Madison indie rock stalwarts Icarus Himself release their sophomore full-length album "Career Culture" on Science of Sound Records Oct. 11th. Front Man Nick Whetro started Icarus Himself as a solo project in 2008. The project has grown to include drummer Brad Kolberg and multi-instrumentalist Karl Christenson.
The auto-biographical album depicts Whetro's transformation from a dead-end factory job in Indiana to new beginnings in Madison. The trio will kick off a tour in support of the album with a CD release show at the UW Memorial Union on Oct. 8th.
A video for "On Your Side" from Career Culture was filmed in Madison at the Gates of Heaven Synagogue. See how many Madisonians you recognize in the wedding scene! We caught up with drummer Brad Kolberg to talk about the new release and the band's Daytrotter Session.
What was the inspiration for the songwriting on this album?
The songs on the record are a sort of Autobiography of the last 10 years in Nick's life. He was working in a factory post-High School in Indiana and feeling pretty lousy about it, and just got to a point where he'd had enough and got out, eventually landing in Madison where he met his wife and really started pursuing music.
The first half of the album is about the "wasted time" in Indiana.
Track 6 (WI via IN) is traveling music - that moment where he said "screw it" and left.
The last half of the album is about settling in Madison and meeting a girl and getting married etc. Mushy stuff, you know?
How has the addition of a drummer changed the chemistry of the band?
Man, having Brad as our drummer is the best. He's the coolest guy ever, a great cook, he's hilarious and handsome. Karl and Nick fight over who's going to be his best friend, only to realize there's room for everyone in Brad's magnificent oversized heart.
But seriously, I think being added to the band has changed the writing and recording process a bit. On Coffins and Mexico, it was kind of a home recording project, where Nick would start with demos, and he and Karl would just plug away over a period of time, adding layers and brainstorming. Performing that stuff got figured out later and a lot of the recorded stuff was sampled so they could pull it off live.
Now, some of the songs still start as demos and have layers added, but performing live is a bigger consideration earlier in a song's life. The arrangements are more stripped down because we can do it w/out the sampler now (fat beats), and I think it's more of a full rock sound happening live and on the new album as a result.
We love the video for “On Your Side.” Who came up with the idea for someone to hijack the wedding? How long did it take to film?
Yeah, thanks, we're super happy with it. Jacque and Kenny (Pioneer) were great, along with everyone who was cool enough to volunteer and hang out and do that with us. We started talking with Ryan Heraly (Manic Eye Media) and he came up with a Bonnie & Clyde deal, and then his buddy/cohort Jordan Liebowitz had the whole wedding idea, which we think really made the video.
The wedding stuff was done in an afternoon, and another afternoon was spent with Kenny and Jacque shooting their other scenes just bumming around.
Tell us about your Daytrotter experience. How does the whole Daytrotter Session work?
Those guys are the BEST. They have an awesome place with all sorts of gear to play around with and it's really laid back. We just got in there and set up, rehearsed a little bit and soundchecked, and then recorded. We had to do a couple songs over again to get "in the zone", but after that it was a breeze. It's recorded straight stereo to 1/2" tape, so there's no going back to mix or do overdubs or anything. But they let the band go until they have a take they're cool with.
Our engineer was Mike, who really has the room sounding just how he likes it, so it was easy. Afterward, we hung out and drank some Hopalicious with Sean and Mike and Phil, and went to eat BBQ at Jim's - best Rib Joint north of Memphis. We've stayed in touch since, and they even helped us put together a show coming up in Rock Island. Really good guys.
Will you be hitting the road soon in support of the new release?
We're doing east coast in early November for about 10 days or so, and we're talking about going down to Texas and back for a couple weeks in March.
Anything else you want to get off your chest?
I can't stress enough how awesome it is to have a drummer with such impressive skill and integrity. Big time.
Icarus Himself 2011 Tour Dates:
Oct. 8 - Memorial Union Der Rathskeller (Release Show) - Madison, WI
Oct. 14 - The Mousetrap - Eau Claire, WI
Oct. 15 - Kitty Cat Klub - Minneapolis, MN
Nov. 2 - Ultra Lounge - Chicago, IL
Nov. 3 - Hangar 9 - Carbondale, IL
Nov. 4 - Rhino's - Bloomington, IN
Nov. 5 - The Gas Station (House Show) - Blacksburg, VA
Nov. 6 - Cosmic Charlie's - Lexington, KY
Nov. 7 - Lexington Ave. Brewery - Asheville, NC
Nov. 9 - Spike Hill - Brooklyn, NY
Nov. 11 - Ottawa Tavern - Toledo, OH
Nov. 12 - Rozz Tox - Rock Island, IL