Electro-funk-cabaret funhouse ‘DriveL’ rev up for Fringe return

DriveL is a theatrical funk/electro/rock outfit bringing their energetic grooves, wry wit and complex vocal interplay to Fringe World this summer. Featuring talented musicians/carnies/artists with a show that draws from the phenomena of modern cabaret, variety, sideshow and circus, DriveL hit The Sewing Room on Saturday, January 28; and Four5Nine Bar on Thursday, February 16 and Friday, February 17 (get more info and tickets here). BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to one third of DriveL‘s “three-piece funhouse of entertainment,” musician and co-creator Scott Chocolate to find out more.

Congrats on bringing DriveL to Fringe 2023! After a tricky couple of years for performers, how does it feel to be hitting the stage again?

It feels great to be back playing with DriveL. There’s nothing to compare to playing live in front of an audience. We’ve had a couple of warm up shows at Karridale Circus Festival and are ready to bring some DriveL magic to Fringe World.

You originally did this show in 2020 just before the first COVID shutdowns. Is there anything that has changed since those first shows?

Distance and isolation didn’t stop us creating music both individually and collaboratively via the net. The show has new tunes, new takes on old material and some new skills all mixed with our DriveL sensibilities.

Combining cabaret, sideshow and circus is quite a unique approach to a show, do you recall who or what inspired it in the first place?

The three members of the band all have roots in circus, music and theatre so it seemed an obvious choice to combine our collective talents into DriveL.

DriveL are said to “sonically report on their observations on the madness around us.” Without giving too much away, what’s an example of said “madness” you felt needed the DriveL treatment?

The world is a funny place, and we mean that literally and figuratively so it’s hard not to be influenced by what we see. Social media has become so entrenched that it’s an obvious target.

The three of you have a pretty unique and diverse range of skill sets. What would you say are the most unusual skills in your collective kit bag?

Scott Chocolate can simultaneously play bass guitar, drums and sing, Matt Wilson was once the Human Cannonball with Circus Oz and Russell Wilson aka Risk Watson is an incredible whistler and stuntman but has yet to combine the two.

And what about the most interesting places those skills have taken you? Any particularly memorable shows?

We’ve all played shows from Norseman to New York and could fill a book with crazy stories. Scott was flown to Japan to demonstrate diabolo at the Tokyo Toy Expo, Russell remembers a time when he was performing with Bizircus, the whole group was nearly crushed by a dodgy lighting rig coming down in strong winds, and Matt performed a 15-metre high fall while singing My Way best known by Frank Sinatra.

What’s something we’ll see at your Fringe show we won’t see anywhere else?

DriveL have been known to create and auction kitchen accessories during their shows. They’ve been hot property so if you want one you’ll have to get your tickets now.