Monday, October 22, 2012

Introducing Fighting For Ithaca and Album Review

I want to introduce you to a new favorite band of mine, Fighting For Ithaca. I learned about them about eighteen months ago and instantly fell in love. Since then I have met and interviewed the band and next month I will be following them around Alberta and Saskatchewan when they tour with Faber Drive. 

Fighting For Ithaca(Twitter: @FightingForIth) is made up of five amazing guys. Curtis Steeksma - Vocals (Twitter: @CurtisFFI), Jon Steeksma - Guitar (Twitter: @JonnyFFI) and yes they are brothers, Tommy Phoenix - Bass (Twitter: @TommyFFI) the shy cool one, Adamm Mountstevens - Guitar (Twitter: @AdammFFI) also the sexy English accent guy, Phil Maloney - Drums (Twitter: @PhilthyFFI) MILF lover and penguin hater. They all respond to their fans and appreciate each fan they have and gain. 

Just to give you a little more back ground on the boys here is their biography from their face book page. It gives you a little back ground on them, how they joined the 604 Records family and their new EP, To The Rescue.

Who says that you can’t always get what you want? While that might have rung true for the Rolling Stones all those years ago, Vancouver pop-punk band Fighting For Ithaca clearly wasn’t paying attention.

After all, how many bands these days can lay claim to a fan base so dedicated, they have united into a formidable group dubbed after their namesake, as has happened with FFI’s “Ithacans”?

The o

rigins of Fighting For Ithaca date back a number of years. After a somewhat revolving door of band members came and went from the band, Fighting For Ithaca would become a union, a pact between friends to leave their mark upon the world. And with that Curtis Steeksma, Jonny, Tommy Phoenix, Adamm Strange and Phil Maloney are all fighting the same good fight. And that, in part, is what will set Fighting For Ithaca apart from countless other bands determined to make a career in music.

“From the outset of the band, at least for me, I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to achieve through music, what it would take to get there and the type of people that I needed to surround myself with,” Fighting For Ithaca vocalist Curtis Steeksma begins. “When you’re working in such close quarters with one another, as frequently as a band does, you quickly have to determine who shares your vision and who doesn’t. When you find the right fit, like we have with our current lineup, all seems well in the world. Beyond having an incredible working relationship, we’ve become best friends. It works.”

To quote another ‘60’s band, The Beatles, you might say that Fighting For Ithaca have gotten by with a little help from their friends: their fans.

At the outset of their career and as the group’s star began to rise on the burgeoning Vancouver music scene, Fighting For Ithaca were ever only truly interested in affiliating themselves with one record label: Vancouver’s 604 Records. At a time in the music business where recording contracts are becoming increasingly parasitic, Fighting For Ithaca was initially drawn to 604 because of their unique relationship with the enviable roster of bands on the label, as well as their commitment to developing artists.

One evening in a Vancouver club, fate would intervene. Fighting For Ithaca drummer Maloney bumped into 604 head honcho Jonathan Simkin and handed him a copy of the group’s debut EP. Much to the band’s delight, they discovered that Simkin was already familiar with the band and had played some of their music for those gathered in a 604 staff meeting at one point and had received a favourable response from those in attendance.

It was at this point that the Ithacans stepped up to the plate, Tweeting and messaging 604 Records in support of the label signing the band. That, in combination with favorable feedback given to Fighting For Ithaca from other 604 bands including Faber Drive helped solidify the group’s choice to work with the label.

And so that brings us to Fighting For Ithaca’s newest release, To The Rescue, the group’s 604 Records debut. After the group saw moderate success with their first independent EP release in 2010, Thanks For Waiting, the group had an unnamed producer that they had hoped to work with for what would become To The Rescue.

As diabolical as it might sound, Jonathan Simkin had other plans for the group.

“Before 604 entered the picture, we were basically set to make another self-funded record with a completely different producer,” Maloney says. “Jonathan told us he would like to pair us up with [Default drummer] Danny Craig to see what would happen. We agreed to give it a shot because Jonathan assured us that if things didn’t work out to our satisfaction with Danny, we were free to pick anyone else to work with.

“We went and met with Danny and found he was just this incredibly friendly, unassuming kind of guy. We had four new songs for him to listen to, assuming that these songs were just going to blow his mind. And as each song played, that balloon of self-importance was deflating bit by bit,” Maloney laughs. “When the last song finished, Danny turned to us and said he felt we had some good ideas to work with but tasked us with writing seven or eight songs that were better than those original four we presented him. What we thought were solid songs turned out to be more ‘frankensongs’ – bits and pieces of songs that didn’t necessarily make for the most coherent songs.”

“As a band, I would say Danny helped us become very self-aware and made us realize that we had a lot to learn and that we had to work much harder. While we had the benefit of being well known in the local scene in Vancouver, we preparing to compete as a small fish in a massive ocean. We suddenly had a whole new bar set for us, thanks to Danny,” Steeksma says.

The band painstakingly spent time dissecting and refocusing their efforts on making the tracks contained on To The Rescue the best they could be. Fighting For Ithaca stopped thinking on the local (Vancouver) scale and instead approached making their EP with wide-eyed enthusiasm and an international audience in mind.

“The songs on the To The Rescue are better than anything we have done at this point in our careers and we are really proud,” Phil says. “It took us taking a step back to come to this realization but it was the only way for us to take those important steps forward.”

Today October 22, 2012 Fighting For Ithaca has released their first nationally released EP To The Rescue under 604 records. It hit #30 on iTunes within hours of releasing and is charting along side top international artists. I have never been so excited to see a band succeed and these guys are well on their way. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012