaning or story behind it?
Archit: When I joined the band and we started writing new material, we quickly realized the band was heading in a new, exciting direction and it just felt right to give it a new name too. Sugar Red Drive is 3 quick words that evoke all of the things we believe we embody. Sugar for high energy and pervasiveness (and ‘cuz rockin’ out is a pretty sweet job!), Red because it’s a color that stands for passion and other strong emotions and Drive because we are all dedicated to what we do. You will be hard pressed to find people more willing than us to get to the top.
What is the writing and recording process like within the band? Do you all get together and write or do you come up with your own individual ideas?
Archit: There’s obviously always going to be some elements of both, but we generally just get together in our rehearsal studio and somebody will start something and gradually everybody else puts their own part on it and on the good days it just vibes and feels great and we just crank em out. When inspiration strikes we can and have actually written entire songs in less than an hour.
You’re just about ready to release your debut album this Spring. Do you have a name for it yet and how would you describe its sound and vibe?
Archit: The album is self-titled and is actually available online as of when I’m writing this! In terms of sound and vibe I’d describe it as a really solid rock album. There is a little something for everyone on the record. We’re all HUGE music fans in our own time and so when we write we try to be objective and say “if we didn’t write this and it came up on the radio, would we stop and listen?”
The new record will have eleven tracks in total. Are all of these songs new songs written since Archit joined the band? Or is any of the material left over from before the band formed, when Jim, Davey and P.J. were making music together?
Archit: All of the songs are brand spanking new and original! While Mercury Rising definitely did some great things, Sugar Red Drive is a different beast altogether so we felt like moving forward was a better way to go!
You’ve been working on writing and recording with songwriter and producer Pat Gasperini who also happens to be drummer P.J.’s father. How did Pat end up becoming involved in recording the album?
Archit: Pat has been involved with the project since day 1. He is without a doubt one of the single most talented musicians and songwriters out there. Every time we write a new song, we will have Pat come up and listen to it and give us (brutally honest) feedback. Then we go and work on all of the things he pointed out and we undoubtedly end up having a stronger song at the end! It was only natural then that when we got to studio, we had Pat there manning the boards along with the amazing guys at the studio.
I read that when you first entered the studio with Pat to start recording, you suffered some “initial studio jitters.” Could you elaborate a little bit on these jitters you experienced?
Archit: [laughs] The ‘jitters’ are really not as scary as they sound. It was mostly just the fact that we, the band, had relatively little experience recording in a studio that nice! Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY is an incredible facility and Mike and Chris, the guys there, are so on top of their game it’s not even funny. We were mostly just slightly anxious about having to step up our own game to match that, but it all worked out in the end!
In terms of playing live, you have a few shows scheduled throughout the spring time in and around Poughkeepsie, New York where the band of course comes from. Do you have any more extended tour plans in the works at this point?
Archit: Currently we’re exploring a lot of different options, but nothing is really very concrete just yet. We always update our websites so just keep an eye out on that! All I can say is, one way or another, you’ll be hearing from us.
What’s next for Sugar Red Drive? What does the band have planned for the near future and through the rest of this year?
Archit: World Domination through rock. Always and forever. [ END ]