There’s something weirdly intimate about standing in a room full of strangers all with the intention of seeing a great band and having a great time. Or that’s how I usually feel at gigs. This gig, however, was a little different in that by the end it didn’t feel like a group of strangers.
I first saw itoldyouiwouldeatyou at the Hope and Ruin a few months ago. Since then they’ve been one of my Spotify go-tos. I sent them my first post on this blog and they responded in such a lovely and supportive way, I felt confident enough to ask them if I could interview them at their single release in London.
So I got to the gig a few hours early and had a chat at first with vocalist Joey and bassist Ollie, but was joined by various members of the band and crew as the afternoon progressed. Everyone made me feel very welcome and at ease.
According to Joey, itoldyouiwouldeatyou would describe themselves as people “trying to make pop music, as if they had never listened to pop music before” and had instead been brought up on midwest emo like American Football. This fairly accurately reflects both their music, and their high level of self-awareness and humour.
Their new single, Mourn, was released with a music video on Thursday and, safe to say, it’s fantastic. It’s part of three singles they’re releasing, the first one was Divine Violence, and Get Terrified will be released some time around January. The order of release, Joey says, is not the order they were originally written to be listened in. A great deal of their second EP, I Am Not Your Fault, is about learning from interpersonal relationships, and these singles go further in addressing those. Mourn is about recognising that there’s sometimes more to think about than just those kind of relationships. This is the one that should ideally have gone first in the release order. Next up is Get Terrified, which is about seeing sometimes distressing interpersonal relationships as still an important thing to write about and process. Lastly, Divine Violence is about being, in Joey’s words, “aggressively queer.”
When asked about how politics influences their songs, they said it creeps in through various ways. Mainly talking about Divine Violence, their most outspokenly political song, Joey said that because it’s talking about a political experience so personal to their life, it felt very natural. Their other work, however, “insofar as it is personal, it is political.” This is something I’ve heard echoed from other bands with LGBT members – that if you are queer, your experiences will have a queer, and most likely political, element to them as well.
It’s always great chatting to music people about their influences and favourite bands. You can really see their love and support for other bands, big and small. There are a lot of people in itoldyou, ideally seven, and so there are a lot of influences. For Joey, mewithoutYou are both one of their favourite bands and also hugely influential. Ollie’s influenced by The Drones and The Thermals, whereas Josh’s guitar playing is very inspired by Appleseed Cast. I had a long chat with Sean, the drummer, about Laurel Halo, Holly Herndon and other experimental electronic artists, which you can definitely hear in the always interesting rhythm section of itoldyou.
Ollie also gave some great advice for new bands just starting out, despite saying that they still feel like they need some advice too. They said it’s important to find your friends in the music scene, or industry, and that these are the people who will find you gigs that you want to play at, or labels you want to sign to. They spoke about valuing the community over just the abstract notion of a band, something that I witnessed itoldyou doing extremely well over the time I spent with them. They really do feel like a community effort, with a whole cast of band members and crew to help out with pretty much anything. Working out people’s strengths within the community is key, and, from what I’ve seen, itoldyou have done this very well, with people designing shirts, others typesetting ‘Orders of Service’ for gigs, and someone in the role of band Dad. Joey also quoted Neil Gaiman, who said that you have to be nice, punctual, and good at what you do to succeed within any art, but you only have to do two of those things at the same time.
I went to London not really sure what to expect, feeling fairly nervous and a little on edge. At the gig I didn’t feel like I was in a room full of strangers anymore. I left, having spent most of the day with the incredibly lovely community that surrounds itoldyou, feeling not only at ease with everyone, but also in some ways a part of the community as well.
Photo taken by Ben Pollard