Introducing: Campus Drive


The Campus Drive Coyote Session cover.

Monarch is renowned for their sports, yet the school’s music program has continued to thrive over the past years. From the school’s marching band to the chamber choir, the department has nurtured some of the musicians into becoming performers with a purpose. After performing “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer at a choir concert, a freshman who grew up surrounded by music and a junior who had never taken a private music lesson are attempting to bring back their style of music.

Junior Griffin Tobey and freshman Hunter Hamilton have always loved listening to and making music. When they met while singing for Chaos, the men’s choir at Monarch, the two immediately connected and began performing and writing songs together. The way people listen to music has changed over years, and Hamilton and Tobey are well aware of that.

“What people normally use [music] for nowadays is background to whatever else they’re doing,” Hamilton said. “It hasn’t always been that way. What you would do to get to hear music back in the classic era of music, you would have to go and hear the opera or go and watch the symphony orchestra play. And you couldn’t use that music as a background. I think the problem nowadays is people are creating background music.”

Together they formed the band Campus Drive with the goal to create music that reaches people on a personal level while attempting to make something more than background noise.

“The reason [Hunter and I] make music is just because music is the one perfect thing. It’s always perfect, and it’s always there for you. Why wouldn’t you want to create that music for other people? You can take your song and do whatever you want with it. And you can listen to a song and take your own message from it,” Tobey said.

The duo performs covers of already produced songs and their own originals. Each song they write conveys a unique message they hope will resonate with the listener. For example, the duo wrote “Summer Rain,” which is a song about being able to get through the hardships of life.

“[‘Summer Rain’] was the first song we ever wrote. We wrote it in the band hall and he wrote this kind of summertime riff and I was going through a crappy day and so we decided to write a song about getting through one bad day,” Tobey explained.

Campus Drive’s music style ranges from folk to country blues to acoustic alternative. “I would say songs like “Summer Rain” or “High Tide” are more folkish, kind of happy, getting the spirits up. But then songs like “Oklahoma” and “HeartQuake”, those are more country blues, which is really my favorite type of music. I love the blues; it’s what I live for,” Hamilton explained.

This recently formed duo is only two musicians now, but they dream of fame and eventually expanding their lineup.

“Our goal is to take Campus Drive as far as it will go, so that means to the top. It’s the most important thing to me, and we are doing all we can to make [the band] all that we can.” Tobey said.’

“My idea for Campus Drive would be to add a band to it. But, maybe not for the first part because I really like the guitar and the two people singing. I really like the simplicity of that. I eventually want to get into adding a band so then we can have two guitarists, a bass, drums, so we can [fully utilize our potential],” Hamilton said.

“I would like to get it to where we are making enough money to the point where Griffin doesn’t have to go to college–  that we can play music professionally because that’s the dream.”

To bring MoHi bands to the attention of the student body, The Howler has created its own recording studio, The Coyote Den. After a week and a half of recording, The Den put together an exclusive live session featuring four of Campus Drive’s original songs.

“The recording experience was everything I could have hoped for and more. There was more emotion in all of our songs because we knew this was going to be what people hear from us. Recording is the one thing that no matter what we end up doing it will always be there. I can show my kids someday that I recorded music,” Tobey said.

The session was released mid May, and the songs can be found on SoundCloud. With the school year ending and summer coming up, the band will continue to write songs and perform. “This summer, [we hope] to get a bunch of gigs going and to start opening for all kinds of bands, and eventually start headlining shows,” Hamilton explained.

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