IVØRY BLACK is a Kansas City-based band. They are playing Bye Week Brewfest October 8th at CrossroadsKC at Grinder’s. Bye Week Brewfest is presented by X1051. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter IVØRY BLACK recently discussed how classic rock got him interested in music, his lyrical inspiration and approach to songwriting.
/Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
My biological father is a singer/songwriter and plays the drums. His style I believe is country. However, on the flip side I was adopted at a young age in a family that had little to no musical background. My mom had a guitar under her bed and dabbled on the piano a bit, but never really pushed to get really good at it. I met my biological father a few years ago who told me that when I was little, I wanted to be with him when he was practicing and would fall asleep in front of his kick drum, so I’d say I most likely adapted my musical influence from him.
What was the first album you bought?
The first album I ever bought was Eric Clapton’s Greatest Hits. My foster parents were big fans of that style of music. “Layla” was my favorite song and I listened to a few other hits on it, but that album and the Best of Jimi Hendrix were probably a few of the records that originally inspired me to play music when I was first starting out.
What first got you interested in looping?
I didn’t have a band in KC and wanted to deliver the same energy a band gave, so performing with a Looper sort of gave me that chance to showcase my music and sound. Using layers of vocals, a stomp box I made myself, several layers of guitar and some sound effects, I was able to give the audience a feel of listening to a more stripped down version of what I was already doing in my studio.
What is your creative approach when writing a song?
I let it guide me and try not to force anything because forcing it frustrates me to no end. Inspirations come from everywhere and everyone. I can be outside, eating, smoking a cigarette, or in the studio working on music when all of a sudden an idea will pop into my head that causes me to want to write a new tune. I feel my best songs come to me in the most peculiar circumstances.
What inspires you lyrically?
What inspires me lyrically is definitely emotion. It’s kind of a seed that grows into something and the result feeds words to me based on that certain feeling. The rest is just getting it out on paper or whatever I’m using at the time.
How did the song “Ready, Get Set” come together?
I was missing my friends from my hometown and wanted to write something that symbolized how we would all feel if we were all back together again. It turned into a sort of anthem. Since music is universal I have no issue of changing the meanings of my music even for myself. It’s simply that easy to apply a song to a certain aspect in my life. That’s the beautiful thing about music if it’s relative. “Ready, Get Set” was no different.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I think the hardest part of my career has been the struggle of keeping it together. I leave my heart on the stage and give it all when I write. That part is easy and comes naturally. However, I work with a lot of people and that in itself can be difficult sometimes. I have to convey my ideas in a cohesive manner. I tend to change my mind a lot as I’m always playing with new ideas for my sound and that gets in the way of a lot of progress but when I look back where I was 6 years ago, I acknowledge that change is what got me here today. It just never stops!
What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
It sounds cliché, but just be true to yourself. Some may disagree with what you stand for but everyone has a bias. Stick to yours. DO sit back and be your own worst critic. People say don’t be, but I disagree. Listen to opinions with a grain of salt and always believe in your own voice. Oh, and if you plan on making a career out of music, get your music and brand legally protected.