IVY Unveiled: A candid conversation on music, relationships, and self-reflection

We had the privilege of sitting down with IVY, an exciting progressive rock band on the rise, to delve into their musical journey and gain insight into their creative process.

IVY recently released their captivating single, “Heartless,” a thought-provoking exploration of troubled relationships and the importance of self-reflection.

While the single serves as a focal point, our interview delves beyond its sonic layers to uncover the band’s inspirations, aspirations, and the vibrant music scene they call home.

IVY new single 'Heartless'

In our conversation, IVY shared their thoughts on the meaning behind “Heartless” and the need to challenge societal complacency towards abuse.

Lead singer Jesse Hanan delved into the significance of Mary Magdalene as a muse, while the band reflected on the impact of literature, films, and musical influences on their artistry.

Additionally, we explored the vibrant music scene in Dunedin, where IVY hails from, and the unique bond that binds the band members together.

Join us as we embark on a journey into the depths of IVY’s music and gain a glimpse into their promising future.

IVY band

Happy: What’re you up to today?

IVY: Today will probably involve going around to Jesse and Connor’s flat, have a sit down and a cup of tea, then a 5 hour long band practice in the evening.

Happy: What does a typical day look like when recording a project like Heartless?

IVY: A typical day would involve; Wake up at 9:55, arrive at the studio at 10 with a pocketful of instant coffee sachets to keep us going through the day. 

Record drums and bass before lunch.

Lunch at 1 O’clock – subway sandwich every time. 

Grind the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. 

Head home and in bed by 10, repeat again the next day.

Happy: You’ve said that you hope Heartless “challenge[s] the listener to reflect on themselves.” Can you elaborate a little on the meaning behind the song?

Jesse: We wanted to make a song that would highlight the all too common occurrence of abuse within relationships. 

Although society agrees that abuse is morally and objectively wrong, the song touches on the fact that often, people excuse abusers actions due to the fact they might know them personally.

As if it’s easier to turn a blind eye than confront the truth about those we think we know, including ourselves. 

Nobody is completely incapable of violence and therefore self reflection is necessary for self-improvement.

Happy: Why was Mary Magdalene a particularly interesting muse for Heartless?

IVY: Mary Magdalene is certainly one of the more interesting characters in the bible.

Although it wasn’t until Pope Gregory said in 591 AD that Magdalene was a prostitute, the notion that she was, has never left. 

She faced abuse throughout her life despite being one of Jesus’s closest disciples if not his closest. Her story throughout history is one of accusations.

Heartless is in a way a flip side to that. Heartless puts focus on internal reflection and self judgement, whereas Magdelenes’ story is of external judgement.

Happy: Is there anything you’ve watched or read that inspires your music?

Jesse:  Although not religious myself, listening to sermons at Knox Church in Dunedin have certainly inspired some of the band’s lyrics. 

Many religious texts have some of the best poems that have yet to be put to music. Musically, bands such as Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and Julian Temple Band have all significantly influenced our musical trajectory. 

Folk artists such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have all played a major part in our lyrics too.

Happy: What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?

The music scene in Dunedin is very exciting at the moment. There seems to be a shift in momentum with interest now being focused on some really different and interesting stuff. 

Sadly, venues in Dunedin are dwindling with a lack of funding from the council which is making it increasingly difficult to host gigs for people of all ages.

But overall it really seems to be a very exciting scene with so many promising bands and artists at the moment.

Happy: How did the current lineup of IVY come to be?

IVY: James, our lead guitarist, sent Jesse Hanan, our singer, a message in 2020 in hopes of stringing a band together, as both had been playing music for a few years. 

Jesse had already just formed a new band which included bass player Connor Cooper. 

James was added to the group which still lacked a drummer. One day at school, James heard drums coming from the school hall and found a 15 year old Ocean Temple jamming during music class. 

James asked Ocean to jam with the boys after school and began jamming that day.

The original four piece IVY remained until the recording of ‘Morning’s Wake’ in November 2022, when violinist and childhood friend of Ocean, Louis Stevenson featured. 

He was officially made a member of the band in April this year before the release of our latest single ‘Heartless’.

Happy: Are there any artists you’d like to shoutout who inspire your work?

IVY: Oceans dads’ band Julian Temple Band, is a massive inspiration for all of us musically. 

We spend so much of our time in James’ car listening to Julians’ CDs.

 His music is always so interesting and different to anything else that is out there at the moment and his band are all so incredibly talented.

Happy: Any upcoming projects or plans you can tease for us?

IVY: We are planning a nationwide tour at the end of this year or maybe the start of next year, as well as recording an album and maybe some more singles before the end of the year, if funds allow. 

Definitely trying to gig as much as we can outside of Dunedin and spread the word of IVY around the country and across the ditch to Aussie.

Happy: What makes you happy?

IVY: Playing music with each other. We are all best mates with a bond which has been created through music. 

We share the same passions and goals so we work really well together in a team setting while jamming as well as when we just hang out as friends. 

Jamming together is what makes all of us truly happiest.