Meet: Belgium’s Heartland Drive

Backseat Mafia put some questions to the Americana and folk-rock maestros Heartland Drive to find out a what’s happening in their world. Consistsing of Eric Bosteels on drums, Pedro Gordts on keys, Tim Toegaert on guitar, Moreno Claes on bass, and the charismatic frontman songwriter, Steven Vergauwen, who has written for artists like Laura Tesoro, Milo Meskens to name a few. The band have just released their new single ‘The Flame’ showcasing their flair for writing gorgeous melodies and emotive lyrics.

Give us a potted history of the band

“We’re a group of seasoned session players who have performed with various artists in lots of different styles. We decided to come together and play gigs where we could perform some deeper cuts of our favourite artists. It was so much fun that some of our original songs started to sneak into the set. Some of those originals were actually picked up by prime-time TV shows as their theme songs. Eventually, we decided to record a full album, and we can’t wait to let everyone hear what we’ve been cooking up. We’re also very excited to play these tunes live!”

Who inspired you to start making music

“I think that’s going to be different for everyone in the band, but for me, it was seeing The Song Remains The Same live concert movie by Led Zeppelin for the first time and being blown away by the sheer energy and eclectic styles they were playing. They showed me that there are no boundaries to music.”

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

“As a 4-year-old kid, I was completely obsessed with Purple Rain by Prince. I had a record player and drove everyone insane playing that album over and over. Still gotta thank my parents for letting this 4-year-old listen to some outlandish stuff haha!”

What do you say if you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone who’s never heard you

“Oh, I think we’re a blend between country Americana stuff like Jason Isbell, Lucas Nelson and more folk pop rock like Hozier and Butch Walker and even some early Kings Of Leon.”

Tell us about your new track/single / release

“The new single is called ‘The Flame’. I wrote it during COVID after having a call with my lovely stepmom, whose son lives in Spain. It had been more than 3 years since she’d seen him at one point. She told me that she couldn’t call him up anymore because it just hurt too much. But she just knew that their unspoken bond was stronger than anything. So just leaving a text with a kiss of heart was more than enough to let him know she was thinking about him every day.

The song practically wrote itself. I hope people can use this song to let someone know they’re thinking about them. Because the message was so strong, we just ended up doing a live take with the band with minimal overdubs. We didn’t want to overshadow the meaning. Just cut the strongest version in one take, warts and all.”

Where can we get hold of it

“You can stream it everywhere on all your favourite platforms.”

Tell us how you write

I’m the main songwriter and producer, but I love co-writing songs as it is something I’ve done for years now for a lot of other artists. So there are going to be songs on the album that I wrote with our guitar player, Tim Toegaert, some with my songwriting partners Arne Vanhaecke, Stijn Tondeleir, Reina Rasti, and Mathias Stal. Most songs evolve from something I’ve seen or lived. Sometimes, there’s a riff or chord sequence that can dictate the tone of the song and even the subject, as I love to let a train of thought flow. But I do love a good hook, though, so that’s an important one for me to see if the song is going to make the cut. After that we figure out the arrangements together as a band.”

Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig

“Oh, live shows, I think anywhere where there’s a crowd that is into hopping on our vibe and journey. Because only together can we lift the songs to something more magical for just that one night. And yeah dream gig, I think Royal Albert Hall and Red Rocks are pretty high on the list. So give us a call! Hehe”

What can we expect from you in the near future

We’ve just dropped the first single and are looking to release some live versions, alternate versions. Then we’ll follow it up with a new one before the summer and we’re looking to have the vinyl of the full album in our hands in October.”

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

“Currently, I’m digging the new Vampire Weekend album a lot, that song Mary Boone blew me away. The last Zach Bryan album keeps finding its way back, and oh yeah, there’s a live compilation from Elvis called ELVIS ON TOUR, which has all these different recordings of 70’s shows, and they just flat-out rip. That band and his energy was unmatched.”

Check the band’s track The Flame, below:

Find out more via the bands Facebook

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