An Interview With | Id Iota

I love being able to interview bands, it’s so good. Obviously it’d be great to meet them face to face and we chat and bitch about everything over a cup of tea or coffee or that watermelon soda thing at the Velo Lounge in Bath but in the meantime it’s great to be able to allow bands from all over the world to add some words to Sounds Good. Id Iota is a band from Canada and below we talk about their debut EP ‘Maudlin Fair’, their origins and what’s in store for them in the future. I hope you enjoy, and support the band wherever you can.

Hey Id Iota, how’s it going? We’re great, thanks! Hope you’re doing well too, Adam.

Tell us about how Id Iota came to be. Who influenced you? This project is an odd mix of influences that has been simmering for a long time.  Chris (vocals) and Dustin (guitar) started playing music together in high school, hitting the local bar circuit in a moderately popular cover band, performing mostly songs by Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Eventually that band ended and we became focused on original experimental music more influenced by bands like Modest Mouse, Gorillaz, and Fugazi.  In 2014 we met drummer Blair St. John and immediately hit a deep connection; his jazz inclinations and musical training helped decipher and ground our rampant experimentalism, beginning to turn odd ideas into danceable, pop-conscious songs.  Unlikely but there ya go.  Blair’s previous bandmate Dan Linklater joined on fretless bass to round out the lineup, and now with his keen ear and solid groove, we’re closer than ever to finding “the sound.”  As our name implies, we’re often equally inspired by psychology, sociology, and intellectualism as we are by the music we love.

Your EP ‘Maudlin Fair’ was originally meant to be a learning curve for the band. What made you decide to release it? Had you recorded something previously? As our collection of songs grew, the sound began to evolve and take its own trajectory; while our early songs were more of an “alternative rock” sound, our later songs retained their alternative nature but featured a deeper blend of blues, jazz, and punk influences, all in a more poppy package.  As the impression delivered by the songs became more “hybrid,” we realized that our familiar alternative rock sound didn’t fit anymore; these 4 songs became Maudlin Fair.  Rather than throw away decent songs, we decided to document them as a point of departure for our style to grow from, and also for Dustin to practice his engineering abilities before tackling the full-length.  His engineering pursuit has been a large part of the band’s slow gestation, beginning in 2015 after we collectively determined that the band needed to control its own production in order to truly sound like ourselves.  We’re now finally in a position that our abilities and equipment have caught up to our ambition, and Maudlin Fair was a crucial baby step in that maturation.

It’s been a few months since its release. How have you found the reception for it?  The reception has been quiet but decent.  Some people have quite enjoyed it and that’s really cool, though we’re most excited at the anticipation it has helped build for our next work.  The main point of the project was to facilitate the development of our identity, and based on this adolescent quality we kept our sights on the future and didn’t do very much promotion.  We released it with a small Southern Ontario tour and have been quiet since then while we continue to refine our full-length content; shortly after that tour, Blair left for the summer to play in the Ceremonial Guard Pipe Band in Ottawa, so we all focused on other things until he returned in September. Since he’s been back we’ve finished writing the album and began testing the songs on audiences during a 10-day Ontario tour in October, during which time we finally sold out of our EP’s.

You’ve mentioned that you’ll look to release a debut LP in 2017. Can we have any details on that? How’s it coming along? The material for our LP is ready, and we’ll begin tracking in late November after Dustin completes recording his current clients.  He’s been obsessively studying engineering daily for the past couple years and he intends this LP to represent the culmination of all that hard work and investment.  This DIY work ethic lends our band great creative freedom and we’ve come up with some constructive strategies to harness that freedom to the fullest; it’s really enabled us to be the artists we need to be.  By the time we finish, we expect to have 12 or 13 new recordings, and most likely we’ll narrow it down to 10 for the album.  We’ve actually already began filming scenes for the first music video.  We plan to release the album with a Canada-wide tour in May 2017.

What’s the music scene like in Canada? I know there’s a wave of lo-fi, post punk music from the likes of WTCHS. What about for your genre? Our experience with the Canadian music scene so far has been welcoming and endearing.  Touring has introduced us to numerous wonderful people already – it’s amazing how quickly a supportive network can build, and it’s also amazing how good music can be when musicians actively enable each other.  The sense of community and culture during many of our stops was distinctly palpable, making us keen to continue nurturing those bonds.  Being applicable to the umbrella label of “alternative,” we shared the stage with many Ontario acts sharing that loose association and experienced the widest range of craziness and inventiveness we could have ever hoped for – the mutual appreciation between us all was truly inspirational.  By the way, we heard WTCHS on your blog’s recommendation and it’s some neat sounding stuff!

Have you got any recommendations for any local bands from your area? Our last tour was with Mike Mikus, he’s a real firecracker with some quaintly beautiful songs. Dustin also plays bass in Mike’s band and records his songs, so our groups are very connected and will tour together again in the future.  Another local band we toured with in April is called Gnaeus, and they’re also some very cool up-and-comers developing their own unique hybrid sound that comes off like modern 80’s in the best way possible.  There’s a great amount of talent in our town!

Finally, if you could make one final comment to close out this interview, what would it be? A sincere thank you for supporting underground, independent music.  Specifically to you, Adam, but also to our fans and peers!  See you all soon.

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