Gainesville band Driveaway is all about moving forward, evident through their name and logo, a sloped parallelogram.
From their second most recent song “Is This Letting Go?” to a song in progress with a chorus that echoes “let it go,” progression pulls the members of Driveaway, who are signed to UF student-run record label Swamp Records. In “Summer Song,” which was released today, Trenton Ropp sings, “I’m holding on too tight, you should let me go.”
Most of the lyrics originate in the personal prose, bassist Tanner Ropp, brother of Trenton, said. “Summer Song” draws on lines from Trenton’s two-page journal entry last summer. And as the beginning of the song says, he “put [his] guard down.”
“If the lyrics feel scary for me to read them out loud to someone, then it's the right direction to go,” Trenton said.
For him, the “Summer Song” lyrics were embarrassing in conversation.
“But singing them is just so different,” he said.
While Driveaway moves forward with motifs, the new song is a minimalistic melody. A lot of their songs begin with a strong drum pulse, Trenton said, but the drums weren’t working in this one. So, for “Summer Song,” they muted them. The result is mostly acoustic, with less synthesizer than they usually use. The guitar part was done in one take, guitarist Kyle Tapley said, with one note.
Rather than adding extra production, Tanner said they just wanted the song to be good and catchy, like “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, Tapley added.
The electronic ending of the song was originally a joke, Trenton said.
“This thing that I'm like, ‘oh, what if we just put this crazy dance beat under this acoustic guitar,’ and then it ends up being the most authentic, cathartic part of the song,” he said. “It's a big release.”
The trio recorded the song in their two-story house. Often, they departed to their rooms with their guitars to process ideas individually. But with guitars and chords lined up in the closet outside the living room, the trio collaborated there. Tapley and Trenton built soundproof wood panels with Home Depot nursery insulation and placed them in the room’s corners. Trenton formed a cave with the panels and sang in them, creating a better sound, he said.
With all their equipment in one place, they spat out words, collaborating and ad libbing. Their ad libs ranged from whoops to Tapley saying, “Oh, my mom's here. I gotta go.” The words are still in the song, but are pitched down, Trenton said.
“It just made it a lot easier for creativity to flow around just because all the tools needed were just like already set up everywhere,” Tanner said.
As Swamp Records’ co-branding director, 21-year-old UF advertising senior Cam Hunter has aided Driveaway’s social media since 2019, and they have become friends through that time. For months, Hunter said Trenton has sent them audio files of “Summer Song” to get their opinion. Hunter said it’s their favorite Driveway song yet.
“I think it has a really good chorus that a lot of people will be able to really vibe with,” Hunter said. “I love the guys’ personal connection with the song.”
Hunter said they can imagine people blasting the song in their car with the windows down as they drive away to a new place.
“Summer Song” is available on all platforms now.
Contact Katie Delk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @katie_delk.
Katie Delk is a sophomore with a journalism major and an anthropology minor. For the Avenue, she writes about music, culture and the environment. When she is not writing, she is outside with the trees, reading a fantasy book or listening to Beach House.