INTERVIEW: Icarus The Owl


Portland’s Icarus The Owl is a band that knows how to work hard, and that hard work is paying off for them. The band sold over 10,000 copies of their debut album on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour, have completed over 20 tours, and plan to put out their fourth album on Will Swan of Dance Gavin Dance’s label, Blue Swan Records. We caught up with Joey Rubenstein to talk about the band’s new album, as well as their recent cover of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles”

B&E: Introduce yourselves! Who are you?

JR: My name is Joey and I sing and play guitar in Icarus The Owl. Hi!

B&E: I heard that there might be a new project on the way to be released this year. What can we expect from the new album?

JR: It’s possible. We have laid the groundwork for it. We just haven’t quite decided that it’s ready yet. We don’t have any actual deadlines; we have a soft goal of 2017. The music feels like a rejuvenation of Icarus The Owl. We didn’t reinvent ourselves, but our morale is much higher than it’s been in a long time, and the music reflects that.

B&E: Are there any bands in particular that influenced the sound of this record?

JR: I think a little bit of Third Eye Blind came out in some of the vocal melodies and pop sensibilities. Tim and I particularly love their self-titled record a lot. We don’t really write music by directly taking influence from other bands, but I think subconscious influence happens whether we like it or not. Whatever we are listening to at the time could get us hyped on a certain mood or feeling, but actual notes, chords, and melodies, are not a conscious thing. That being said, we completely ripped off Thrice. I wish.

B&E: You’re about to go on tour as well. Which do you prefer, the road, or being at home making a record?

JR: That is such a difficult question for me to answer. Being on the road is liberating in that you are on an adventure with your friends and you get the rush of playing music in front of an audience. I’ve always enjoyed touring, watching movies on long drives, and eating different food from different places. Being at home making a record is an emotional catharsis for me. Hearing an idea come to life in the studio is pure bliss. If I had to choose, I would say making a record. I immediately changed my mind. It’s impossible. Both.

B&E: Who came up with the idea to cover Vanessa Carlton?

JR: I believe I did. I am a big fan of hers. I’ve seen her live and I own all of her albums. They are amazing. I decided to learn “A Thousand Miles” on guitar because that piano riff is so iconic. I thought, “what if this was tap guitar instead!?” That idea was a few years back. Ever since, I have just played that riff at sound check on tour as a joke. We wanted to have fun for our fans to listen to while we are writing an album, but didn’t want to release a b-side or something that would misconstrue the direction we are headed with new music.

B&E: Lastly, if you had to pick one more pop song to cover, which would you choose and why?

JR: There’s so many good ones! I don’t want to say just in case we decide to do it. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie. Obviously.

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