When you have a heavy heart and feel the weight of the world you can either remain shackled to the way things are or you can break the chains and rise above adversity with action. This band chooses the latter and does it with their original sound.
The fuel to the fire that is Iduna consists of political frustration, societal inequality and a desire to change the world with song.
They are optimists in a corrupted world. Dreamers. The freaks and misfits that won’t conform and accept authorities mandate.
Within the centre of this band is a resistance whether they realize it or not and that refusal to obey is present throughout their debut album “Counterpart.”
The album begins with a track called “Radiate” that gently introduces the band with a melodic 20 second dreamlike experience. The drums enter next with a beat that keeps the ship rowing all the way into the 33 second mark where the wind of the guitars reach the songs sail and takes control of the trip.
The songwriting on the album paints a clear picture while forcing you to examine your own life for parallels. The song “Lavender” is the best example of this with lyrics like “She was a dancer only in her own mind.
Watching herself spin around.
Feet never to touch the ground.
She couldn’t remember how the moon felt on her skin.
Smell of lavender in her hair as the sky spun high above her.”
Both vocals and guitar are handled by Jason Craig and Trison Boyes while bassist Tim Saulnier and drummer Gabriel Lavoie provide a stability to the experience that keeps the album in line from the first to last track.
I had the opportunity to ask the group some questions and they were kind enough to oblige.
Human connection and the way we interact with each other is an underlying issue in your music, how have you been dealing with the isolation of the COVID19 pandemic?
We're mostly focusing on writing new songs and finishing up the projects that were mostly finished before everything went crazy. Meeting for virtual drinks & games with friends, D&D. Writing a lot of music. Catching up on rest. Cooking and cleaning a lot more. We had a few shows lined up that have been scrapped due to the shutdowns so that wasn't great, but we're firmly in the 'stay home' camp, so we understand that it's for the greater good.
Do you have a most memorable show?
There's a few actually, but our release show for Counterpart a few years ago, and the last show with our old drummer Craig are definite standout moments. Those are the ones where you could feel the emotion bouncing back from the audience, and combined with the people there with us it really made the shows special.
Honorable mentions are:
Toronto - Cherry Cola’s when the drunkards broke the mirror downstairs, rocked out with us upstairs, then bled everywhere as the bouncer chased them out. All while we were playing.
Guelph - Van Gogh’s Ear because of the crowd and tacos. Also, it was the first time we had a string of multiple shows and felt like a 'mini tour'. Tim got belligerently afternoon drunk and had a nap in the back of the van before the show. Came back and played the best he ever had.
In the song “Years Gone By” you sing “Wake up to find another day’s gone by. Wake up to find another year’s gone...bye bye.” Have you ever felt like your life was passing you by?
Every day. We like to think it’s pretty common. That sense of urgency is what shapes our desires and aspirations. It’s what makes us “go for it.” Maybe it’s unhealthy, we don't know. Jason originally wrote that song in 2003, but released it with Iduna in 2017 which is kind of ironic.
Did the change in drummers last year effect the music? If so how?
It has definitely been a reality check for us. We recorded a dozen or so tracks with Craig before he left and we'd planned on releasing them as a string of singles throughout this year while we got Gab up to speed. The goal was to start writing more with him after that. Gab has a great feel for our music already and it has been a pretty smooth transition after the stress of auditions.
The band is from Toronto, does the city and the people in it play a role in your music?
We have a pretty great support system in Toronto through our friends and families, and our shared drive to make music here. We generally try to keep local things out of our songs, although one of our more recent songs 'Crickets' was very much inspired by some issues with our provincial government and its actions concerning the city. Most of us grew up outside of Toronto but it's become our surrogate home, so recently the city is definitely coming through more and more in our writing.
Do you have a favourite venue in Toronto?
Our favourite venue is actually one we haven't played yet, the Danforth Music Hall. Every show we've seen there has been great, the size is nice and big but you never lose sight of the stage because of the floor slope, and the sound is always great. We've played a lot of really great venues in Toronto so it's hard to pick a favourite, but our previous show at the Cameron House really felt comfortable. We've played more shows at Cherry Cola's than we can remember and Tim used to do sound there, so that was definitely our home away from home for a while.
If you only had one sentence to describe the music of Iduna but you couldn’t use the words political or connected, how would you describe your bands message?
Music for reflection and asking ourselves what it is to be and who we should be to each other.
Iduna seems to have a political mindset. If you could speak with our Prime Minister or any other world leader, what would you say?
Just that on the whole, we need to really rethink our collective values and what matters most to us. Having money at the centre of who we are and how we organize ourselves as a society is a challenging thing to maintain, as the crisis right now is kind of showing us. In general, we could stand to treat each other a lot better and make sure that everyone is taken care of with dignity and respect.
What’s next for Iduna?
Hopefully once we can start having a few people in a room again we can wrap up some of the songs we've been working on and resume our video release schedule. We have a new single already good to go, so we're just trying to get our bearings with everything happening before we start releasing things again. Once that starts, we plan on hitting the ground running, put out more music, expand what we do online, and maybe re-book some of those shows we had to cancel.
Iduna is an alternative rock band that is clearly bound for a long life. Singles like 2019’s “Crickets” or 2020’s “Creeping In” are clear examples of a new direction. One that refuses to repeat the same message and bravely takes a new path forward, not one that alienates the acquired fan base but instead the new singles seem to tease the idea of beginning a new chapter.
Birthing new energy into a hard to crack genre, Iduna is setting themselves apart with their music and lyrics in a way that was much anticipated by the masses. The acceptance of their messaging speaks volumes about the reach that they will soon have with the speed they are currently travelling.
Band line up
vocalists/guitarists Jason Craig and Trison Boyes
bassist Tim Saulnier
drummer Gabriel Lavoie