Listen to an exclusive stream of “Tag! No Bases” by Icarus The Owl. The song comes off the band's upcoming album, Love Always, Leviathan, which will be self-released on Thursday, June 21. Icarus The Owl is a technical pop-rock band based out of Portland, Oregon who bring an uncharted amount of technicality to the genre. Equal parts ferocious guitar lines and infectious melodies, Icarus are sure to surprise at every turn. Below is the stream and a quick interview with guitarist/vocalist Joey Rubenstein, who gives some insight into the song's structure and meaning. Listen here:
Tell me a little about how the song came together. Icarus is quite the technical band, so how did these riffs become cohesive?
This is one of the first songs that was written for the album. I initially had written the groove of the first part of the song and then looped it. I didn't know what time signature it was in initially, so looping it helped me count it out. Turns out it was in 17/16. While looped I knew what I was working with rhythmically and had a solid foundation to start writing a lead to it. I tried out different rhythmic groupings of 17/16 because it can be any combination of 2s and 3s, so the possibilities are almost endless for writing a lead to it. The chorus is in 9/4 and I love how well it flows. It doesn't sound odd at all to me. I feel like most people would assume it's in 4/4. We don't force a time signature to be technical. We will write a riff and if it sounds good to us then that's the riff we use.
What did you write the song about and how'd you end up naming it “Tag! No bases”?
I mainly write about the inner dialogue I am hearing when falling in and out of relationships with people. Not just romantic relationships, but any human connection. “Tag! No Bases” comes from the idea that once you have something, it is almost an instinctual flaw to let go of it and, once it is gone, want it back. It's like an elaborate game of tag we play with people. It's an articulation of the notion that most people want what they cannot have. If something is slightly out of reach, then we tend to want it more. I think of two boxes of cereal that are equally delicious, but one is on a shelf that we are just not tall enough to grab. The box on the higher shelf becomes more desirable then the box right in front of us. We tend to treat each other like boxes of cereal. Maybe.
Your new record comes out next week. What do you want to tell people about it?
We are extremely proud of this CD. Stephan Hawkes at Interlace Audio did a tremendous job mixing and mastering it. There is diversity among tracks. This is our most technical and our most accessible work yet. Give it an honest listen. You can pre-order the album here.