On the radar: Io Echo

Dubbed everything from shoegaze to grunge to goth to dark pop to new orientalism (thanks, in part, to the band’s use of Koto harps and Chinese violins in their music), Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, who front the clearly genre-defying Io Echo, have captured imaginations with their striking sound and made influential friends en route to releasing their debut EP Ministry Of Love last week. They’ve soundtracked Harmony Korine and James Franco’s film Caput, a video directed by Natalie Portman’s other half Benjamin Millipied, as well as contributing a track for the soundtrack of Snow White And The Huntsman. Trent Reznor personally picked them to support the Nine Inch Nails on tour earlier this year and even Alexa Chung had difficulties getting into a recent New York gig.

Next year will see the release of a full-length album but as Io Echo’s star continues to rise, Glass magazine met the band ahead of an exclusive gig at London venue the Scotch to get the lowdown on their loves, lives and stunning sonics.

Io Echo's Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, October 2012

Leopold Ross on the band’s influences
We’re influenced by heartbreak and escapism. We collect photographs, images, paintings etc that we find interesting and project them on the wall in the studio when we are writing. It helps to transport us to a different place.

On the importance of visuals
There is a concept that runs throughout the lyrics and sonics of the album. We reflect that with visuals and keep a thread between the videos, art work and so on.

On soundtracking films
Writing scores for films is something we love to do because film is a medium that amalgamates a spectrum of arts: writing, visual art, acting, music… and when the various arts lock in together in the right way, it can be magical.

Io Echo's Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, October 2012

On fame
It’s surprising how people have started knowing the lyrics to our songs at shows although we’ve hardly really released anything.

On life as musicians
Seeing a crowd react to something you have written is amazing, but a completely different feeling to the one you get when you write something that you are happy with.

On the band’s strengths
The live show. It’s our chance to connect with the people who are into our music so we aim for it to be an audio-visual experience, one that goes beyond listening to mp3s at home. We pay attention to the mood that is set in the venue even when we aren’t on the stage- the lighting and music playing before and after we go on, for example.

Io Echo's Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, October 2012

On where they’re still improving
The whole press aspect is new to us – sometimes it’s hard to speak eloquently about our music. We write from a visceral place, so we don’t always have the words to describe it properly.

On their rider
Freeze-dried ice cream, like astronauts eat, and whisky.

by Ben Olsen

Photography by Jasper Clarke
Io Echo’s Ministry Of Love EP is out now on LuvLuvLuv Records.

Watch When The Lilies Die now

About The Author

Glass Online music editor

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