Last week California rock band Thriving Ivory released their sophomore album, Through Yourself and Back Again, through Wind-Up Records.
The band is currently out on tour with the MIGGS and Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, who is touring in support of his new solo album Alive.
The tour began in Pennsylvania last Thursday making stops in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Pittsburgh.
While in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Thriving Ivory drummer Paul Niedermier was able to do a quick phone interview to talk about the tour and the new album.
After sharing how well the tour had been going so far, Niedermier went on to talk about how excited the band was to be playing with Kowalczyk, “We all grew up listening to Live’s Throwing Copper album in ’96-’96 and to go out and play on the same stage with Ed, who is playing half of his solo stuff and half old Live songs, and to actually see him singing those songs live is pretty cool.”
The band was able to get on the tour due to the fact that Wind-Up Records producer Gregg Wattenberg was a friend of Kowalczyk’s.
Wattenberg helped with many of the singles on Through Yourself and Back Again and while Thriving Ivory was recording the album in New York Ed Kowalczyk happened to be there for a few days.
The band spent a lot of time talking with him while he was there and after he left they heard that he was going to be touring and used their connections to set themselves up as a opener.
When asked about being able to watch Kowalczyk perform, Niedermier shared, “On the tour we just got off of we were headlining and a lot of the time when you’re headlining you don’t get to see the opening acts. Now after we’re done we pack up our gear, have a ice cold adult beverage and sit back and watch Ed play!”
Through Yourself and Back Again is the follow-up to Thriving Ivory’s self-titled debut album, which hit number one on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
The album featured the hit single “Angels On The Moon”, which went certified Gold earlier this year.
“That song is actually one of our oldest songs. It was written around September 11 and some of the lyrics are about that tragedy but the song is not entirely about that.” stated Niedermier, “I wish you could see some of the amazing, heartfelt emails and Facebook and Myspace messages that we get about that song. Messages from people whose family members are suffering through cancer or people who are playing the song as the first dance at their wedding or whatever. And then it goes all the way to the other end where we had a die-hard fan who was 100% convinced that we wrote the song about the New York Yankees. We kind of just let people draw their own interpretations at that point. Obviously it means something individually to all of us in the band.”
The band continues to bring their timeless brand of melodic indie rock on Through Yourself and Back Again beginning with their first single “Where We Belong”, which was released awhile back on I-tunes and has been performing well.
Since last week’s album release, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
Niedermier spoke about the fact that over and over again, when people describe their music they speak about being able to listen to their album from front to back and that it is “music built to last”, “We’re on the road throughout most of the year and we listen to the radio. There are some great songs out there and I find myself humming after I turn it off but with that being said, I don’t think a lot of those songs are built to last. A lot of them are kind of just flavor of the week songs. We really want to do songs that will last and stick with our fans. I think part of the reason we are able to do that is that we have a pretty big demographic. At some of our headlining shows we see dads and sons and mothers and daughters and they each have a copy of the album and are both listening to it.”
Niedermier went on to tell a story about a recent show, “One kid came up to us on the last tour and he was probably fifteen or sixteen and for some reason we had recognized him from before and he was buying another album. We said you already have that why are you buying it again and he said that his dad had taken it from him and wouldn’t give it back. It’s good to know our music is universal.”
When asked about why he thinks their music draws such a large demographic Niedermier talked about the fact that Thriving Ivory is not a band looking to go after the Top 40 or imitate what is on the radio, “I’m not saying that we are doing something that is totally abstract or something new but we’re kind of just doing what we want to do and making the form of music that we want to make. When you do that it allows your music to be much more open for people to have those different interpretations.”
On this tour, the band is playing a lot of their new material which according to Niedermier was difficult before the album was released because they were finding that their fans were wearing “that new song face where they want to sing along but just don’t know the words” but that they were just beginning to see people sing along and starting to shout out requests for the new material.
One of the new songs that the entire band loves performing is the song “Moonlight”, which is a track that stands out on the album for its differences, “It’s a very organic song. While we were recording the song in the studio we did a lot of different stuff like just stopping and clapping and using organic ways to make it and it’s translating well live for us. It’s a song where we all come up to the front of the stage and there’s a drum from my drum kit up there and we’ve been grabbing a random audience member and bringing them up there to finish the song with us. It’s just fun and everyone gets a kick out of it, especially the person who comes up,” said Niedermier.
Niedermier also talked about the fact that the title of the album has a couple of different meanings.
For starters, the title is a lyric that is hidden away on the album for listeners to find. Personally, the title is a reference to where the band is at this point: coming full circle after completing another album cycle after learning what did and didn’t work the first time around and “hopefully doing it better”.
The band all grew up in the Bay Area of California and went on to form while they were all going to school in Santa Barbara where they started out playing keg and house parties, which is where they were discovered by Wind-Up Records, “We always wanted to have this as a career but when Wind-Up came along it turned into an actual physical thing. It was definitely a life-changing experience,” Niedermier explained.
Back in February, the band lost bassist Bret Cohune who decided to pursue a different career path. Although the loss was difficult, it was a mutual decision on both sides and there were no hard feelings.
The band hired some some bass players to sit in on the album including bassist Jack Daley, who sat in for most of the album and was a “pleasure to work with”.
For the tour, the band brought in bassist Charlie Reid, who has been with them for a few months and has fit right in and become part of their “family”.
When asked about the band’s influences, Niedermier talked about bands like U2, Coldplay, Keane, Maroon 5 and Aqualung who he said are bands the entire band can agree in.
Individually, each member has their own preferences including guitarist Drew Cribley who likes indie rock and vocalist Clayton Stroope, who enjoys eighties music and has been recently listening to a lot of country.
Thriving Ivory is currently keeping their fingers crossed for an upcoming big tour and will be appearing on VH1’s Best Cruise Ever in April along with the bands Train, Lifehouse and Safety Suit.
The band recently shot a humorous ad for the cruise featuring them in Hawaiian shirts and performing a song.
The band has toured with Lifehouse in the past and according to Niedermier “connected with them on a personal level”. They hope to be able to tour more with them in the future as well as with Kris Allen and O.A.R..
At the end of the year, the band will be playing a number of radio holiday shows where they will get to perform with some of their favorite artists.
On Friday, the Miggs/Thriving Ivory/Ed Kowalczyk tour will be making a stop in Flint at the Machine Shop.