Not surprisingly, Californian has given us another great band to listen to, and the name of that band is IIIZ (Eyes). With their high energy punk-hip-hop-alternative-electronica, IIIZ are set to move some people into motion. Ready for the club, ready for your car, and ready for the radio; IIIZ brings us something fresh on their self-titled album.
Ryan: Band names are often very difficult to come up with, what is the story behind yours?
Ison Van Winkle: The band was originally known as the YIP YOPS and we used that name for three years. After signing with Hood and Associates, suggestions were made to potentially change the name to something that didn’t have such a young feel. The band bounced around hundreds, if not, a thousand names before we found and landed on IIIZ. We liked that the name required a little thought to understand and felt it reflected a common theme in our current songs. It’s all about perspective.
Ryan: Impressively, the first track titled Get Away, features Sen Dog of Cypress Hill. How did that collaboration come about?
Ison Van Winkle:From the very beginning, the plan was to collaborate with an established artist. Several names were being bounced around, and during a recording session, the label was able to bring in Sen Dog of Cypress Hill (aka “Insane in the Brain”). At first, we weren’t sure that his sound and ours would mesh together very well, but after spending a day with him in the studio trying out different ideas, things just came together. Even though “Get Away” is a very different sounding song compared to the rest of our album, it was awesome working with him, and we look forward to more potential collaborations with other artists.
Ryan: Your sound is tricky to describe, so I am going to let you do it. How would you describe your sound to someone that has never heard you before?
Ison Van Winkle:Well I believe that there are two types of music, brain music, and feet music. Brain music being music that is intellectual and let’s people dig into the meaning of the song. And feet music is the music you can dance to and have a good time. My goal, as a songwriter, is to incorporate both types into my music. Terms used to describe our sound: Fresh, High Energy, Off Beat.
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Ison Van Winkle: I am the primary songwriter for the band. My process usually starts with an idea or theme, and I sit down with Logic Pro and start putting the ideas down using virtual instruments. I create each element of the song (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals) and arrange the song until it feels the way I want it. Once the song has taken shape, I bring the song to the rest of the band. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such a strong group of musicians that can take this virtual sound, using their unique talents, and bring the songs to life.
Ryan: Who are some of your musical influences?
Ison Van Winkle:Many things other than music have influenced me, but some of my musical influences include Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, and David Bowie. When I first starting listening to music, at my dad’s suggestion, I sat in a dark room and listened to the entire album of “The Wall” by Pink Floyd. When I woke up the next day I felt like a different person. Music can be very powerful.
Ryan: At this point in your musical career, what are some highlights?
Ison Van Winkle:Overall, I think the main highlight of the band is how we’ve been able to find each other and the way we work together so well. We started together when we were very young and have grown together both personally and musically. We set goals and constantly push each other musically to reach them. We’ve achieved a lot, but it’s all about the music and how it connects with our fans. You have tofight to stay true to yourself and to find true success.
Ryan: Where do you gather your inspiration from when writing songs?
Ison Van Winkle:I get inspiration from many different places. Whether it’s a memory from the past, an event that I’m going through, or just simply an idea that I come across in my life. Sometimes, it’s just a word that has a unique meaning that conjures up an interesting theme for a song.
Ryan: You have already collaborated with some impressive artists, is there anyone else you would specifically like to work with in the future?
Ison Van Winkle:If there were no limits, It would be a dream to work with Roger Waters and David Gilmour on a song to bring that genius song-writing duo back together. But more realistically, we have talked about how amazing it would be to work with artists such as James Murphy, Dave Gahan, or Win Butler.
Ryan: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to make their own record?
Ison Van Winkle:The number one piece of advice that I would have for an artist making a record would be to stay true to yourself. Also, surround yourself with people that believe in what you do and why you do it. Throughout recording this album, we have learned that no matter how many opinions are thrown at you, you have to make sure that you love what you’re doing and stay true to your art.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Is there any news that you would like to tell your fans about in regards to 2016?
Ison Van Winkle:Thanks Ryan, please keep an eye out for our upcoming album and music videos to be released very soon. Also, keep a lookout for our upcoming tour to hit a town near you.
by Ryan Donnelly