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An interview with Drive-In

Brooklyn-based indie alt-rock artist Ally Rincon (AKA Drive-In) is making a strikingly beautiful return with her new EP Location Scouting. The project, which is set to release on January 30th, is packed full of earnest storytelling and heartfelt lyricism. Often finding herself inspired by the DIY scene, Ally’s music creates a serene atmosphere and has something for everyone. Read more about Ally and her brand new EP Location Scouting below!

Congratulations on your new EP Location Scouting! It’s such a fantastic project. Last time we spoke back in 2022, you had just released your previous EP This Is Not A Rom-Com. Was anything different this time around while creating Location Scouting?

Thank you so much! The process was a bit different this time since the project is just me now. I took it upon myself to challenge myself as a songwriter and learned a lot from my friend Ross Newhouse, who co-wrote three of the songs on the EP. As for the production, I wanted to work with someone I knew would understand my vision yet still push me to experiment, so I knew my friend Bryce Bishop would be the perfect person to help me. Ultimately, throughout this process, I felt supported and grew as an artist while creating the whole body of work.

Each track brings something really unique to the project as a whole. Was there a song you wrote first and formed the whole EP around? 

So technically, "Ronkonkoma" is the first song I wrote for the EP back in summer of 2020, and it is, in a way, the genesis of the concept, but "Yokohama" was the first song I sent to Bryce. He hit me back with a demo he made based off of what I sent him and we immediately started brainstorming how the whole record would sound. I think we landed in a place that allowed my songwriting to shine and make the instrumentation impactful.

Of the six tracks, which one went through the most reworking before reaching its final form?

Probably “Ronkonkoma,” or “Yokohama!” We reworked "Ronkonkoma" for the record because I knew I wanted to include it, but to do that, I needed to breathe new life into it so it would match the grungier, more textural vision I had in mind. I honestly love it so much more now that it's been rerecorded. It feels closer to my identity, and the music now matches the emotion behind the lyrics and vocal delivery more. "Yokohama," on the other hand, was reworked so much, I think, because it is my favorite song on the EP and is the finale, so I just wanted to make sure it was perfect!

Since each song tells its own story, how did you go about sequencing the tracklist for the EP?

Although each song can be listened to as its own story, I still wanted to deliver some kind of timeline that people could follow if they sat down and listened to the EP from start to finish. It goes from heartbreak to using sex as a means to cope, processing pain, looking for a support system, dealing with your baggage while finding new love, and finally accepting and embracing the journey.

Each track is named after a city where you learned something about yourself and what you deserve when it comes to love and self-care. Can you tell us about what that journey of self-discovery has been like for you, and where the initial idea of this concept for the EP came from?

I'll be honest, the journey was and is HARD. Sometimes, I take three steps forward and a giant jump back, but that's how it goes sometimes. If it were a simple, linear path, I wouldn't get anything from it. The concept came from the events of my life. I broke my own heart because I didn't think I was worthy of love, and after more life experiences, therapy, and some character development, I decided to write songs about some of the stuff I'd gone through. Writing songs is my coping mechanism, and I get asked all the time why I don't write happier tunes, but really, it's because I need to put all of my negative experiences and emotions somewhere; otherwise, I'd keep holding onto it, and I don't wanna live a life where I keep carrying all that weight on me.

One of my favorite things about you as an artist is your courageous lyricism and bold storytelling abilities. For example, on the track “S4th and Wythe, ” you reflect on a relationship gone wrong and come to realize that the only way to grow from the experience is by walking down the street your ex lives on. When writing your songs, how do you determine whether to write something autobiographical or whether to write something that is fiction?

To be honest, I think I'm pretty bad at writing fictional songs. I'm just not there yet in my songwriting abilities lol. Maybe once I've finally processed all my trauma and run out of things to write about, I'll finally be able to write something that is fiction. I'm obsessed and influenced by movies, anime, and books, and it would be cool to make a concept album in the future based on a character I've created!

While creating this project, were there any bands or artists that you listened to for inspiration? If so, were there specific aspects of their music that seeped into Location Scouting?

For this record specifically, I was really inspired by midwest emo bands like Modern Baseball and American Football. I love how warm and organic a lot of the instrumentation is and, of course, how vulnerable a lot of the lyrics are. I also found myself listening to a lot of Bryce's music, The Wombats, Good Kid, Lovejoy, Pom Pom Squad, Frost Children, boygenius, brakence, and EDEN. I don't really know where that lands Drive-In genre-wise, but honestly, who cares lol. Also, I may have mentioned this last time, but I am the biggest fan of Mayday Parade and still have it as a life goal to open for them someday. Like it would make my life if that ever happened!

Where would be the perfect physical location to listen to Location Scouting?

ANYWHERE! My favorite is when I'm just walking on the street at night and have it playing in my headphones or on the highway, blasting it on the car stereo. I look forward to seeing where people end up listening to it!

Congratulations again on the roll out of Location Scouting! Aside from its exciting release, is there anything else we can expect from you in the new year?

I have some pretty cool shows coming up, so I recommend people follow the project on IG or TikTok for updates. I'm doing an EP release show on 2/9 at Arlene's Grocery, so if anyone's reading this in the NYC area, COME THROUGH! I'm also gonna start working on my debut album this year. I can't share too much about it at this point, but I will likely be teaming up again with Bryce and Ross on production and songwriting. I want to experiment more with the intersection of the organic and digital and incorporate more bilingual lyricism into my work, so stay tuned!

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