Artist Interview: Ivy Blue
Tell us about yourself and your music
I’m James Brodie, I’m turning 21 in May and I am a student at Wintec (Waikato Institute Of Technology) in Hamilton, New Zealand studying Music. As a person there aren’t a lot of thrills about me and for the most part my life is pretty normal. I go to my classes, I hang out with my friends, enjoy a ice-cream once in a while, I like to enjoy a quiet movie or a game of Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation, when I’m with the little sister I’ll read her a bedtime story, and typically I just like to live my life in the way I choose to. It just so happens that I have music that is pretty well known and that music came from me. In terms of my everyday life, that’s the only big thrill.
Musically, there’s a quote from one of my earliest musical collaborators from before Ivy Blue began who goes by the name of Paul Hornby-Battrick and this is the best advice or description I’ve ever had of my music so I will use it here. “Music is whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be short, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. it just has to be enough”. This quote from Paul still sticks with me to this day (and we haven’t spoken for a while) and I still live musically by this quote. If there is a better way to describe Ivy Blue’s music I haven’t heard it yet.
Talk to us more about your latest release
Present Shapes (due out March 15th) is a very different kind of album for Ivy Blue. While Present Shapes clearly still has the band’s roots at heart; compared to 19 (the last full-length release), Present Shapes is also a lot more intimate. It’s the type of album that you can listen to and it’s not too in your face, but it’s not too far away from any human connection or emotions. It’s just enough for the right moment and the right time. The album overall stands very well as it’s own right, but when you break it down and open up the 7 new songs that are on Present Shapes; you’ll see and hear something else again.
What inspired you to write this release?
This is a very interesting question. To be honest with you, everything happens within a moment and the album Present Shapes is certainly no exceptions. I wrote several songs near McLaren Falls (near Tauranga) into a standard 1B5 book and fleshed out some of the more lyrical side of things then, but I had also taken several inspirations from world events such as Brexit, the US elections, John key’s resignation as Prime Minister of New Zealand, and several others. The inspiration in a way was to capture each moment in time and portray an interpretation that I can be happy with and in doing so try and create a piece of work that people can connect to but not be divided or pushed away themsevles.
Any plans to release a video?
The first single from the album is called Divide and it will be released at midnight on Valentine’s day (February 14th) New Zealand Time. A video will come with the single onto YouTube and our website shortly after. I won’t go into specifics as I’m very early into the piece of deciding what the video will entail and how best to visually portray the song; but at the moment I’m thinking that the Divide video will be very abstract and something that’s not typical of music videos. All I can say is stay tuned and watch this space.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, I will be touring in support of Present Shapes this year (and into 2018). I feel as though this is the best album to tour behind and it has seven great reasons to go and play it live. So I’m very excited about interpreting Present Shapes in a live performance scenario (but peppered with older material as well so everybody gets to enjoy the night).
The first show of the tour that has been confirmed in respect of touring will be in Munich, Germany on September 23rd as part of Stoke Travel’s ‘Stoketoberfest’ (for more details or to book your campsite; please visit https://stoketravel.com/trips/oktoberfest/ and they’ll take good care of you from there), and there are other shows in the works for New Zealand, Europe, and other parts of the world that could start as early as March.
The full-on announcements will begin soon and anyone interested in coming to see a show should check the Ivy Blue website or Facebook page for more details as they are announced.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
As an independent artist you do have to really “brand” yourself (although personally I don’t use that word as the word brand makes you come across like a business instead of a musician, which is not a good thing in the long run). Typically, I’ll observe different things that people in the music business generally do to promote their music and then I’ll try and take some similar ideologies and turn them into something that nobody’s done yet on the independent scale, and if you take those risks in the right way; then they will work and it will give you what you need to succeed in that respect. As far as standing out goes; well…. it’s difficult. The next new thing is the next new thing for all of 15 minutes and in a world of ever-evolving change; it is hard to break out and stand out from the crowd: however if you’re really proud of your music and you’re willing to take risks and get a little bit noisier than everyone else, then you’ll break through the silent noise and get the spotlight on you and what you do.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Oh boy. Where do I start the list? There are so many things I could say here but I’ll just give a short list of 3 artists that I have been listening to.
1. Robbie Williams (his lyrics are golden and from the hear and he’s always the first artist I refer to when it comes time to make a new album)
2. U2 (How can you not be influenced in some way by U2? They have literally paved the way for musicians like myself and opened doors that would have otherwise remained closed. I have eternal respect for them).
3. Deathnir (A hard rock act from New Zealand. They are amazing and musically I gel to them a lot in regards to the hard rock thing. They are also amazing people in real life and eehy are the real deal. No questions about it).
Tell us about your passions
Things I’m into that aren’t music related. Hmmm…………..
Cartoons. I LOVE cartoons. I will easily spend a night of free time when I have nowhere to be and nothing to do watching classic cartoons (Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom and Jerry, those sorts of things). I’ll also happily watch the Total Drama series right from the first episode of Total Drama Island right through to the most recent episode of “The Ridonculous Race” (and while we’re on the subject of Total Drama, when’s a new season coming? I know Fresh TV are very keen on making another season happen and Total Drama fans like myself are very excited about what’s coming next. If you’re a cartoon network of any kind; then please order a season so I can enjoy more adventures from the Total Drama class and Chris McLean/Chef Hatchet. You will have my eternal love). Sorry, had to get that out of me. Right; where were we? Ahh yes, passions. moving right along…
Comedy: Robin Williams, Heath Franklin’s Chopper, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carey, enough said.
Art: Photography, Collage, Paint, Cartoon Sketches, Print-making, Model-making. The list can also get long here.
I also like swimming, movies, bowling, and mini-golf. I think I’ll leave it here before I make this list too long. Again.
What else is happening next in your world?
The future is a blank page really. Beyond the tour, going back to study, and finishing/promoting the album; I really don’t have any plans. I’m just going to let life happen for a while and see what happens. Another Ivy Blue album will probably happen in 2018 or 2019; but I’m not going to give any dates yet. Outside of the above, nothing’s planned and I’m just going to enjoy life as it comes.
Thanks for an awesome interview, James!
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