'Thriving Anguish, Thriving Ivory'
The Bay Area quintet, Thriving Ivory, is a band saturated with melancholy melodies and poetically gloomy lyrics. Their self-titled debut album, Thriving Ivory, is an epic dialogue of crushed relationships and ruined romance as lead singer Clayton Stroope empties out his broken heart alongside a serenade of orchestral strings and guitars.
Their first single, “Angels on the Moon”, has already received national attention and was chosen as the winner for the Yahoo! Music: Who's Next? User's Choice Competition. The painful delivery of Stroope’s lyrics urge a sense of pity from listeners and evokes memories of loneliness and sheer exasperation from all within earshot. “Angels on the Moon” is a monumental lyrical journey into the deepest despairs of unrequited love and complete emotional fatigue. However, the single release of “Angels on the Moon” is just a skin prick towards the rush of sanguine songs available on the rest of Thriving Ivory.
Exclusive Magazine caught up with Thriving Ivory guitarist, Drew Cribley and posed him with several questions about the debut album’s inspiration and direction. We also delved into some interesting facts about Thriving Ivory and gained additional insight into just what makes this band tick.
Your music has it's roots in alternative rock dabbled with orchestra
style melodies. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many
still factor into your music today? [DC] "Our musical influences collectively as a band are U2, Coldplay, Muse, Sara McLachlan, Aqualung, Radiohead and the list goes on. As individuals growing up we all listened to different types of music and come from different musical backgrounds, some into straight rock, some into 80's classic rock and some into musical theatre. I think our backgrounds are key to the sound that we create when we come together."
You guys have just released your debut self-titled album, Thriving Ivory. As an up-and-coming band, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? "Describing your sound as a band is about the hardest thing to do, so here goes. Our sound is modern rock, infused with piano. We go for a sound that is epic and has a lot of dynamics, in hi and low points and soft and loud. The vocals almost have a classic rock type feel since Clayton sings in a higher register than some modern female vocalists. Also the lyrics are an integral part of the music, almost like storytelling, the songs move around them."
Tell us a little bit about how the band formed in your hometown of Santa
Barbara, California. How did you all meet and when did you first begin to
pool your artistic talents together? "We all met pretty randomly, none of us knew each other before we started making music together. We all lived in a small beach town near UCSB where all the students live so it wasn't very hard to find everyone. Scott met Clayton at a party, they met me at a café where I was working, Bret was stolen from another local band and Paul answered an ad we posted when he was just out of High School."
"Our first shows were playing at mostly local house parties and our recordings were done in bedrooms the size of dorm rooms. Eventually we all moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area where most of us are originally from, that's when things started moving for us."
Critics have compared your songs to such great performers as Aerosmith
and Guns N' Roses, how does this make you feel and where do you think these
comparisons stem from? "Those are two amazing bands so it's very flattering. We would love to be as timeless as both of them. I think the comparison comes from Claytons voice mostly and our stage presence. Clayton was raised on classic rock so that's how he learned to sing. As far as our stage demeanor we come out with a lot of energy each night and perform rather than just playing the songs. That's a big part of our show."
You're currently in the middle of a cross-country US tour. What can fans
expect from a Thriving Ivory show and what is your favorite part of
performing live? "Like I said fans can expect a lot of energy and some singing along. As well as a few surprises here and there. Our favorite part of performing is the crowd, there's no better feeling than finishing a song and having a room full a fans screaming at the top of their lungs."
Your debut album reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. How did
the band respond to the success of your freshmen album? Did you ever expect
it would be as popular as it has been? "We hoped it would be successful and put us on the map, but you never really know. There's tons of great bands out there who get overlooked despite having everything in their favor. So we're really fortunate that this album brought us to this point."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public
sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and
accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "That's a tough question cause really we didn't try to create anything. The way we sound is a product of our influences just like every band out there. The influences are the dna that make your sound as a band. I think modern music naturally builds on the music of the past, how else could it really be? It doesn't always surpass it, that's why certain songs and bands are timeless and others dissapear."
Where exactly did the band name, Thriving Ivory, originate from? Is there
an interesting story behind it? "No unfortunately there's no great mystery behind it. We picked two words that we thought sounded good together and it stuck."
Thriving Ivory is a 12 song ensemble of melancholy, orchestral driven
ballads - including a surprise performance by the Los Angeles Symphony on
the single "Hey Lady". What songs are you most proud of on the album both
musically and lyrically? "We're very proud of "Angels on the Moon" obviously because it paved the way from being an unsigned unknown band to where we are now. "Hey Lady" also because of the production that went into it, it became almost larger than life. Most people know that most of the album was recorded at my house and I'm really proud that we could make something that was up to today's recording standards, without a million dollar studio."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s and possibly cheesy!
pop/rock song would you love to cover today, and why? "We just recorded a song by Billie Meyers, I think it was from the 80's maybe early 90's called "Kiss the Rain" and it actually came out sounding pretty modern. We thought it would fit our sound well."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine
loves Penguins, do you? "Yes, why not, after all they have wings but can't fly... who couldn't relate with that?"
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
You can catch Thriving Ivory on their US tour right now. For details, check out Thriving Ivory's official website and Myspace pages:
Thriving Ivory "Angels on the Moon" (Official Video)
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