IVY harnesses their musical prowess with a meticulously curated selection of gear, crafting a unique and captivating sonic experience.
IVY, the progressive rock band known for their captivating soundscapes and thought-provoking lyrics, has recently unveiled their latest single, “Heartless.” With its fuzzy guitar strums and the delicate plucking of finger-picked strings, the track immerses listeners in a reflection on troublesome relationships.
What begins as a seemingly romantic melody gradually evolves into a more intense and powerful chorus, courtesy of guitarist James Axton’s energetic performance. “Heartless” takes listeners on a sonic odyssey, seamlessly blending genres and themes, reminiscent of operatic rock acts like The Protomen and Dream Theater.
To achieve their distinct sound, IVY recognizes the indispensable role of their gear. They strive for an “acoustic electric” approach, utilizing clean guitar and bass tones as the backbone of their songs. By carefully controlling the dynamics within their music, IVY makes the most of their modest equipment, setting them apart from conventional modern alt-rock bands. While they embrace a more organic and old-school sound, the band still incorporates effects to enhance their recordings and stage performances.
While they embrace a minimalist approach with fewer effects, IVY still incorporates essential tools to enhance their recordings and live performances. From Louis’ Barcus Berry acoustic electric violin to Connor’s Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass, each member’s gear contributes to the band’s unique sonic identity. With their blend of genre-bending music and thoughtful attention to gear, IVY continues to captivate audiences with their intricate dynamics and intriguing discography.
Straight from the heart of IVY, the band themselves paint the most vivid picture of their artistic journey.
I use a fishman loud box mini to run my Barcus Berry acoustic electric violin through. This gives a very acoustic, natural and full sound to our songs which adds depth and texture. Along with this I use a simple reverb pedal which is perfect for fitting the violin in with the vocals and creating an eerie feel to parts.
The Barcus Berry does not quite cut it in the studio though so I mic my full acoustic which has a great acoustic tone and is much more preferable to play.
The majority of IVY’s bass sound comes from Connor Coopers’ Mexican made Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass. This lovely bass with its heavy gauge roundwound strings is run into a beefy Fender Rumble 500 bass amp via the Justin Chancellor Signature CryBaby Fuzz/Wah Pedal.
This setup creates a deep, smooth growling tone with lush mids and soft melodic treble. The amp has the treble nudged down slightly with the high mids pushed to give those high notes a polished punch.
The UK Filter on the Wah gives shape to the bass when pushed slowly to build tension, and the Fuzz Wah drops in the dirty synth-like screams that Tool fans love to hear in those gritty moments. Overall the bass sound is thick, smooth and so luscious that it feels like melted honey.
Ocean the drummer:
I’ve played on the same drum kit for about 6 years. It’s a Star marble Vinyl wrapped kit but the kick drum is a Tama floor Tom that has been converted into a kick drum. My kit is a little old and worn, but like an old Toyota, it keeps going and gets the job done.
The rack Tom falls off the stand regularly during practice and the snare can’t be tightened, but I’ve found that it adds to our uniquely acoustic sound. I use a 20” A Zildjiian crash ride and a pair of 14” A custom Zildjiian hi-hats.
This is really all I need in terms of cymbals and encourages me to be more creative with my drum beats. However, this does not mean I will not be looking into getting a new kit as soon as I can.
Guitarist James Axton:
Axton takes an old school approach to his gear. In typical Dunedin style, James’ pedal board is made from an old skateboard deck and velcro which sticks the pedals on.
The pedals that are used for his lead guitar work are the budget, but reliable Behringer Ultra Chorus followed by a Boss Blues Driver, as well as an Electro-Harmonix Tone tattoo multi effects pedal.
When these pedals are paired with James’ Fender Stratocaster it makes for a timeless, classic feel organically replicating tones heard in Metal, Blues and Rock.
Jesse boasts two pedals, one Boss Chorus and a Boss Space Echo, which when combined both create and fill space within their music.
Jesse also plays a Fender Stratocaster, instead with a scalloped neck. Both Jesse and James run their effects through identical Vox AC30’s.
Although the amps are the same, the tone which comes out of them is vastly different to one another due to Jesse and James’ differing play style and effect pedals.
This is what contributes to the vastly intricate and intriguing dynamics seen all throughout IVY’s discography.