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- Posted on Mar 7th 2010 8:00AM by Bethany Smith
How did you guys form a band?
My friend Ryan and I pretty much started the band. I was in another band at the time, so I was writing other stuff, these different songs that he'd heard. He was like, "Let's do something with these songs." Eventually, I wasn't playing in the other band that I was in, so we just kind of went for it and started writing a record. We did our record a couple of years ago and kind of went from there.
Who does what in the band?
Ryan plays guitar. I sing and write the songs. Recently, we got a couple other guys, mainly my brother. Pete is writing and playing bass for this next record that we're going to do this spring sometime--May, hopefully. [At SXSW] there's going to be a couple more--a drummer, Gene, a Seattle guy and a really great drummer. Then our good friend Tim, he'll play guitar. He's also part of what we're doing, but not necessarily a songwriter. He plays a mean guitar though.
Where does the band name come from and how do you pronounce it?
"Eye-van" and "Alley-o-shah." We were looking for a name when we went down to Los Angeles, like, two years ago, a couple winters ago. The guy who produced the record, his name's Eli Thomson, and he's done Richard Swift, done a lot of great records. He was doing our record, and we were like, "We need a band name." And he was like, "What about Ivan and Alyosha?" He's a big 'Brothers Karamazov' fan. And we like that kind of stuff.
Do you relate to the story of 'The Brothers Karamazov'?
Yeah. We identify with the characters to some certain extent, with us starting out as two guys in a band--two brothers if you will. It's just liking those kind of differences between the two brothers. One is kind of a very spiritual person and the other is an atheist, and [we like] watching that relationship unfold.
How would you describe your sound?
It's like pop music, but pop music the way it was considered 26 years ago rather than what pop music is considered now. It definitely takes more of a folk turn as well. Pop-folk. We're vocally driven by the songwriting and melody.
Who would you cite as influences?
Personally, I love vocalists--Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte. Harry Nilsson. Harry Nilsson especially as a songwriter. [I like] Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie. More recently, Wilco, Helio Sequence from Portland, Richard Swift, and all that good stuff.
Have you been to SXSW before? What would you put in a survival kit?
Never, this is our first time. We have done fests, but survival kits? I don't know. We don't know what to expect. We like survival kits, but we'd like advice. We have one showcase right now with the fest and we're trying to get some other stuff rolling.
Do you have any road essentials?
A GPS, for sure. [We use it to find] Starbucks. Starbucks is essential.
Do you have plans post-SXSW?
We were going to try and work on this record in March, but March is turning out to be busy. So we're going to track a record sometime this spring. We're really excited about [it] and we feel like it is material that's really good. We're just excited for people to hear it. We're going to work on a record and we're going to go on the road again like late May, do a West Coast thing, and that's pretty much it. I'm having a kid in a couple of months, so that's going to be crazy.
Bethany Smith is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.