Post-rock outfit I Is Another is a super group of sorts, comprised of Jonah Matranga (Far, Gratitude, Onelinedrawing) and Ian Love (Rival Schools, Burn). The self-titled debut, released by Siren Records on June 18, features Love’s keen instrumentalism and Matranga’s unique lyrical voice. In combination, it isn’t clear where the collaborators each begin or end, which is likely the measure of a successful pairing.
Ghettoblaster caught up with Matranga recently to discuss the collaboration and resulting record. This is what he confessed about it…
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent LP?
Ian sent me demos a couple years back, actually. I just kept listening for fun, then some words and melodies started showing up and we went from there.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
I think “Shake” was the toughest. It’s a pretty weird, complex arrangement, with shifting tempos and time signatures. Also, the ideas I had were pretty heavy. It worked out really well, but it was pretty intense getting there.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
Hmm. I know I surprised Ian a lot with my vocal choices, but he loved everything I was doing, so we just stuck with it, and there weren’t a lot of twists and turns. We work really well together.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Jeff Gensterblum from Small Brown Bike (great band) played the drums on the record and did a fantastic job. Aside from that, it’s all about Ian’s wizardry.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
It was just us. We’ve both worked some great producers over the years, and Ian himself has really turned into an amazing engineer and producer. I’ve done some production myself. We trust each other, so anytime one of us was stuck, the other would generally have an idea that led us through.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
I’d say it really works out that the band is called I Is Another, because the songs are all about personal entanglement, in bad ways and good. Between wanting to take care of people and wanting to be taken care of, there’s a lot of potential confusion. That’s where the good stuff is, though. The last song, which I just ended up calling I Is Another, is about the good part, the relief we can find in our connection.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We’ve just done some acoustic shows, which have been great. “Bittersweet” really seems to get to people in that context, but honestly, we’ve had lots of people have lots of different favorite tracks, which we think is a good sign.