If you don’t already know Icarus the Owl, you will soon. Since 2009, Icarus the Owl have signed to Blue Swan Records and completed over 20 tours and four studio albums. The Portland alt-rockers added to that impressive repertoire last December with their fifth studio album Rearm Circuits. Only three days after the release of the album, the band hit the road with Dance Gavin Dance. We caught up with ITO lead vocalist Joey Rubenstein to chat about the band’s recent success.
1) Let’s talk about the beginning a little bit. How did the guys of ITO meet?
We met through the other bands. Except Rob, I found him on YouTube powering through a Sky Eats Airplane cover. He came out to a show in Jersey and I asked him to be in the band and he agreed. He flew out to Portland and we immediately started working on Love Always, Leviathan (2012) together. It was just the two of us that wrote that record.
2) Of your most recent successes, what has been the most exciting?
Our tour with Dance Gavin Dance was extremely exciting for us! Every show except two were sold out. Getting to play for such massive crowds was a surreal experience and the culmination of a lot of hard work. It was also a perfect tour to release the new album on. We are very thankful for that opportunity.
I created the concept and story, but Justin Le Burgos did the animation, set design, and everything else. He really took what I had in my head and made it come to life. I am so happy we chose to work with him. I want to do more stop-motion in the future.
It’s usually me, but we all get on there from time to time. Everyone has access and there isn’t a general rule that someone has to or is forbidden from posting– it’s just mainly me. I love interacting with fans; I want them to know that they are immensely appreciated. If someone takes the time to write us, we want to try to write them back.
Happiest tour story is when our trailer broke down on the DGD tour and we didn’t think we were going to make it to the sold out San Antonio show, but miraculously, we got it fixed in the middle of no where and showed up 10 min before our set. We loaded our gear with lightning speed with with help of other band members and venue staff. Rob assembled his kit with the help of Matt from DGD, We played our set and it felt triumphant. That was the happiest feeling. A mere 3 hours later we turned on our van and the engine decided that it would like to die, but that’s a different story.
Going to a different place with your imagination and how beautiful that can be. Also, how scary it would be to have someone threaten or invade the power that is your brain. It’s about new beginnings and shedding your old life while embracing what is new, however scary and foreign. Musically, it felt like a rebirth. While we honored what we had previously done, we treated this record like our first record. We have no interest in trying to emulate whatever album was most successful for us. We would much rather have something refreshing for us that we love and if people like it, then that rules.
8) Having already released so many records on your own, how does it feel to be signed under Blue Swan and receiving so much new attention?
I feel so much gratitude towards any new listener and listeners who have been with us since day one. I am aware that there are so many bands that you can choose to listen to, so grabbing the attention of anyone for even just a day means a lot to me. We have learned a lot by self-releasing our records; we know how difficult it can be to grow a band and keep up that momentum.