Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
I: Hello Pete and friends. We’re IKITAN, a heavy post-rock trio from Genoa, Italy.
We’ve agreed on calling ourselves a “heavy post-rock band” after a lot of discussion on “what do we exactly play?”
Our music has a lot of different influences and, now that our album has circulated a bit (reviews and interviews – thanks a lot everyone for this!), we’ve heard a few different definitions/comparisons, including (but not limited to) fuzz, psych, stoner, progressive, post-metal, metal, and bands such as My Sleeping Karma, Pelican, Tool, Yawning Man, Russian Circles… there’s a bit of all of this but for the brevity’s sake, we’re a heavy post-rock band. 🙂
And also, we’ve humbled to see our name side to side with the ones of some of our heroes!
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself?
I: IKITAN was born in September 2019 when Luca replied to an adv Enrico posted on a local musicians’ Facebook group, and the band started jamming one week after.
It must be noted that Luca and Frik Et have been friends for ages and have played together for over 10 years years and so they were looking for a new drummer for their new adventure.
Fun fact: the three of us played at a local gig back in 2010: Luca and Fri Et were already in the same band then, and Enrico bought a demo from them (which he still has).
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
I: Musical: we’ve listened to a whole bunch of very different music by now (we’re well in our 30es) and we’re very open when it comes to musical taste. It can be what was once called nu metal, progressive, stoner, post-punk, thrash metal, soundtracks… you can find a pinch of all of this in our music.
Trying to narrow it down to a few bands and genres, our main influences are surely post-rock and progressive, with a heavy soul. As for the bands, Tool is the name we truly must mention here. The first time we met we started talking about them (we were all at their same concert in Florence – Summer 2019) and we knew from the get go that something cool would have happened.
Non-musical: we love cinema, photography and the outdoors in general. We like to be inspired by mother nature and we’re lucky enough to live in a place, Genoa, compressed between mountains and sea. So we can either be swimming or hiking in the Apennines and it’s all within a 30-minute car ride (or even less).
PD: Tell us about your latest release?
I: Our debut EP is titled “Twenty-Twenty” and it was released on 20th November 2020.
This album was conceived as a longer song which includes different parts, or “Chapters”, as we like to call them, that are somehow linked among them. We can’t call it a “suite” because some of the formal elements are probably missing, but the idea somehow comes from the post-rock and prog worlds, which are a great influence for us.
By the end of Spring of 2020 we had enough material to put together three different songs and, considering the overall situation caused by COVID, we said: “it’s our chance to put the word ‘end’ to this first part of the story of the band, nobody knows what’s gonna happen next, so we want to set this moment in stone” or, well… on a cd.
These three songs were somehow linked among them and at one point we also started thinking about just releasing the album as one only song and debut with a one-track EP. It was all very random and things clicked one after the other quite surprisingly.
Even though the ideas and riffs were all born during jam sessions, we like to remark that the end result is very much planned, meaning that we spent a few weeks working on these three songs only, making sure they had meaningful connections, the whole thing was interesting to listen to (you know, not so many repetitions of the same thing and the likes) and we could add a few extra special sounds and effects here and there.
Eventually, the song lasts 20 minutes and 20 seconds. The album is titled “Twenty-Twenty”. It was released on Friday 20th November 2020. A lot of 20s!
To make our project even more special and our efforts truly worthwhile, we released the cd as a limited-edition digipack with a free poster and a sticker. The artwork was curated by Luca Marcenaro who did an awesome job.
Also, we’re very happy about the final result sound-wise: our guitarist Luca Nash is also a sound engineer and a music producer in his “real” life, the whole album (except for the drums, recorded at Mattia Cominotto’s Greenfog Studio in Genoa, one of the most renowned in Italy when it comes to rock music) was recorded at his private studio so we could do things at our pace and in a stress-free environment.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
I: For the time being, we’d be happy to do some concerts! The band was formed just before the pandemic hit the world, which has meant no gigs for us (and for everybody else).
In more general terms, we keep a “let’s see what happens” attitude. In more concrete terms, we’re working hard on trying to spread the word on our music as much as possible (social media, interviews, short videos and the likes) so that once we’ll be able to do live concerts people will already know us a bit.
To be completely honest with you, we’re already “living the dream” in a way: we published a 1-song-20-minute-20-second EP on 20th November 2020, titled “Twenty-Twenty” (noticing a pattern?), definitely a non-commercial choice, with no social media presence, very few people knew about us, and now… we’ve been featured on quite a few international magazines, did a couple of interviews (including this one – million thanks again), and we’re having a great time all in all!
This was very unexpected, and we’re grateful for every single positive thing coming our way.
Part of the dream is already happening.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
I: Our songs are very much jam-driven. We enter the studio, plug the instruments, sit behind the drum kit, and just go.
Of course, once we have to record an album or give final shape to the song, we arrange our compositions with great care and play them a million times to make sure the whole thing has a sense and flows nicely.
But the inception is very spontaneous. None of us enters the studio saying “here’s the song, I’ll show it to you and we learn it”. We always record what we play and go back to listen to it to find new cool ideas and even think we might have overlooked.
Mistakes and “wrong turns” are especially crucial as they can lead somewhere completely new even for a band who doesn’t have a plan.
IKITAN is our opportunity to experiment and let our minds (and hands and feet) go, so we’re enjoying this fully.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
I: As for the shows… no show yet. We might do some live from our studio at some point. Working on it. 😉
We’ve been promoting the release of our debut EP “Twenty-Twenty” by constantly feeding our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles, which has been a lot of fun and hard work but it’s definitely paying off (is there anything else to do as a band these days, with no concerts?)
We’ve been sending our albums to up to 500 webzines, paper magazines and the likes and it’s all being done by us, so we’re amazed and proud of the results so far.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
I: Can’t totally blame downloading music. Honestly it was the only way we got to hear a lot of the music that otherwise we could have never known. As “an artist” we don’t feel like they’re stealing something from us if someone is downloading our music, we’ve been there too.
It is our job as a band to offer something extra or special in paid download or physical media. In our case, we have printed the cd as a digipack and it comes with a poster, a sticker and exclusive access to extra contents … if you still want to download the song no problem, it’s full of YouTube video converters!
But please… buy the cd instead. 😉
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
I: Luca: I wish I wrote any song that made someone say WOW this is what I want to do! Kind of like AC/DC or Led Zeppelin for me! Nah, that’s bullshit… I wish I had written Jingle Bells for the royalties!
Frik Et: Maybe “Passenger” by Deftones. Because… damn, it’s so wild in the arrangement, but Chino Moreno and Maynard Keenan join in it with smooth and powerful vocal lines. Love it.
Enrico: One I’m never tired of is “Don’t stop me now” by Queen. Not only from the money point of view, like Luca said, but it always fills me with energy and can put me in a good mood anytime. Also, if you don’t feel like dancing or singing with that song… you don’t have your ears in the right place!
The message is very positive too. What’s not to like there?
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
I: Luca: Personally, I think that it happened when we realized that we could do something “real” in the way the artists we love do. IKITAN has been an amazing experience in any moment of the production and it’s surely a starting point we are proud of!
Frik Et: In my opinion, it will be when we will tear down our first stage at our concerts!
Speaking of the present, I’m very proud of the realization of our debut “Twenty-Twenty”.
Enrico: Having a cd in our hands which looks and feels like a “real” one. Being considered by the press and being known by fans all over the world (internet: we’ll never thank you enough). Receiving good (and bad) feedback and finally having found the right people and mindset to do something musically meaningful in my life. In one word: IKITAN.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
I: It’s been a while now that we are working on new stuff in the same way we always have: playing, jamming and putting music together piece by piece to build the final form of our music.
A lot of ideas were left out from the final “Twenty-Twenty” EP, as once we fell in love with the crazy idea of “one song for this exact amount of time” we had to sacrifice a whole bunch of other riffs and grooves. But we already have about 4-5 songs almost ready and we can’t wait to share them with the world.
Also, we’re currently in the third lockdown in Italy and as we can’t travel nor do anything else “exciting”, we’ve been playing as often as twice a week in the past months. That’s a luxury for people who are normally travelling very frequently for work. So we’re making the most out of this otherwise disastrous and very boring situation.
And then of course we are working on social media and videos, what else can we do these days to promote your music?
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
I: As we just have our debut EP available online (treat yourself with our limited-edition digipack with a free poster and a sticker inside), you can find it on Bandcamp (we ship world-wide!).
And for all the other things… Let’s connect on social media! https://linktr.ee/ikitan
Thanks Pete and dear readers for checking us out, see you somewhere out there one day!