Interview: talking conflict, accolades, and songwriting by dreams with Luke Roes of Ivory Hours

If you've been listenig to alt radio lately and heard an irresisibly danceable tune with jumpy bass and and a great chorus to sing along to at the top of yours lungs, that made bump up the volume and do a little car shimmy, it's possible that you stumbled upon London, Ontario's Ivory Hours. They're currently on their first cross-country tour, playing their way into the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast. Tonight you can catch them at The Media Club - don't miss out because this trio is going big places fast! Here's some of Jess and Luke's conversation from earlier this week, right after the band got back from Bowen Island.

Jess: Do you find having won the Next Best Thing amongst other accolades has put pressure on your band, or made things easier and smoother?

Luke: I think it makes a lot of things easier - touring for sure because it’s expensive to be on the road and it eases pressure with that, but along with the success means we have a lot more people on board now in terms of the team. Every new person you bring on means another person whose got to be supported by the project, so it puts on new pressure, it means we can be on the road for two years and basicall support everyone who’s a part of the project. It does but it’s really inspiring to reach a new level.

Jess: What’s the first thing you do when you want to write a new song?

Luke: I’m the kind of person to put a lot of effort into just being able to write a song any time, probably not the best song I've ever written but as long as I have the time to sit down and do it, i can just lay down a beat. Usually some programming stuff for the baseline but I can get a song out in a copule of hours if I put my head to the grindstone kind of thing.

Jess: So you can write a song on demand?

Luke: Ya well your best songs will come when you have the stroke of inspiration.

Jess: What's your stroke of inspiration?

Luke: I’d say the most interseting storywise is this tune calledd Two Keys which was an older song now, but for a while I was really paying attention to dreams and that whole area , and I woke up immediately and grabbed a guitar. I was totally hazy and I didn't change a word, which I‘d never done, and it has such an interesting vibe and it’s absract enough that I can still use it. It's just kind of weird things at the same time. I think there’s another one that I wrote about a dream and sometimes it's easier because it's just describing things, it's like seeing a movie and describing stuff.

Jess: Is Warpaint about passive agressiveness?

Luke: I think that’s accurate, just about people not saying what they mean essentially and that whole thing building into a larger conflict.

Jess: Any conflict in particular?

Luke: I wouldn’t say its entirely autobiographical, although it is in part just from experience in relationshps, espeically as a younger person. I like to think I’m past that in a lot of senses, but I defintely experience that and I don’t know what keeps anyone from saying what they mean.

It’s not about a particular day, but pieced together from different days. It’s kind of painful looking back on a past relationship, but not strictly tied to real circumstances - just the feeling of when that occurs.

Jess: What dance do you think would suit Ivory Hours music best?

Luke: I don’t even know how to basically dance. The dance of day, you could just flail your body and whatever comes up. You could also Duggie to it, you could probably even squaredance. Whatever you feel like.

Jess: Have you ever seen someone in the audience do a cool dance?

Luke: Headbang to the most upbeat songs ever, which is probably the best juxtaposition, but nothing you could probably describe as a repeatable dance. In Calgary the other day there was a dude full on head banging.

Jess: What’s up with morning light? Why is that the album title?

Luke: I think it’s like theres a title track - a song associated with it but that particular song is about a girl esaping a toxic relationship and in a broader sense. The album itself is new direction, much more focused than anything we’ve done before, and I guess just thinking about it now, of all the lyrical content is about relationships and going through painful circumstances to understand what good ciucumstances are.

Jess: Why did you choose that song as the title track?

Luke: It seemed like it carried the theme. If you don’t have darkeness you don’t have light so you kind of balance each other and every new day being a new chance for a new beginning, kind of thing.

Jess: Is there a theme to your tour or a tour name? 

Luke: That is one thing I don’t know... we don’t have a specific name for it but it’s our first time going coast to coast in one big run which is special for us - kind of just the national tour.

Jess: Has there been a goal or theme other than music on the tour?

Luke: We’ve been drinking a lot of local beer which is not a bad time, other than that we’re in nice landscapes especially out in the west here, we went up a mountain the other day but other than that it’s more of a beverage base.

Jess: Any city you looked forward to in particular?

Luke: It’s a tough one because I want to say every city, but honestly Vancouver is the most, and having lived here and lots of friends and the landscape is just amazing.