Ivey // Feature Friday
Written by: Hanna Branch
Ivey, a Nashville based pop punk group, recently released their debut album Take This To Heart, which includes the leading single “Through the Keyhole.” Ivey recorded the album at the famous Dark Horse Studio and released Take This To Heart earlier this month. The band’s members, Ivan Ayala,Lyle Wagner, and Christian Murre, pull their musical influences from late ‘90’s and early 2000’s pop punk bands and emo / alternative rock artists, which reflects in both their writing style and overall instrumental landscape on Take This To Heart.
The first single off of Take This To Heart, “Through the Keyhole,” discusses how observant and invasive society can be and how those experiences potentially affect not only one’s mental health, but their personal relationships as well. The song’s sound holds the typical pop punk feel while easy to listen to instrumentals pair nicely with the raw and real voice of vocalist Ivan Ayala. As a listener, you can truly feel how Ayala does throughout the song— unambiguous emotion is laid out in the open.
The title track “Take This To Heart” is a perfectly example of Ivey’s sound with Ivan on lead vocals and guitar, Lyle on bass, and Christian on drums (Devin Garcia tracked drums in the studio for the album.) Heavy guitars and bold drums show the band’s angsty side and sounds reminiscent of early bands such as Yellowcard in terms of jaunty rhythms and lighter material from A Day To Remember with those staple gang vocals. Lyrics like “Your words cut deeper than swords / You run around waving them at everyone,” and “I think you’re playing these games with my head / Friendship is what you abuse” convey a deeper, personal meaning than countless other songs in the same genre. Instead of writing songs about the stereotypical “boy-meets-girl” scenario, Ivey have gone in the direction of real, heartfelt stories, including being hurt by someone you thought was your friend. This theme reverberates throughout the rest of the album in a cohesive way without being too flashy or coming off as trying too hard. Instead, it’s natural.
Ivey have created an album that’s easily emotionally accessible by discussing topics like being hurt and betrayed by loved ones, trying to fit in, and just wanting the freedom to be yourself. They have also found a sound that works perfectly both with the written content and Ayala’s delivery. If you’re a fan of current pop punk bands (think in the vein of State Champs and Broadside) you are sure to hit repeat on this record.
With the first listen, you’ll be finding your own personal meaning as you read between the lines, and as the title track mentions during the bridge, take them to heart. Keep reading below to check out an interview with Ivey where we talk inspirations, future touring plans, and how current fans reacted to the album!
Q: First off, congrats on the release of your debut album! How have your fans reacted to the album? Are their reactions what you were hoping for?
A: Thank you! We worked very hard to make the album as lively as possible and feel the fans had no idea what to expect, which is great because we feel that it built up a lot of anticipation/excitement! Their reaction definitely took us by surprise. We didn't expect many people to listen or share the music!
Q: What is your favorite song off the album and why?
A: I think we all agree on "Ride The Wave" because it's fast paced and fun to play, but that's not to say the whole album isn't loaded with bangers though!
Q: With the album now out, are there any touring plans in the works? What is one place you've always wanted to play a show at (city or venue)?
A: Yes! We are in the works of planning a few short tours beginning next year! We'll gladly play any city/venue that'll have us but Lyle is pretty stoked to play New York!
Q: What sort of inspirations (musical/personal) went into creating Take This To Heart?
A: Musically, I'd have to say years of listening to late nineties/early 2000’s pop punk bands that we all grew up listening to. Personally, I just had to really sit and craft the lyrics— it's not always easy talking about your feelings let alone write the same generic boy meets girl songs over and over. I really tried to dig into things that I'm sure we all go through like being drunk and wondering what you're doing with yourself or regretting saying or NOT saying what you really meant. I grew up and I wanted to share things that I thought about many times late at night.
Q: You were able to record the album at Dark Horse Recording. What was that experience like?
A: I don't think any of us had any idea what to expect, it was very surreal. You're looking around and it just looks incredible and then you see the framed records from previous artists that have been there (Taylor Swift, Relient K, etc.) It's was a big motivator to just give it everything we've got and I remember looking at a blank space on the wall and saying we're going to be up there one day.
A: What would you like people to get from the album?
Q: We're just hoping to reach as many people as possible, book shows, and have fun. Life is short and we wanna party with everyone.