- Fri, 2004-05-14 08:55
Over the course of the last five years, The Icarus Line have made quite a name for themselves as one of the most controversial, progressive, sensory provoking, and extremely hardworking bands around. I Like Music caught up Don Devore, bass player for The Icarus Line to chat about shock tactics, rucks and general rock n roll behaviour.
''I like music because… I breathe. I have no choice.'' Don Devore, The Icarus Line
ILM: So first up, tell me how the tour’s been going with the Distillers? What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on this tour so far? I hear you do some crazy shit like spraying tour buses and other antics, tell me more?
Don: It’s been good, but it’s been a peculiar crowd we’ve been playing for because, it’s probably the youngest crowd we played to, whereas, when we toured with Primal Scream in the UK it was probably the oldest crowd we’d played for. And, a 14-year old girl with a mohawk’s musical literacy is gonna be different y’know. And there’ve been kids jumping around and really getting it, but just as many kind of stood there and being confused, so we won’t be touring with them again, but it’s all good.
On this particular tour, the other night, someone crossed the line – threw a bottle. And, when you’re on stage it doesn’t mean that gives anyone the right to abuse you. It’s like, if you were walking down the street and someone ran at you yelling ‘F*** off’ you’d find that strange, and so me and Aaron jumped right into the crowd and y’know, and then got him kicked out and thousands of people cheered and we carried on playing.
ILM: What track do you enjoy playing live the most?
Don: There’s so many. I have a different relationship with each song. It often depends what drug I’m taking at the time.
ILM: How do UK audiences compare to US audiences?
Don: If I’m honest I like UK, European, Australian and Japanese audiences more than American.
ILM: Your album PENANCE SOIREE” and new single “Party The Baby Off” are out now, can you tell me a bit about the album and it’s vibe, and tell me which track you had the most fun making?
Don: Party The Baby Off is actually a true story, about a friend of ours Marnie, who’s a shining star. She got pregnant and took as many class As as possible, and that was the appropriate cause of action for her. She’s fine about the track.
I’ve got about 3 different versions of most of the tracks on the album because the band, not the producers, we all went over each track with a fine tooth comb, making sure they were all right, me and Joe wrote Spit On It in four minutes. It’s a two minute track and it just came to us, and it’s great when it just flows.
We had a lot of fun making some of the tracks because we had a long party. We’ve not had the resources that we had to make this album before.
ILM: You make brilliant videos, as well as great music, can you tell us a funny story from an Icarus Line video shoot?
Don: My brother has directed our last two videos. One video we had 15 scantily clad women parading around, but it wasn’t like the usual videos featuring women, because they were meant to make us feel uncomfortable – that’s exactly what we were getting away from - they weren’t bronzed blonde pseudo beautiful women like the ones in other videos. All our music is about provoking and shocking and making people feel uncomfortable. Music should evoke emotion. So that was kind of bizarre.
ILM: The Icarus Line played their first show in New Jersey in 1998. How was that and how does playing live compare nowadays?
Don: I wasn’t with the band then but had invited them to play with my other band Ink & Dagger, and had expected them to turn up in a bus or whatever, but they arrived in a f***ing pick-up truck, so you had two in the front and the rest in the back with the equipment. That was crazy. Travelling 3000 miles in a pick-up truck, that’s unheard of, it’s like from here (London) to Moscow, so yes, it’s more comfortable now, but still as crazy and as much hard work as ever.
ILM: Age 21 you put out your first album, Mono on your own Buddyhead label. What advice do you have for artists looking to set up their own record label?
Don: We did everything ourselves, lining up gigs, pressing our own records, producing, getting out there. I was the bands booking agent and manager at one time. We had this fierce independence that came from not trusting anyone and that’s paid off in many ways to this day. By doing everything at that level I could do anything that anyone working at the record label could do. So we have control and are still fiercely independent. I would advise anyone to do the same, do everything so you know how everything works.
ILM: Do you love BBC DJ John Peel – he’s a national hero?
Don: I’ve been listening to the Peel Sessions since I was 14. He means a lot to us.
ILM: Can you describe the Icarus Line process of making music?
Don: It might sound cliqued but we get together and it just flows, Alvin or Jeff might come up with something. One time we got 15 amps lined up in a row as a scientific experiment and just jammed, and it all comes together.
ILM: You’ve toured with some equally brilliant bands, like the Yeah Yeah, Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age, Primal Scream – can you tell me a funny story from partying with any of those bands?
Don: Well Primal Scream’s idea of partying is different to ours, but lets just say, if they make it to a sound check the next day, then that’s amazing, out of 10 shows, they made it to about 4, so they like to party.
We’re actually good friends with Primal Scream, they’re a great band.
ILM: Give me a word that sums up rock n roll to you!
ILM: What are your favourite tracks that make you smile or make you want to dance like a maniac??
Don: You can’t deny Outkast.
ILM: In 2004 what do you think is good about the music industry, and crap about it?
Don: Well I’m hoping it will become art again. There’s no attitude or passion. People just stand there. There’s not enough people creating thought-provoking, spirited, expressive, music that people want to hear. And, as prices rise and the record labels spend less and less on new bands, the industry will probably implode on itself and music will hopefully become art again.
ILM: What was your first musical memory?
Don: Sitting on my dad’s shoulders aged about four on Miami beach watching The Beach Boys. And it was one of the last times that they were all back together playing as a band.