Q & A

Q & A With Ian Abel

Q & A With Ian Abel

Ian Abel Band is a rock outfit made up of accomplished young musicians in Los Angeles, California. Lead singer, guitar player, and primary song-writer, Ian Abel, formed the band with no purpose other than creating new and fresh music for Rock N Roll fans everywhere.

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows, or announcements?

We’ve been pumping out a lot of new music! In the last month alone, we actually dropped 3 songs. Admittedly, that was unexpected, but still, it’s been nice to give our fans something new to listen to.

XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?

-I’ve been playing with K-Swizzo (Kenny Schwartz/ drums) for 4 years I suppose. We’ve been building a LARGE catalog of original music that’s now being released. Karthik (bass) was added last year and he’s been a blessing! Our first show with Karthik was a headlining spot at the Troubadour and he crushed it.

XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?

-For me personally, I don’t think I can point to an exact motivation other than just loving to create and play music. That’s why we all moved to LA in the first place.

XS ROCK: What is your music background?

-As a freshman in high school, I watched School of Rock and that’s what made me want to play guitar. I got a Fender Stratocaster a few months later, started a band, joined the high school jazz band and I’m still consumed by it. Rock N Roll was the root, but I’m also obsessed with jazz, classical, bluegrass, and folk.

XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?

-This is an interesting question… I suppose a group of renegades riding full speed on horseback, six-shooters on their hips, about to hop a train that’s headed West. Or that moment in Homeward Bound, when Shadow was stuck in the mud pit and you thought he wasn’t going to make it out, but then a few moments later you see him run over the hillside and everyone cries tears of joy.

XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?

– I would love to see the industry take the proper steps to safely open back up. I miss playing with my friends and with my friends. Until then we’ll just keep releasing music and hoping it helps our fans in these very trying and weird times.

XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

-Each one equally! When you connect to that creative ether, time seems to stand still. For me, I can hear how I want the song to go in my head; I’ve written entire pieces of music walking around Costco! Now sometimes those ideas sound best in your head and aren’t applicable when the band is together hashing it out, but that feeling of creating is more of a release than anything. Then there’s that moment when you’ve laid down your part and you walk into the recording room and hear it properly for the first time through studio speakers… It’s all smiles and love at that point. Then last, but certainly not least, playing live. I LOVE playing live; probably because we put on a very high energy show. There’s nothing like that rush of being behind the curtain, feedback from our amps roaring through the sound system as they’re introducing us. K-Swizzo smashes the cymbals, we strike a huge chord, I’m running to the front of the stage as the curtain rips open and the room is electric. We’re opening with “20’s Magic” and we’re off to the races.

XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

-A variety of topics, but for the most part, things that I’ve personally experienced. Love, heartbreak, lust/desire, fear, etc. A lot of self-reflecting tunes and one about outlaw moonshiners from Kentucky haha

XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?

-Playing what’s right for the song and writing for yourself, not what you think people want to hear. Also, cut out the 3-minute guitar solos, you’re most likely not Steve Vai.

XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

– Nothing that I think should be written down haha.

XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?

– Since streaming is the big dog, we never made hard copies of CDs, but a fan reached out to see if I would just burn him only one song on a disc and ship it to Canada. In the grand scheme of things I suppose that isn’t that weird and we happily fulfilled the request, but it felt like high school again burning CDs and trading them.

XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?

-My family is very musically oriented so yes they are! They however would love for me to be home more.

XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?

– Demo the songs you want to record before shelling out money for studio time and BE ON TIME. Being late isn’t cool, it’s amateur.

XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?

– There are different moments throughout the show that stand out. Playing the end section of “Outlaw” and getting that moment of breathtaking shock immediately after from the audience. Coming out of the first chorus of “Shoes” when it’s stripped down to just bass and drums. There’s always someone new who hadn’t hear that song that yells right then and there. The bridge to “20’s Magic” is a personal favorite because I get to use the POG and throw on some ambient tape delay, but there’s this unreleased track that people always ask about titled “California Nights” and it SLAPS.

We also have a song titled “Give You My All” that we’re itching to play in front of an audience, but because of Covid, we haven’t gotten to.

XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

-The way I play guitar can be traced back to David Gilmour and Randy Rhoads, but the way I perform as a frontman is heavily influenced by Jack White with a touch of Jason Isbell crowd banter.

XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

– I just want to play the 12 am slot at the Which Stage at Bonnaroo. Is that so much to ask?! Haha. I saw My Morning Jacket play a 4-hour set there from 12 am-4 am right after Metallica and it still haunts me. Touring with them or opening for the Raconteurs would be an honor. I dream about headlining stadiums every time I take a shower but will focus more on that when it’s applicable.

XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

– The 2 licensing deals with the AEW and getting an encore at the Troubadour. That doesn’t happen for the local band.

XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

-I grew up working in a steel factory so something along those lines most likely.

XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

– I mainly use my Gibson 335 running into my LA Sound Design live board into a Blankenship Plexi. On the board is a POG, a Strymon delay and reverb, a flanger, and a couple of distortion/gain pedals. I’m looking to snag a J45 acoustic to play live and travel with; my 1968 Martin D-18 needs to stay safely at home.

XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?

– Right now do to Covid, it’s in decay. So many of my friends are out of work and hurting because they can’t tour or even play locally and it’s devastating to see.

XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

– I’m a trained musical theater actor. Yes, I took ballet, but so did Lynn Swann so it’s cool.

XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

– We’re gearing up to sell t-shirts and other merch so please follow us on whatever social media you prefer and be on the lookout for that and more new music!

XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!

– Thank you for giving me your time and we appreciate what you do for the Rock community!




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