New York rock band Ionia has been very busy lately. The band recently wrapped up their winter tour (dubbed WinTour 2013) with Saint Diablo, and is currently in the studio with producer Mike Sapone working on new music. In April, the band will be heading out on the road again for a short Northeast tour.
I had the opportunity to chat with Beyhan about their recent tour, new music, and being a band of “socially and economically conscious musicians.”
You just got off of your winter tour. How was the tour?
The tour was cold… but it was great. We had a lot of fun.
Are you glad to be home?
Yes. You’re always glad to be home if you’re gone for an extended period of time. Your life becomes just about touring… but there is something kind of happy about coming home. Things become complicated again, you’re not stuck on a bus with five dudes in a prison… but we love each other, so… there’s some give and take either way.
What is your favorite part of touring?
Favorite part of touring is getting to play in front of people.
Is there anyone you would like to tour with that you haven’t toured with yet?
There’s a lot of bands that we look up to that we haven’t toured with and would like to. I’d say on top of that list would be bands like Brand New and Thrice, and Balance and Composure, and La Dispute.
You said you were about to go back out on tour…
Yeah, we’re leaving again in about a couple of weeks. March 14 our next tour starts up, so… And we’re going out with a band called The Nearly Deads and another band called Lakeview Drive. So that’ll be a headlining tour through March and through April. So just go to ioniamusic.com and check for dates near you.
I heard you were working on a new album…
Yeah. We’re currently in the studio with Mike Sapone, who’s a producer who’s worked with Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Crime in Stereo and a bunch of other bands. We’re really excited about that, and as soon as we got home the other day we went right back to work. So, we’re on our 25th song into that recording process, so… It’s going good.
Can you tell me a little about it?
I can tell you that I don’t know if it’s going to be an album. I don’t know what it’s going to be. There is a very eclectic mixture of music on there. We’ve done some songs that are really, really stripped down and really simple and acoustic style, some have kind of strange instrumentation, and some really, really heavy stuff, really layered. So, we’re pretty excited about it. We’re not sure in what form we’re releasing it, whether it will be a bunch of EPs or a bunch of singles, or what’s going to happen when a label gets involved and more fingers get caught in the cookie jar. And I’m sure things will change, but we’re open to all the possibilities and really looking forward to doing a music video series too. So that’ll be cool… hopefully.
How different are the songs from your previous releases?
We’re a pretty dynamic band. So, because we’re a pretty dynamic band, we’re into a lot of different types of music. We’re not really too afraid of trying to fit into some vision hole that we’re supposed to be, like post-hardcore or just be this or just be that. We write in a lot of different ways, you know. We like acoustic chill stuff, we like Springsteen, we like Underoath. We don’t care. We just hope we’re writing songs that are good and that people get something out of.
What inspired you guys to start a band/write music?
What inspired me to start a band and write music is… I grew up with music and not a lot else. It was all I had; it was kind of my window into the outside world because I grew up very isolated in Alaska in the woods. Music was kind of my lifeline to culture. I grew up on stuff that my mom listened to: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, stuff like that. And I thought all those people were in their twenties in the early 90s, so… It grabbed me and has always inspired me, and I think I can speak for all of us that it’s had an effect on our lives, a profound effect and we just want to be a part of it and be able to inspire people the way music’s inspired us. Anybody who really gets into music gets into it because they get imbedded to it in some way, it enriches their lives in some way, and just to be able to follow that…
Your bio says that you are a “socially and economically conscious” band. What does that mean?
I don’t know. It means that… we kind of went into starting a band and making music with the idea of having a positive effect and being part of the solution and not part of the problem. And, that was very important for us and to us. So we write songs that are very, kind of, nearing a lot of the social and economic ups and downs because of the society that we are living in. So, because of that, I guess what moves us about it, because it is very important to us to have an effect on those things and to talk about those things, and to open up dialogue about those things that maybe aren’t being necessarily broached in the mainstream media or in pop music or in many art forms at all. If we can have an effect on that or create dialogue, than we are doing our jobs first and foremost before anything else. So that’s being socially and economically aware for us.
Ionia plays The Bowery Electric on March 11 before heading back on tour starting in April. Moral Hazard is available now. To find out more about Ionia, and to find out when they will be playing a city near you, visit the band’s website.