Driven to succeed

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Flier for Driven’s album release party, courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.
Flier for Driven’s album release party, courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.


It’s not every day that Northside Boulevard plays host to a rock ‘n’ roll album release party. On Saturday, March 7, local band Driven plans to change that.

Driven is comprised of Blake Bertles (drums), James “Squee” Taylor (bass, vocals, keys) and Zach Hess (vocals, lead guitar). Bertles described the band’s sound as progressive-hard rock with commercial flair, comparing their latest album as reminiscent of “Deftones meets Tool.”

“Synapse” is the third album from the band of current and former Indiana University South Bend students. It is their first album playing with Taylor, who joined the band less than a week before the release party for their second album, “Abstraction,” in 2012.

“This is his first recording, however, it’s our best work,” Bertles said of Taylor’s involvement.

Taylor modestly deflected the idea that he was the secret to the band’s success.

“I’m a bass player. I’m not allowed to have an ego,” he said.

The band’s goal with “Synapse” is that listeners will want to play the record from start to finish in one sitting. In fact, that is how it was meant to be heard. Driven hopes their music takes their listeners on a journey.

“It’s a stream of consciousness . . . we mastered the album to where it pretty much goes from one song to another, this mood to this mood . . . it’s kinda planned that way,” Bertles said.

The album was funded in part by their fans using crowdsourcing website Kickstarter. They were able to raise $3,500 in 19 days, which helped cover studio expenses as well as some touring. Thanks to this funding, Driven had the opportunity to perform at last year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival in Austin, Texas.

Since the new album was such a team effort between the band and their fans, Driven is throwing a huge release party to launch the album. The party will be held at The Brick, just down the road from the IUSB campus.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and the concert starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door and can be purchased through the band’s website:

The ticket also includes entry into a raffle with various prizes and gift cards, sponsored by Guitar Center. A donation of a nonperishable food item earns another raffle entry.

“Synapse” will, of course, be available for purchase at the concert. The album will also be available on the band’s website as well as iTunes and CD Baby. Physical copies will be sold at Orbit Music in Mishawaka and Birdseye View.

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