Red Eyed Driver

Andy Patania (keys and vocals) and Bryan Hoskins (guitar and vocals) have been through several changes in their newest project in just the past couple months: Changing their name, for starters, from Red Eyed Driver to Bipolaroid then back again, and adding a seasoned rhythm section in drummer Jill Aboussie and bassist Todd Dorsey, veterans of several area pop-oriented rock acts. Hoskins discusses his post-Tripstar band while bartending the lunch shift at Mangia Italiano.

You started out playing as a duo, but quickly added a rhythm section.
We got quite a few songs together, and started playing out. But we decided that it just wasn’t enough. It was enough to rehearse to and get the sound together, but we decided to pursue drums and bass. I’d known Jill for quite awhile and met her here one night, asked her if she wanted to come out and play. She agreed. I gave her a demo CD of nine songs and she had a pretty good feel right away. The next practice, she started singing a little bit with us. And she mentioned that she wanted Todd to play with us. Evidently, they’d been talking about playing together for a long time. They were happy playing together and we’re happy to have that additional element.

Harmonies are obviously an important part of what you do.
They’re important to a degree, depending on the song and the melody. It’s a real natural thing for me to hear. In the presence of other singers—Andy’s a great singer, Jill’s a great singer—it’s easy for me to convey what to try. And usually, from the demos, I’ve already had the vocal arrangements worked out. They’re really good at picking out those harmonies.

It’s an experienced group, too. You not exactly breaking in anyone new, here.
Todd and Jill both have good experience. Andy’s in another band, as well (Dead Letter Drop). And I’ve been kicking around St. Louis for 10 years, to be honest. I’ve done two bands in 10 years in this town. Both got to a certain point and just flopped. They got as far as they were going to go. And whenever you get to a certain point, you try to do something else or keep doing what you’re doing. We were just doing the same thing over and over. Playing the same clubs, doing the same rehearsal dates. You have to decide on another direction, to try something else.

I’d say that people regarded TripStar as a band with a good local following but without that breakout beyond the hometown. How will that differ with this group?
The good thing about a new group is that anything is possible. It’s really good to get excited. Excitement can lead to momentum and momentum to other things, you know? After you’ve done something for four years, that excitement ceases. It’s hard to push in another direction.

I would imagine this group could do some interesting things in the studio. Any anticipation of how this group will record?
Yeah, this time in a recording atmosphere, I want to try new things. Instead of going in and chopping out 10, 15 new songs and getting a record from there, I want to record song-by-song. Record one song and really work that to a good state, then go on to another song. Not doing it as a whole block. Rather than having the same feel and sound, I’d like to record at different spaces and, more than anything, just have fun with it.

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