So many of the write-ups about Thriving Ivory (and even their own bio) focus on the fact these guys; Clayton, Scott, Drew, Bret and Paul are creating a sound that is both captivating and mysterious – something that is truthfully hard to describe. I probably can’t do it any justice, but a lot of this talk comes from the vocals of front man, Clayton Stroope. The tones he can produce are more than just distinctive – it’s a voice capable of taking your mind hostage at least for a few moments, pulling you into songs that can connect on a deeper level – a blend of ghostly melodies that tug on the doors of your conscience.
You can attribute some of their musical influence to U2, but even then, what Thriving Ivory is doing is strikingly different. Their self-titled debut record brings together years of work together on the San Francisco scene – no room for filler. You’ve probably already heard “Angels on the Moon,” but Clayton says about the record, “I think these songs have the ability to touch listeners and allow them to really connect with the band. I think a lot of music doesn’t pay enough attention to that.” He’s right – the collection, from top to bottom will do something for you – whether you need something to pick you up or simply comfort you.
While the music on the self-titled release sounds like it may be difficult to duplicate on stage, Clayton says fans need not worry – “Fans can expect a live show that meets or beats their expectation after listening to the record… We try to bring that along with an energetic performance every night to drive the songs home for people.” The band will be back on the road after the start of the new year, so keep an eye out. They’ll backing up this record as it grows bigger and bigger. Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.
XXQs: Thriving Ivory (All responses Clayton)
PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us how Thriving Ivory first came together. Was it an instant connection the first day you practiced together?
Clayton: We all met while going to school in Santa Barbara, California. There were about 20,000 students living in the area and it was a great place to be in a band. It was mostly just for fun at first but after our first couple shows we really started to vibe together both on and offstage. I think we all knew at that point that it was what we wanted to do.
PEV: Calling San Francisco home, what kind of music were you listening to growing up? Does the band all have the same tastes?
Clayton: We all have a wide variety of influences and musical tastes. I was raised on mostly classic rock type stuff. I heard a lot of the great rock vocalists growing up, so that had always been my idea of how a front man should sing.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Thriving Ivory show?
Clayton: Fans can expect a live show that meets or beats there expectation after listening to the record. Our live sound has always been very important to us. We try to bring that along with an energetic performance every night to drive the songs home for people.
PEV: How have your shows evolved from when you first started out?
Clayton: Shows seem to be getting bigger and better most of the time. Over the past year we’ve had a chance to travel all over the country playing shows in places most of us have never been. It’s been exciting to play for fans that have been waiting a long time for us to play a show in the town.
PEV: Any embarrassing or crazy live show stories? There has to be tons, I’m sure…
Clayton: …I have a bad habit of unplugging Scott’s piano with my mic stand. It happened once during a breast cancer benefit show during the middle of the song and it was pretty awkward. No one has stumbled off the front of the stage drunk yet, and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist out today, who would it be and why?
Clayton: U2…we love them and they’ve always been a huge influence on us.
PEV: Currently on tour in support of your self-titled debut release “Thriving Ivory”, tell us, what can fans expect from this release?
Clayton: Great songs front to back. There are no filler tracks on the record. We compiled 12 of the songs that we felt best represented us. I also hope people will make a personal connection with the lyrics. That’s always been the mark of a good song to me and a goal we strive for when recording a song.
PEV: How is this album different from other music out today?
Clayton: I think these songs have the ability to touch listeners and allow them to really connect with the band. I think a lot of music doesn’t pay enough attention to that.
PEV: When you sit down to write an album like this what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?
Clayton: We really didn’t have a choice in our environment. We had a limited budget and had to record most of the record in our guitar player’s basement. It was definitely a bit ‘ghetto’ but we got the vibe and performances we were going for.
PEV: Your hit single “Angels on the Moon” is in the Top 40 at both Pop and Hot AC radio. Describe to us the feeling of hearing your song on the radio for the first time and getting to watch it climb up the charts?
Clayton: Hearing your song on the radio is definitely a bit surreal. It’s been a very gradual rise for us and we’ve really had time to soak it all in at each new step. We feel really good about the growth of the song so far and are looking forward to next year.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Thriving Ivory?
Clayton: At one point we all worked together at a telemarketing company.
PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio right now, what’s one thing we’d most likely find?
PEV: In your opinion, is there a certain city (US or International) that you find to be the best city for music?
Clayton: I think every major city has something cool and unique to offer. A couple of our favorites have been Nashville, Austin, New York, Kansas City and Salt Lake City.
PEV: As well, where’s one place you haven’t played, you would like to? Why?
Clayton: Never been to Hawaii!!
PEV: Where will Thriving Ivory be ten years from now?
Clayton: Hopefully still recording and touring.
PEV: So, what’s next for Thriving Ivory?
Clayton: We have some time off over Christmas and January but then we’re getting back out on the road. You can probably expect to see us playing shows non stop next year and hopefully releasing another single.
For more information on Thriving Ivory, check out: www.thrivingivory.com