Flight Club

Posted July 29, 2010 in Music

Ask just about any major label artists these days what they think of the World Wide Web, and the answers you get might be varied. “It breeds competition,” some might say. “The market is oversaturated now,” others might counter. But for Portland, Oregon’s own power-pop quartet Icarus the Owl, without the ‘net, they might not even be making music together.


“[We formed as a result of] social networks, oddly enough,” says vocalist/guitarist Joey Rubenstein of the band’s largely tech-fueled birth. “We found our bass player [Ryan Warrell] on Facebook through a friend, our guitar player [Tanner Russell] on Craigslist, and our drummer [Brian Fowler] . . . well, I’ve just known him for a long time. [It was] just kind of a social network thing.”


The Internet hasn’t just been good for the band’s creation in the first place, though; the four-piece continued to utilize their online resources in order to do things that even a decade ago might not have been possible without the backing of a major label.


“Fortunately, we don’t need a label to do anything that we do . . to tour, to release music, to do anything,” says Rubenstein. “We’re a very D.I.Y. band, and it’s a very good time for that right now. But also, there’s a lot of bands doing that right now, so you have to stand out and do something unique, so hopefully our music is unique enough. We don’t have an outlandish image or wear matching outfits or makeup or anything like that.”


This overwhelming necessity to make an indelible imprint on the face of one’s particular style of music is where Icarus the Owl excels, according to Rubenstein, employing a hybrid of mind-boggling technical proficiency and infectious, catchy-as-all-hell melodies in songs like “The Extortionist” and “The Man Who Cried Wolf.”


“I love technical music. A lot of technical music is really metal or not very listenable, you just kind of respect it for its technical aspects. And I also really like easy pop music, easy-to-digest music that you just kind of zone out and listen to. It’s got pretty melodies. I think Icarus the Owl does a pretty good job of bridging the gap between the two.


For instance, I think a Fall Out Boy fan would enjoy our music, but also a Protest The Hero fan would enjoy our music. I think we can kind of cross between the two, which is good and bad, because some people will write us off as just another emo band, and also people who really like emo, dancey music will be like ‘Ah, I can’t bob my head to this because it’s not in 4/4!’ So it’s good and bad.”


This creative mixture that makes up the sound that Icarus the Owl has used over the last couple of years is all but reinforced by the heartfelt lyrics of Rubenstein, who pulled from an intensely personal experience to write “Esophagus,” a track that appears on the band’s full-length debut, The Spotless Mind.


“[“Esophagus” is] about my dad. He passed away of esophageal cancer and I always wanted to write a song about that, I just never knew how.”


IE rockers can look forward to experiencing Icarus the Owl live when they stop at Upland’s The Wire on Sunday, just one date in an ungodly, seemingly nonstop itinerary for the Oregon natives.


“We’re done with this tour on August 4th. Our last date on the tour is in Portland and we get to play with The Ataris, which is really, really cool for me, because I grew up listening to that band. Then we’re gonna do another two-week stint. We’re gonna play a college date in Indiana that we’re kind of booking a tour around at the end of August/early September, then I believe we’re touring again in October. So yeah, a lot of touring.”


Icarus the Owl w/On Being Human, The Body Electric at The Wire, 247 N. 2nd Ave., Upland; (909) 985-9466; www.thewire247.com. Sun, Aug 1. 7PM. $10-$12. All ages.


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