Interview with Ideas (New York)

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Having to deal with a lineup change is hard for a band. Most of the time their sound will be altered in very noticeable ways. A new drummer adds new flair to the feels and grooves in the pockets of songs. A new guitarist would have a strikingly different lead style from the last. This is an especially difficult transition while recording new music.

Ideas are in the midst of tracking their second EP and, having recently lost their other guitarist, are working to shape the songs around his departure until they have time to audition a new player.

In addition to debuting their new single, “Sleep Tight Poltergeist,” we sat down with the three current members, Sean, Geoff, and Caleb, for a short Q & A session about the new release and their plans moving forward. Check out the song below the interview!

N: What were your musical influences growing up?

Caleb: “Nothing really struck me until I was in high school because my family listened to country and the radio. My first album was Barenaked LadiesStunt but the music the influenced me most was stuff like Coheed, Circa Survive, Thrice, Brand New, and Finch. I really fell into that scene and never came back.”

Sean: “I’ve always been a metal head at heart but Coheed and Cambria has been a huge influence, especially the early albums. The work they put into their music made me want to better myself as a musician.”

Geoff: “When I was a kid, it was basically what my parents listened to, so stuff like Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, and Alanis Morissette, but the first album I fell in love with was Lateralus by Tool when my older brother showed it to me. From there I branched out into a lot of pop punk and emo in High School like early Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional, then there’s Coheed and Cambria and Brand New which remain my all-time favorites.”

N: How do you think your New York roots have influenced your music?

Geoff: “When we first started playing as Ideas, it was just Caleb and I, so we would play the only shows in our area that there were, coffee houses and cafes etc. I think that’s where we get those catchy melodies from, they’re the remnants from the days where we could only play light acoustic shows, in that way our environment really did influence our music and develop us as song writers.”

Caleb: “Expanding on what Geoff said, I think that being a part of your local music scene means that you learn to embrace the roots of whatever genre your area heralds the most. For us in Upstate NY, that’s the hardcore scene. We don’t really play that genre but it has definitely impacted us as a band. A lot of shows we play are with hardcore acts and a lot of them have shown us great love and support in the last couple of years which has been really great.”

Sean: “I certainly listen to a lot more hardcore these days thanks to NY, shoutout to our pals Misgiver, too. It’s fun to sneak in half time beats here and there, little things ya know?”

N: You’re a relatively new band and you’ve already gotten to play with acts like I The Mighty and Eidola. What would you say was your favorite show to play?

Caleb: “Playing the local festival in our hometown, iMatter, was real cool. We shared the stage with bands like Silverstein, Miss May I, Silent Planet, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus but I think one of my favorite shows was when we opened for Artifex Pereo and The Orphan The Poet in a tiny town to like 10 people. Local bands didn’t draw well and it was a real small show but both bands played so amazingly. It felt like a private viewing of 2 bands I really respect.”

Sean: “iMatter was one. Easily the largest crowd I had played in front of. It was such a great experience to be part of what the festival stands for; to inspire others to keep pushing forward in life and never lose hope.”

Geoff: “That’s a tough one because we have played many great shows with many great bands but I would have to say the third show that we played with Icarus the Owl was probably the most fun for me because that band is just on a different level, they are absolutely INSANE and watching them play live is just a real treat.”

N: What live shows have you been to lately as an audience member that impressed you?

Caleb:  “Earlier this year I saw Thrice for the first time and it was an amazing experience. They’re near flawless live and they really put a lot of energy into their sets. Seeing Finch play What It Is To Burn front to back was also insane for me. That 10 year reunion show was incredible. It definitely sated my high school show desires.”

Sean: “The show we did with Chon was a lot of fun. We also played with Save Us From The Archon which was one of the craziest sets I’ve seen in years. They’re so tight and technical, definitely a band to check out.”

Geoff: “Recently I saw Brand New play The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, which is my favorite record of all time, in its entirety and it was just such a great experience. That album just hits me at such a primitive level emotionally, it is just really quite something to see and hear. They really put their all into every performance and everyone in the crowd just loves it, it really impressive.”

N: How would you describe your approach towards your second EP? Has the writing or recording process differed from the first time around?

Sean: “I wasn’t around for the first EP recording so I can’t speak much there. Writing has been a lot of fun and it’s pushed me into a new territory as far as my playing goes.”

Geoff: “I think with most of the songs for our second EP, we made a very conscious effort to write every part of all the songs as a group. We tried to really focus on how the songs should be structured. Rather than someone forming a solid song idea separately and writing around it as a band, we all jammed on a riff that we liked and let the songs unfold for themselves.”

Caleb- “In terms of writing lyrically, this EP focused on a concept rather than being a collective of unrelated songs. Each song will relate to and deal with this overarching concept which before now hasn’t been discussed outside the band. The EP will be exploring the affliction or phenomena known as Pareidolia. Which will also double as the EP’s title. Exactly how it plays out on the album isn’t completely finished yet as we’re still in the process of finalizing a lot of little stuff. I think a lot of stuff will be obvious if you take the time to listen to “Sleep Tight, Poltergeist”‘s lyrics.

In terms of music we always pride ourselves on sticking with whatever inspiration strikes us as individuals and bringing them all together as a singular sound. There’s a lot of cool territory we’re going to tread on that isn’t always cobbled together and that for us, makes it fun and unique.”

N: I hear a vast difference in sound altogether from The Ides EP to this new single. Was there any specific influence that was the catalyst to that change?

Caleb: “When we started this project, I was involved in a band called Praxia that had a heavier sound. So, at Ideas’ inception, Geoff and I decided to follow a lighter path. Most of what we came up with as an acoustic duo was re-purposed and rewritten around a full band. That’s why a lot of The Ides EP feels so much different than this new one will. We learned a lot about what we wanted to do as a band in that first year or so. Sean joining our ranks once our former drummer stepped out was also a big influence on that sound change. He brought a different flavor to what we were doing that absolutely altered our tonal direction. But the biggest thing that acted as a catalyst for our change is just how we’ve been growing as people. The experiences we’ve had in the last year or so of life or even farther back impacted the music in a big way. Beyond doing this for fun, it’s also a way to deal with the baggage of life and that will always play a big role in what we do.”

Sean: “The lineup change has played a bit of a role in that. Plus, we all have such vast tastes in music and influence that it blends together to give us a sound to stand out with.”

Geoff: “I think the reason why it sounds so different is that we all got comfortable playing together. We played a lot of shows between the two EPs and really started to understand how each other play. As an individual, I really changed how I approach writing new music largely in part to Caleb. He really pushed me to try new sounds and tones by giving me old effect pedals and it lit a fire in me, so now rather than  filling a part out” in a song with some technical walk or something I think how can I tonally make this part of the song sound better?”

N: How far along in the recording process are you for this new release?

Sean: “We’re making some progress, still working and trying new things. Expect a bit darker of a product on the next release.”

Geoff: “I’ll let Caleb field this question, He’s band dad.”

Caleb: “We’re currently set to finish the EP soon and I’m aware of how vague that is. We don’t have a release date in mind but there will be more material seeing the light of day within a few months just to keep people up to date on what we’re doing. We have a lot of the work done but we recently separated with the second guitar player in the band. It won’t delay the recording process but it seems that it might alter some of the songs that are already existing. It’s really just a matter of cleaning up and refocusing to make sure we can deliver the best version of ourselves.”

N: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Sean: “Sharing a scene with so many metal bands in the area. Mixed genre shows are my favorites but the crowd isn’t always into it, which I understand. Personally, the biggest challenge has been adapting to a style of music I had never played before in a band setting.”

Geoff: “Man that’s a tough one, I guess I would have to say deciding what makes the cut for an EP and what doesn’t. We work on these songs for so long before we ever play them live, and you would be surprised how many times we just decide something isn’t good enough and then it doesn’t ever see the light of day. Which is always for the best, but it’s like throwing away an old shitty tee shirt that you loved at one time or something, it’s a very bittersweet feeling.”

Caleb: “The biggest challenge I think we face as a band is finding a place in our scene that we fit and do well. Our area doesn’t do well in terms of live music in general but if you throw the fact that our style of music isn’t appreciated in the metal/hardcore heavy area on top of that, we end up struggling to craft a fan base or find support around home. Don’t get me wrong, we do well around home and love our fans. We just find that we do a lot better when we’re playing a few hours away from home and that is sometimes a tough pill to swallow.”

N: After the release of EP # 2 what is next for Ideas in 2017?

Sean: “Petitioning for new episodes of Futurama.

Geoff: “Well, we have to pick an official second guitar player after the loss of our last one which is going to be quite the challenge. We’re all friends so it’s about finding someone who’s that right fit not only musically, but personally as well. After that just writing new music for months and months to start gearing up for a third. And shows, lots and lots of shows, because that’s the best part.”

Caleb: “I’m with Sean on that one. Futurama is life. We’re also looking to spread out the areas we play in and perhaps getting to some light touring with some band friends. We’re really just looking to expand and meet new people while playing our special brand of music for them.”

Check out Ideas’ brand new single “Sleep Tight, Poltergeist” below, and don’t forget to like the band on Facebook and Instagram @Ideas_official to keep up with their progress!
Also buy their music at their Bandcamp by clicking here.