Interview Music

Q&A: Icarus the Owl’s Joey Rubenstein

Icarus the Owl are gearing up for tour and the release of their new album Rearm Circuits, which is set to drop on December 1st. We had the chance to catch up with frontman Joey Rubenstein to discuss the album, amongst other things. Here’s what he had to say.

Ashton Garner: As a child, who was your greatest inspiration? Musically or otherwise.
Joey Rubenstein: Growing up, my musical hero was Tom Delonge from Blink 182. He was the reason I picked up a guitar. I taught myself guitar by learning all of the Blink songs. Not only did I look up to them musically, but I idolized the lifestyle. I wanted to play music with my best friends and laugh about farts; it sounded like the perfect life. Farts are still funny and I still want to play music with my best friends, so… thanks, Blink!

AG: Which artist would you most want to tour with?
JR: I think it would be amazing to tour with Thrice. While Blink may have got me started playing music, Thrice was really the band that made me get nerdy with it. I remember being fascinated that they had music in a 5/4 time signature. I didn’t know what that even was back then. I studied it and tried to emulate it. They taught me so much about not only writing music, but evolving your music and taking chances. None of their records are the same, yet it’s still Thrice and it’s still great. Watching them perform every night while on tour with them would be a dream come true.

AG: With Rearm Circuits coming out on December 1st, what are your plans to celebrate the release?
JR: We will be on tour at that time, so we will be playing a show. Honestly, that is the best way I can think of to celebrate the release. Maybe after our set we will eat a lot of donuts and go into a sugar coma. I am just so grateful that we get to put out music and travel around playing it.

AG: What are some things you did differently that went into Rearm Circuits as opposed to your earlier music?
JR: We had more time to listen to different mixes of the album so we could go back and change things if we desired. It’s a dangerous thing to have that power, because you don’t want to over analyze something until you hate it. I think we narrowly avoided paralysis by analysis. Overall, it ended up being a good thing because we got the album we all wanted. We weren’t afraid to try things.  If I got super passionate with a vocal take when I was recording, and it ended up sounding more aggressive, we weren’t afraid to leave it in the song. In many ways, it felt like writing a debut album. We didn’t know the future of the band for a little while there, so when we finally got together to share song ideas, it felt like a rebirth.

AG: Did you find that your songs ended up different than your original ideas, or did they stay more how you first imagined them?
JR: Some songs ended up drastically different then they were initially intended, but definitely for the better. A big part of writing for us a band is the editing process. I probably have 30 different versions of one song on my computer right now. Some songs stayed pretty much the same since their inception and that is perfectly okay, too.

AG: Is there anything else you’d like fans to know about this album?
JR: We put everything we had into this album and we are super happy with how it turned out – I am at peace with that. I hope you like it!

To keep up with Icarus the Owl and see if they’re coming near you this winter, check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Big thanks to Joey for taking the time to chat!

Photo credit: Aaron Ziesemer

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