We spoke to Ivytide about their past, present and what’s to come
Ivytide is one of those bands you can’t put into a box. The Montreal-based group is made up of Concordia alumni Nathan Gagné, Kyle Ruggiero and McGill’s Jamie Snytte – none of whom ever had any formal music training or education.
Having learned everything via YouTube and lessons as children, Ivytide debuted in 2018 with their self-produced EP, Bloom. As far as debuts go, their sound was something bordering on experimental, which was telling of their promise as artists. With its languid psychedelic sound and crisp production play, Bloom has become a springboard for Ivytide’s sound.
In the years since, Ivytide has stayed steadfast in their release of singles, and even signed with Higher Reign Music Group, a distributed label of Sony Music.
Last year came the band’s sophomore project, Pardon Our Distance. Instead of succumbing to the sophomore slump that some musicians may encounter, the project leans more into the blending of genres. Compared to the woozy sound of Bloom, Pardon Our Distance sees an Ivytide that blends the genres of lo-fi, indie, R&B and bedroom pop, into something that has become a sound that is uniquely theirs.
Most recently, Ivytide made their debut to the new year with the single “talk about it.”
TC: Who are some people you admire in the Montreal music scene?
Nathan: Montreal is full of super talented artists, like Edwin Raphael, wordsbyjuni, Oscar Louis, Common Holly and Fleece. We’re lucky to work with some of them, and be inspired by their art, as well as learn from them about how to navigate the music industry.
TC: Now that you’re coming up on three years together, is it safe to say you have a vision for the future of Ivytide?
Jamie: We’re just trying to keep making the music we love, and we’ll see where that takes us.
TC: What was your favourite song to work on for the last EP?
Jamie: “Undone” was probably the most fun song to work on from the last EP because we got to make lots of cool weird noises. Nathan rubbed nails together in his palms next to a microphone to get a cool shaker sound, and it came together really quickly and naturally.
Nathan: “Blurr” was probably the least fun song to work on, because Jamie made the original beat in a tuning that was impossible to replicate. Adding other instruments to the arrangement quickly became implausible, and we had to be creative to get things going (tuning different bass strings to individually “off” pitches).
TC: As a band, what’s that feeling like when you’re finally signed?
Nathan: It was an exciting moment for us, and it gave us the motivation to work even harder.
TC: In a band of multiple members there can be a lot of creative clashing, is there potential for collaborations between Ivytide and other artists or bands?
Jamie: I think if everyone’s ideas lined up perfectly, then there’d be no creativity. So usually different opinions and ideas are conducive to creating the best work. Sometimes ideas can clash, but as long as we try things and explain our reasoning then usually we can come to an agreement pretty quickly. In terms of collaborations, we’re looking forward to working with a bunch of our Montreal homies.
TC: Can you describe the conception of a song from thought to finished product?
Nathan: Usually starts off with a demo that either I or Jamie work on and send out. And then we get together and the creative process really starts. This means there’s usually a guitar (or keyboard or sample) plus a vocal melody, or just a beat, and then we add more elements and adjust melodies, rhythms and percussion elements to make it fit. Sometimes the song will emerge relatively quickly, and sometimes it takes many days, weeks, and sometimes months of tweaking the tempo, key, and arrangement until it’s just right.
TC: Can you tell me anything about what’s next for you guys?
Jamie: We’re working on a string of new singles for 2021. We’re really excited about these songs, we really think they’re our best work yet. We think people who dig our music will dig these tunes, and hopefully we’ll hand out more shovels so more people can keep digging the songs.
Images courtesy of Ivytide