It’s almost a casual Monday in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the first day of the work week, most of the population heads back to work after their weekend. Summer is halfway over — many weeks removed from the last day of school, and still a few weeks before classes resume. What separates this Monday in July from any other Monday is that a new musical phenomenon is in town: I Dont Know How But They Found Me (shortened to iDKHOW throughout the piece).
iDKHOW is a project currently consisting of Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman — one that exploded onto the music scene a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since. A project that was once covered in a cloud of secrecy, since signing to Fearless Records last year, they have put out their debut EP and their single “Choke” became a sleeper hit for alternative radio. That’s been followed up with a rigorous touring schedule that has featured an impressive amount of sell-out shows cross-country. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call iDKHOW one of the hottest upcoming bands in the music industry.
For more of an in-depth look on the history of this project, you can find Substream’s interview with Weekes and Seaman here from earlier this year.
It’s 11:30am and I park my car at the parking lot of CD 102.5 in Columbus, Ohio, I’m meeting up with iDKHOW to catch their live acoustic performance for the show. They’re in the middle of sound checking, with extra attention being devoted towards the vocals for Weekes (I found out later this was to ensure a vocal effect was applied). Standing off to the side, I watch as all of this is controlled from a tablet, with 48 folded chairs placed in front of the stage for fans waiting outside to get their first glimpse of iDKHOW today.
After soundcheck is completed, Seaman and Weekes walk backstage to relax for about fifteen minutes. It’s early in the morning, everyone is tired and still eating some breakfast from Panera Bread. We exchange brief introductions, discussing the city of Columbus and their drive from Philadelphia. The trailer for the Mister Rogers movie dropped earlier in the day, and in an odd turn of event, that also comes up. In case you were wondering, Weekes light-heartedly shares that he wasn’t a big fan of Mister Rogers in comparison to Sesame Street, since the muppets didn’t typically move their mouths.
When it’s time for their acoustic performance, a radio rep comes backstage to go over the schedule one more time for the performance: intertwining acoustic performances with a live q&a with the host using fan-submitted questions.
The first song that iDKHOW performs is “Bleed Magic” — the last single off of their 1981 Extended Play release. The host from the radio show asks Weekes how the band prefers to be addressed, whether it be I Dont Know How But They Found Me or iDKHOW — and how to pronounce that appropriately. Weekes goes on to explain that to use iDKHOW would be to pronounce it as eye-dee-k-how, but also quipped to the audience that “Some people call us Royal Blood’s gay cousins and that’s fine, too.” Answering questions about the bands beginnings and their desire for a retro theme, Weekes explains that he watched a lot of local access television, and goes on to explain the formation of iDKHOW being a secretive project for an entire year before becoming a visible band that they don’t deny being a part of.
The second song the band performs is “Social Climb,” and afterwards Weekes and Seaman both field questions about when they got their first instruments. Weekes explains he wanted his first guitar at around 2-3 years old despite not fully knowing what it was. Seaman explains he got his first drum set at 9 years old, “I kept banging on stuff and my parents wondered what was wrong with me, so they got me a drum set,” he quips.
The next fan submitted question comes in vein of asking where the band gets their circle logo from (see below), to which Weekes explains that FLO helped him come up with he logo and how they worked together to get it figured out. They also are asked where their inspiration comes from in terms to their live attire (to which they explain there’s no specific rhyme or reason for it), and perhaps the most intriguing tidbit comes last: they reveal that they hope to finish their debut record this summer and want it to be out next year.
iDKHOW closes out their acoustic set with a performance of “Choke,” showing the diversity and pure creativity that goes into this project. After wrapping up the performance, we briefly head back into the green room to relax for a few minutes while the fans line up for a meet and greet with Weekes and Seaman. When it’s time to go back out, it’s a single file line of fans — each with their own story to tell. Fans share stories with the two, getting their photo taken professionally in front of a backdrop. There’s a young woman fan, wearing a Dallon Weekes t-shirt and as him to write out “Boring” because it’s her favorite song and wants it tattooed on her, to which Seaman jokingly says “Ask yourself about that when you’re thirty.” Another fan also brings out a gift, which happens to be a drawing that they made for Weekes.
After the meet and greet with fans, the staff at CD 102.5 all gets together to take a picture with iDKHOW, then it’s time for Weekes and I to head off and grab lunch. In the ever-lasting tradition of being on tour, we head to Taco Bell. We order and get our food, then exchange stories of working in customer service jobs and how thankless the industry as a whole is. When we leave, we hope in my car and head off to a local record store in the area.
On the way there, Weekes brings up a show on Netflix that he has been watching: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. I disclose that I haven’t watched the show, so he brings up a clip of the sketch and I partially watch, but mostly am listening as to avoid getting into an accident — as you can imagine, “Local Writer Kills Dallon Weekes in Car Accident” is not a headline I wanted to give someone. Needless to say, I keep us alive and watch the clip, promising to watch it later — I still haven’t yet, sorry if you’re reading this.
The topic of 80’s music comes up, and I embarrassingly share that in my youth, I often got Billy Idol and Billy Joel mixed up. Weekes tops this story, though, candidly sharing a humorous story of a few years back. In this time, he was still touring with his prior band, and when he was not on tour, he had side jobs that he would do. One of these was working as maintenance for an apartment complex, during which there was plumbing issue that required extensive cleaning of the carpets (I’m leaving out some of the more grim details here). During this time, he’s cleaning one of the rooms in the apartment in which he spots a poster of his former band on the wall. It’s something he notices, but obviously continues on cleaning and doing his job. Afterwards, he’s approached by the teenager of the room — who questions if he is, in fact, Dallon Weekes. Ever-so-kind, Weekes takes a photo with the fan, even if he’s not particularly looking his best after cleaning out sewage in this apartment. If you’re reading this and curious, I did ask if he had the photo and wasn’t able to see it. Scouts honor that I’m not holding that from you.
When we arrive to the record store (shout out to the incredible Magnolia Thunderpussy), we head past the novelties section and head straight to the vinyl section. We walk through the punk section, quickly glancing around, and then stop to look at the late, great David Bowie. Throughout our trip, it becomes evident that Weekes has an affinity for 70’s and 80’s music. We discuss Bowie, Billy Idol of course, and then we pause to discuss Brian Eno. When I advise that I haven’t listened to many songs from Eno, Weekes shows me the song “Needles in the Camels Eye” specifically.
We continue moving, getting to Sheena Easton and discussing her single “9 to 5 (Morning Train).” He offers his admiration for the single, specifically the hook of the single. “The rest of the song isn’t that good, but the hook is undeniable,” Weekes shares. As we’re walking through, we make a pit stop at Ben Folds (discussing the song he did with William Shatner), and eventually make our way back up to the front of the store where we find some Morrissey/The Smiths items. We come to agreement that Morrissey is a phenomenal artist, but sometimes it would be easier to listen to his music if he didn’t express his personal views so much (jokingly, kind of).
When we leave the record store, it’s time to head back to the venue to drop Weekes off. After all, they came in from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and have all been up for many hours due to getting ready for the radio show. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a rigorous schedule that requires as much rest as possible. We’re well into the afternoon at this point, and there’s a line of people up front already waiting for the doors to open, so we head to the back of the venue to get Weekes back into the venue peacefully. We pull up back, say our goodbyes (for now), and go our separate ways.
iDKHOW is a truly impressive band. They’ve sold out many shows, including the one in Columbus, Ohio that night. I return to the venue in time to catch opener Twin XL, and the venue is already packed wall to wall. The engagement for Twin XL is impressive, but there’s no doubt that there’s an extra level of excitement just waiting to come to life for iDKHOW. It’s an impressive sight to see for a band that has yet to put out a full-length record — though the hope is for that to come next year.
My time with Weekes consisted of a radio show, Taco Bell, a record store, and stories of our past. It may seem jumbled, but it’s all part of the bigger picture. If there’s anything I’ve learned from spending a few hours with Weekes, it’s that he puts everything into this project with Seaman. iDKHOW is truly a hybrid of an eclectic range of influences, both musical and cultural. It’s in the projects music, their aesthetic, their aforementioned logo, everything that you see is calculated and well-done. Everything has a purpose. These are humbled, yet motivated human beings — not looking to necessarily be the biggest band in the world, but to put out music that they want to make, and if it connects, that’s an amazing benefit. So far, so good.
There’s real, genuine excitement that this band is the next big thing in the alternative/indie world. It’s not too late to come along for the ride and take the angle of the “cool kid” ideology that you were there and a fan before they got to be huge. Because, personally, I think that time is coming — and it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys.