IT has been a lot of fun…
speaking with the talented Ice Baths. I have been chatting with the guys (Tom takes up most of the responses) about their new track, Relic, and what themes inspired their eponymous, debut album - I ask whether there is a cut from the album Tom feels is strongest.
I learn how the band got together and the sounds that inspire them; what it is like releasing music on Blank Editions; if they have any gigs coming up; how they all unwind away from the stress and demands of music; if there are any new artists we need to check out – I ask whether the guys have special memories from their time in music.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Tom: Fairly quiet. Al’s been touring Europe with Specimens, Jack’s working his socks off at a new job - and me and Ed are routinely recovering from hangovers.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
ASL? Around two/three-years-old; Ice Baths, London? Alex – Drums/Voice; Jack – Bass; Ed – Guitar; Tom – Guitar/Voice.
Relic is your latest single. What is the tale behind the song?
It seems straightforward but it’s a tricky bastard for us. We used a spreadsheet to plan it in the studio; we wanted something tight and minimal that runs away from us into a bit of a mess. We also have a very beautiful video, shot by Lucie Rox, for it.
Your debut album is out. Can you tell me about the sort of themes and inspirations behind the songs?
A lot of the books I was reading around that time and before were hard-boiled and gritty; some classic American detective fiction. I think I wanted to aim for this stark and blunt feeling you get in those types of books.
It is released on Blank Editions. How did you come to hook up with them? Is it quite exciting being attached with them?
We took a look at the roster that David (who runs the label) had and we knew we wanted to go for it - Housewives, Ben Vince; Dairy Classics, Thurston Moore. We sent it over and he didn’t laugh at us.
Is there a cut from the album you’d select as a highlight?
I think I like Alex’s drums on Circuits a lot. Towards the end; the flourishes sound like they are going to break my speakers.
How would you describe the sound of Ice Baths? Who do you draw inspiration from?
I like to think we’re trebly, wiry and sparse but we are probably just a sound guy’s nightmare! I was listening to a lot of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, U.S. Maple and These New Puritans around that time. I think a lot of the one-note playing was me ripping off Eddy Current Suppression Ring.
Can you remember when the band got together? When was the moment you decided to make music together?
Me and Al found each other unglamorously on Gumtree - we probably have the emails! Jack and Al have played in bands together previously; Ed did sound for us once and then we head-hunted him because his other band, Aathens, is awesome.
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
We’re lining up a U.K. tour later this year but, if you’re in London, we’re about to play our album launch show at The Others in Hackney on 19th May with Merlin Nova and Dairy Classics; then, a quick stop at Rough Trade on 23rd May and we’re with one of our faves, H. Grimace, at The Old Blue Last on 13th June.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Not crashing a tour van on the way to Glasgow and trying out a few new tunes on the road later in the year…
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Ed getting a meal served to him on stage mid-song.
Alex: Finding myself with a morning off on my first-ever U.S. tour in a beautiful lagoon in Sedona Arizona with a guy we met at the gig before. It was his birthday and he wanted to show us his favourite secret spot. There was no one else there and it was incredibly hard to find/get to - it was one of those moments when you know you’d never have visited this place if it wasn’t for playing a show.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Lawrence English (because he is living legend and one of the biggest influences on my personal music). As for a rider? Haha. To be honest, Walnut Whips are kinda having a resurgence in my life, so maybe a multi-pack of those and some kind of posh soft drink or mint tea (rock ‘n’ roll, I know!).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Tom: Often, beer tokens are just raffle tickets.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Alex: Vida Vojić. She is amazing. Not a lot out yet, but she has some great stuff coming up – and she’s incredible live!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Tom: The Prats – Disco Pope
Jack: Crack Cloud - Graph of Desire
Alex: Christina Vantzou - Some Limited and Waning Memory
Ed: Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber Part II
Follow Ice Baths