Referenced by poet Charles Baudelaire and situationist theorist Guy Debord, "dérive" is a concept describing "a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society, a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances."
In the Pioneer Valley, dérive has a much simpler definition.
Featuring members Paul Schmelz (guitar, bass, tenor and alto sax), Daniel Maxton (guitar, bells), Paul DeGrandpre (drums) and Greg Nahabedian (accordion, keyboard, guitar), Dérive is, according to Nahabedian, a "punk rock-influenced indie experimental" group that resides in Northampton.
He elaborates: "In the context of our band, we try to take the 'varied ambiances' part of the [dérive] definition and explore every avenue of music that we possibly can. In terms of philosophy, we want to provide something different and, at the very least, unexpected. What I think is most important is proving that music can 100 percent have an actual effect on society. Whether that's just providing a sense of community or belonging for disenfranchised youth or donating money to charity, we want to be a part of showing that music can be and is an indirect force for positive social change."
Though its members have only played together for six months, Dérive has already performed shows across Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. The band has also recorded two demos, Fractures and Rusty Rooms.
"Both demos were entirely self-recorded, which nobody in the band had ever really done before," say Nahabedian. "It's been a huge learning process."
In addition to recording music, Dérive also compiles and distributes a free zine at its shows called Dérive Speaks, which is inspired by the similar zine Ulysses Speaks, published by the Washington, D.C. punk band The Nation of Ulysses.
Nahabedian says, "What we do is accept submissions of art, poetry, essays, short stories, plays, et cetera, and put them in together in a 12-page pamphlet. Anyone who wants to contribute can feel free to do so."
Over the next few months, Dérive plans to go on a tour extending as far west as Indiana. But the group will also make time to work on some projects a bit closer to home.
"Currently, we're writing and self-recording a new 13-song demo which is going to be released on September 22. It has a ton of guest musicians, a lot of Lord of the Rings references, and maybe a [Charles] Bukowski recitation," say Nahabedian. "We're also putting a group together called Sounds Without Limits, which is booking monthly all-ages charity shows at Flying Object in Hadley.
"The idea with that is that there's a lack of all-ages shows in the area, and whatever independent /all-ages scenes do exist tend to reside in exclusivity, so we'd like to take part in something that anyone can participate in if they'd like. It only costs $3 to get in to the show, and most of the proceeds go to local charities."