Interview iDKHOW: “I always seem to enjoy my favourite things a lot more when I can share them”

Dallon Weekes is stepping out of the conceptual shadows for IDKHOW’s debut full-length.

Unveiling ‘Razzmatazz’ today, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me’s debut album is exactly what its title suggests; 12 tracks of outrageous fun, glitz and glamour, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek bombast added in for good measure.

The brainchild of Dallon Weekes, we sent him over some qs to find out a little bit more.

It sounds like you’ve been doing some more musical crate-digging for this record…
It was more related to aesthetic than anything musical. While I certainly love a lot of music from the ‘70s and ‘80s, I wouldn’t say I have any interest in being a revivalist. It was more to do with the way I experienced and consumed music and art as a kid. Admittedly, I think a good handful of influences from the ‘70s and early ‘80s took a tiny step forward when making the iDKHOW record, artists like Sparks, David Bowie and Oingo Boingo. Musically, it’s just not something that I had ever explored before. Growing up I was so enamored by The Beatles, and Elvis Costello, and British bands like Blur, and Pulp, and Radiohead. My favorite bands as a young man were Weezer and Ben Folds Five and Phantom Planet. In the early 2000s it was bands like Ima Robot, The Killers, and Louis XIV.
I never identified with any “emo”/ Warped Tour / pop-punk stuff that was always so popular then. So, for better or for worse I feel like I wear my influences on my sleeve. I feel like it’s because I want to spend my time making the kind of music that I would want to listen to. And hopefully in the process, we can introduce fans to some of my favorites, and pray that they fall in love with that stuff just as much as I did. I always seem to enjoy my favourite things a lot more when I can share them.

When / where did you record the album, and who with?
I recorded a good portion of stuff at home in Salt Lake City, at my kitchen table at first. In the past year or two I had started to learn how to record on my own, but we ended up taking all these demos to a producer named Tim Pagnotta. A lot of the sounds I had built ended up being used, but Tim is a pro, and we definitely needed someone who knew that world. Tim has made a lot of really big records, so we were really lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. We started tracking in February when COVID started to show up in the US, and we finished tracking just as quarantine and lockdowns started to be implemented. So when it came time to mix, we had to do it all via email, which is not ideal in any way. Each song probably had at least a dozen or more attempts before we zeroed in on final mixes. So that delayed the process even more than the pandemic was doing on its own. It was frustrating, and difficult, but that just seems to be the state of the world right now, so just like everyone you have to roll with it and do your best while staying safe. That’s the most important part.

With the EP, you were still quite conceptual and hidden - which bits of the subterfuge remains in IDKHOW c 2020?
Secrecy and the whole modus operandi of “deny everything” was fun to do for the first year or so. I think it gave us an opportunity to find out what this band is, and to find our roles within it, and at the same time circumvent the whole “formerly of” title as best as we could. As far as concepts go, it’s simply another layer of entertainment for the fans who care to dive into it. I mentioned Bowie and the Beatles before, but I’ve always been a sucker for concept albums. Diving into those fictional worlds of Ziggy Stardust, and Sgt. Pepper was this brilliant little moment of escapism and I always wanted to do something like that myself. I don’t know that we will always do things that way, but it certainly is fun. And therapeutic for me. Using visual metaphors, you can present very real things and subjects within a fictional story. You can say everything you want to say without explicitly saying it. But it’s all there if you care to look closely.

The video for ‘Leave Me Alone’ - was it deliberately Covid-compliant?!
Very much so! We got caught in this weird moment of finally being able to release music at the worst possible time. We had to make a video in the middle of a pandemic! So, how do you make a video, but keep everyone safe in the process? Safety was the biggest priority for us, so we had a COVID compliance officer on site, and everyone had to be tested beforehand and have their temperature taken at the door. But conceptually, I decided to incorporate social distancing, sterile isolation, and quarantining into the video. Not just as a way to keep everyone safe, but those ideas also seemed to fit really well with the song. Wanting to isolate and separate yourself from toxic people and harmful situations. Wanting to be left alone.

‘Razzmatazz’ is out now via Fearless.

Tags: I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews

As featured in the October 2020 issue of DIY, out now.

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