Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Indicator Indicator

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Indicator IndicatorIn a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Indicator Indicator‘s Sandy Taronno about inappropriate moments, connecting with people, and leap years! With the upcoming release of some new singles on October 1st, it’s time to familiarize yourself with this interesting Winnipeg, Manitoba’s pop band and get into their groove.

AMBY: Hello Indicator Indicator, please introduce yourselves to AMBY!

Indicator Indicator: Hi, A Music Blog, Yea?, very nice to meet you.  I’m Sandy – the main guy behind Indicator Indicator.

AMBY: What’s the band been up to lately?

Indicator Indicator: We had a great summer, a few festival gigs here and there, but mainly rehearsing and getting our shit in order for the next three months when we’ll be touring the States for the first time, releasing these new songs and then recording a live concert on November 10 in Winnipeg.

AMBY: Where did the name Indicator Indicator come from?

Indicator Indicator: It’s actually the genus and species of African bird, so named because it co-evolved with nearby human tribes – it would find honey-filled trees and identify them for the people, who would then crack them open for all to enjoy.  Humans couldn’t find the honey, and the birds couldn’t access it, so *cooperation*!

AMBY: The band is releasing some new singles on October 1st. Is there an album in the works?

Indicator Indicator: Yes, but slowly.  I’m working on a love story about a cyborg that’s gonna be told over the course of an album – ‘Love is Not Enough’ will be a centerpiece, I think…  Likely we’ll do one more ‘single’ release like this, and then hopefully get an album out in early 2015.

AMBY: Swarm is a great indie-pop song. What inspired the track?

Indicator Indicator: Thanks!  I’m a bit of an obnoxious atheist, but gradually mellowing and learning to appreciate creation myths and origin stories and stuff like that, so Swarm is my attempt at a pop-song creation story.  And eventually it ended up being a bit more general – just thinking on religion and mythology and story-telling. Also, I thought it would be fun to have a bridge that is basically just shouted nouns.

AMBY: You’re originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Do you feel your hometown has had an influence on your sound? And if so, how?

Indicator Indicator: For sure – Winnipeg’s our beloved home, and we’re very much a product of it.  Our city kind of punches above it’s weight class culturally, and so we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most talented, energetic and creative people, making it impossible not to want to join in on the conversation.  It forces you to keep wanting to make and make, and push yourself further and further.

AMBY: Earlier this month you Tweeted, “I’m not convinced that replacing a single letter with an asterisk to hide a cuss is really that effective. I still know it’s a cuss, like, 65% of the time.” This made us wonder, what’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve ever said (or done)?

Indicator Indicator: Oh, I have a rich, long history of saying inappropriate things to friends, and family, and audiences, and interviewers – to anyone who will listen really.  Choosing just one is hard.  Maybe come to our show at the Rivoli on Oct 16, hand me a glass of gin, and watch as I conjure up a new most inappropriate moment right before your very eyes.

AMBY: You’ve been nominated for Best Pop Recording of 2013, named a CBC Act to Watch, and have officially been spun on over a hundred radio stations. What would your proudest achievement to date be?

Indicator Indicator: Those things are all pretty swell, and it feels like people are digging what we’re up to, and that’s certainly very pleasant.  I guess in a lot of ways, though, I’m just proud to still be recording and touring music that we’re proud of.  We’ve been playing in bands for a long time, and sometimes just staying in the game feels like an accomplishment.  It is such a weird compulsion, doing this thing, but we all love it so dearly…  And to feel like you’re still getting better at whatever it is you do is a very fine thing.

But really, the best feeling, the deepest pride, is just connecting with people – either via recordings, or in a live setting.  Everything else is second to that.  We opened for Lights at the Garrick Theatre in Winnipeg a couple months back.  She’s got this amazing, young audience, and we could really feel how actively they were listening, and it created this feedback loop where we’re giving more than we thought possible because they’re responding so beautifully.  Those rare moments when you feel like you just created something special with a big roomful of strangers – it’s good medicine.

AMBY: What did you listen to growing up, and what have you been listening to lately?

Indicator Indicator: Growing up it was really nothing but pop, pop, pop.  The Beatles – to an unhealthy degree – and then Georgia’s Elephant Six Collective (Olivia Tremor Control, Beulah, Neutral Milk Hotel, et al), then Flaming Lips, then Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith.  They’re still some of my favourite records, but I try not to let them colour what Indicator’s up to quite as much anymore.  It’s a common thing to get stuck on the records that you loved at 18, so I do a fair bit of homework, listening-wise, trying to actively find things that challenge me, or make me uncomfortable, and then internalize it.  Lately, that’s been artists like James Blake and Grimes, but also aggressive, clubby hip-hop – the production is so awesomely visceral and constantly creative – and a little bit of metal (okay, just Mastodon). Oh, and been listening to some fellow Winnipegers -‘Today We’re Believers’ by Royal Canoe.  What a pleasure that some good buddies made a record that is literally a new favourite.  Marvelous, marvelous album.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Indicator Indicator that nobody knows yet?

Indicator Indicator: I started the band on a leap year, so technically we’re not even a year old yet.

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Thank you Indicator Indicator, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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