Ivypaint - Sound In The Signals Interview

We recently had the opportunity to interview Sean Duong, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Ivypaint. We discussed the band’s new single “Melatonin”, filming the video for it, playing live sessions, life in the pandemic, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Thank you so much for having us!

You just released the video for your new single “Melatonin”. What was the video shoot like? Do you have an interesting story from it?

The video shoot was absolutely sick! I'm a big horror fan (especially since I was born on Halloween), so I just wanted to pay homage to classics like the Scream franchise and Scooby-Doo. I'm sure it's probably obvious after seeing the killer's costume, or all that cheesy hallway-mayhem of us running around like fools. Writing the script was just fun in itself, from the "splitting-up" cliche, the "death" scenes, and that tacky ending scene revealing how it was all a dream. The death scenes are actually just inside jokes between us; like how Christian's a BIG car guy, and I'm notorious for eating everyone's food without asking. There's other tiny little easter eggs and insiders, like how the photos that Jason sees on the wall are actually all Orlando bands that we're super tight with. The only bad part of the shoot was how it was the most physically exhausting day this band has ever had. By the end of the first playthrough take, all of us were already sweating our asses off in the Florida heat. Playing a pop-punk song in a sweater in Florida summer heat, multiple times back-to-back, is no fun. For a time, hearing the word "cut" was heaven to me. Adam was actually stoked to have his death scene in the pool because he got to cool off while we all had heat strokes.

Can you tell me about the song writing process for “Melatonin”. What were some of your musical and lyrical inspirations?

Songwriting has always been an outlet for me to help process any new experiences and perspectives and lessons I gain in life, but to be honest, I'm usually writing music to help me get over a girl lol. When it comes to the instrumentals and the composition, I don't know music theory too well or even how to play my own instrument that well compared to literally every other guitarist in the world, so that's why I try to make up by writing the catchiest vocal melodies I can, backed up by harmonies and other vocal additions. Interestingly enough, Melatonin was originally a serious, sad, acoustic ballad, before I decided it worked better being a playful, tongue-in-cheek track about the heartache and confusion that a high school boy might have when a girl doesn't like him back or return his calls. The title of the track is based around the idea of staying up late at night because you're stuck wondering about that "do they/don't they?" nonsense. And also because I have the worst insomnia in history. In terms of our entire discography, this song was actually a huge change for the band because I'm not the only vocalist of the track. It's the first time Adam (our bassist) and Christian (our lead guitarist) has had the opportunity to show off those highly-underrated vocals they have. And even Jason (our drummer) got to do some "vocals "per se, with all of those lighthearted ad-libs. Another thing worth noting is how I'm always trying to write interesting bridges so that songs don't become stale. If you've listened to the track, then you've gotten to hear the debut of Orlando's hottest new rapper, Lil Sean. In all seriousness, I don't really listen to too much rap, but I'm very happy with how it came out.

Miramar Drive produced the song. Why did you decide to have them do it? What was the experience like?

Jacob Craddock from Miramar Drive is essentially our fifth member at this point. He's only a couple years older than me but I think something about how both of our bands started off with just one person, alongside with our music taste growing up, had a lot to do with how well we work together in the studio. The guy is so knowledgeable when it comes to everything in production, mixing, and mastering and I barely know how to use Garageband. He produced our debut EP "Quiet Compassion" a little over a year ago, and even since the beginning, any time I was unsure about a certain guitar part or vocal take or whatever it may be, he would always push the song in the right direction to be the best it could be. A lot of what I know about the music industry and our local scene is because of him. I also especially appreciate how he's so insanely patient whenever I continuously screw up takes because I can't play the parts in time. Love you Jacob.

I’ve seen that during the pandemic you’ve been performing some live sets and answering interviews on Instagram. How has this been going for the band and is there a chance we’ll see more of these events from you?

They're always a ton of fun, and we're always just grateful for all of those opportunities because we miss playing shows more than anyone. It's like the closest we can really get to being on stage again so we rarely, if ever, turn down an opportunity to perform for people, in whatever manner it be. It's also especially nice because it gives us the ability to be more intimate and personal and build a real relationship with our supporters, and we're always trying to give back to them in whatever way we can.

How has the pandemic changed the process of creating music, filming videos, or promoting music for the band?

Conveniently enough, the only noticeable difference since COVID-19 started has been the lack of live, public shows. Since we all have busy lives outside of the band as well, whether it be school or work or girlfriends, we already had a small schedule together as is. It's relatively easy for us to have group FaceTimes and communicate everything going on on a semi-daily basis. Plus, we were already about to start the recording process for our sophomore EP before COVID really took hold. If anything, it's given us time to truly hone our sound and get better at all of our respective parts, and it's forced us to slow down and focus on the little things of just about everything. It's actually given us the opportunity to focus on our wider-scale audience too, (since we can't play local shows). It's still just a crazy idea knowing we have people on the other side of the world that support a random small band from the Orlando suburbs.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Once again, thank you so much, especially for painstakingly putting up with my absurdly lengthy answers. Follow us @ivypaintband on Instagram, and check out our music video for "Melatonin" at YouTube.com/Ivypaint. Stay safe, and don't forget to vote!

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