1. How did you get your band name?
In my old band, we spent weeks thinking of a band name and then when we tried to change our name, it took weeks again and we narrowed it down to four absolutely terrible names, none of which we ended up using. So this time, since I write all the musical and lyric parts, I decided to bypass the entire process and call us The Jim Ivins Band.
2. How did this band get started?
All of us had played in other bands and were best friends so when I wrote the songs and wanted to have a band play them live, I decided to assemble my dream team of musicians and pick and choose my favorite people.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
My biggest songwriting influence of all is Ace Enders. I have been the biggest Early November fan for years, since I saw them on the Take Action Tour with Sugarcult. I love how Ace is so honest in his lyrics and I am also in love with his new stuff. That's not to say that we sound like The Early November or Ace Enders and a Million Different People, because I don't think we do really, but the way Ace writes and his honesty and how his lyrics are easy to relate to is a major influence on me. When we got the chance to work with him and have him produce our EP, it was a dream come true. The way I'm writing now is taking the band in a more acoustic driven rock direction, so my influences musically for that definitely include Graham Colton (I would say we sound the most like him), Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and the Goo Goo Dolls. My other huge influences are definitely Mae, Relient K, Third Eye Blind, and I will always be influenced in one way or another by Oasis because they're my all time favorite band.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
The stock answer to this would be Blink-182. They mean so much to me and I know the entire AP.net community because they made pop punk what it is and inspired too many bands to count. The way they wrote songs, melodies and harmonies especially, and the way they carried themselves, truly made them one of a kind. However, since we don't really sound like Blink I won't say that. I would say that my dream list of artists to tour with includes Oasis, The Early November, Graham Colton, Jason Mraz, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, Relient K, Mae, and The Goo Goo Dolls. I choose this list mostly because of what their songs mean to me. Lyrics and credibility as a songwriter are the most important thing to me and I think these artists are the absolute best at that in my mind. They all write songs where people, definitely myself included, go "wow that's exactly how I'm feeling (or how I've felt)" and I've always wanted to be able to write songs that do that to people and help people. I have always wanted to write music that makes people feel good and to also know that they're not alone.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
A fat bunny. They're the cutest. Chicks like cute fat animals. Giggity.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Our music is real upbeat and makes you feel good. Its about real stuff and emotions and not just like "I was a loser in high school but now I'm in a band so I'm cool and we're goin' to the party on Friday night cause we're in high school". I can't think really think of any other good reasons. I'm biased so I think our music is really good.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
Our songs aren't really Guitar Hero sounding songs but I guess "The Chance" cause of the different riffs it has or "2 O'Clock Wake Up Call" because its based in a cool bass riff (Both songs are on our new EP "Back To Reality" which is on iTunes and myspace). They probably wouldn't be terribly hard especially relative to something like DragonForce.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
All of our friends and families and anyone who had ever listened to us and got us to that point.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Labels aren't into artist development anymore. The fact that there are so many bands now probably contributes to this. Back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, and even 90's, if you had some great songs, you could get a deal and the label would take you under their wing and really develop you and help you grow your following. Now, having great songs is only a small part of it. Myspace definitely has helped bands but at the same time it also can hurt you. Like I said earlier, there SO many bands. So now when labels look at myspace, you could have the greatest songs ever written in the history of mankind but if you don't have like millions of myspace friends, they don't care about you. But then you can have some formulaic, cookie-cutter band that sounds like every band ever and they've got those friends, the label is like "let's capitalize on this and get one catchy song out of these guys then move on to the next ones". And a lot of people say major labels are the worst so stay away from them, and to an extent that's true, but where they have you trapped is that a lot of people don't realize that the majors still carry a lot of weight. They control all the distribution, they get your songs on MTV and Fuse and specifically radio (something the indies can't do), and they have the marketing power to get you known. If the stars align and the timing is right on everything, a major can still make you the biggest band in the world, but they just need to care a little more about the artists.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Our first tour last summer was plagued by promoters having absolutely no idea what they were doing, so I would say some of this is memorable because it was so sucky. We are from Richmond, VA and have never played out of state so you would think a promoter would take that into account, but no. We pull into Ithaca, NY to play The Haunt which is a pretty big place, bigger than I thought, and we find that there are not only only two bands on the bill, but the other band is from Brooklyn, NY so they're not exactly popular in Ithaca. The promoter had booked no locals. Not a single person showed up. The next night we played in New York City at Arlene's Grocery. I instantly like the venue cause its like the perfect size. The only problem is that the promoter has put us LAST. Locals before us. So the first band plays and its at capacity so we're thinking this might not be so bad. Then the second band plays and its still pretty full but not as much. The third act plays and there's less than half the people there by the time she starts and by the time she was done, everyone had left, and we played for our five friends that we knew in New York.
A funny tour experience though is that we had played Philly the night before and had the day off and were going to see John Mayer that night in Camden, NJ. We were staying at a friends house about an hour away in Jersey and on our way back from the show we got lost, and found that New Jersey is not very creative when coming up with names for roads. A sign on the highway was the exit for "Street Road". The kicker though, is that once we got our GPS working, it said "take a right on New Road Road". We thought it was a glitch but sure enough, we pulled up and saw that in fact there was a New Road Road. We laughed for like an hour.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
AP.net means a lot because its constantly updated news about bands and artists that I care about. Its news access that you can't get on MTV or Fuse or radio and because there are so many bands out there its amazing that every move they make is covered on AP. I obsessively check it throughout the day.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
"Run". We usually open with it and it instantly grabs your attention (at least that's what people have told me). The chorus is great and kicks in real nice and its catchy and upbeat and I love the lyrics.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
New York and London are my favorite cities in the world. I absolutely love the culture of both cities. Miami is pretty balla though. I am however a sucker for Disney World, as I have been six times.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
I got into music and rock radio at a very young age so childhood for me is grunge - its Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Nirvana. Childhood is also of course Blink-182, because I wouldn't have ever gotten into pop punk music and that whole scene without Blink.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Mind control. I see a girl who I find attractive and then all of a sudden she walks up to me and says "I don't know you, and your name is unimportant, but I feel the sudden urge to have sex with you. Are you interested?". I would also like to make little things move like what Jim did to Dwight on The Office.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Not in the least. We're still building our following but we've only been together for a year and have all ready opened for Mae, The Ataris, Carolina Liar, Sparky's Flaw, gone on tour, and had Ace Enders produce our EP. Hopefully we'll get a deal soon and conquer the world. One can only dream.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I gave up guitar for one year to play saxophone. I was the worst saxophone player of all time, haha.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas. How could it not be?
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Music. Reading band interviews and news online. Wikipedia-ing bands and finding out facts about them. Going to Sea World and taking my pants off.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Don't think I have any. My talents are unhidden.