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September 2019

I Don't Know How But They Found Me: Don't Call It A Throwback

Dallon Weekes unveils his new mystery band, and they've a big 2019 ahead.
Published: 8:52 pm, November 15, 2018Words: Ali Shutler.
I Don't Know How But They Found Me: Don't Call It A Throwback

"We live in a world where everywhere you look, there are people saying ‘follow me here', ‘subscribe to this', ‘check this out'," starts Dallon Weekes.

Hype and hyperbole are in abundance, which is why I Don't Know How But They Found Me wanted to do things differently.

"Our initial approach when we started was to play in secret, and deny that we were even a band. We denied that this band existed at all. Fans, when they started finding out about what we were doing, would ask us and we'd say ‘I don't know what you're talking about'.

"They would send us pictures of us playing shows, and we'd reply, ‘No. Handsome dudes, but that could be anyone'.

"There was something about that that people gravitated to. They weren't being sold something. They had to go out and find it. That's a romantic idea that doesn't exist as much anymore."

There's romance and discovery throughout IDKhow. Their music is a glorious clump of theatrics, emo, glam, sincerity and glittering pop. Their story is one of deliberate adventure and unexpected excitement.

A decade ago, Ryan Seaman and Dallon played together in The Brokbeks. They reconnected properly when Dallon, "started making a record on my own in between Panic! At The Disco tours," he explains.

"I would bring Ryan in to play drums. We realised how much we missed playing music together. We missed hanging out together, so we'd book a show in secret and have a fun night playing these songs on our own, and it just snowballed. Who ever really knows why people grab onto something, but it caught fire on its own, and eventually it made sense to do it full time."

"It started out as a fun side project just for us to be creative," says Ryan. "There was no pressure, no machine."

"The further in we get, the more fun it becomes"
Dallon Weekes

Now the band are signed to Fearless Records. There's an EP on the horizon, (‘Extended Play' is out 9th November), a month-long US tour with Waterparks and a support slot with Deaf Havana at Brixton Academy. They're already a long way from pretending the band doesn't even exist.

"The further in we get, the more fun it becomes," Ryan adds. "It hasn't stopped yet. Sure, it was pretty thrilling initially when we were doing it in secret, and we would deny it. That lasted for about seven months."

It's "the next step," starts Dallon, always the storyteller. "It's something we always wanted to do. We didn't want to keep it secret forever. Anyone who's creative, they want as many people as possible to hear what they're doing. That's definitely true for us. When we got started, we wanted to do it in a way that was honest and didn't take advantage of the fans of the bands we were in at the time."

While you don't have to look particularly hard to see the similarities between Panic! and IDKhow (reckless disregard for genre, a devilish blend of past and present and a love for all things that glitter), they're still a world apart.

"We always try to be respectful of where we came from," continues Dallon. "We never want to exploit fans or any of bands that we were in beforehand."

There's no escaping the fact that both Dallon and Ryan will be introduced as Ex-whatever band for a long time.

"That's always going to be part of the equation, and we knew that going into it. In a way, it's one of the big reasons why we started the way that we did. It would have been easy to do a press release: ‘Hey, check out this new thing that we're doing'."

But where's the discovery in that?

"I think the way that we did it was a little more honest, a little more sincere. Building credibility that way was important."

IDKhow aren't like other bands. There's a loose concept, for the moment anyway, of a group out of time and given a second chance.

"Inspirationally, everything we've been doing has been inspired by the media when I was a kid," offers Dallon. "Books on tape, VHS, and vinyl. Experiencing music and art that way as a little kid, it's a pretty special feeling and it's something I wanted to recreate.

"It's a difficult thing to do nowadays because everything is advertised everywhere you look, but back then, it was very limited the way you could discover things. You had record stores, thrift stores or just what was broadcast on TV. There was no internet, but I'll never forget that feeling of discovery.

"A lot of the things I discovered when I was a kid still mean a lot to me today. I wanted to recreate that experience, as best as we could. That's where the whole concept of a band from thirty-something years ago started."

It might sound nostalgic, rose-tinted glasses looking back at a time where all this was still fields and shouting at clouds seems like a brilliant idea, but IDKhow are never cynical. There are no complaints about the internet, streaming isn't seen as the enemy, and they never want to go back to a simpler time. They just like telling stories and, given a choice, they'd rather tell their own than the one involving other bands.

"All my favourite bands I discovered on my own," explains Dallon. "When you discover something on your own, it means something a little bit more to you. Bands like Sparks [an LA duo who formed in 1972, recently collaborated with Franz Ferdinand, and last released an album in 2017] - I found them because I fell into some weird YouTube hole and found out about them on my own. That was a band that I didn't know existed until two years ago. Discovering their story, footage, music, albums piece by piece was a pretty special thing.

"Because of the internet, it's easier to do that now, and I wanted to recreate that experience with our band, at least for this record. A band that people forgot about, that only now get to have a chance because of modern technology."

"We're working on an album, hopefully we can get that out early next year"
Dallon Weekes

IDKhow have been doing this for a little over a year.

"We want to get an EP out as soon as possible, then a record and then do this for as long as we can. As long as people care, we'll be doing this band," promises Dallon.

"I don't want to give too much away, but the songs we have right now, the influences come from everywhere. Not just David Bowie, T- Rex and Sparks, it also comes from movies, books on tape, vinyl and analogue media from years gone by. We're working on an album now. Hopefully, we can get that out early next year."

Back in the present though, things are hectic for IDKhow. Signing to Fearless, releasing new music and playing their first shows abroad.

"It's been a whirlwind but it's all good problems to have, so I can't complain. We're trying to keep up with everyone, that's been the difficult part. Keeping up with fans. When we started, we had a timeline. Let's release this video here, this song there. It snowballed though, and we got steamrolled by fans pretty much. The fan attention was awesome, and that brought music industry attention."

Behind the scenes, there was a bidding war as the band tried to work out what their best move was.

"Now we got things moving again, and it feels right."

Despite the storytelling, IDKhow came together organically. Two friends reunited by music, making the sort of songs that excited them and relishing the chance to hang out together, there's an honesty in that, that can be found in everything they do.

"I hope people notice it is sincere. It comes from a real place. It's not watered down or filtered through anything. We wanted to avoid that. We always want to avoid that. We want to operate this band the way music and fashion worked thirty years ago. The artist makes the art they make, and people decide if they like it or not. They don't ask anyone what they want to hear; they just do what they do. I don't think you can make people care. They either care, or they aren't interested, so you should make the art you want to make and be happy with it. People will either like it, or they won't."

Taken from the November issue of Upset. IDKhow's EP 'Extended Play' is out now.

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