“Grunge Goth”? “New Orientalism”? Wonderland isn’t sure about made-up terms sloppily tagged to LA duo Io Echo’s peculiar poptones. We quizzed the band about life-changing gigs, their forthcoming debut record and soundtracking the Snow White and the Huntsman world premiere last month.
How and when and where did you form?
Ioanna Gika: We met in Los Angeles, had a conversation about masochism, and have been inseparable ever since.
Where did you meet? Do you share lots of musical and artistic influences? Which?
Leopold Ross: We were introduced out one night and ultimately bonded through our love of music. We had a conversation about Leopold Van Masoch, whom I was named after, as Ioanna really loves the song “Venus in Furs.” However, we come from different musical backgrounds and influences. The first music I loved was NWA/Public Enemy and all the classic 80s hip-hop, then I discovered Nirvana and they were a gateway into
guitar music. Ioanna grew up listening to classical music and new age electronic stuff like Vangellis, Enya, and Enigma. I think It’s the contrasting ideas and musical backgrounds that combine to make our music sound the way it does.
What has been your favourite gig so far?
Leopold: We were invited to open for Nine Inch Nails at their last ever show. It was a special night and an honor to open for one of our favorite ever bands.
Ioanna: We also wrote the score for a Harmony Korine film which we performed live to picture recently at a MoCA exhibition at Art Basel, which was a unique and interesting experience.
How did you find playing the Snow White and The Huntsman premiere? Were you intimidated or felt drowned out by the crowd?
Leopold: The show was set in a cathedral-like structure at the Royal Courts of Justice with amazing reverb and acoustics. The director gave us a very kind intro and we had a great time. The song Ioanna wrote plays a big part in the film, so people were really excited to hear it performed live.
What kind of sounds and sonics can we expect from the debut record?
Ioanna: There are layers of Chinese Violins and Koto Harps throughout the album but also large reverbed drums and guitars. If one element of the music is a wall of sound we keep the other part minimalist and vice versa. We’re interested in contrasts and juxtapositions.
Leopold: It’s romantic but quite dark. Ultimately our album has a running theme of escapism and romanticized ideas of places we have never been, so we wanted to create an otherworldly atmosphere with the sonics.
Are you working on any more film soundtracks? What do you like about composing film soundtracks?
Ioanna: I like composing music for film because if it’s a good filmmaker there is going to be an intrinsic rhytmn to the images, so it makes for an interesting creative experiment to write to the rhymth of a visual.
Leopold: When you see a well shot, well written, well acted film with great music it’s really a meeting of all the arts. For us it’s a thrill to be a part of a process involving so many different creative minds. We have been lucky enough to gain some experience in it and we have a few projects we’re looking at, but right now we are focusing on our album release and getting ready to tour.
Words: Jack Mills