reppin: brooklyn, usa // hardly art records // 2015 - present
sounds like: according to the band - petting a dog at the beach that you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon...and the dog pooped on your hand
latest album drop: Sapeshifter (sept 2016)
featuring: jillian // damien // tim
It’s pretty amazing what musicians can learn about themselves in a short amount of time. Not too long ago, front woman Jillian Medford was touring the country as a solo project, pouring out her heart, a mixture of love and growing pains. As she settled in back East, a connection was established with drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise to form what now is IAN SWEET. Constantly touring and attempting to recreate their sound, they are on the start of a musically romantic adventure with one another and there is no end in sight.
With the popular DoDivision Fest hitting Wicker Park, IAN SWEET and good friends Girlpool packed a sold out Empty Bottle that night. When they hit the stage, emotions are evident as they roll through their set list. The lyrics spill out Jillian’s personal story, someone who has battled through personal relationships and then some. While that can be seen in her face, when you look at the crowd, everyone is overcome with joy. Whatever they are putting their fists up to, it shows that there is hope in the music they write. Sometimes you can use those words to overcome and other times, it is just good to know someone else is going through the same thing. My favorite message of all the experiences is to stay true to yourself...to be who you are no matter who you are with or what you are doing.
IAN SWEET’s fuzzy rock noise is something to pay attention to as they continue to grow as a band. They came in during a hot summer day this July in the smack dab middle of their tour. As I scooted up to the Empty Bottle, the crew hopped out of their van and were ready to rock n’ roll for the night. But first, we took a seat, cracked open some drinks and chatted about what makes these three a special group with a unique sound.
When I first turned you all on, it was like an organized mess of distorted chaos which could not be a more beautiful representation of my life. Surprisingly, with that description, your music puts a calm over me, like everything is going to be alright...how did you get there?
Tim: I fall asleep to heavy music a lot, that loud, distorted sound. It almost feels like being in the womb or something. Loud noises kind of calm me...maybe that is where you are getting that kind of feel
Jillian: I think we are all very attractive to sound in general, and sounds we haven’t heard. So we try to make noise that we are not familiar with, that are new.
Damien: I also feel like from the music we listen to, we like poppy stuff. I feel like we also have ears that and hear dissidence as confidence in a way. Things that sound crunchy and gross to someone else sound good to us.
Is there any relation to any experiences or stops in life that have led you to this?
Jil: Yea, when I went to college and started going to noise music shows in boston, underground scene. I wasn’t making music like that at the time, but always had a love and interest for it. And then, making friends through that scene I got involved and got inspired. There was a big scene for that and we kind combine noise and pop together.
Jared (Me): What is interesting to me, growing up in the Chicago burbs, I grew up in the punk scene and really took it to heart...I did listen to other types of rock and hip hop and stuff, but that was my music. But when I went away to college, my taste expanded like crazy and it goes to show what meeting different people from different places can do to your music listening.
Jil: As a band, we’ve gotten into hip hop together and didn’t listen to it as much in college. We’ve really been expanding our taste as well.
Jared (Me): Are we going to see a rap on the new album?
D: Yea man! Hahaha. Either way, I feel like hip hop is kind of at the forefront of music anyway. Rockstars aren’t rockstars anymore, anyone can be one. Even the pop stars are trying to emulate the hip hop stars. All the stuff that I know about in Boston came from nothing and built their way up to the top. I feel like that is really cool for independent musicians.
Jillian, I’ve read that you’ve had your fair share of shit to deal with over the years...how do you channel that into lyrics that are relatable to your fans as well as obtaining new ones
Jil: Yeaaaa, I’ve been through some shit. A lot of the lyrics are stream of consciousness stuff that I have to refine later on. I like to write while I have something in my hand...some blurb will come out. I have a style of writing that is more subconscious, in the moment. By the time a song is finished, I then realize what it is all about.
T: For you, I feel like the lyrics are very open for interpretation too.
Jil: Definitely use a lot of metaphors and playful lyrics to describe nostalgic memories. The past record was really heavily influenced by my nostalgia and how I wish to be in a better place. I was writing in a way where I was longing for something so the lyrics are more like what I would imagine I would do, being in a better headspace. Kinda projecting what I would like my emotions to be like. It is really hard as an artist to vulnerable because you know everyone is going to listen and watch you. The advice for fans listening is that it is not that scary and it feels better to be that way rather than being dishonest.
Speaking of getting onstage, how do you translate that into your live show. When you make eye contact with that kid, what do you want them to feel?
D: I think are live shows are a lot happier than you would think.
Jil: I was going to say, the live show is really emotional, it takes a lot out of me. It has ups and downs
D: It is a fun experience though…
Jil: I mean yea, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
T: We definitely play sad songs a lot, but the second the song is over, we aren’t starting each other down crying, we are having fun.
D: I do think the lyrics do represent that in a way. Saying how we are struggling in a way, but it is kind of funny that we are struggling. The live show, it comes across that we are trying to be upbeat and when it is crowded it gets crazy.
(drinks are delivered and we become extremely surprised how much you cannot taste the alcohol)
If we are singing about sad stuff and someone comes in to see us and is sad, it makes for a happy experience with them.
Jil: We love miserable people
I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?
T: Planting vegetables on the roof
Jil: Petting a dog at the beach
T: petting a dog at the beach, but you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon.
D: And once the owner comes, you realize that the dog pooped on your hand. I’d say we are all a bunch of dogs, as a band.
Jared: What kind of dog?
Jil: Great dane
suggested listening experience: on the train/car ride home after a long day // lazy saturday afternoon on the couch // anytime when times are tough