Interview: The Impliers Are
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Dan: I was a kid and my mom listened to musicals growing up - it was inspiring that storytelling, compelling drama in music, tons of harmonies and it could create scary, happy feelings - we also had a tape stuck in the parents car when I was very young and it was ALWAYS on repeat, so it was on all the time to the point where i think dissecting music happened, like listening to all the instruments, production etc... and then we later were able to see a documentary of that band playing the album live and could see how it was being made, that changed everything. I used to make full songs in my head swinging from a tree in the backyard of my house growing up and heard on the bus one day that a kid's dad had a whole studio in his basement, guitars, bass, drums and could record it - I swear that was the moment when I started chasing that. My dad had a broken epiphone guitar with no strings missing a pickup and every year i tried to make it work, with dental floss anything, the effort was always there. Crazy enough, the very first band I ever saw was Pixies on their last tour with U2. When I was going through being a teenager and having a hard time at school being put on different drugs and whatnot, my dad got me a guitar and I learned by ear a lot, and pulled in my only friend who would sing random shit over stuff I would create until I moved and found some real musicians.
Charles: My mom was a piano teacher, so yeah, always music playing in the house. My older brother listened to “cool” music early on. Jane’s Addiction, Pixies, Ministry, etc. He was my main influence. I’d steal his Dead Milkmen tapes when I was maybe 7 yrs old. I was exposed to a lot of great music at a very young age. He played guitar and I had to play one too. Just power chord punk for a while. But then my brother took me to a Sonic Youth show when I was about 12 or 13. First real show I ever saw, and it changed everything I thought about how music could be. At the time I only listened to punk, but from that day on I soaked up any music that was against the norm. The more avant garde, the better, which took me down some pretty strange paths. I’ve always loved music that is somewhat bizarre.
Both: we wouldn't be doing anything else - we do film & comedy, but that was born out of putting sound to video to begin with.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Reading, creating film, meditation, and spending time in nature. All of these things either help add the right ingredients to the mind for creativity, or create the space for the mind to wander and wonder enough for the new ideas to appear.
How long has your band been around?
The impliers project is brand new with our first album coming in August, but we started playing together at age 15 and have continued collaboration throughout the years, and the style of sound here still echoes what we were doing at 15, alongside all of the different styles we’ve each created since then.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Denver - but we grew up in the NC scene, we came up in a punk/thrash scene and we were the only kids playing oddly tuned instrumental indie music, and we were very fortunate that we could open for some of the best thrash bands that are in the game right now and people would not just stand there and tolerate us, but they started releasing our music on their compilations and videos. We were just kids, this was very encouraging, and liberating to us.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
It was from a simple text that said “ We have a band now, it is called the impliers” the name “the impliers” means exactly as it says, and while we discuss the meaning of the songs & albums we create at length, we never discuss the name. But to us, it is the perfect name and from the moment it came up, that is who we were, as if that is who we already were.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
For us, it was at Backdoor Music in Greenville NC. We watched some of the best punk & hardcore bands play there on tour and the scene we were in had a lot of support and passion, so from going from watching some of the craziest bands that we’d ever seen from behind the mosh pit to opening for bands there regularly was a very interesting experience. There is something strange that would happen when people walked through the door there and paid their cover: People could really express themselves in that place artistically as artists, and in the crowd you could almost be the full expression of your whole self. It is hard to describe. James River Scratch used to play there all the time and light the place up, Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste led that band and was every bit as animated back then. The next generation had Art Lord and the Self Portraits, which became Future Islands which are so huge and inspiring - and they are both artists whose frontmen are exactly what we sw at backdoor - a full expression of themselves.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We got to play a really big popular venue when we were just about 16 or 17 - The Cats Cradle in NC. We saw the biggest indie bands there growing up and we didn't feel like we deserved to be on the stage at that point, but it was meaningful! It would be great to play Red Rocks down the road, but that is something that takes a long time to earn. We might just go there on a Sunday Morning and set up and play anyway.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
There’s no better live band to us than Swans - and it would be an honor to share the stage with them but our styles on this record are much different, but on a future album it will match a little better. We would like to play with Blonde Redhead, or St Vincent or a Sonic Youth unlikely reunion.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you have notes inside you, you owe it to yourself to figure out how to get them out, done is better than perfect. Just keep at it.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
We were real idiots to club owners as kids, we never spoke with them, didn't network with other bands, we just partied outside of our van and we were really rambunctious and crazy on stage. Listening back to some of those rants and seeing pictures of who we were reminds us that kids can be real assholes, and we’ve grown so much since then. But do we regret it? Yeah we do haha.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Every song on the album is extremely meaningful to us for very different reasons as we are covering topics that are very near and dear to our hearts that we have talked about and bonded over since growing up from our teens. The album is more in 3 collections than in songs to us, and things like the trilogy of I Promise/Long Live the Quitter/Break Down are very much documentaries to us that represent gigantic sections of our lives that shaped who we were. But the song pair Stigma/Ego death in technically one very logn song, and Stigma was the impliers first song, and Ego Death came from thin air after creating Stigma and was done almost immediately, the trajectory these songs sent us on was very pivotal to who we are as artists and people right now.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
DH: Music: Follow the rabbit. There isn’t a complete vision when the machine turns on or the first few notes happen, and then if you get pulled by it, you get in that flow state and stay with it as far as you can until you know it's right.But we have all types of music, across so many genres. There are over 500 tracks we have that either didn't fit this sound or didn't pull us in. So a song like lightning, started with one riff that charles made in 2005, ‘it doesn't happen’ and it was about how you get into that part and come out of it. That had been on my to do list for 15 years and an idea never bit, until I was sitting on my porch one day and the whole thing came capturing exactly how I felt that day, music words and everything as honest as it could be. I texted Charles and said, I am taking this part and making it into this new thing. And I added in a part that fit I had made in 2008. Then I just laid down the foundation, like the notes for the whole song. I layered one piece so it would get louder, but the demo is still part of the final version, the singing, all of the verses were the demo captured that day. I sent it to Charles, who is good at breaking the mold. He added the entire middle section and added the end and then just played with the sounds, added in some elements and that one was a wrap.
CI We’ve both been creating solo for so long, it’s easier when you have another person to bounce ideas off of. Either of us might have a good “part”, but don’t know where to go after that. The other can take a fresh look and make something new to grow it into a full song. Back and forth.
DH: Lyrics: the most deliberate hard thing on the planet. Was gonna hire someone to write lyrics, or use Charles' random piles of notebooks. Like we literally texted about how we weren't gonna be able to write good lyrics and how hard it was. But we ended out doing it. Mostly through just calibrating on things we think, know, or wonder about, things we experience or witness etc.. Songwriting processes include the lyrics taking the longest, research in tune, like a full day research or two, sometimes multiple weeks. Learn so much, might spend days reading about afterlife thoughts, kubler ross, egyptians, ma’at - huge readers so this is really key.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
The only thing that matters to us, is building a song that the listener can interpret on their own and have a personal connection to. Once our songs are complete we don't own them anymore and we don't have interest in taking away the listeners feelings and meaning of them, that belief is so sacred to us that we determined that before we even started making any of our songs.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We spend hours talking about strategy all the time and it is important we get synced on vision and meaning, because if we both can see the same end state, then we can just allow the journey to take us there. Since we grew up together, we know how to navigate collaboration and what battles to pick when one of us wants to stand up for something, and we provide a whole lot of trust and respect to one another and leave space for creativity. There are 3 songs on the album that we initially did not agree should be on there musically when getting started, One song I (Dan) made from a riff Charles created, Charles didn’t think had enough edge, and so we made one key tweak and it made a world of difference, and another song I created, I didn’t want to include at all, but Charles defended it and talked me into it - so it goes all different ways. We have a lot of trust, but that was earned over long periods of time. We collectively don;t trust others opinions most of the time and for that reason, never let anyone hear a note of this album until it was 100% complete and mastered.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have 3 more impliers albums we are working on right now. Cocoon is part of a multiple album concept where we ironed out the story long ago, and each album has our signature sound, but has its own feel and theme completely. Even 3 years after we ironed out the direction, we’ve never lost excitement for our direction and are looking forward to having a little more time to finish up the next release, ideally in 2023.