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RIP EXCLUSIVE: Drive By Cinema Pushes Pop-Punk Barriers With Debut Album 'Over It'

Sabrina YanezMar 8, 2024

If you’ve been looking for music that makes you want to both party and die simultaneously, then you’re in the right place. SoCal based pop-punk band Drive By Cinema is here with all the modern-punk, angst-filled anthems you need. Their debut album Over It, released today, is a carefully crafted powerhouse that culminates everything the band has learned and worked on since their start. Lead singer & songwriter Jesse Alezano emphasizes the importance of variety and musical experimentation. His hope is for the band to remain as genre-fluid as possible, and not be “cornered-in anywhere.” They’ve spent the last 4 years developing their unique sound, and the result is a seamless blend of pop and skate punk, easycore, emo and electronica. According to Alezano, this is “just the beginning”; and Over It is the band’s initiation into a long career of pushing genres, more and more so with every release. Last week I sat down with Alezano to chat about the band’s development of sound, as well as what to expect from their debut record.

You guys have been around since 2016 and have quite a bit of music in your discography, the most recent additions being 2 singles you released this year – "Flatline" and "Breakthrough Stereo." These tracks are definitely powerful. What made you chose these 2 songs specifically to release prior to your upcoming album?

Jesse: When we wrote "Flatline," we knew that was the lead single from the record. The song is such an anthem, and it has the power behind it. Even from day one we knew, "that's the song." And then from there, the second single "Breakthrough Stereo" was a little harder to choose. We felt like there were a couple songs from the album that could've filled that slot. But we were able to get a feature from a band called Midnight Skies on there, and his voice [Sullivan Burkart] shines so perfectly on that song – we knew that we had to make that the second single.

No I definitely see why you chose that one. I want to get into your debut album Over It, which releases March 8 – which is so exciting by the way. How long have you guys been working on the record? I'd love to hear what creating this album was like for all of you as a band, but also specifically for you, with you being the main songwriter and composer.

Jesse: It was a challenge, that's for sure. I always tell people we were formed in 2016, but we didn't hammer in music until right before the pandemic. That's when we started really sitting down to write songs. We wanted to be a band, but a lot of things kept getting in the way. We had to be like, "let's do it, let's go for it." And we started writing the record around mid-2021, which is when we met our producer [Jonathan Mireles]. He basically changed our entire dynamic in a great way, and he really helped us discover our sound and who we wanted to be. Everything we had up to that point was either completely thrown out or tweaked to fit a sound and direction we felt more comfortable with. The next three years were basically spent in the studio, writing and crafting all these songs, and I think they all came out perfect.

I was actually just gonna ask about that. Have you noticed a shift in your sound throughout the years, compared to when you were first starting out? You mentioned that your producer helped you guys find your sound, and essentially put you on the path you're on now. Tell me more about that.

Jesse: The way I grew up, I didn't really grow up wanting to be a musician. I wanted to start a band but it looked so far away. Eventually when that time came, around 2016-2017, we formed the band and that was my first experience writing music. A lot of the stuff we did in that garage was our first crack at writing and recording, and it does show. We weren't so focused on our sound, we were just putting stuff out to see what it would sound like, if that makes sense. And then with the 2019 release, we starting experimenting a little more.

I've always loved pop-punk – it's my favorite genre. I wanted to go in that direction from the start; and we had good melodies but it wasn't quite pop-punk, it was a little better. We had some underground success with with a song called "Audrey," which was the first big song we wrote that pushed us along into making the album. People still love that song and it makes me feel great. It's a personal song to me.

Once that all came together we were able to get into the studio. We had these songs and knew what we wanted them to sound like, and our producer helped us push that sound to the absolute limits of what we could do. We wanted to craft something that's not so generic-sounding – something that feels very unique to us. It has that pop-punk sound that's very early 2000s. But it's also very modern; it has electronic tweaks. It never sounds too much in one direction, and we're so excited to show that part. You're gonna find a little bit of everything on the album. You're gonna find your Blink-182, your Fall Out Boy, your skate-punk, we also have some easycore on the record. It sounds a little crazy, we felt like maybe we're throwing too much at the wall, but it all comes together in production. And I think it ends up being cohesive in the end.

I think throwing everything at the wall allows you to make something unique, for sure. When I was listening to your music I definitely heard the modern pop-punk, and I love that it mixes in a bunch of other elements as well.

Jesse: As a band, from the very beginning we didn't want to be cornered in anywhere. We'll never go so far in one direction that we'll make a straight metal or electronic song. I've always been a fan of blending genres, and a fan of musicians who can put things together. I'm a big Linkin Park fan because they're so experimental with their sounds and what they do. I think that's how you push genres; you don't get stuck in one thing, you experiment, you take from places that you don't normally think about, and you mix it all in with what you already know.

So shifting gears a bit. You guys have a lot of upcoming shows, you're even playing one with the band Cultivate on March 21. I already know that's gonna be a killer show; we've done some coverage for Cultivate in the past, and I would say that you guys have pretty similar vibes. Do you guys know each other at all? Have you played together in the past or would this be the first?

Jesse: We played one show together last year in Santa Ana. Those guys rip, they're so cool. I saw them play a couple times after too, but this is the first time we're gonna be able to play together again. I'm really excited, not just to play with them but to see them too. They're such a great band to listen to.

I believe we have a photographer coming out to that show too, that's gonna be so awesome. You guys also have an album release show on March 8, tell me about it!

Jesse: So the album release show is gonna be in our hometown – Palmdale, California. That's where we started everything, it's also basically where all of us are from. For people who aren't familiar with where that is, it's about 70-ish miles outside of Los Angeles, in the middle of the desert. The place we're playing is called the Transplants Brewing Company and they've been fantastic to us. They let us play there a couple times before and this is the first time we get to headline, which is really exciting. They've helped us along the way and have promoted us too, so I'm very thankful for that. We knew that when this came out, we had to do our show there; we want to bring that support back, you know? We want to always make sure that we bring the love back to our hometown.

And it's gonna be fun! It's March 8, this Friday, and we're just so excited. We've worked so hard to get here, and there's been so many times in the band where it's felt difficult. No one can prepare you for what comes along with writing an album, I'll tell you that.

Oh I can imagine. But all that aside, I'm excited to hear the album, and I'm equally as excited to see what else you guys cook up in the future.

Jesse: Yeah, we're very excited. We're already working on post-album stuff. The biggest thing is hitting the nail on the coffin and just going for it. In our world now, content is such a big thing and it's really hard to stop. But to us, this is just the beginning. This is our introduction and we want to see how we can evolve from here.

I know in general, social media is such a stressful thing for musicians to have to navigate and tackle. But I've seen you guys popping on TikTok a little bit.

Jesse: Yeah definitely, we're getting better at that too. No one tells you that you have to get used to these things, but overall if you don't practice something you're not gonna get good at it. For a long time I felt like my writing wasn't very good; and now, you know, it's getting there. But you need to practice stuff like that. With making TikTok videos and things like that, we're getting better at it because we keep doing it. We're getting better at filming the things we want to show people. Hopefully, it blows up. And again, being a musician these days is such a multimedia experience. You really have to be fluent in so many different things.

Drive By Cinema’s Over It is out now and available on all streaming platforms (stream on Spotify here). And if you’re in the mood for a little road trip to Palmdale tonight, be sure to make it out to the album release show at the Transplants Brewing Company (tickets available here).

Keep up with Drive By Cinema and their upcoming shows here.