Hi itoldyouiwouldeatyou, how’s it going?
So well! I’m writing this in the next room as the band smashes through the set for our tour with Queen Zee which continues tonight in Sheffield. Also we just got DM’d by Melissa Villasênor from SNL which is pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to us as a band.
What are your pronouns?
I (Joey) use they/them pronouns, thank you for asking!
How would you describe your band?
Oof, ok. We’re a bunch of emos trying to make clever indie records with varying degrees of success, and hopefully make some people smile while we do it.
The last 12 months have seen you release an EP and an album, will 2019 see some more releases?
Yes it will! We actually have something coming sooner than you think, depending when you run this it might already be out. And we have the beginnings of another LP already demoed – it’s very good.
What else does 2019 have in store for you?
Well! We’re on tour with Queen Zee at the moment and have a couple more tours that haven’t been announced yet, so if you live in the UK and Ireland we’re gonna try and come see you soon. We also have some fun festivals slots coming, most of which is, as of yet, unannounced, so I’ll keep my mouth shut on that.
Your musicianship is incredibly intricate, is this the result of having such a large band?
You know, I don’t think it is. Like, it makes logical sense that it would be, but sometimes that intricacy just has to come out of one brain before it’s interpreted by others. For instance, I just came out of the room we’re rehearsing in and the band were working up ‘Almost Zero’ so we can do it on the QZ tour. We’ve got our friend Will Herman filling in for Josh on the first leg so we had to teach him the song too.
The only problem is that, asides from my vocals, the only people who played on that track on the record were Josh and Sean. Josh wrote this crazy locked-in post-hardcore abomination, Sean punched up the drums (and played the bass) and insofar as recording went, that was it until Josh and I tracked our vocals. So this rehearsal was us learning a track that we’ve fully never played together before, without the principal songwriter. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s a hard song to play and it’s actually the one which had the least input from the committee. So I guess it’s just a way of writing and certain instincts that we share.
Do you have shared musical influences as a band?
Off the top of my head, we all agree on Glassjaw, Baths, Fall Out Boy, Every Time I Die, Say Anything (I think), SOPHIE, and Manchester Orchestra.
Does this intricacy pose any challenges in a live setting?
For suuuuure. We’re normally only all together when we’re playing or recording, so when we do get rehearsals in we have to go hard. Partly it’s because we all know how we want it to sound, and getting there can be a slog. In our heads, we’re a stadium band, so we want it all to sound massive without sacrificing what makes it cool. It’s a tough balance.
The album (Oh Dearism) has a lot of hidden gems (just discovered the Black Flag reference at the start of the Hare and the Rabbit) are these deliberate?
Ah I’m so glad people are starting to process that one! I wanted there to be lots of oblique references to debut records that I consider classic. Some of them are just structural references – just having a spoken word track ending it for me brings up images of Black Flag’s ‘Damaged II’ and Say Anything’s ‘Admit It’, specifically—both of which were big for me. There’s other stuff in there that can probably only be counted as a “reference” in the loosest of terms, in that in my head there are bits that sound like tiny parts of other tracks, the mood of which I’d like to conjure in the vocal, from Kieran J Callinan to Car Seat Headrest to Fall Out Boy. I think I’ll wait to see if anyone else picks up on those ones before I make it obvious.
How does your song-writing process work?
An ityiwey song is kind of like a scrapbook that all of us stick things in. Then a few of us sort through all those things, trim what isn’t needed, polish what’s already there and eventually we say it’s finished.
With band members so spread out do you find it hard getting together to write and practise in the same place?
Yeah it’s a fuckin’ nightmare, but I think it’s good because it means when we are together we work incredibly hard. Sean takes the role of musical director when we rehearse – they know the songs inside out so they put a real shift in getting all the instruments where they need to be. I have the easy job really, I just come in when the really tough stuff has been done and make sure I can still sing what I recorded.
Your lyrics are very open and often raw, does this make certain songs hard to perform live?
I used to be very, very nervous about playing live but I think that was as much because the lyrics were worse than they are now. Now I still get weird about it but I know that what we’re saying is 100% what we want to be sayin, so if people don’t like it, they can fuck off. Realising that made it far less scary. Cos, in the context of a band like ours, with these kinds of lyrics, what are most negative reviews other than someone who is scared of their feelings? It’s hard to hate someone like that, so I’m just confident that I’ve presented myself honestly and with requisite energy.
Do you ever worry people will take your lyrics out of context or take offence to phrasing etc?
Sometimes it’s all I think about. I do truly believe I have a responsibility to the kids who listen to our music, whether it’s ten or ten thousand. I also have to learn to trust their intelligence. I call myself a f*ggot in Divine Violence cos, you know, I AM. And it seems like most people appreciated the context of that. Beyond that, I’m a lot more open about discussing my lyrics and where they come from than most other singers so I honestly think if there was anything that people weren’t sure of, it would come up and I’d be more than happy to address it.
What is the best way to deal with this if it does happen?
Talk about it! Be held accountable! If I ever said anything dumb that I hadn’t thought through and I got in trouble, I trust the kids who listen to our band to hold me accountable because this music, in a lot of ways, takes the form of a very close emotional relationship between me and them, whether I like it or not. Even then though, the onus is still on me as an individual with some degree of ‘power’ to make sure I’m responsible for my words and actions. Everyone needs to educate themselves, no one knows everything, and just cos I give a fuck doesn’t mean I’m exempt. So I guess if what you’re saying is ‘what do I do if I fuck up?’ all I can say is: listen. There’s no witch hunt. People just want people to get better. So get better.
You have just started a tour with Queen Zee, how did that come about?
They came and saw us at a show we put on at Alternative Escape last year which was a charity show for the fantastic UK charity Mermaids. Apparently Zee and Frank liked it and kept us in mind for future tours. Eventually Zee messaged me and Sean on facebook and was like ‘lets do it’ so we of course said yes because we all love that band, like a lot.
Are there any particular dates that you are looking forward to?
Glasgow! We’ve straight never been to Scotland before, to our shame. We can’t wait to meet the kids from there who’ve been tweeting us for a minute. That and obviously London is always a treat cos in a lot of ways that’s Home for us.
How do you take care of yourself/each other on tour?
Tour is hard cos it’s stressful for everyone and one of the big challenges is remembering you’re not the only one. We’ve got a lot better at it though. The fact is we’re genuinely all good friends so if it goes tits up we’ve still got eachother’s backs. To a fault sometimes – if something or someone is making a band member or fan uncomfortable we react rapidly and with no mercy!
In general though I’d say – make sure the playlist is good and that you’ve got other stuff to be getting on with. On this tour, we’re fixing up demos as we travel and that’s good for my brain so it feels like there’s no wasted time.
What other records would you recommend to people who discover you so they can continue their musical journey?
Well if it’s openly queer artists you like, I would recommend Signor Benedick The Moor, NALA, Kevin Abstract and Nervus! Genrewise I’m not the person to ask, cos I really don’t know what we sound like. My old band Our Lost Infantry are a shout though – I played bass, Josh played guitar and my brother sang lead – ityiwey cribs a lot from them.
Outside of music what are your interests?
I love comedy, and reading economics/politics. I watch SNL every week and always have a very strong opinion on each sketch. I’m reading a digest of Capital In The 21st Century at the moment so I can pretend I’ve read and understood it. Watching Umbrella Academy on Netflix and PEN15 on Hulu, both of which are just fucking world class good. Anyone who like our band will relate to PEN15 I think.
Where can we hear more or buy some records?
HEAR STUFF: https://itoldyouiwouldeatyou.bandcamp.com/
WATCH STUFF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnnIemMuuDo
BUY STUFF: https://itoldyouiwouldeatyou.limitedrun.com/