Ivory Hours talk mourning, new sounds, and Dreamworld
Maybe it’s a perpetual little brother syndrome, but Canadians are quick to claim and point to artists that are distinctly their own. If you’ve won the Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Mentorship award, and placed in CBC Music’s Searchlight competition, as alt-pop act Ivory Hours has, it’s a safe bet we’ll be claiming you too.
With their latest album, Dreamworld, Ivory Hours is making its way through western Canada to cement that recognition.
Guitarist, vocalist, and founding member Luke Roes says that despite the new sound, he didn’t go into the new album with a clear idea of what he wanted it to be about.
“I think in terms of like theme and that kind of thing, I don’t think it was fully fleshed out,” says Roes. “I was just kind of writing new songs, which is exciting for me. Kind of exploring different aesthetics in terms of sound, so I think that’s what I had more of a concrete idea of. I was working with a lot of different guitar sounds this time and starting to layer stuff a lot in the demos. I knew it was going to have more production value this time.”
Production value isn’t the only change that comes with the new album. Working with the Forked River Brewing Company in Ontario, Ivory Hours has also just released a white IPA, named after the album.
Having won more than their share of music competitions in their short career, and opening for the likes of City and Colour, Sloan, and Matthew Good, the band has become more adaptable and taken a few cues from playing on the road. Roes says it’s had a noticeable impact on the band’s sound.
“I’m thankful that we’ve been on the road a lot,” says Roes. “I’ve always kind of included that influence in the writing of the music. The kinds of clubs we’re playing, the kinds of shows, always definitely play a part in the thought process. That’s kind of what dictated the shift initially from writing more like folksy slower music to more upbeat indie-pop thing.”
Ivory Hours began as a project between Roes and his sister Annie in 2012. After attending university, the pair packed up and moved to Vancouver and began to make music together. Sadly, the pair were brought back to their hometown of London after a death in the family. Roes says that after his younger brother died, the band became less of a priority.
“For me, I processed everything through music at one point or another,” says Roes. “That’s definitely how I made my way through that. I wrote a couple songs during that time that just allowed me to put the pieces together a little bit and gain some sort of understanding of it. Since then, just how I reflect on it, my brother was really supportive of the music and I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing. When I think about him, it makes me want to work even harder.”
With the new album, it’s accompanying beer, and most recently a spot at the JUNO Awards by placing in the JUNO Master Class competition. Ivory Hours is still, and maybe more than ever, focused squarely on the road immediately ahead.
“We’re playing lots of the new record,” says Roes. “We’re out, I guess, the second time as a fourpiece. Got a new bassist in tow. You should expect an upbeat rock and roll show.”
Thu., Oct. 12 (8 pm)
Ivory Hours w/ Windigo and Lusitania Lights
The Mercury Room
$12 at the door