By Ronnie

Out of the ashes of the Lo-Fi band, the Lovejoys, come HifiDriveBy. The Lovejoys were a power-pop-punk band that was distinguished by some of the most remarkable pop songs I've heard in awhile, erstwhile recorded on amateurish (not necessarily a bad thing) lo-fi CD's. Catchy songs that stay in your subconscious and a singer whose vocal style stands out among other power-pop bands. The approached worked and the urgency of the music transcended ANY of the audio limitations. In the ever-changing world of rock 'n roll, the Lovejoys had the inevitable and sometimes obligatory membership change and group name change. Now we have HiFiDriveBy...with an expanded recording budget and a new CD! The last time I talked to Keith of the Lovejoys, he said that the bands ultimate goal was to “put a record out on an indie label”. Well, now that they’ve done that, I wondered what’s next for HiFiDriveBy?

E.C.: First, I wanted to ask about your name. HiFiDriveBy is basically the same lineup as the Lovejoys and you play a lot of the old Lovejoys songs. Why the new name?

Keith: There was a band in Nashville called Luvjoi that played here a lot and it was constant confusion. Plus we found out about a band from Michigan called the Lovejoys, so we changed it.

E.C.: Your new record (Life’s Not This Book You’ve Been Sold) has all the energy of your previous LO-FI releases, but with a sonic upgrade. Was there a conscious effort NOT to overproduce when you got to a studio proper?

Keith: Yeah, I think so. We did the whole record in 3 days, but that was us actually taking our time.

E.C.: Do you have a deal with New Beat Records, or do they just distribute your CD?

Keith: We have a deal. Robert (the guy that runs new beat) does it all from designing the artwork to putting it in stores. He is the man.

E.C.: You used to give away free copies of the Lovejoys CD. How did you know it was time to move on to the next big step of having a CD produced properly?

Keith: In all honesty if Robert hadn’t expressed interest in wanting to put it out on his label we would have probably gave this away as well. I still feel really weird selling a friend a CD; I want to give it to them. But, I can’t because I know that’s someone else’s money invested in it.

E.C.: Its great to hear some of your old songs get a sonic upgrade. Since you use a few old Lovejoys songs, was it tough coming up with a song lineup for a single CD?

Keith: Yeah it was. That was one reason for the EP before the record. We recorded 33 songs with the Lovejoys and had about another 12 that we demoed. Then on top of that were new songs I had been writing. We tried to just go with songs we thought people liked the best. I hope to record again soon because I have 10 new songs I have written in the last few months that I like a lot.

E.C.: I can’t seem to categorize your group with the little sub-genres of music out there now. How do you see your band fitting in with what is going on in music today?

Keith: I have the same problem. We keep hearing the power-pop tag. But we have some punk influences as well. One guy said “emo” because of lyrics. I want to call the next album “garagemopop”. Maybe we could just make our own sub genre with that?

E.C.: I finally got to see you guys live at Atlanta’s Rockfest. Unfortunately, your bass player had quit and you had to play the gig as a trio, with 2 guitars and drums. I’ve gotta hand it to you guys for sticking to your guns and playing a gig even though you had no bass player-it shows that you believe in your music. Although you had no “bottom” to your sound live, it was great to hear the new songs. Have you found that new bass player yet? I guess that puts a hamper on promoting the CD?

Keith: No bass player yet. We don’t want to jump into it with one. Actually we have a handful of gigs in July and August, so it’s not hampering anything unless it’s record sales at the shows.

E.C.: After listening to the new CD, I’m already ready for the next one? What are the recording plans for the band? One CD a year?

Keith: Hopefully soon. Financially, we have to sell these first so that involves playing as many towns as we can. But there will probably be another EP before year’s end and another full length around the first of the year. Another thing in the works is a split CD with me and a singer/songwriter from Atlanta named Ben Walker. That will be a side thing though not the band so I wont get into that. But it will be out later this summer.

E.C.: Finally, the last time we talked a few years ago, you said that your goal for the band was to “put a record out on an indie label”. Now that you’ve done that (and it’s a damn good record I might add) what is next? Touring to promote the CD? Who would you most like to tour with?

Keith: Mini-tours. We can’t afford to quit the day jobs. I have no idea who I would like to tour with - someone who would draw a lot of kids though for sure.

Click here to visit the official HiFiDriveBy website