24 Minutes with Ivory Hours
Ivory Hours. (Juan Neira Photo)
Known for their 2015 commercial radio song debut, Warpaint, Ivory Hours has seemingly come full circle with the release of their sophomore full-length album, Dreamworld. Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with frontman Luke Roes.
How did Ivory Hours start?
It started while I was in university. By my last year, I'd become fed up with school and stopped going to class to practice guitar and write songs. I got together with a few other friends who played bass and drums, recruited my sister Annie to sing and play keys, and we moved to Vancouver to start the band.
Being part of something conceptual such as Ivory Hours, does it allow you the freedom to occasionally release alternate styles of music under your own name?
That was happening early on in the project, mostly without me knowing it. When I was first writing music I had a huge mix of influences, incorporating folk and vintage songs alongside the modern sounds I was working on. Over time, I've learned to refine and focus our style and save some of that for side projects I hope to release in the future. Our sound still varies, but I've been focusing on modern influences and large stylistic changes are made from album to album instead of trying to fit everything into each one.
Your music has a nice catchy feel to it. What is the songwriting process like for you?
Thank you! The writing process is pretty studio-based. It's evolved a lot over the years, but I've always had a home studio because I thrive off of recording and listening back while I write. For the most part, the songs start with a programmed drum beat, then I'll work out a bass line and guitar/synth accompaniment. Once I've got a sound I like, I'll improvise vocal lines and lyrics over it, warping the existing song to meet the needs of the lead. Sometimes I'll rework and add parts I've recorded quickly on my phone or from old demos. It all varies, but I'm absolutely addicted to the feeling of a finished song.
You’ve done very well having won a radio station new artist search. Tell me about that process as it's always hard to pit varying bands' differing styles against one another. How was it for you?
There were some stressful parts of it, like having the whole thing come down to a single quick performance, but in general, it was great. We met some amazing people, got started with commercial radio and won money that sustained us for national touring, a new album, new merchandise and lots of other projects.
Your song Shadow Kids couldn’t be more timely given recent headlines surrounding male dominance over women in Hollywood. What is the takeaway for women that you hope the song imparts?
I hope that they're inspired to stand up for themselves to see that they have value even though our culture gives them so many opportunities to think otherwise. It's spawned a lot of good conversation, I hope that we're able to inspire men to take a critical look at their words and actions and see that we're all contributing to a systemic issue.