2014 Artist Survey: The Rosebuds | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2014 Artist Survey: The Rosebuds

Ivan Howard on 2014’s Best Albums, His Childhood Celebrity Crush, Quirky Merchandise, and Heartwarming Fan Interactions

Feb 12, 2015 Artist Surveys 2014 Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Owen Pallett, Still Corners, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman’s Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds.

[A shorter version of this interview ran in Issue 52, the Best of 2014 and January/February 2015 Issue, which is still on newsstands. This is the full version of the interview.]

Top 9 Albums of 2014

Admittedly, I didn’t get to hear a ton of new music this year. I spent most of my time digging through crates at the record store looking for Jimmy Durante and old Hawaiian albums. But from the albums I did hear, my tops are:

1. Future Islands: SinglesWhat else needs to be said here? Probably the nicest three guys in a band out there today. I love this record and I’m happy that more people get a chance to listen to their music and see them live now. Everyone who knew them back in the day always said they’d kill it if people just knew about them. Well, that day is here! Hooray for Future Islands!
2. Spoon: They Want My SoulMy favorite band out there today, and Britt [Daniel] has got to be one of the best real songwriters on the planet.
3. Sylvan Esso: Sylvan EssoReally, really great record. A song I sing repeatedly is “Play It Right.” What a hook! Nick [Sanborn] is a hell of a bass player too, and he graciously played on [The Rosebuds’ 2014 album] Sand + Silence. I remember him playing me a few of the songs in the studio while we were recording. I remember just being blown away.
4. The Afghan Whigs: Do to the BeastA really great comeback record. Sounds like they never took years off after 1965 came out. As a matter of fact, it sounds like they would have released it before 1965 came out. This is coming from a Gentlemen guy, of course.
5. Sharon Van Etten: Are We ThereThe song I’ve sung most out loud to myself all year has to be “Taking Chances.” What a great song.
6. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic EyeAny record Tom Petty makes is gonna make my year-end list just based on Full Moon Fever‘s impact on my life alone.
7. Todd Terje: It’s Album TimeGood music to drive around and look at waterfalls to.
8. Dum Dum Girls: Too True“Rimbaud Eyes” should have been a hit everywhere.
9. Strand of Oaks: HealTim!

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

Personally, it was playing the ACL Festival and touring with my best friends. The highlight had to be getting woken up after only a couple of hours of sleep and being forced to put on a wetsuit and go surfing at Ventura Beach in California during a hurricane swell. I ended up having one of the best times after I woke up!

What was the low point of 2014 for you?

What’s the point in talking about these? It’s all a matter of perspective anyway.

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

Try to be as productive as I can, finish a few more records and watch the Blazers win the Western Conference and make it to the NBA finals!

U2’s new album was downloaded for free into millions of users’ iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

I don’t really see the big deal, as long as you could take it off of your phone, etc. I mean, that band did write “With or Without You.” But I think the real gift was from Apple to U2 when they gifted them all that money without even selling a single record.

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved?

Ha, no, I did not-still not sure I know what it was about or what it was for. Maybe I should have? But I’ve had enough ice buckets from years of basketball injuries. Who’s Grimes? I’m sure she had her valid reasons for her decision and that’s about all that should matter.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri opened up a new national dialogue on police shootings and racism in America. Do you think anything will actually change because of it?

I hope it does! It needs to change.

What’s your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

I’ll pass on this question.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them “hillbillies” for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Well, I’m not sure chastising the crowd at your shows is the correct thing to do. They can really make you upset sometimes if you’re having an off show or if you go into the performance with the wrong attitude to begin with. But either way it sure can make you feel crappy when you’re up on stage and a few people in the audience are being rude to the point where you want to say something. But I always think about the people who really wanted to be there in the first place. As for other bands, I’ll always be respectful towards them if they show me the same amount of respect as well. Everyone has they’re bad days every now and again, but no one needs to take it out on other people. Plus, there are no hillbillies in NC!

“Weird Al” Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the “Weird Al” version’s lyrics be about?

Probably the song off of our new record Sand + Silence called “In My Teeth.” But his would be about tea and all the things he would put in it like, boba and Sweet’N Low, etc.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

I’m not sure what they would be about, but I wouldn’t agree with any of them either way!

What’s the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you’ve ever had?

In L.A., the parents of a five-year-old girl brought us a drawing their daughter did that said “Nice Fox” on the top of it, but it was actually a picture of Jasmine, the boxer that we once had which had died a few years prior. She was the star of the homemade “Nice Fox” video. I always thought that was the sweetest thing. And actually, every night when the audience sings “Nice Fox” back to us all, it is the best thing and is always amazing to hear and I never take it for granted.

What’s the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

Just about the songwriting process. No one ever asks how you came up with that idea, or talks about specific parts of the songs or lyrics. It’s all usually about your background or yourself as a person. I think we have enough ways for writers to find out that information already. So I guess that would answer the second question.

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you’re now a successful musician?

I’ve never thought of that. Sweet, I’ve made it! Maybe that one English teacher in college who didn’t like my short story, “Truth, Tennessee.” Take that!

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

Samantha Fox or Tia Carrere. Duh.

Which subject do you wish you paid more attention to in school?

All of them, especially math.

If you could travel through time, which historical event would you most like to alter the outcome of and why?

Chris Webber traveling and calling time out when Michigan played UNC for the national championship. I would sneak into the huddle and say, “Don’t travel, Webber!”

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

Cameron McIver and David Roberts cut my hair before a high school basketball game. Big mistake.

What has most surprised you about getting to know your parents as an adult?

Just how hard they worked and how honest they were and how they sacrificed to raise me and my brothers and sisters.

What quirky piece of band merchandise would you most like to produce for sale to your fans?

Switchblade combs.



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