DPRP’s John O’Boyle caught up with Dave Cureton on the bands warm up date for the RoSfest and boy they were on fire. IO Earth are two albums in both of which have received high acclaim, being a band that doesn’t conform to musical boundaries. In this interview Dave discusses Moments, the three elements, their song writing processes and how there is only two types of music……….
Interview with Dave Cureton
DPRP’s John O’Boyle
John: Hi Dave! It seems like an eternity since the release of the band’s debut album?
Dave: Hi John, Yes it has been a while in-between albums hasn’t it? 3 years to be exact (laughs)… but IOEarth are not in the mind set to record an album every year we have to take our time on our music and make it as good as it possibly can be for our fans and for ourselves.
John: Your debut double album IOEarth had a theme based on the elements which excluded fire. Why did you decide not to include this fourth element?
Dave: When the first album came out, we started getting a lot of people asking if we would be writing the “missing” movement from IOEarth – Fire. To us, the movement has never been missing really. We set out to write a three movement album and that’s what IOEarth became, plus it would be quite predictable and IOEarth are far from being predictable.
John: I know it could have been seen as an easy route to take to tackle that final element? Are there any intensions to do so in the future?
Dave: IOEarth is about evolving and striving to be new and innovative with each album, so at the moment there are no plans to add ‘Fire’ … but it’s nice to know there is a hype for the infamous “Missing Element” (laughs)
Dave: There have been so many high-lights, obviously winning ‘Best New/Unsigned Band of 2010’ in Classic Rock Presents Prog Magazine Readers Poll and receiving nominations for best debut album and best recording in the Italian Prog awards. That was really cool as we were up against bands such as Muse and Porcupine Tree. To be placed in the same categories with these massive bands was such a boost for Adam and I and for IOEarth. It really uplifted our confidence as composers.
John: Do you feel it was a brave step to release your debut as a double album?
Dave: Adam and I always wanted to write a big piece of music even though IOEarth is cut into individual tracks. The album is meant for listening to as a whole. We were completely un-aware of the impact our music would have on people, so essentially IOEarth was written with no constraints or worries about the length.
John: What is very noticeable with IOEarth is your unique take on the genre. Talk us through your compositional thoughts and how you develop these sound stages?
Dave: Firstly… melody is key. Adam and I are always aware of pointless noodling and soloing for solo sake. To us playing a million notes a second isn’t really that important… that is why we concentrate on melody, emotion and passion within our pieces. Either Adam or I would have an idea, whether that be a riff, vocal or melody. Then we work together to create this into a piece of music. We are very much into juxtaposition and blending melodies, instruments and genres to create one cohesive sound that we believe is only unique to IOEarth. A lot of the time the ideas just come to us either in the writing process or just in general life. We believe that a piece of music is given to us and if we are working on a piece and we can’t finish it we just shelve that particular piece and wait until the end is given to us.
John: It certainly can’t be easy incorporating all these styles so beautifully without it sounding insipid, something that you guys have certainly managed to avoid?
Dave: Thanks… Its great that people are really getting what we are about. Adam and I have to be able to listen to our own work as well. If we think something sounds insipid or pretentious it gets scraped, if we can’t enjoy listening to our music then how can we expect someone else to enjoy it to?
John: There seems to be an Eastern scaled theme running through the album. Was there a reason for this or was it just a natural occurrence?
Dave: We are very excited about using styles of music and rhythms from different countries and cultures, especially the Asian and Oriental sounds. Mixing these elements of music with Western instruments and composition really adds a nice twist to the IOEarth sound. So this was just a natural progression for us and those Eastern scales can sound so beautiful used in the right context.
John: You guys don’t seem to be bothered whether you are approach rock, classical or world music, if it sounds good it sounds good, which for me is the real important factor?
Dave: Yes, we believe there is no such thing as bad music, it’s all to do with opinion… you either like it or you don’t… Whether its Tchaikovsky or Abba if it excites you then that’s that.
John: I guess it stops people pigeon holing your music and opens the musical world up for you even more?
Dave: Categorising music just helps people to sell it that little bit easier. But with IOEarth, our music is so diverse and unique that we need to put it under the category ‘IOEarth’ … which is great because that gives us a license to do what we want with our music. Its not only exciting for us but also for the listener.
John: I also love how it would appear that your music has been constructed for your own entertainment first without having put yourselves under any constraints of pleasing others first and foremost?
Dave: As I said before if we can’t enjoy our music, then how can we expect anyone else to.
John: I guess as a cottage industry you can avoid the pit falls of external influence?
Dave: Yes… IOEarth is a business and we keep everything in house. We hold 100% of copyright and publishing for everything we do with IOEarth (managing, promotion, performing, writing, organising shows, tours etc).… which is great cause that gives us 100% control over the running of IOEarth, the last thing we want is the IOEarth brand to be diluted by outside influence.
John: What / who would you consider as your main influence musically?
Dave: Our influences range from many different artists and genres of music… but we find it odd that bands and musicians constantly tell people who there influences are and quite enjoy it when they are being likened to an already established artist, when the main goal is to present your own music as something new and fresh… so what we focus on, is to learn from our influences and not just copy them, which we have seen happen time and time again.
John: How do you perceive your long childhood friendship with musical partner Adam Gough has influenced your approach to music?
Dave: Adam and I have been friends for years and we both want the same things in IOEarth, Adam is the level headed one and stays calm and I’m the hot headed one, so we balance each other out. Musically we have helped each other, I don’t class myself as a great keyboard player and he don’t class himself as a great guitarist 😉 … so when we was growing up we used to show each other things that we had learnt on our instruments and grew musically together.
John: Throughout the album there are many stunning musical passages that never seem fails to draw you in with their trance like inducing structures with Cinta Indah is a prime example of this. What is the thought process off approaching your music this way?
Dave: As I have said previously we concentrate on melody and emotion, and we want to evoke a feeling and paint a picture for the listener, we like our music to take the listener on a journey and draw them into our music. So again of we have to feel the music emotionally cause if we don’t feel it then no one else will.
John: I believe that recently you recorded your live show at the De Boerderij, which will hopefully in the not too distant future be released on DVD. Why was this venue chosen?
Dave: We used De Boerderij purely because its a brilliant venue, from the crew to the venue itself, there help and support made the recording process of the DVD very easy, and they are very professional and friendly.
John: Not to court controversy how do you feel the music market today is going?
Dave: Oh God !!!! … I think that the U.S. is still producing some great music and great artists, but the UK is embarrassing we are to busy producing music that is good to look at instead of music that is good to listen to. All I can say is THANK GOD FOR ADELE!
John: You are off to the RoSfest this year. How did this invitation occur?
Dave: We was asked by the organiser of RoSfest to perform at the 2012 festival, he was very impressed with the IOEarth debut album, and he wanted IOEarth on the bill … it was that simple.
John: Are you looking at recording the show for a future release?
Dave: I’m not sure how that will work equipment wise if they have the facilities to record our performance of course we will capture it.
John: What can your American fans expect from this show?
Dave: They can expect the full IOEarth experience great music, great visual performance and also humour.