It’s 11:00 a.m. and I’m logging into a Zoom meeting with Wyatt Clem and Shawn Abhari, also known as The Ivy. I’m familiar with some of their music, as a matter of fact their song “Missing Out” has been a regular bop on my “liked” playlist for quite some time now. It’s sexy, dance-y, and has a killer hook (much like myself). So when I set up this interview, imagine my surprise when I got a preview of their latest single “Be Like You”, and what came through my speakers was a hazy, sultry groove with gritty guitars that made me feel like I was floating into the clouds. Quite the detour from what I have previously heard from The Ivy. So as I waited for Wyatt and Shawn’s faces to pop up on my screen, I couldn’t wait to get into it and find out what sparked this change in direction for the sound on this new track. Finally, the guys appear in front of me and Shawn smiles while Wyatt informs me that he’s super sick and will probably be heading to Urgent Care immediately after the call is over. That’s a huge bummer considering the band is about to kick off their Fall Tour and Wyatt is the lead vocalist. I feel an urgency to get right to it so he can go get a shot or something, so we dive into the conversation.
When I asked the guys about what influenced their new sound, they shared with me that it has been a natural progression of drawing inspiration from their surrounding environment, what they’ve been listening to lately, and ultimately what they want to hear in music today. “Throughout the trajectory of the band, a lot of it has been influenced by our surroundings. As we’re growing and listening to new music, we never really sat down and sought a specific sound, it’s always just been ‘how does the song end up’.”
One of their recently released songs, “Street Dog,” gave the first hint of The Ivy steering away from the synth pop sound that fans have been used to hearing from them and instead leaning more into their alternative rock side. Their latest single, “Be Like You,” shows Wyatt and Shawn exploring even further into heavier sounds with crunchy guitars and Wyatt’s smooth vocals creating an atmospheric, shoegaze vibe.
The guys explain that coming from a singer song-writer approach, writing songs from the guitar and adding in the production side of things later has also helped shape the new sound of their music. “There’s a lot of shoegaze, lofi, indie stuff happening here in Oklahoma, which is kind of a new development. It’s cool to not have to look super far outside of where you live to get the inspo.”
Rather than trying to hop on a trend when it comes to the music they’re creating, they prefer to create from sounds they genuinely love, with Shawn adding “You gotta trust in your own taste”.
That lament ties into the topics they write about as well. Many of The Ivy’s songs explore feelings of social pressures, expectations, comparison and the effect that social media can have on people. The band expresses that they try to write about things that they are dealing with in their own lives. “I believe that if you write stuff that is real to you, at least one person is gonna relate to it.” With the variety of sounds happening in their last few singles, it’s safe to say that there is something for everyone with this new direction the band is taking.
As we wrap up the interview so Wyatt can get to Urgent Care, I inform them that we are friends now and they agree. That’s a good thing because I will definitely be seeing them in Denver on December 6, when they play at Lost Lake Lounge with Swim Fan and Clone The Wolf. The guys say they’re looking forward to people seeing the new songs live along with some newly added stage production elements, with Shawn adding: “The crowds in Denver seem to be pretty music-fan heavy, and everyone seems pretty stoked for live music in Denver so we’re super excited about it.”
You can grab your tickets to the show at wearetheivy.com and check out their latest single, “Be Like You” here: