Boise, Idaho’s IQEQ is a musician’s band, a wildly adventuresome group that, to unenlightened ears, may seem as if they’re veering out of control. However, it takes discipline and a clear vision to map their tangled web of scrappy, tripped-out rhythms and mind-warping jams.

Julian Wilson: I have a hard time pinpointing IQEQ’s style because there seems to be a multitude of diverse musical influences at play in each track. On the surface, the band seems to be a collision between the sleek prog-rock of Steely Dan and the avant-garage energy of the Mars Volta. Would you find that to be an accurate description? How did you guys arrive creatively at this point?

Nate Paradis [drummer, vocalist, noise-machinist]: Yeah, that’s accurate enough. I suppose we came upon this sound mostly by letting things happen naturally and not canceling ideas because they didn’t fit into a specific idea of how we wanted our band to sound. We never sat down and made lists of things we wanted to do or things we did want to do. If it’s fun to play and says something musically or lyrically we don’t question it. We’ll just work with it until it feels right. I think because all four of us simply love so many different types of music we really have no control over that schizophrenia. We wouldn’t have it any other way though. While there is something to be said for a band having an easily marketable sound or identity, we’ve always tried to keep it interesting and fun for ourselves, foremost. Even if a tune originates from one or two members, when you stick us all in a room to work something out we’ve all usually been fortunate enough to put pieces of our individual selves into it most of the time.
 
Wilson: What does IQEQ stand for?

Paradis: I Quit Expecting Quiet. If Questioned, Exit Quickly, I Quietly Escaped Quarantine, the list goes on. It began as something that phonetically sounded nice and we decided early on to leave it open ended, just like our music and our musical path.

Wilson: IQEQ are pretty hook-oriented for a group so devoted to progressive rock, which is more often known for its complex musicianship than catchy tunes. How do you strike that balance?

Paradis:  By listening to the Beatles and the Mars Volta simultaneously every single day. Even music nerds like to hum along once in a while.

Wilson: I hear the manic inspiration of Frank Zappa on a couple of tracks. Was he a hero to you guys? What effect did he have on IQEQ in terms of ideas?

Paradis: I personally can only listen to about 1 1/2 minutes of Zappa at a time. Tom and Dan are music scholars that can probably appreciate it more but even still, they come from more of a jazz background so I think that particular part of our makeup comes from a different place than Zappa. Bitches Brew had more of an impact on their musical personalities and in turn the band’s. I like the idea of Zappa more than his music itself.

Wilson: How has IQEQ been received in live performance?

Paradis: In our time together we’ve gotten it all from silence to screams, especially on some of our supporting dates when people were really there to see the headliner. Bar crowds wanna dance; they generally don’t take surprises well. But after awhile we caught the ears of a few adventurous souls who were down for the ride. They got to know the songs and us so between january of 2005 and now, our fans have come to expect something exciting. Not to boast, but to illustrate the point, the LOCO/MOTIVE record release show confirmed that for us when we pulled the biggest draw of a local band at that venue. Our crowd was huge and nearly as excited to be there as we were; plus, we’re charming as fuck so we’ve got a grip of close friends that love to show up and throw down with us anytime.

http://ncgrecords.com/iqeq.html

Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Rivercity Seven/Sidewinder Stitches Time

Rivercity Seven is a strange band, and I mean that as a compliment. The group seems to have come from the Frank Zappa school of music without boundaries, exploring the limitless possibilities of rock & roll. With its slinky rhythms and prog-rock electronics, “Sidewinder” had me thinking of a bastard hybrid of Shriekback and King Crimson. But the snake reference in their album title is quite apt as the band continually sheds its skin. (Perhaps they should’ve used a chameleon instead.)

Unlike most groups with a yen for prog, Rivercity Seven aren’t afraid of having fun. “Hector the Inspector” is a joyous ode to early ’80s New Wave with its Devo-like quirky keyboards and spoken-word dialogue a la Flash and the Pan (remember those guys?). “Guantanamo Blues” has to be a homage of some sort to the late Warren Zevon because of its uncanny resemblance to “Werewolves of London,” especially the piano. “Time Has Come Today” echoes John Lennon’s rocking solo work, namely “Instant Karma!” This is a very creative bunch, like several bands rolled into one. Add these tunes to your iPod, and you’ll think they’re from different artists.

http://www.myspace.com/rivercityseven