Connecting lyrical content with the emotion of music is a task with which all songwriters are familiar. For Remedy Drive, the inspiration behind their tracks is an urgent message that immediately bleeds into all aspects of the music.
David Zach, founding member of the band, told American Songwriter their latest studio album, Imago Amor, was born out of real life conversations with people around the world through Zach’s work with Exodus Road, an anti-trafficking organization.
Zach began partnering with Exodus Road approximately 10 years ago, traveling to engage in undercover work in order to find evidence of trafficking and partner with law enforcement to make raids and dismantle the criminal networks.
The writer says while he sometimes struggled with crafting music that fit a certain lyric, once his inspiration began to come from a burning desire for justice the melodies flowed and intertwined quickly.
“There’s a sorrow and a hope and an urgency that surrounds justice related work, specifically trafficking prevention and taking the cause of the oppressed and marginalized and hurting people – there’s no way for me to keep that urgency out of not just the lyric, but out of the melodies themselves and the way that we put the melodies to music,” Zach says.
Imago Amor is the third album Remedy Drive has released under this banner of partnership with Exodus Road and a desire to bring those impacted by injustice and specifically, human trafficking to the forefront of conversation, with the first of the trilogy in 2014, Commodity, and the second installment in 2018, The North Star.
Each song carries amplified vulnerability and a personal connection as Zach explains he spends real moments with people and their families, learning their hopes and dreams. It’s a heavy thing and writing these songs can bring a bit of healing and a moment to process emotions surrounding justice work.
“It’s also some of the things my friends doing this work [full time] wish they could say to some of these girls,” Zach notes. “The real work that’s being done is with our teams…on the ground, who are doing this full time. When I go over, it’s to support their work, and to use the Remedy Drive community to lift up, celebrate and fund their work.
The story of the Exodus Road and the story that we’re singing in these songs is the story of the brave heroins, the women and men that do this work non-stop.”
Zach explains he and his brother, Philip, who produced Imago Amor, experiment with sounds until they find what moves them. Whether that be a looming horns section, or a vocal melody, the writer emphasizes that in these rock anthems the sonic aspects alone can speak to the intensity of emotion behind their composition.
“I think that’s the only way songs can transfer – when there’s an honesty to them that someone else can tap into.” Zach says. “I hope the melodies themselves and the instrumentation that surrounds them can pull back a corner of the veil from this reality that we experience and the reality that music exists in.”
Listeners of the band have joined eagerly in this mission and in support of Exodus Road, Zach notes, giving the artist continued motivation to uplift the organization and challenge individuals to get involved in justice work, in many different ways.
“My vision for the future is to continue to expand what is really innate in all of us: this longing to participate in someone else’s freedom, in movements of justice and mercy and compassion,” Zach says. “It’s part of our design, it’s part of the Imago Amor, it’s part of the image of love that we’re so intricately and precisely purposed and fashioned for.”
“I want this music and these interviews, and the conversations we have after concerts and on stage to try to breathe oxygen onto a spark and maybe a flickering light, a flickering flame, that exists in all of us,” Zach continues. “That light, that fire, is what I’m describing as the image of love – this purpose we have. We know, if we’re truthful, that we have a chance to be part of someone’s story in a selfless and sometimes dangerously unselfish way.”
Photo by Nicole Murphy Photography