A chat with ivies

By Victoria Ruck

Over the past couple of years, the steady rise of has taken over Durham and made us sick, not just for a week, but for more music. Having recently released their latest single ‘semi-detached,’ it seemed they were due a formal introduction to the people of Durham city, their base for music-making.

Tell us about yourselves? Who are you and what do you get up to outside of gigging around the northeast?
The band is made up of Alice (vocals and keys), Cole (rhythm guitar), Alfie (lead guitar), Kiko (bass), and Ed (drums). Alice initially started up the band on “Overheard at Durham” as a much-needed break from our uni studies. You’ll probably find members around the Bill Bryson Library most days and the pub most nights (definitely Cole).

We’re most excited to be performing on the BBC Introducing ‘Ones to Watch’ showcase in Sunderland, March 3rd, and then at the Stockton Calling festival on March 30th

You’ve hit big recently, playing on BBC Introducing North East, and you’ve got multiple gigs lined up this term. How does it feel?
Such an amazing experience! Seeing the band grow has been so fulfilling. Any time our songs are played on BBC Radio stations it’s completely surreal. We all love gigging and the adrenaline rush that comes with it, but most of all it’s heart-warming to see so many people supporting us and actually enjoying and listening to what we’ve produced. It feels gratifying to see the band’s discography of released music gradually expanding; we’re so proud of our singles after working through so many draft mixes with our producer Ben to get it exactly how we envisioned. Thanks to people like Ben, Connor and Dan at Canary Records, Shakk and Jordyn from BBC Introducing, and so many more, we’ve been able to do things we never imagined when we started just over a year ago. We’re excited to see what’s next and support the growing music scene here in Durham.

What was the inspiration for your latest single ‘semi-detached’?
Our latest release ‘semi-detached’ written by Alice focuses on tackling your inner voice when struggling with mental health. When your brain pushes you away from people and traps you into thinking the life you have is as ‘perfect’ as it will ever be. The song focuses on the realisation that ‘your perfect’ is way more once you reach out. This isn’t easy though, so the song builds to a big crescendo in the bridge which reflects the anger and frustration that accompanies this realisation. When I approached the band, I didn’t know if they would vibe with this kind of song but did still have big visions for it. I wanted the song to subliminally shout a message to people: that your mental health is deceiving your perception of life and it’s shutting you out. I have always admired ‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish, and how all these emotions are sent straight to the listener. Both guitars give this eerie atmosphere that contrast the initial lyrics. Ed’s drums starting from the realisation that all is not well show the start of breaking out from this. Then all backing vocals and violin parts (thanks Kiko) to layer these emotions of outrage and confusion

How does the collaborative process with your music making work?
Alice and Cole are the songwriters in the band. They typically come to rehearsal with some chords and lyrics and a riff or two, where it then becomes a collaborative and gradual process of figuring out instrumentals, arrangements, how to tie it all together. Everyone is super creative so when they bring in an initial idea everyone is able to elevate it by bringing their own touch and voice into the song. Spending more time in the studio has inspired us further to start creating more expansive songs in terms of layers, like Alice and Kiko working on backing harmonies in vocals and violin in ‘semi- detached’, or Alfie cooking up a new guitar solo for ‘sick for a week’. It’s in the mixing process where we’ve been most excited about hearing the sound, we’re looking for really come alive.

As long as we’re having fun and people are enjoying what we create, the future is endless

Where would your dream gig be? Are there any venues you have your eyes set on?
We always had our eyes set on a Newcastle gig and as of this month, this has now been completed so our next goal is probably London or Manchester! It would be so fun to do a little hometown tour for each of the band members, allowing for a cheeky trip to Canada. Cole’s dream venue there would be at Massey Hall in Toronto. But honestly, any major outdoor stage at a big festival would be a dream – playing on a bright sunny day out in front of a huge crowd would be incredible.

What do you guys have coming up?
We’re most excited to be performing on the BBC Introducing ‘Ones to Watch’ showcase in Sunderland, March 3rd, and then at the Stockton Calling festival on March 30th! We have a ton of more gigs and uni events lined up for the rest of Epiphany term that you can find by following our Instagram and Facebook.

What is the main goal with ivies?
We want to keep creating and getting bigger and better. As long as we’re having fun and people are enjoying what we create, the future is endless. Who knows, maybe an EP is already ready to go…

Anyone wanting to listen to Ivies’ new single can do so on Spotify, and you can catch up with their new music and upcoming gigs on their Instagram.

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