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I Don’t Know How, But “I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME” Made It To Chicago

Posted on March 07, 2019

On February 26th, 2019, alternative rock band I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (also called iDKHOW) came to Chicago to perform an acoustic set for some very lucky fans at the The Lounge at the WKQX radio station in downtown Chicago. Lucky fans, indeed, as iDKHOW, composed of Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman, hail all the way from Utah to spread their music to every corner of the world. Formed in 2016 as a side project to both Weekes and Seaman, iDKHOW eventually became the main event, as Weekes and Seaman left their past projects to focus on this new idea.

Their performance at for the fans was both entertaining and informative, as the guys got to answer some questions from the host in between songs. The acoustic set began with the band performing their song “Bleed Magic” and talking to the host a bit before jumping back into the music with their song “Social Climb.” The set became very exciting when the band performed their hit song “Choke,” which garnered a huge singalong from the fans. The band then took some photos with everyone who came, which left their fans starstruck as they left the studio. After the performance, I had a chance to talk to the guys on behalf of UIC Radio to see how they’ve managed to get iDKHOW to where it is now, and how they plan to make it the biggest band in the world.

PreShow

Photo by Samantha Carter

iDKHOW Performing

Photo by Samantha Carter

During Performance

Photo by Samantha Carter

During Performance

Photo by Samantha Carter

iDKHOW End of Performance

Photo by Samantha Carter

Performance

Photo by Samantha Carter

UIC RADIO: That was a really great show you guys put on. I’ve listened to your music but I’ve never seen you perform before, so this was a great experience seeing you perform for the first time. Do you two like doing acoustic shows like the one you did today?

Ryan Seaman: It’s grown to be a lot of fun.

Dallon Weekes: Definitely. We’re still getting used to them because it’s sort of a new thing to us, but every time we do them it feels a little bit better.

UIC: Right, and from what I’ve seen on social media, you guys have been going around and doing this at a couple different radio stations. So, has that been pretty fun? Going around and performing in a more intimate setting?

Weekes: Oh absolutely!

UIC: I’m sure it’s a very different environment from club shows and festivals.

Seaman: Yeah, it’s a whole different animal.

Weekes: [Doing these acoustic shows,] it almost feels like a family reunion/talent show a lot of the time, but it’s always really great.

UIC: Going off of that, what do you two prefer more: do you like doing the big festival-type shows, or club shows, or just intimate stuff like you did today?

Weekes: I prefer doing the full band set up in a club or even a festival, you know either way it’ll be good. But that’s probably like my preference, but I still really enjoy doing the acoustic stuff for sure.

Seaman: Yeah, I completely agree.

UIC: Since you enjoy doing the acoustic stuff so much, would you ever consider doing something like an acoustic album in the future? Just stripping everything down? I’m sure the fans would be really interested.

Weekes: That could be interesting. We haven’t really thought about it before. But as good as it feels to do acoustic sets, that might be something to think about. Yeah, I think maybe doing more acoustic versions of songs we already have would be a great start because it’s been really fun doing it that way.

UIC: Of course. Now, from what I understand, you both have been in the music industry for a while now. What makes iDKHOW different from things you’ve worked on in the past?

Weekes: Less rules. In fact, creatively, I don’t think we abide by any kind of rules. We just sort of do whatever we like. And it’s really liberating, creatively. Actually, one of the big reasons why we went with our label, Fearless Records, was because they offered us 100% creative control over our own music.

UIC: Definitely. And with such creative control, that has allowed you to creative an extremely unique sound for yourselves. How did your sound come about? Where did you draw influences for yourself?

Weekes: Our sound came very organically. It definitely stems a lot from a lot of the stuff that I grew up listening to and have always loved. But stylistically, I think there’s a few of my influences that sort of took a step forward when we started making this project. Those are probably like David Bowie, T. Rex, Oingo Boingo, and, you know, even stuff like The Ink Spots, which is an old jazz group from like the 1930s. It’s just sort of like an amalgamation of all of my favorite stuff.

UIC: As you mentioned today during your set, you kept this project secret for a while. You said today that it was almost a way to perform without having expectations. Is that the main reason why this project was kept secret at the start, or are there other reasons?

Seaman: I think it was more fun [to start out as a secret]. It seems like everybody now kind of throws [their music out] like “Check this out! Look at me here!” and sell their stuff. And we didn’t want to take advantage of our job’s fanbases. We wanted to start off like any other band would: from the ground up.

Weekes: That’s probably the biggest reason why we started out in secret. Building credibility is probably the biggest challenge for a band like us. You know, when you come from bands that have been successful on their own, you can go make a project but you can’t make anybody care. And you could definitely come out of the gate swinging and say “Hey! You know we’re doing this new thing, everyone come check it out!” but there’s something about that that felt disingenuous to me. So, we wanted to just start it in secret to see if the music could speak for itself. I mean, it’s like Ryan [Seaman] said, that’s sort of the landscape of the music business and entertainment right now in general. Everything, everywhere you look you’re being sold something. All the time, constantly. So, we decided to take the opposite approach and keep it to ourselves, keep it secret and deny everything, and I think doing it that way created a sort of exclusivity to the people that did discover it. They had this special little secret for themselves. So, it was all very word-of-mouth based and organic.

Seaman: I feel if things come from word-of-mouth, being organic like [Weekes] was saying, [is better] only because like people’s attention spans are very quick now because of the internet. Like when we were growing up, you really had to go find music. And now everything’s kind of just thrown.

Weekes: Yeah, when we were young, if you liked something, you had to put in the footwork and go out and find it, it wasn’t just two or three clicks away on the keyboard. So, I think the things that you found that resonated with you meant something more to you and became more important because you discovered it, and we wanted to recreate that feeling.

Mid Performance

Photo by Samantha Carter

UIC: So, it was almost like you wanted to do it “properly” and not “take the easy way out” so to speak.

Weekes: Exactly!

UIC: Were there some challenges that came along with trying to “do this project properly?”

Seaman: Oh yeah, we were completely DIY when we started, and trying to keep it all underground [was difficult].

Weekes: There were no budgets for anything, like recording or shows. It was 100% just [Seaman] and me doing this stuff to have some fun and see what would happen.

Seaman: A big challenge was like booking our own shows, using any past relationships from our old band, The Brobecks.

Weekes: I think the biggest challenge was probably, you know once word got out what we were doing, was trying to actively cover it up. And then eventually trying to keep up with fans after we did reach a point where we had to acknowledge that yeah, this is a band that we’re doing. After that point it became us trying to keep up with the people that discovered it. We were rushing to get some material out in the world that they could consume, because we hadn’t made a record at that point.

UIC: And you actually just released a record, your 1981 Extended Play,back in November. What was the creative process for that, because it seems like every song is so different and so special, and it’s really unique. So, what was going through your heads when creating that?

Weekes: I think our process is just the non-process of it all. We didn’t really have a set way of doing things. We were sort of still discovering those pathways as we were going. And that’s something that I feel is really exciting for both of us.

UIC: For each of you, what’s your favorite song off that release?

Seaman: It always changes for me, because we’ve been sitting on these songs for a little bit, you know, so it kind of just changes from day to day. But I would say “Choke” for sure. There was so much that went into that, like everything from going to Danny Lohner’s house, to creating it on a kitchen table, to me going to record drums at our friend Josh from Badflower’s house.

Weekes: Yeah, that song is very interesting because writing was probably the easiest on the whole EP. But getting it recorded and finished was the most challenging because we didn’t have a budget. So, it was pieced together here and there over the course of like a couple months. If we had had a budget, we could’ve knocked it out in a day.

Seaman: But those are the realities when you’re a DIY band and you don’t have a big machine behind you or a home studio. So you have to be creative.

Weekes: For me, my favorite song would probably be “Social Climb.” I think that song probably means the most.

UIC: What’s the story behind that song?

Weekes: It’s about sort of feeling invisible. Like being in a crowd of people but you feel completely alone. I experienced that a lot when I was living in LA, you know, being a part of the music business, trying my best to do what I love but feeling completely invisible while doing it was something really challenging to me. It took a toll on my self-esteem. Writing that song and expressing those feelings and those thoughts really helped me to move on.

UIC: If “Choke” was the easiest to write, what would you say was the more difficult song to write for that release?

Weekes: Probably “Bleed Magic.” I went to do a writing session out in LA with a couple of writers, and I had this basic idea for a chorus, no real lyrics or anything. But we had a very limited amount of time to put a song together because we wanted to get an EP out. So, I spent a lot of nights up with that one trying to write song that felt like it wasn’t forced. But it ended up working out.

UIC: So, currently you guys are doing the radio stations and stuff but you’re not really touring other than that, but I understand that you just did a big tour last fall with Waterparks. How was that tour? Was it fun to get new fans and do these big shows in a different atmosphere?

Seaman: Well, it was our first time going around the country, like full U.S. tour, so that was a big first for us.

UIC: So, what’s next for iDKHOW? What plans do you have for the future?

Weekes: Well, we have a bunch of shows that we’re going to be doing in the coming months, not just in the U.S. but overseas as well, some festival dates. But in the meantime, we’re just collecting ideas for a full-length record.

UIC: Looking forward to hearing that in the future! To close this out, what advice do you have for new bands that are trying to make it, doing the DIY style that you did?

Seaman: Just have fun! That’s the best advice I could possibly give.

Weekes: Yeah, if it’s not fun, then you need to change something. Because at the heart of playing music, that’s what it’s supposed to be about. At least for us that’s the case. Have fun, work hard, and treat it like your job until it is your job. And don’t give up!

Seaman: If it’s meant to be heard, it will.

If it’s meant to be heard, it will indeed. And iDKHOW is proving that more and more every day. Starting from a DIY band, they have grown over the past couple years to have a massive following in the alt-rock community. Through hard work, perseverance, and of course some fun, this band has done everything in their power to create an organic band from scratch, and they have had some major success in doing so.

I’d like to thank I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME for sitting down with me to chat about their music and their vision (and major thanks to them for letting me take a picture with them in their signature pose). Stay on the lookout for their full-length record coming out sometime in the future, and check out their social media (@idkhow) to stay updated on future tours and everything iDKHOW-related. In the meantime, buy or stream their latest release, the 1981 Extended Play, on all your favorite music platforms.

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