Ivan and Alyosha are a four piece folk rock band hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Their music is similar to many of the great folk bands to come out of that area in recent years, but they also incorporate lush harmonies and solid hooks to create a more poppy brand of folk than other acts.
Though the band is named after characters in the Dostoyevsky novel Brothers Karamazov, the group creates music that is much more sunny than the topics covered by the great Russian writer. Singer and songwriter Tim Wilson graciously granted us a few minutes to talk about the band and their upcoming tour.
CD: Hey, nice to talk to you, what are you up to now? Are you on tour yet?
TW: We just got off the road; we were on the road with Brandi Carlile for a month. We've been at home since the end of August. Right now we're just kind of taking care of business at home. Today we're cleaning out our studio because it's filthy. We're taking care of administrative things, you know?
CD: You guys will be out on tour again soon, though, right?
TW: Yeah, on the 18th we set off.
CD: Will you be touring alone?
TW: Yeah, just us. We'll be out for a week and a half by ourselves.
CD: Do you like touring with another group or by yourself better?
TW: Um, you know I would say probably with someone because a lot of the bands we've toured with have great fan bases and a great draw. Sometimes on your own in some towns people know who you are, some towns people don't. With Brandi Carlile, compared to being on our own, is night and day. It's theaters compared to clubs. I'd say we prefer to go out with other bands; we enjoy the camaraderie and usually we end up making friends.
CD: I&A started as a solo outfit for you, correct?
TW: I was actually in another band at the time I started writing more poppy stuff. It kind of started with that, but Ryan Carbary and I pretty much started everything together. It was never going to be the Tim Wilson band, or whatever. That's a horrible name anyway. (laughs) It started with solo stuff but Ryan and I officially started the band together.
CD: Where do you draw the inspiration for your music?
TW: Musically or personally?
CD: Either one.
TW: Musically there is a lot of older stuff. I usually find myself listening to old country or Elvis or the Beatles or Roy Orbison or Harry Nilsson. Or I'll listen to gospel stuff, but lately it's been a lot of country because I feel like the song writing is so good. In a personal sense I feel like I draw from similar inspiration as country music. It's a very family oriented music.
CD: A lot of your songs have a little twang, but not a lot. Would you say the country influence is in the stories you tell rather than the music itself?
TW: Um, yeah maybe. I think we dipped our toe in the folk thing. Coming from Seattle and having the heavy folk influence here right now [is part of the influence]. With the story telling aspect, I listen to the radio these days and even top 40 country. Even though a lot of it is not great, they're still writing songs. I don't hear a lot of songs in pop music; I hear a lot of noise and auto-tune — well I hear that in country too (laughs).
CD: Are you guys working on anything new?
TW: Another thing we're doing while we're home is recording. We have a full-length we'll be done with by the new year. I think all the material is there for it. We're going to write a few more songs to see what needs to be on the record and what doesn't, but we're excited to give people a full-length.
CD: Will anything from [I&A's latest EP] Fathers be Kind be on that?
TW: Yeah, I think the title track will be on the full-length, and I think from the first EP "Easy to Love" will be on the full-length. We pulled one from each EP and then ten new songs will be on there.
CD: When you guys play this next tour will you be doing new stuff as well as songs from the EPs?
TW: Yeah, we probably do half new stuff in our set.
CD: I haven't seen you live before. Is there anything unique about an I&A live performance?
TW: Um, yeah, a long time ago we decided that we needed to be a great live band. That is something that sets bands apart. You can make a great record, but how do you interpret those songs live? I think play well, sing well, but not take it to seriously. We try to have a lot of fun and make a lot of noise. We're not trying to do something we're not, just to be ourselves. We have fun so we try to convey that.
CD: Thanks for your time Tim; I really appreciate it.
TW: No problem, we'll see you in a couple of weeks.