"It's the glittery curtain that's hiding some very ugly truths behind it..." - iDKHOW talk their debut album, Razzmatazz
The genesis of I Dont Know How But They Found Me, or iDKHOW as they're more commonly known now, is a mixture of intrigue and calculation.
The band consists of singer Dallon Weekes and drummer Seaman. Weekes was a member of Panic! At The Disco for eight years, while Seaman was in alt-punks Falling In Reverse in 2017. But, for a good while, and despite the fact, there were pictures of them playing live, the pair denied the project existed.
They started life as a mysterious duo who appeared on stage at the much-loved Emo Nite in Los Angeles, who went unnamed.
But, rather than release songs and give interviews as most do, the pair instead sent their fledging fans on a wild goose chase.
The idea was that iDKHOW had been a band from over 30 years ago that never got their big break.
But in 2017, an anonymous source began to release recovered video and songs of iDKHOW, which spanned the years 1964 to 1983.
Eventually, at the end of that year, the pair released a new song and committed to life as a new band. Now, they've released Razzamataz, their long-awaited debut album, which has been produced by Tim Pagnotta, frontman of pop-punks Sugarcult.
The pair bring together vaudevillian musical theatre songs with 80s new wave to create an eccentric brand of pop, which is all their own.
With Razzmatazz now on shelves, we spoke to Weekes about how the album came together...
When were the songs for this album written? Have they been collected over a long period of time or are they all more recent?
"Most of them have been written for a while. I began to collect ideas in 2016, but I didn't really have a chance to record many of them until February. We got a handful of them recorded with our initial EP, but that extra time in between recording sessions allowed me to write more."
How did you decide what tracks made the album? Did you ever consider putting anything on from either of your EPs?
"Everything on the album and the EP were always meant to be one thing. We just got interrupted by two years of touring, but when it came time to make the record, those EP songs had already been in the ether for so long. it felt like a better idea to do something new."
You made the album with Tim Pagnotta from Sugarcult, how did that collaboration come about?
"Our management reached out to him. They gave me a list of possible producers that we could work with and I knew that he had made some very big records, so working with Tim was a great opportunity for us."
What did he give you as a producer?
"He provided a solid pop foundation for everything we were doing, which is important to me, because I feel like even my weirdest ideas are built on that foundation. He also wasn't afraid to let me get weird and experiment with ideas. Which was new for me, I had never worked with someone who was unafraid of that."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"There are a few I think. Isolation and anger, loneliness and love. Optimism in the face of cruelty perhaps."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"I think everything came together fairly easily. I went in with a solid plan, knowing what I wanted everything to sound like, so there weren't many moments of wrestling ideas into existence."
And which came together most quickly?
"'Nobody Likes The Opening Band'. I wrote that one in about 30 minutes on the way to an early iDKHOW gig."
When did you settle on Razzmatazz for the title? Were there any other titles in contention?
"Once I had landed on using that word in the title track it felt like the right idea. The word seemed to encapsulate a lot of the themes from the record. That shiny veneer that the entertainment business covers itself in. The glittery curtain that's hiding some very ugly truths behind it."
Are you able to make any live plans at the moment? Or are you looking towards 2021?
"It doesn't seem that way. I hope I'm wrong, though. Plans seem to change day by day."
How have you spent lockdown? Have you kept writing?
"I've been really focused on releasing the record. Making art and music videos and promoting it any way we are able to. In my spare time, I've been casually collecting new ideas. I'd like to focus on it more once Razzmatazz is released."