Friday, 27 November 2009

Interview: The Icicles

The Icicles are four girls and a boy hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan. they make sugary, sunshine indiepop which has been released on various labels including Microindie, Drive-in, and Total Gaylord. They've also played with all yr favourite pop bands such as The Lucksmiths, The Salteens, The Aislers Set, Bunnygrunt, and The Smittens! They headlined the first ever Indietacks Christmas Twee show AND the 2nd ever offical indiepop gig at the Island bar, Birmingham*.

That photo up there is by Karen Dee Organ and is totally stolen from here.

I stumbled across them one day a few years back when I browsing when I probably should have been writing essays or something. It was definitely productice procrastination.

Gretchen , who guitars and sings with The icicles, was kind enough to answer some questions.

Bir Yr Lip: So far as I can tell, you always wear matching clothes for yr gigs. Who’s in charge of the styling? Who makes the garments?

Gretchen: Joleen is our fashionista. We all (mostly) try to sew, and thankfully Joleen is here to help us when we really f**k it up. She is a brilliant designer. Check out her clothing line at

BYL: Back in 2007 you came over to the uk, but so far as I’m aware yr records have never officially been available over here. How did the tour come about and how were the turn outs compared to what you expected?

G: Stuart from Indietracks invited us to play the festival. We thought playing on a train platform would be amazing - which it totally was! That's really how the tour came together. We figured since we were going to be in England, we might as well play Scandinavia (it seemed like a good idea at the time). It was a fantastic adventure!

We were very amazed by the turnout. It was top ace! People knew our music and even sang the words (in several clubs).

BYL: It’s been a while since you came over, and a while since you put out a record, how much longer do you think the people of these lands will have to wait for more icicles action?

G: We're working on a new album at present. We would love, love, love to venture back across the pond. Hopefully in the near future.

BYL: I know you’ve got some veggies/vegans in the band, what was touring Europe like for those guys? I remember reading that The Wailers had a nightmare and cancelled their tour, I hope things have improved for visitors since the 60’s..

G: It was easier than being a veggie on tour in US of A. We ate alot of Marks & Spencer sandwiches (which were quite delicious). The food was fantastico.

BYL: When you played Christmas twee in 2007 someone came onstage to chat up Joleen mid-song. Do these sorts of things happen often- stage invasions from suitors? Stalkers? Crazy rock n roll tour madness?

G: We've had a fair share of stalkers, Russian kissers, folks with boundary issues and middle age trade show bump & grinders. But overall, the audiences have been wonderful.

BYL: How do you manage yr day jobs with all your pop commitments?

G: 6 hours of sleep a night.

BYL: What’s Grand Rapids like to live in, how’s the pop music over there?

G: G-Raps is a growing, hopeful metropolis. There isn't a big pop scene here yet, but a few great bands do come through. People like Creed.

BYL: I heard one of the icicles is less of a pop fan and more of a “rocker” (Grand Valley Magazine 2008). I’d love to hear more about this background of ROCK!

G: Rebecca is our rocker. She's got a Black Sabbathesque band. She always really loved and played rock n roll. Pop music is a new musical genre that she is learning to appreciate (with twists of rock added where ever possible).

BYL: Lastly, the first thing I heard by you guys was the Lovescopes Theme somewhere on the internets, could you please tell me where that comes from? Have I got myself all in a twist on this one?

G: The Lovescopes were a band that never was. They had lyrics, merchandise, and a fanzine but they never really played (so the legend goes). We never heard any of their songs and never saw them perform. But they are big legends here in G-Raps. There was some sort of bad break up (so the legend goes). It's all very mysterious.

> rock on,
> gretchen

*This is a stupid insider thing but I'll share. I booked a gig for The Icicles back in 2007 upstiars at The Island bar, which at the time was shiny and new and exciting. As there seemed to be very few venues suitable for indiepop gigs I was dead excited that I'd managed to get a good line-up (icicles/validators/winston echo) at a new venue. the Dunc from The Autumn Store booked a gig AFTER I did but for a date BEFORE mine, which I think I'm right in saying featured The Loves, The School, and Richard Burke. So his was the OFFICIALLY the first. the big bumhead.



Well, the zine was all written and just waiting to be printed up. I can;t get my shit together well enough to get it printed, so I've decided to start this blog and put up a diferent article each week or so.

Interview: The Icicles
Ask A Stupid Question
Interview: The Carrots
Claire's cake recipe
Interview: Paul Stapleton
Interview: Incredible Weapons