Interview: Ivan & Alyosha

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“Bubblegum pop in indie rock or indie-folk form… That’s kind of what we’re all going for, in a way. Like, The Jackson Five with a beard.”

-Tim Wilson, Ivan & Alyosha

The Vibe versus The SongThe Vibe finds the pocket of a groove and can go forever. The Song relies on dynamics and transitions to tell a discrete story. The Vibe makes you feel something subconsciously. The Song makes you hang on every word.

Most bands, and many music fans, fall one one side or the other of this spectrum. Either extreme is impossible – neither can be successful without some of the other – but usually either The Vibe or The Song takes priority and becomes the focus of a band’s “sound.” Extremely successful careers can be built relying heavily on one over the other.

Every so often, however, there’s a band that can find a perfect balance of the two; creating songs that are compelling on all levels of experience. It’s hard as hell, taking a ton of experimentation, patience, and practice, but the results can be really special.

Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha strives for this perfect blend of sonic vibe and careful song craft, and their upcoming album All The Times We Had (which you can preview now via NPR) hits the mark. See for yourself with the lead single “Running for Cover” below:

I had the pleasure of sitting down with lead singer Tim Wilson at Neptune Coffee in Greenwood to talk about the bands’ beginnings, transitions, and finding a home in the Seattle music scene.

MH: What is the origin story of Ivan & Alyosha?

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MH: What did the transition from being a local band to a touring band look like?

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MH: What makes Seattle, right now, a special place to be making music?

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On genre and pop songwriting in Seattle:

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MH: What advice would you give a new band, knowing all you know now?

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The big Seattle release show is Saturday, February 23 at Showbox Market (tickets) featuring MidByNorthwest favorites Kris Orlowski, The Passenger String Quartet, and Smokey Brights – presented by Artist Home and KEXP. One of my favorite moments from last year’s Doe Bay Fest was when Kris eagerly ran up to the front of the stage to dance along with Ivan & Alyosha, quickly joined by most of the rest of the crowd. Only fitting that he should help warm us up for I&A once again.

Ivan & Alyosha then hit the road for a few months – check out their tour dates (including a stop at Schubas’ in Chicago) here.

Photos by Veronica Alba – Video by Christian Sorensen Hansen

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