Based out of Tampa, Florida, rising band IOH has been working hard to quickly release songs and are already on the right track to success. Their debut album Whatever Helps You Sleep at Night is a relatable and catchy ten song-long anthem of anxiety, heartbreak, and both life’s highs and lows. Before setting off on their November tour, IOH sat down to talk with us about Whatever Helps You Sleep at Night, friendships, and Buckethead.
Loveless Magazine: What inspired the name “IOH” and how long did it take to pull the idea of a band together?
Zakk: IOH was kind of just a bunch of random letters we threw together, right, David? *laughs*
David: I mean it doesn’t really stand for anything anymore.
Zakk: IOH is the name everyone would chant in the crowd because of an old band name and it kind of stuck with us. When putting the band together at first it was just Spencer, David, and I, and we were kind of just jamming along. One day we saw Dan playing with his old band and we were amazed by his skills and really just blown away. Logan came in clutch around May when he started doing drums for us and honestly he kind of put that whole idea of a band together.
LM: Do you think social media has expanded your following and helped you reach your listeners faster?
David: I definitely think it has. It’s helped us reach a crowd that we never would have gotten to reach to especially in the Florida area, we’ve been able to grow so much because of it. It’s just amazing being able to see ourselves grow and create this community.
Zakk: Because of social media, people who aren’t able to come out to shows normally are still able to find us, and I think that’s really awesome.
LM: How and when did all of you guys meet each other?
Spencer: Well, Zakk is my brother, so that’s how I know him. David lived in the neighborhood with Zakk and I, and we kind of grew up with music together.
David: That was ten years ago actually.
Spencer: Yeah ten years too long! Dan we saw playing at a show once and Logan.
Zakk: Logan came in clutch.
Spencer: I don’t like it when you say “clutch” it makes me uncomfortable.
LM: Who writes the songs and do you have anyone who inspires your lyrics?
David: Zakk usually puts together an idea and he usually creates the majority of the songwriting and we usually build around it and we will all add our own parts to it.
Zakk: I write all of the songs and we’ll be chilling out and either I will have has an experience or I’ll think of a story in my head and I’ll be like “oh this would be cool to write about.” As far as who inspires me on writing, usually it’s bands that I listen to like Fall Out Boy, Chase Atlantic, Hey Violet, and I’ll just be like “wow they really did that I wonder how we could throw our little spin on that.” What I’ll do is I’ll be like “guys I have this killer idea for this song, what can you do?” and Dan will be like “you gotta have a guitar solo!” Spencer, David and Logan will start getting the groove going.
LM: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Dan: Communication. We are a bit lacking in the communication aspect because some people don’t respond. Getting people out to shows is also a struggle for us.
David: Since Zakk and Spencer moved out of our neighborhood. We’ve been struggling finding a place to practice but, we make it work.
LM: Do you think being in a band has brought you all closer together?
Zakk: I definitely think it’s brought us closer together. Spencer and I always used to just play bass and guitar together as little kids. David always used to watch us in the audience and one day he came up to us and was like “I wanna play guitar!” and we brought him up on stage and it really worked out. If it wasn’t for the band I wouldn’t know Logan and I wouldn’t know Dan so I think it for sure has brought us together.
Spencer: I think it’s brought us together in a great way because you don’t get to hang out with people all the time. Whether you have work or school or whatever, but the band is kind of an excuse to see these people and grow that friendship and that bond.
Logan: Well, I didn’t really know Zakk, David, or Spencer before May, but I knew Dan so when Dan called me up I definitely made some pretty great friends.
LM: If you were to give advice to someone who wanted to start music but didn’t know how to, what advice would you give them?
David: Play as many shows as you can when you’re starting off, meet as many bands in the area, and try and network yourself to the best of your ability. Try and build an audience and put out some good music.
Zakk: Don’t give up because it can get kinda rough when you’re playing shows in empty bars and eventually you’ll build it up, and you’ll get a lot of people out to shows, and it just makes it more fun overtime.
Dan: You gotta practice a lot, individually and as a group. The more you practice the better you’re gonna get.
Spencer: Make a connection with the people you play with.
LM: Who would you say is the laziest in the band?
Zakk: We all have our moments. I mean I’m not gonna lie most days after shows I just wanna sulk in my post-concert depression. I’ll sit there after a show and I’ll be like “man I wish we could do it again today.” I guess it’s more that I’m lazy because I want to go do it again and I don’t wanna do anything else.
Spencer: When it comes to being lazy, I think in everyone else’s eyes I would be the laziest but, I have my moments. I do my part and I blow everyone away!
David: We love to pick on Spencer, but, all jokes aside, he does work really hard and I see that because I’m with him all the time. Sometimes I, myself, get pretty lazy and I have to find an excuse to practice, but I think we all have our moments and I think we are all equally as lazy.
LM: Who is “Buckethead” and why does he influence you so much?
Dan: Buckethead is a guitar player that wears a chicken bucket on his head and a white mask and he has really long hair. No one knows who he is because nobody has seen him without the mask on and he just so happens to be the greatest guitar player of all time. He is my influence because I wanna be him, because I wanna be the greatest guitar player on the planet.
LM: If you could be an opener for anyone, who would you chose?
David: Portugal the man.
Zakk: We have had the opportunity to open for a lot of cool people but basically anyone who will have us. I idolize Fall Out Boy, I always have. I also really love Walk the Moon, Coin. We just love playing shows.
Dan: I would love to open for Buckethead and a band called “Chon” because they are ridiculously good so that would be a fun show.
Logan: Blink 182.
Spencer: Bad Suns, they literally don’t have one bad song.
LM: Who dresses the worst?
Zakk: Honestly, right now I probably dress the worst because I wear the same four shirts and I wear like the same pants. I wear soccer pants to practice every single time. I have seen David come to practice in basketball shorts and a tank top, but Spencer probably dresses the best because he wears button ups and his pants are always rolled up really nicely.
Dan: I’m the worst dressed I wear the same hoodie everyday.
David: I do wanna dress better though, that’s my goal.
Zakk: I guess we’ll all wear suits to the next show.
Spencer: We’ll do what The Maine does and all match!
David: The Maine are dress goals though.
LM: What was the writing process for your new album Whatever Helps You Sleep At Night?
Zakk: We released an EP under our old name called “MMXV” and basically the second we released that we started writing a ton of new music. We released the EP and immediately started playing songs like “College” and “Coyotes.” Over the course of the past two years since we released the EP we have been writing, recording, scraping, and writing all over again until we came up with ten songs that we were absolutely confident in. We wrote “December,” “Mine,” “Paradise,” and “Better” all within the last two months of recording.
LM: What is your aesthetic as a band?
Zakk: Dan says that aesthetic is key.
Dan: Aesthetic is key.
Zakk: We wanted this album to have sort of a night time theme. Whether you’re driving around in your car, or you’re chilling out in your room, we just wanted to create something that you can vibe to. We used to be really punk rock and we would have heavy guitars, but now we’ve added a lot of reverb and we kind of wanted something to fit the feel of night time. Logan was actually the one who picked the colors.
David: I think the coolest part was actually the sign on the album cover, we actually hand built that, Sydney and I. It took us like six or seven hours and it was a lot of fun.
Zakk: Sydney’s been our creative director in a way she’s been doing the promotional videos for us and she designed the album. She’s been a big help with all of this and I couldn’t thank her enough.
LM: What can someone expect before listening to Whatever Helps You Sleep At Night for the first time?
Spencer: You can expect tears of sadness and joy at the same time. You’ll have lots of chills from how good it is, and I think you will be very happy to hear all of the songs and what great quality they are. When we first started It was kind of iffy because we did it all at home but then in the end I was blown away.
David: I’m really proud of all of us and what we were able to create.
LM: Any last words?
Zakk: We hope to see a lot of people at our shows and we really want people to vibe with us because we are having a lot of fun playing these new songs.
David: I wanna thank Loveless Magazine for having us.
Zakk: Spencer also says thank you, make a note of that.
Be sure to follow IOH on their upcoming November tour, and keep up with upcoming news on their Twitter and Facebook. You can listen to their debut album Whatever Helps You Sleep At Night on Spotify.
Interview by: Emma Hintz