An Interview with Thriving Ivory

Posted by on Feb 25, 2009 in Music | Comments Off on An Interview with Thriving Ivory

Thriving Ivory is a 5 piece rock band hailing from California. They are currently touring behind their self-titled debut album. While stopping through Chicago to play a show at Double Door, our own Shawn Kellner sat down with drummer Paul Niedermier to talk about the record, tour and how things are going with Thriving Ivory. (Shawn is now the editor and founder of Chicago Music Magazine)

Hello Paul how are you doing today?

I’m doing good, thanks!

You’re about half way through your tour,  how has it been going so far?

It’s been going really, really well. Were getting the chance to come back to some places that we have been playing in the last year and a half or so. The last few times around we’ve been playing for 5 people, 10 people, and 50 people and now we’re getting to play those rooms and they are selling out. We’re seeing 400,500, 600 seat venues selling out. It is a really good feeling. I think we owe a lot of it to VH1 who have been really great to us. They have been playing the music video. We also owe a lot to the local radio stations who have been spinning “Angels on the Moon”. That’s been huge, it’s been great. It’s been a big key factor in making this happen for us.

You mentioned  “Angels on the Moon”. With the astounding success of the ‘Angels on the Moon’,  how has the reaction been on this tour compared to other tours you’ve been on in the past?

As the song has been played more and more on the radio and more and more stations are picking up and playing it, we can go to really small towns and see a huge reaction. For example, we played a really small town in Alabama last week where we hadn’t ever played before and we sold 550 tickets. We owe it all to the radio stations and our fans.  People have really been taking a liking to angels on the moon. A lot of people relate to that song for all different reasons. It means something different to everyone.  Whether they are going through something hard in their life or they lost someone in their family everyone interprets the meaning in a different way.  I think the good thing is having a song that is that general really encompasses why a variety of people latch onto it and why it means so much to them.

How do you interpret “Angels on the Moon”?  What is your emotional connection to the song?

The thing about Angels on the Moon is that it is one of our oldest songs. I joined the band 6 years ago and the song was already written/being written as I joined the band.  Since then it has been through several big transformations. Originally it was a 15 minute song.  It’s been through a lot of changes.  It’s really weird for us when we play shows and people come up to us and are like  ‘We love your new song Angels on the Moon’. It’s really cool that it’s new to them however it’s been with us for a long time. The song itself means something different to every member of the band. I think the most important thing to us is being at shows and talking to people, finding out what the song has come to mean to them.  Ya it gets monotonous playing that song every single night and in the morning at radio stations. It makes it worth it when we are at the shows talking to fans hearing the emotional connection that have to the song and hearing what it means to them.

As a drummer, who do you idolize and draw influence from that have helped make you who you are as an artist?

When I joined this band I really learned to be not so much of a flashy drummer. Thriving Ivory requires a lot of solid back beat. A lot of solid 2 4 rock back beats which really drives the music. It doesn’t play any forefront in the band at all.  Larry Mullen Jr. from U2. He is a great example.  He is someone that when you go to see U2 rarely is going to stick out. Not a lot of people go to see U2 and have the first thought “Those drums sound amazing” but he is always perfectly in time and he is always fulfilling his role in what U2 is sonically as a band.  I’m just trying to do the same thing for thriving ivory and make it big and strong and consistent.

As a Chicago based webzine I always enjoy asking artists that I interview some questions about their experiences and likes/dislikes regarding Chicago.  What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago when you pass through?

Well, we never really have a lot of extra time.  The last time we were here we went to a bar by Double Door and we really had a good time. This is our fourth time in Chicago, we always like to try new places and experience new things in every city and town we get to play in.

I ask everyone I interview this important question. If you had a choice between a Chicago style Hot Dog or a Chicago style deep dish pizza which would you choose?

That is a great question.  I’ve done the deep dish before so I would have to say the hotdog now. I don’t want to overlap and I love to try new things.  That would be my choice.

Whats your favorite city besides Chicago to play?

Besides Chicago…hmm…well my first choice would be Chicago, my 2nd choice would be Chicago, and my 3rd choice would be New York.  New York is always crazy and bizarre.  New York has been great to us. Denver is always fun. San Francisco is our home and we love to play there. There is always something special about going home after a long tour and seeing something special.

Our mutual friend has told me that you have an awesome fan story. I would love to hear it.

Alright…ha-ha….it’s a lot funnier when you can see someone physically act it out. We were in Bakersfield a year and a half or so to go.  After our set, we went to the merch table to sign autographs, take pictures, ect.  This women in her mid 40’s or so who had come to the show with her friend wanted a picture with us.  We were signing stuff so we had our sharpies out. There were a lot of people so it was kind of chaotic.  I went to put my arm around her shoulder to take a picture and I was bumped into. This caused my arm to uppercut her in the jaw.  I could feel her bone with my elbow. That was just the start of it.  I brought my arm around to still take a picture without knowing that the sharpie cap was off and I ended up drawing a black line from her eye all the way down to her neck.  When I realized I did it I went to apologize I went to grab her shoulder to apologize and realized that what I had grabbed was not quite her shoulder by completely accident.  The band still to this day will not let me hear the end of that night.  They always give me shit about it.  The thing is we would love to find that picture. She was so incredibly cool about what happened. I apologized a million times.  What is so embarrassing is that within like 5 seconds, I managed to assault her, tag her with a sharpie and sexually assault her completely unintentionally.  I was on time out for a couple shows after that.  Even to this day if I’m anywhere near the merch booth, I see my band mates glancing over to see if the cap is on my sharpie and making faces at me.

Well thank you so much for sitting down with me tonight. Paul Niedermier drummer of Thriving Ivory. Have a great show tonight; I look forward to catching up with you again the next time Thriving Ivory passes through Chicago for another interview with www.reviewchicago.com.

Jen Van Horn also contributed to this interview.