The Jim Ivins Band are an acoustic driven indie band from Richmond, VA consisting of Jim ivins (Lead Vocals / Guitars), Jack Ivins (Drums), Bobby Gary (Bass / Backing Vox) and Drew Martin (Guitars / Vox) with an energetic and polished sound and are delighted to introduce them on Song Revelation. Read the full, in-depth, interview below where the Jim Ivins Band discusses what music they enjoy listening to, what they’ve recently been working on and what they’re hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Acoustic-driven pop with a heavy 90’s rock influence infused with real and heartfelt lyrics
Q: What is your musical background?
My brother Jack (Drums) and I have lived in a musical household our whole lives. Our Dad is a guitar player and has a band and ever since I was a little kid he would help me with the guitar and I would see him play it and that intrigued me. Possibly our greatest musical influence, though, comes from our cousin Bill Leverty, who plays guitar in a band called Firehouse who found huge international success in the 90’s, selling over 7 million albums and blowing up MTV, radio and the American Music Awards. Ever since I saw what Bill was doing I knew that that’s what I wanted out of life.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
The year has been pretty great. We put out a new record in the spring entitled Everything We Wanted (available on iTunes and Spotify), which was done here in Richmond with our good friend Pedro Aida (Carbon Leaf, The Riot Before, Ann Berretta) and we’ve been getting the best reviews of our career on that. Currently, with the help of our friends at Tinderbox Music, the record is getting pushed at CMJ college radio and in the fall will be getting pushed at TV licensing, so there’s a lot of exciting things going on in Jim Ivins Band world.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Life inspires me. A lot of my earlier material was almost exclusively relationship-based and there’s nothing wrong with that but in recent years as I got really into artists like U2 and Switchfoot I realized that there was a lot more to write about. There’s also this Richmond band called Conditions and I’ve always liked their singer Brandon Roundtree’s lyrics a great deal so that was some cool local inspiration. So as such, over the last few years, in songs on Everything We Wanted, my 2011 solo EP Late Night Drive, a few songs the band put out at the end of 2010, as well as some writing I did for our bass player Bobby’s record [2011’s Making Light Of Something Dark, under the moniker Bobby Gary & Co.], I feel I have definitely dug a lot deeper and have written a lot about the uncertainty of life and fear of the unknown, eschewing complacency, following your passions, overcoming tragedy, as well as topics like addiction and sex. I’m still working at it and I’ll also write relationship songs but I really want to show people how multi-faceted I can be as a writer and that I’m not a one-trick pony.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Oasis is my favorite band of all time and while they got slagged off for being cocky when they first came out, I really admire the fact that they were not shy about the fact that they wanted to be the biggest band in the world. A lot of bands try and downplay those types of aspirations but bands like Oasis and Smashing Pumpkins wanted it all and really shot for grandiosity and I really admire that. I want to be the best and I want to be the biggest so I look up to artists who share the same dreams and I like that Smashing Pumpkins and both offshoots of Oasis (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Beady Eye) all still have the fire to try and take things as far as they can and continue to put out great music.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Too many to count. Off the top of my head, I would kill to open for U2, Coldplay, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, John Mayer, Matt Nathanson or Relient K.
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been getting a lot of great new music this summer. First and foremost, John Mayer’s new album Born and Raised is incredible. He fell off a little with Battle Studies but this album proved why he is the best. I’ve also really enjoyed new albums from Smashing Pumpkins, Lit, Everclear, Slash, Linkin Park and The Early November. Also Reverend and The Makers is a really cool British band that I’m into and their record @Reverend_Makers is fantastic for dancing (it’s hard to find in America but it’s the internet, you can find anything). There’s also a few record from the latter part of last year that I can’t stop listening to and those are blink 182’s Neighborhoods, the self-titled debut from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Kasabian’s Velociraptor!. So as you can see I’m kind of all over the place.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
The way things typically go for us is that I will write the song and most of the parts and then I hand it over to the guys who then put their own spin on what I have written and then sometimes we’ll work on arrangements and add sections and cut sections but really it starts with me. Everyone’s songwriting process is different but for me it usually starts with strumming the guitar and lots of times I randomly hear something in my head then I need to grab the guitar and play it and try and chase the idea. Chasing the moment is the name of the game for me. My general rule is that if I can’t write about 80% of the music and lyrics all in one sitting then it’s not worth pursuing. Lots of writers spend weeks or months finishing lyrics and such but for me that doesn’t work because at that point the moment of inspiration is gone and trying to remember what it was is just forcing things, you’re not really getting the original feeling.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
It’s so funny you ask this as I was just thinking about this listening to music in the car the other day and my answer is that it’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t have an answer. In my opinion, you could have the catchiest melody that has ever been written but if the lyrics suck then that ruins it for me because then you’re like, “shit, now I have this really stupid song stuck in my head” and I would rather have a song stuck in my head that I actually like. On the converse, you could have the greatest lyrics that have ever been written but if the melody isn’t good, then I see that as a wasted opportunity for great lyrics.
Q: Where are you based?
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Depending on who reads this I may get some flack but being from Virginia and being in a band, especially one that sounds like us, is not easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult. Richmond especially is known for punk rock and hardcore and metal, as well as a flourishing indie rock scene in recent years. I.e. – no pop rock (we get put on bills with pop punk bands all the time but that is really not what we do). Everyone always looks at Dave Matthews Band but really other than them, with the exception of maybe Parachute, I can’t think of a band from Virginia that has really “made it” in the mainstream sense and that’s because it’s a state that’s almost impossible to crack. Now, giving Virginia the benefit of the doubt, I’ve never lived anywhere else so maybe this is a trend sweeping the nation and it’s not all just here, but people don’t seem to believe in local music anymore. For bands to thrive, you need the regular people who live in your city to care about local music and I really just don’t see it. Perfect example: we’ve gotten to open up for some big bands. People come up to the merch table after our set and they’ve never heard of us so they buy the records and the t-shirts, sign up for the mailing list and the social media and then we never see or hear from them again. And to me, that’s because people don’t care. We’re just a band they saw open for Carbon Leaf and they won’t see us again until we open for them again because they’re not actively engaged in the local scene, even though they liked us enough to do all of that stuff. To me, the scene can’t succeed unless it’s really a community of artists AND fans AND promoters working together to create something great. In Virginia, for instance, if you’re from Richmond, pretty much no one plays Charlottesville or Norfolk/VA Beach or even DC sometimes and that’s because the scenes are so segregated. I’ve had people tell me “sorry we don’t book Richmond bands” and to me that is outrageous. A lot of times, industry people will tell you that the surefire way to get attention is take over your state. Well how is anyone supposed to do that if you can’t get shows in other cities? Bands are forced to rely on the Internet and social media to break out, which is fine, but that takes away a lot of playing live and I think that is wrong.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
We’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things. Getting any press from people like you at Song Revelation is always a highlight. Working with Ace Enders from The Early November, an idol of mine, was amazing. Having the guy who engineered and mixed our last EP (Michael Congdon) win a Grammy this year (for engineering Chris Brown’s album) was pretty cool so now we can say we worked with a Grammy winner. But I would say the biggest highlights are the shows opening for the big bands and we have been fortunate enough to open for the likes of Parachute, Cracker, Carolina Liar, Carbon Leaf, The Ataris, Pat McGee Band, Mae, The Rocket Summer, He Is We and Every Avenue and those shows have all been a blast.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
In the next year, I’m hoping that the record continues to get good press and generates a buzz about us. I’m hoping that radio and TV pick up the record, drawing a lot more traffic to our social media and to iTunes and I’m hoping that we can continue to get great gigs opening up for the big bands.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
I would just say that our favorite show we’ve ever done was opening for Carbon Leaf here in Richmond at The National Theater. Sold out show. 1,500 people. The show was right around Christmas and was originally on a Friday night and a freak snowstorm pushed the show to Monday and we thought we would lose people. We’re due to go on at 8:00 and at 7:30 we peak out and almost no one is there and we were bummed because we were sure the storm killed the show. The lights go down at 8:00, we go on stage and what do we see? The place is at capacity. We played a killer set, Carbon Leaf rocked the place, it was a great night.
Regarding future shows, I am moving to New York City next month to try and push the career of the band to the next level and I will be playing solo at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village on August 29 at 8:00 PM.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Write, write, write. I’m still aspiring myself but I’m a firm believer that good, quality music will overcome everything. Also, this business is all about relationships so if someone is kind enough to review your record or help push you in any way, keep up that relationship, maybe give them an exclusive next time out.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
This summer we’ve put out a FREE 4-song sampler on Noisetrade so if you go to www.noisetrade.com/thejimivinsband you can download 4 songs covering our discography totally for free. As is the norm with Noisetrade, leaving a tip or tweeting or Facebooking is optional, but of course we encourage it. However, if you don’t feel like it, not a big deal – we just want you to have the music. Also, our new record Everything We Wanted is available on iTunes and Spotify, as is the rest of the work we’ve done, including Drew (Guitar)’s band Drew Martin & The Limelights (www.facebook.com/drewmartinandthelimelights), Bobby’s record for Bobby Gary & Co. (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bobby-Gary-Co/224678854246236) , and my solo acoustic EP Late Night Drive (www.facebook.com/jimivinsmusic). Thank you so much Song Revelation for this and thank you all for reading.
Editor’s Note: The Jim Ivins Band have a great sound that is itching to take their music to the next level. At Song Revelation we’re confident they have the material and energy to take the next step.
If you’d like to get in touch with the Jim Ivins Band or check out more of their tracks just follow the links below: