IVA: Old Friends, New Band – Interview

Earlier this year, four friends got together for the hell of it to make a record for themselves and switch up the style of music they’d been making for years. Now, nearing the end of 2013, the guys of IVA are eager to give their new band a serious start.  All former members of hardcore bands, IVA decided to divert from the familiar and take a chance on solid rock and roll. Here to show the world they’re made up of more than mosh-pit breakdowns, Substream sat down with Griffin Landa, guitarist and producer for Hot Blood, their debut album. Out to unite all troublemakers, heartbreakers and moneymakers of the world, they are ready to shake things up with their brand new sound.


Substream: Hi Griffin! Give us some background on IVA. How did you guys meet? 

Griffin Landa: We have all toured together, been in bands together, or just grown up together. Chris and I went to high school together.  I met Myke around 2006 when my old band (Too Pure to Die) toured with his old band (Cassius). We were on a 2 month tour together, along with Misery Signals, Black My Heart, and Burn In Silence. Soon after I quit TPTD, I joined a band that Kyle was drumming in.  This band didn’t last long because in 2008 Kyle began drumming for Too Pure to Die full-time. Over the next few years Chris was touring with either Elysia, or For the Fallen Dreams, which is how he met Myke, and he eventually joined Bury Your Dead playing bass.  Myke and Chris played in Bury Your Dead together for a while. Fast forward to around 2012, Chris, Kyle, and I played in a rock band together in Des Moines which got us interested in playing together again, and we all meshed really well playing a more rock style. The three of us in Iowa had some songs written, as did Myke, so we called him up and he flew out a month later to start writing and recording together.


SS: What made the four of you want to make music with one another? 

GL: It really kind of just fell into our laps. We didn’t really plan anything, and once Myke came to Des Moines, we just got to work immediately. We have all been really good friends for a long while now, and we all wanted to try something new.


SS: So what does the name IVA stand for?

GL: IVA is just the abbreviations of Iowa (IA), and Virginia (VA) combined. Griffin, Chris, and Kyle are all from Iowa, and Myke is from Virginia. Kyle is actually from Wisconsin, but lives in Des Moines, IA now.


SS: Your former bands have a much different sound than IVA’s . Why write music in such a different direction? 

GL: We are the type of guys that love trying very different things that we are much less comfortable with.  We all still love and listen to heavy bands new and old, but we also grew up on grunge, rock and roll, punk, pop, etc. Chris and I have another band called Shut In that is more along the lines of our heavier past projects.


SS: Despite the differences in sound, you still seem to have many supportive fans from your past projects who are excited to hear your new stuff. What kind of reaction do you hope fans of your former bands will have to your new sound?  

GL: We just hope that people have an open mind, and don’t immediately write us off because we aren’t an extremely “heavy” band. We all have different interests and tastes in music, and we are exploring those now. We greatly appreciate the support of the fans of our past bands, and hope they continue to support and help us spread the word. You can still listen loudly and bang your head to our new jams!


SS: You guys just finished recording your debut, Hot Blood, that’s set to drop on December 17th. What makes you the most excited about this record?

GL: For me personally, I am very excited to release music that we didn’t try to fit into any mold. A couple of the demos that I sent Chris, Kyle, and Myke 8 months ago were so rough that I couldn’t even imagine them becoming full songs. The final songs really ended up just being what we all wanted to hear, listen to, and something we are all proud of. No one helped us, or helped shape our sound. The four of us basically just lived in my studio for two months and had fun making a record again.


SS: So what’s your favorite track off Hot Blood?

GL: “The Truth About People Like Me,” because it was one of the first songs Kyle and I demoed trying out a completely different sound.  Myke’s lyrics are about him packing a bag, leaving his home and his girlfriend to come make a record, and make something to be proud of. I think he nailed it for all of us when we listened back to that song after it was all done.


SS: How has this recording process been different than past recording projects with your other bands?

GL: It was completely different because it was just the four of us in the studio. No other engineer, no other producer, no label, no one telling us what to do. We produced it ourselves, and I engineered it. We also had no set deadline. We were pretty much free to do whatever we wanted.


SS: Switching it up to your live performance, your first show together as a band was only five months ago. What was that first show like?

GL: It was a great time, and went off pretty much without any problems. We were all very excited to get back on stage and our first two shows couldn’t have been better.


SS: How did it feel to play with these guys as opposed with your other bands?

GL: We have all been on stage together in one way or another over the years, so it was pretty much like riding a bike. We are all good friends, and hang out a lot when we are not writing, rehearsing, or recording so we just like to have a good time. We have a great chemistry on stage.


SS: What was the reaction of the kids that came out to see you toward the new stuff?

GL: It seemed very positive. It is always nerve racking to start a new band and to play your first few shows. It was a great experience seeing a lot of new, and old fans enjoying themselves, just as we were.


SS: You call yourselves and your fans base The Troublemakers. Any reason why?

GL: (Laughs) We are just a group of guys that like to have a good time. We have a lot of amazing friends here in Des Moines, and all over the country, so when we all hang out or go out downtown for a night, we just say we are the troublemakers. It was just something that stuck, and we like how it sounds.


SS: Anything you want to say to your fans?  

GL:  We appreciate the support greatly! We hope everyone enjoys Hot Blood when it comes out on December 17th, and a lot of the tracks can be streamed now on our Facebook, and YouTube accounts!


SS: Thanks, Griffin! Good luck with your new album!

GL: Thanks!


Hot Blood available on iTunes December 17th!


IVA Facebook: /ivajams

Twitter: @IVAjAMS


Interview by Stephanie Roe