Published on September 19th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
Budding stadium rockers Ivyrise became the first UK act to sign to My Major Company, who specialise in “combining the increasingly popular idea of fan-funded album projects with the invaluable expertise of a more formal record label structure” – basically, Pledge with more business nous – and last month they released their eponymous debut album off the back of a remarkable self-promotion campaign which culminated in them raising £100,000 in just four days.
Rocksucker caught up with the band’s lead singer/songwriter Ben Falinski to discuss this overwhelmingly successful fundraising exercise, their gigs supporting Bon Jovi and Kula Shaker, and recording the album with singer-of-A-turned-producer Jason Perry…
Firstly, how on earth did you manage to raise £100,000 in just four days?
Good question! Basically we signed up to this record label that had been going for a while in Europe called My Major Company, where the idea is that people are allowed to invest their own money into a band so that they can record an album and market it in the UK. We’d been on tour just before we signed the deal so we’d been playing to a few hundred people in each place we went to and we’d been doing a load of self-promotion that year, so we set up a campaign online, they opened up the doors to the record company and it just kind of snowballed in four days. People were investing a thousand quid here, a thousand quid there, and we ended up with 416 different investors. It happened much faster than we thought it would. It was quite an amazing feeling.
You went on tour with Kula Shaker…
Yeah, we went on tour with them in 2007 after they released an album. We also did a tour date with Bon Jovi, which was pretty immense!
Apparently you played in front of forty thousand people that day…
Yeah – it was at Twickenham Stadium. So we’ve done things like that and then obviously we waited until we got the record deal last year to start recording the album, which we recorded in America this year. It just came out the other week and it’s a good feeling to finally have it out so people can listen to it.
Were you sitting on the album for long?
Yeah, we were. We went to Texas in February and the album was finished by the middle of March. We’ve been out doing radio and interviews like this since then, and we’re gearing up for the album to be released in Europe as well.
How did Jason Perry’s methods differ from those of other producers you’ve worked with?
Jason’s more in tune with the musicians than some more technologically advanced producers. I would say that Jason is more of a musician than a producer in the sense that I think he understands what the musicians are trying to get out of the song. Obviously he’s a singer and musician himself so he was helpful when it came to recording the vocals, guitars, drums and stuff. I think he’s more hands-on than a lot of producers are.
This might be a bit of a premature question seeing as your album only came out the other week but do you have material lined up for a second?
Yeah, I’ve been working on stuff for our second album for about four or five months now, so I’ve got quite a large selection of songs that are ready. I’ll just sit on them until we start thinking about putting them together as a band.
Could you say what kind of direction the new material will take or is it too early to say?
I think, having worked with Jason, that the rock element of the band has become more prominent for us. We’ll probably stick to what we’re good at, which is big pop/rock choruses, but I think we’ll try and make it sound a bit more ‘classic’ in its approach. That’s the idea for album two.
Are there any other up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
The new Kids In Glass Houses album was produced by Jason and it sounds amazing, so a big shout for that. There’s a great new album by The Blackout as well, so there’s a lot of amazing British rock music out there. It’s one of those times where you hope that we start paying more attention to our home-grown music as well as the big stuff that comes out of America.
Finally, if I asked you right now to name your top three albums of all time, off the top of your head, which would you pick?
I’ve had Thriller on repeat for about fifteen years – everyone probably says that but it is one of the greatest albums of all time. The Joshua Tree by U2 is one of my favourite records. And, for something a bit more off-the-cuff, I’m going to say musicforthemorningafter by Pete Yorn, which is an amazing chill-out record that you could listen to all evening with a bottle of wine, playing cards with your mates.
Ben, thank you.
The self-titled debut album by Ivyrise is out now on My Major Company. For more information, please visit ivyrise.com