Interview with Ivan & Alyosha
Ahead of their brand new album It’s All Just Pretend (out May 5 on Dualtone Records), Seattle-based indie-folk quintet Ivan & Alyosha are combining their brand new single "All This Wandering Around" with their debut album All the Times We Had into an exclusive NoiseTrade collection they're calling All These Wandering Times. By pairing together a taste of where the band has come from and where it is headed, it's easy to hear what makes them so special in the moment they're in now. I spoke with lead singer/co-founder Tim Wilson about their new single "All This Wandering Around," their experience between recording their debut and their new album, and we snuck in a little Bob Dylan as well.
NoiseTrade: Your new single “All This Wandering Around” has an incredibly confident, forward-leaning feel to the songwriting and instrumental performance. Did you guys experience that feeling for yourself while writing and recording the track or is it something that might just be perceptible to the outside listener?
Tim Wilson: Musically, I'd agree that the song drives in a pretty confident way. Lyrically though, it's full of self-doubt, honesty, searching, confusion, questions, and self-deprecation. I feel like confidence should, in my opinion, come from experience and a decent amount of humility, which maybe in an indirect way, the lyrics in this song do project a sort of confidence.
NT: The chorus of “All This Wandering Around” says, “If I find what it is I need/Maybe all this wandering around and around will finally stop.” Is that more of a comment on already knowing what you need and just trying to attain it or actually trying to find out what exactly it is that you “need” in the first place?
Wilson: I think it's different for everyone. Some know what they need, some don't, but we're all searching regardless. Many of us know what we want, what we need can many times be harder to attain. I've found meaning and purpose, but there are many things I still search for, unanswered questions I want answered and weaknesses I know I have to or want to change. The chorus talks about finding what we need but also where we belong. We have cars, planes, phones, drones, and all sorts of technology that connect people these days, so why do so many of us feel lost, lonely, disconnected and a lack of belonging? With "All This Wandering Around", part of what I think we were getting at and questioning is whether or not we've lost something along the way. Whether we've lost our identity in the name of progress, success, moral relativity, and our own ambitions. Or if maybe our mobile devices and big screen televisions are sucking the life out of us, as well as the ability and desire to interact, communicate and do life with one another.
NT: You guys recently announced that you also recorded a video for “All This Wandering Around” that will be released soon. Can you tell us anything about it in advance?
Wilson: The concept is a really fun one that represents the song and even the record as a whole really well. Our friend Caleb Young directed it and we shot it just north of Seattle in a town called Bellingham. I'll be honest, I don't love being on camera, so it was important to relax and have fun, which was definitely accomplished. Can't wait for everyone to see it!
NT: Since your debut album All the Times We Had featured some songs that were written for previous EPs, did you find the all-new-material songwriting process for your upcoming follow-up It’s All Just Pretend (out May 5 on Dualtone Records) daunting in any way? Did you approach the process any differently?
Wilson: What's great about this record is that 3 of us in the band are now writing. Ryan, Pete, and I contributed an equal amount of songs to choose from for this record. It was really exciting to have such strong material to choose from. I think our songs have always been the biggest strength of the band, and in my opinion that only continues to grow and get even better.
NT: What were some of the biggest changes you experienced in the recording process between All the Times We Had and It’s All Just Pretend?
Wilson: The recording process for All The Times We Had was quite a bit shorter than It’s All Just Pretend. We spent twelve days in a proper studio for All The Times We Had before we had to get back on the road. For It’s All Just Pretend, we had about six weeks in Oklahoma and Los Angeles, plus pre-production, overdubbing, and post-production (some mixing) at our homes in Seattle. We had also been playing most of the songs on All The Times We Had live for about a year and a half before recording them. For It’s All Just Pretend, we didn't play any of them live before we got into the studio, which was great and kept everything fresh.
NT: Self-indulgent bonus question time… For last year’s Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume One tribute album, you guys recorded an energetic cover of Dylan’s “You Changed My Life,” a Shot of Love outtake that didn’t get an official release until the mid-90s. What drew you to this rare Dylan track and do you have any plans to record any more of his songs anytime soon?
Wilson: I wasn't familiar with that song until our friend Jesse Lauter suggested it. Jesse curated the project and I'm glad he asked us to record that particular song. So many verses! Nobody writes a song like Bob Dylan. His lesser-known gospel stuff is amazing, so articulate, and so heartfelt. I would love to cover more of his songs. I think Desire is one my favorite records of all time and "Romance In Durango" is so beautiful.