"There were too many people with my name, so I had to come up with something else," Daniel Correa tells New Times.
He settled on the Collective Bus in honor of the public transit buses in Buenos Aires known as colectivos. But when a touring opportunity arrived, more people hopped on the bus, including bassist Aldo X and drummer David Hidalgo.
That's when the band's debut single, "Take Time," began to take shape. Written two years ago, it's a catchy, soft alternative rock tune reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie.
"We stopped in a music shop in Pittsburgh. Our guitarist needed a new guitar, and he found a perfect one," Correa remembers. "He started playing a descending chord line. Once we had a structure, I had the lyrics by the time we got to our next stop in like 45 minutes."
The single finally saw the light of day last October — and there was a good reason for that.
"We released it in October because that's Mental Health Awareness Month," Correa says. "The song is about recognizing we're both not OK, and we need the time to heal and figure out who we are if we're going to take this forward. It's about talking to your soon-to-be ex and figuring out how you could move on."
Despite the song's romantic entanglements, Correa also sees an additional layer to the track, serving as a reminder of the professional breakup between him and the song's cowriter.
"I don't try to write inherently romantic songs," he says. "I try to put an extra layer of social commentary or insecurity or a sense of infatuation in a song."
For those hoping to see "Take Time" performed live, the band is set to return to the stage on Saturday, March 13, at Sunset Tavern for its first concert in nearly a year.
"It'll be a great bar gig. We'll have fun with it," Correa promises. "We give a great DIY-punk atmosphere of radio-ready music. We try to have fun, so when things stop making sense and functioning, we'll try to make the best of a bad situation."
The Collective Bus also has several tour dates planned in the Northeast later in the month, but Correa is far from confident those shows will happen.
"Those dates are hopes and dreams. Some venues are hopeful they will open, but plans can change, so we're playing it by ear," he says. "We're trying to make the best of it as things rebuild. I'm grateful we, as a band, have been able to stay together during this. A lot of people had to give up their dreams."
The lockdown has helped the three self-described "Cuban-ish" musicians get to know each other's strengths and take their music to another level. Correa says he serves as the architect of the music with Aldo X and Hidalgo's technical knowledge helping create the musical vision he's trying to paint.
The trio also hopes to release a series of covers of artists who have been influential in their work. Listeners can expect to hear the band's take on Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House," a staple of its live sets, and a possible Radiohead cover. The band also counts Red Hot Chili Peppers and obscure Japanese punk singer Michiro Endo as influences.
"There was this one video of [Endo's] I saw for the first time in college. It was on some Japanese show," Correa says. "He was playing in front of all these housewives in the 1980s who had no idea what they were watching. He gave it his all to a crowd that did nothing."
According to Correa, that's the kind of energy the Collective Bus wants to put out there.
"Our ethos is put 100 percent into everything — especially when it's not called for."
The Collective Bus. 7 p.m. Saturday, March 13, at Sunset Tavern, 7232 SW 59th Ave., South Miami; 305-665-9996. Admission is free.