House of Blues

Driveaway performs at House of Blues Orlando on Aug. 23

The new flagship band of Gainesville’s student-run music label Swamp Records is joining the ranks of prominent artists in the local music scene such as The Forum and The Savants of Soul.

Driveaway received an offer in early May to sign with Swamp Records and put out “Comparisons,” its first single under the label, on Friday.

The indie-pop four piece is comprised of Gainesville natives: drummer Andrew Mankin; brothers Trenton and Tanner Ropp, who are lead vocalist and bassist respectively; and guitarist Kyle Tapley.

The band’s current lineup has been together since early 2018, after two previous members left to pursue medical degrees.

Driveaway is taking the place of popular local band flipturn at the label. Swamp Records worked with the indie/alternative-rock group from 2017 to this spring, before flipturn embarked on a nationwide tour.

The label operates as a springboard for local artists to reach larger audiences by providing help with the business aspect of the industry, such as a social media presence, public relations and advertising.

President of Swamp Records Laityn Russell said she and Vice President Alyssa Stark first took notice of Driveaway in October.

Stark, a 21-year-old UF marketing senior, said the band’s emotion and energy captivated her – so much so she cried when watching the performance, despite never having seen it before.

“We kept an eye on what they were doing after that,” Russell, a 21-year-old UF telecommunications major, said.

Although they were signed in May, Driveaway wasn’t disclosed as Swamp Records’ new artist until the label’s Back to School Artist Reveal Show on Aug. 30 at DOJO.

“[The Artist Reveal Show] was basically a house party,” Tanner, a 20-year-old UF computer science junior, said. “It was a little, tiny room. Our setup is kind of big, because of all the synthesizers and the computers and stuff we have—most of the room was us.”

There were about 100 people at the show, including 21-year-old UF advertising junior Sarah Ragsdale. Although she had heard Driveaway’s music before, she said she had never seen the band perform live.

“Their energy was high the whole time, which kept the whole show really fun and engaging,” Ragsdale said. “They got particularly into it when they were playing their new single, ‘Comparisons.’ It hadn't been released yet, so being able to see them perform it live was pretty special.”

Driveaway said they enjoyed being able to crack into Swamp Records’ already established audience.

“A lot of people had no idea who we were, which was kind of cool,” Trenton, a 22-year-old UF digital arts and sciences senior, said.

“We were just making a first impression on a bunch of people at the same time,” Tanner added.

“Comparisons” was released a week after the Artist Reveal Show.

The song had been in the works since early 2017, when Tanner said he typed the lyrics in his phone. It remained untouched for a year, until he instrumentalized it with Trenton and Mankin in 2018.

The group said “Comparisons” is more upbeat than the music it is currently working on.

“It’s sarcastic and sad, but the instrumentation is very happy,” Tanner said. “A lot of stuff that we’re writing now, the instrumentation is kind of dark.”

Driveaway said they hope for their new chapter with Swamp Records include playing every big city in Florida and releasing an EP.

“We want [the EP] to be a collection that tells a story, that has a flow that changes around instead of being a fun, one-off single,” Tanner said.

Driveaway will be playing at the Iberian Rooster in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Their next Gainesville show will be Oct. 19 at Hardback Cafe.

Because of the digitalization of the music industry, Swamp Records President Russell said the best way to support local artists is by streaming their music and following their social media.

“Presaving songs and adding them to playlists a lot of people follow is one of the biggest ways a band can gain exposure,” she said.

Comparisons” can be streamed through the band’s Spotify.