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INTERVIEW: Ikebe Shakedown

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’re doing well. Coming off some strong reviews of the new album and a few great shows, including our sold-out record release here in Brooklyn.

Can you talk to us more about your single “Supermoon”?

It’s a new take on the type of upbeat, danceable tune we’ve become known for. Like all the songs on the album, we pushed the arrangement to develop throughout the piece. Some uptempo grooves lead to short, stabby horn lines. “Supermoon,” though, has this great melody, and the production helps keep it exciting the whole way through. We’re really proud of it.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Supermoon actually came about spontaneously during a rehearsal — like a lot of our more recent work, it just sort of flowed from walking into the studio space.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We’re working on a video for “Blue Giant” right now. We have a bunch of filmmakers we really like, and we approached one, saying he could take any tune from the album he wanted and make the video he thought was best. As an instrumental band, our goal is to create songs that spark people’s imaginations, rather than us telling people what any one song is “about.” So when the director gravitated towards that tune, we wanted him to have the freedom to express the way it made him feel in his own style.

The single comes off your new album The Way Home – what’s the story behind the title?

Living in New York City influences so much of what we write. We’ll sit in the studio, letting our days wash over us, from the joy and exaltation of discovering something new and beautiful to the loneliness that can come from being one person amongst 8.5 million.

We feel like this album is a lot about our home, but we’ve been impressed that our fans really do come from all over the globe. So, we’re actually hoping that they’ll share some of the places they feel at home listening to the record with #MyWayHome. As a band that spends a ton of time in the studio, it’d be awesome to see how our music affects people out there in the wider world.

How was the recording and writing process?

Since releasing Stone by Stone in 2014, we’ve all been through some personal changes. So, every time we got together, we’d find ourselves writing a new tune. It was incredibly collaborative. As for recording, for the first few albums, we’d gone into big name studios and tracked with engineers we really respected. All that time, Vince was learning how to engineer sessions, and we were all learning production techniques. So, this time, we went to a few smaller studios, including one Vince set up on his own, and engineered and produced the sessions ourselves. It’s exhilarating, but it can get overwhelming if you think about the fact that what’s put on tape lasts forever. So, we tried to get out of that mindset as much as possible and just have fun making music. And since we’ve been doing it together for so long, that was pretty easy.

How did the 70s influence this record?

We’re fans of a lot of music from the 70s, but we dig plenty of stuff that’s come out in the last 30 years. We’re also not out to be a throwback band, just replicating one particular style. So every time we write, we put our influences as far back in our minds as we can and just try to play what we’re feeling, so we create something that feels totally fresh to us.

How do you guys tend to balance all your influences into one?

It just happens organically. There are certain influences that we share, but Barnaby’s a country-western fan, Jason has a really serious jazz background, and Dave spends a lot of time talking about Steely Dan. So when we show up to write, we just try to put our influences on the back burner and play what sounds good to all 7 of us.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’re doing some runs right now around the Northeast, and we’re hoping to hit the festival circuit and have our first gigs in Europe some time next summer.

What else is happening next in Ikebe Shakedown’s world?

More. More music, more shows, more of everything.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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