Kansas City indie roots rock duo Katy Guillen & The Drive have release their debut album Another One Gained.
Through the course of writing, refining and recording their debut full-length album, Katy Guillen & The Drive delved into the catharsis of a bittersweet moment in time. After six years of persistent touring, performing and writing with her previous project, Katy Guillen & The Girls, singer, songwriter and guitarist Guillen found herself at the painful end of two long-term relationships. With their burgeoning career put on hold, Guillen and long-time drummer Stephanie Williams set off for uncharted territory as Katy Guillen & The Drive. While distinguishing themselves as a new group with a fresh sound, the two continued crafting their musical and personal identities together.
On Another One Gained, Guillen expresses a dichotomy of feelings through earnest ruminations on self-doubt, grief, reckoning and rebirth. Accompanied by Williams’ melodically exacting rhythms, her emotive guitar playing aligns with the lyrics to meet at the crossroads of suffering and silver linings.“ Producer/engineer Kevin Ratterman laid in vibrant textures tailored to each song, expanding on their gravitas with fuzzy electric and chiming 12-string acoustic guitars, oscillating tempos, warm vocal stacks, soul-stirring Wurlitzers, booming timpanis and more. As they add definitionand tension to the album’s themes of duality, this sonic landscape also announces a dauntless new direction for Katy Guillen & The Drive.
Bookended by admonitions of hope, Another One Gained reminds us that renewal and resolution can arrive amidst chaos and calamity. The album is a harrowing musical journey from a band on the rise, cultivated by two artists who celebrate self-expression, surrender, dedication to their personal identities, and the abiding embrace of change. Its atmospheric conclusion gives listeners a chance to exhale, emboldening them to unearth their own inner strengths and hold out for brighter days.
We asked Katy to do an in depth track by track breakdown of Another One Gained for us. Read it below.
Another One Gained
The album’s title track provides the silver lining that comes from the loss of a significant relationship. It’s about the duality of finally arriving at a place of relief and clarity, while also accepting the somber reality of saying goodbye to someone I loved. I had come to the realization that this goodbye didn’t have to be a sorrowful ordeal, but rather an opportunity for both of us to move forward in happier, healthier ways. We explore this range of emotion through oscillating tempos, warm harmonies and vibrant textures.
In the middle of a breakup, the end of my previous band, a transitory living situation and the sudden loss of my sweet pet, everything seemed to be crashing down around me. As the title suggests, ‘Discoloration’ encapsulates the gray mental space I occupied during that season of intense change. The verses reflect on an inner turmoil – that “dark dense fog” that left me overwhelmed and depressed – and working my way through it. Determination and self-assurance shine through in the chorus, with a sonic lift in the bridge, representing a brighter state of mind. Nothing ever stays the same, but it changes highways. In the face of disruption, you have to be ready to change with it.
Bottom Of Your Belly
‘Bottom Of Your Belly’ is an anthemic push forward to overcome fear and embrace the unknown. Written in a time of transition, the song is about that agonizing pit in the core of our stomachs – the physical manifestation of my own self-doubt, loneliness and mistrust. I started writing the song out of a sense of desperation. While it begins as an outcry of feeling lost and afraid, the song culminates in courage. The bridge and guitar solo represent an awakening of inner strength, where I welcome change and the feelings of uncertainty that come with it with open arms.
‘Harsh Realization’ is about a growing awareness of the truths I had been holding inside, and the need to act on them. It’s about taking steps to identify, accept and change what had become a messy snowball of unfortunate circumstances. Through the song, I accept the difficulty of these changes for myself and those I care about, and realize that I had put them off to circumvent the inevitable fallout. Ultimately, it’s about looking at the big picture and maintaining my mental health in spite of the short-term anguish.
Set In Stone
The album’s first single marks the beginning of a major life transition. Written shortly after my long-time band announced our final show, I was struggling to find the next step in my career and personal life, while longing for a past sense of stability. The song’s vigorous structure and deliberate rhythms convey that feeling of defeat and darkness, but with a sense of resolution and surrender through the guitar solo – a favorite moment on the record for me. While it started on shaky ground, coming out on the other side meant starting over and building something new.
Avoiding Every Sound
‘Avoiding Every Sound’ is a phrase I created to describe ignoring the inevitable pain of breaking someone’s heart. It means to hide from every possible sensory feeling to the point of becoming numb, and reflects on a time I found myself evading a glaring truth to its breaking point. Stress and pressure had been mounting for a very long time. The song’s soundscape intensifies to capture the tension and anxiety that was building within me at this time.
Because It’s Blue
‘Because It’s Blue’ expresses my tendency of being drawn to darkness and depression — a trait that kept me from living my happiest and most authentic life. The song’s bittersweet tone reflects on the realization that I had gradually lost my sense of self and identity, putting others’ needs before my own and losing myself in a relationship and career. Through its cathartic mood, the song is about letting go of regret, frustration and anger, and working toward becoming my most genuine self.
How To Live
The words of a former partner, “I don’t know how to live without love in my life,” were the inspiration for this song. A simple but powerful statement, it was both relatable and strikingly heartbreaking. Written shortly after my former band’s final tour, the song embodies the agony of saying goodbye to a major life chapter. It captures the alarming feeling of finding yourself at the end of the line with someone, and realizing that everything you shared with them is essentially over. The overarching theme is a foundational truth — no one can live without some form of love in their life, whatever form that may take.
Nothing Comes Close
No other feeling can compare to the loss of a dear loved one. This song was written as I grappled with the untimely passing of my Uncle Wolfie – a joyful, warm and unforgettable presence. Our family is very close, and we always shared a special connection. I wrote the song for my cousins and aunt because I couldn’t imagine the pain they were experiencing, and hoped this would contribute to honoring his memory.
I wanted the record to go out on a hopeful note, after so many instances of struggle, heaviness and transition. ‘Different’ was written when I had fallen in love with someone under what felt like an impossible scenario. The only affecting thing I could do was write this song, which poured out in about 10 minutes. It’s a love song that clings to the hope that our circumstances would one day bring us together. The downbeat marks the album’s resolution, and a sonic expression of catharsis, acceptance, and moving forward into a more renewed, positive space.