When a band describes their music as “transcendent, hybrid and elevational” our interest is immediately piqued. And that was only fuelled by the intriguingly named The iBand telling us they are also aiming to become “the first all-internet super-group.”
The iBand began with Cincinnati-based keyboard player and songwriter Don, aka Chordslinger, and Greece-born, New York-based Lola de Hanna. The duo created a song called The World Just Rocks about world peace, felt something was missing, and thought the only natural solution was to add contributing musicians from around the world.
So they set about using the power of the Internet to add Argentinian drummer, mixmaster and video producer Enrique Paglia, Belgrade-based virtuoso guitar player BC Bungee, Australia-born Dallas-based bassist Jezzy Michaels, and Dominican Republic-born and US-based acoustic guitar player Miguel Castellanos to the mix.
On the band’s formation, Chordslinger explains: “I strongly believed in the song, and the theme of world peace, so I decided to audition members from all over the world. I put a message out for online auditions on ReverbNation, and had several hundred of people audition. I listened to every single audition and, with input from Lola, picked the cream of the crop musicians who had the necessary skills. The requirements were studio musician level playing skills, the ability to be creative, and a willingness to take criticism and adapt based on the needs of each song. All members have produced L.P.s, and or albums of original music in their own rights.
“The best singers were not able to sing the song well, and almost no one could make the key change transition to a higher key in the chorus. So, after numerous tries, I implored Lola to try it. And much to my delight, Lola got her rock on! She did the song justice with our newfound musical partners from around the world. Lola sang the first song the group attempted where everyone provided input from the beginning called Where the Warm Wind Blows. Everyone was ecstatic with the results, and we knew we were onto something.”
So what to expect from their music? Well, classic rock with plenty of catchy melodies led by Lola’s engaging vocals. For example, Hole In My Heart, opens up with high-pitched vocals, then a laid-back verse that builds up to a big singalong chorus. The second verse is a little heavier, with a few cheeky guitar licks creeping in before another catchy chorus.
That drops into high-pitched vocals supported by a little guitar solo, which drops into vocals over acoustic guitar and builds up to a heavy final chorus. Give it a listen below:
On their sound, Chordslinger told us: “It is a mixture of elements from members all over the world. So there are a lot of different influences and styles you will here. It’s hard to classify. Listen and you will understand. A lot of modern music is starting come around to this sort of style sometimes called AOR. Symphonic rock elements make it different.”
“We decided to set lofty goals because you can’t reach a lofty goal if you don’t have one. So, we decided that we would like to be the first all-internet supergroup. We are still working on that.”
Summarising the band’s musical ethos, BC says: “Music is a form of energy that musicians are open to, so that energy comes through our minds. Sometimes the thoughts are confused and the music is also confused, but after a while the thoughts go into purification and then we have the right thing at that moment.”
And, while they may sound like Apple’s attempt to get into music creation, the band name reflects their international reach and the fact that members collaborate solely through instant messaging and email.
As Enrique explains: “As we can’t be in the same room rehearsing and composing, someone in the band sends a raw idea of a song to everyone, after a few changes here and there , I record the drum track at my home studio, then the bass and so on, until all the instruments are done, then at the final step Lola does her vocals, and everyone uploads each of their final tracks to the web so i can mix & master the song.
“Our music is energetic, positive, and joyful with Hard Rock, AOR (hard rock background with melodic elements), and Americana influences. As I’m not the songwriter in the band, my main job is to give a strong foundation for the songs, so I get infected from the energy of these talented musicians to give my best playing the drums.”
The band’s biggest initial problem was the sound quality of internet collaborations in comparison to studio recording. So they realised a new approach was required to remove any potential latency and lags in the sound. Chordslinger explains: “Everyone plays super tight, and each player locks into the drums so there is only one layer of latency which is so small it’s imperceptible. I can proudly say that our recordings sound like we did them all together in the studio. So, we believe that sets us apart.”
Digging further into the creation process, Jezzy tells us: “An idea for a song is worked up by the songwriter/s and given to all members via email to contribute ideas and create their own specific parts for the song. Drums are laid down first usually followed by the bass and then acoustic and electric guitars, then keyboards and finally Lola’s vocals. Kike will then mix it altogether and everyone gives feedback at each stage of mixing until everyone agrees it is the best it can sound. It is very much a full band effort from start to finish. This is all done exclusively by email and instant messaging, I have never actually spoken to any of the other band members while creating these tunes.”
Understandably, the band’s influences are pretty wide-ranging. BC is inspired by the likes of Peter Green, Gary Moore, David Gilmour, Carlos Santana and Jack Butler, and Jezzy is into KISS, Cinderella, Guns n Roses and Poison and takes inspiration from bassists like Gene Simmons, Duff McKagan and Tom Hamilton. Lola is big on pop, rock and alternative music, while Enrique is into the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Van Halen.
Miguel cites a wide range of bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix through to singer/songwriters like James Taylor, Carole King, John Denver, Melissa Ethridge, Cat Stevens and a series of jazz and world music artists. While Chordslinger is the epitome of musical diversity with influences ranging from Bach and Isao Tomita to The Who and Pink Floyd, as well as Disturbed, Green Day, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence.
The iBand has more music in the works due for release shortly, so stay tuned for more soon.