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A Dirty Dozen with THE IVY – February 2024

| 27 February 2024 | Reply

Photo credit: Austin Westt

According to a recent press release: “Dubbed by Earmilk as “one of the most promising indie pop acts to come out of Oklahoma,” The Ivy burst onto the scene in 2017 when their songs “Gold” and “Have You Ever Been in Love” went viral climbing the Spotify charts and winning over critics and fans alike. Wyatt Clem (singer/songwriter/guitarist) and Shawn Abhari (songwriter/synth player/bassist) met studying at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Oklahoma City. Both grew up playing music from a very young age, Shawn started out on piano initially picking up the guitar when he was nine years old and Wyatt started playing guitar when he was 12. Pulling influence from indie-rock as well as R&B and the blues, The Ivy have crafted their own unique sound garnering millions of streams. With three critically acclaimed EPs out, The Ivy have amassed fans all around the world, shared the stage with LANY and the Band Camino, performed at Lollapalooza, and are making indelible waves in the indie pop scene.
” We get the duo to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Shawn: This release being our debut album has definitely challenged us to write something more honest and true to us. Something we pride ourselves on in our production is the sound design and textures in the songs. I would hope that someone revisiting these songs will be able to slowly notice more and more things they never noticed upon first listen.

Wyatt: We worked really hard on the production and tried to chase what was most exciting to us. There’s some voice memo recordings of the neighborhood sounds from where we stayed in Mexico, unique synths run through crazy pedal setups, and weird as hell guitar tones. I think people will notice new elements with each listen!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Shawn: Because my parents placed me in music at a young age, I’ve grown up with some kind of music always in my life. During a middle school talent show I performed Green Day’s “Holiday” and remember the feeling of people cheering during the solo. I think that’s the moment I knew I wanted to perform live much more! After being in a few high school bands, I met Wyatt when we were at college together and we both created and performed music as The Ivy.

Wyatt: I grew up listening to George Strait cassettes being played riding around in my dad’s pickup at an early age. I remember watching live performance videos of him and immediately wanting to do that one day. My dad also had a constant rotation of Bon Jovi, Eddie Money, and Loverboy which were big influences for me early in life. I got my first guitar around age 11 or 12 and took lessons. Eventually that got me into chasing after different tones I would hear on early Chili Peppers and Radiohead records.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Shawn: I think just jumping around from my favorite artists and genres growing up has allowed me to pick out the best of my influences. Some of my musical influences are: Blink 182, Death cab, Porter Robinson, The 1975, The Killers, Bon Iver…

Wyatt: The first time I ever heard Radiohead was a huge deal for me because I didn’t know music could be so weird and unique. Discovering similar artists really led me down the path that I’m still on which is basically just constantly trying to find unique and exciting inspiration.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Shawn: I think working with a musician who’s outside my normal field of vision and excellent at their craft would be such an honor. A few that come to mind are: Daniel Caesar, Billie Eilish, Diplo.

Wyatt: There’s so many but recently I’ve been thinking it would be cool to work with  A.G. Cook. His ear is insane and i feel like he’s always 10 years ahead of what’s happening in pop music.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Shawn: I love to build things or work with my hands but when relaxing nothing beats just a good video game or tv show!

Wyatt: I love to paint and do mixed media art. Recently I’ve gotten into shooting videos on my dad’s old camcorder and making cool edits for Ivy content or just for fun.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Shawn: Someone recently said “nostalgic indie music” and I loved that. I think we both cringe when being compared to pop acts or TikTok influencer/ artists.

Wyatt: I like to tell people you can dance sadly to it while wishing you were 10 years old.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Shawn: Wyatt cooks, I would rather get the drinks in, and depending on the day either one of us would start the sing along ha!

Wyatt: Me on all accounts.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Shawn: It’s hard to think of the most recent time, but meeting an artist that you’re so close to their music, feels strange to shake hands with the creator sometimes.

Wyatt: We saw Jesse Rutherford at a cafe in Los Angeles a few months ago and I was absolutely so weird. We kept making awkward eye contact but I was not about to go interrupt his dinner.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Shawn: I think being able to be creative for your work is the best part. It can definitely get challenging but when you can have fun with it it’s a great time! I think being an architect or designer in general would be a really cool profession!

Wyatt: Making something that people in hundreds of countries will hear and give positive feedback on is still so crazy to me. If I didn’t do music, I would probably do something where I could be around dogs everyday.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Shawn: What is our favorite sound and how did we get it, for a recently released song. For “Stop On a Dime” it was the last 10 seconds in the song: running around Mexico and chopping it up and playing choppy piano on top! Probably “who are your influences, and what does your music sound like?”

Wyatt: I’m not sure I really have a preference on this but I like talking about the production side of things. I guess I’m kinda tired of the musical origin story stuff but it’s not a huge deal. I just wanna talk about plug-ins.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Shawn: There are specific concerts that would prove to be in our most embarrassing moments, so for our pride’s sake it would be nice to “re do” those moments!

Wyatt: There are a few artists we’ve gotten to work with that for whatever reason we didn’t keep a super close relationship with and I now see how valuable that is. Not just from a transactional standpoint but it’s nice to feel supported by fellow musicians and producers. We do feel that but we’ve learned to work at those relationships and put in genuine effort.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Shawn: I think Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” or Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody.” When sessions get really creative with the production work and techniques, I think those are the coolest!

Wyatt: Radiohead’s Kid A. That record absolutely unlocked emotions for me that I didn’t know existed.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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