Being a band in today’s music world isn’t like it used to be. No one knows that better than Brooklyn’s Image Society, and to capture that reality in a single vignette, look no further than the day of August 5th, when their debut EP, The Doom of Youth, hit the streets.
Though not really. By the time of the official release, it wasn’t a rush to the local record store to wait on line to get the EP or to be the first to open the box with a stack of them inside. It was click to buy and download, with the physical copies still to come.
“The LPs are on a FedEx truck right now and I think once we have the physical 12″ in our hands, it will seem even more real,” Brian Davis said days before the “official” release. “We’ve been waiting to release this for a long time and we’re really thrilled to share it with our friends and family, and hopefully some new people get turned on to it as well.”
“We all feel like it’s not a legitimate release unless we have a copy of the record in our hands,” bassist Conrad Mata added. “We all listen to mps3s, but we grew up listening to records and staring at album covers and it’s a labor of love.”
Call it a mixture of old school and new breed, and that’s just part of the process these days. If you don’t adapt, you get left behind, and Image Society is adapting. They’re not going kicking and screaming either, but embracing the new way of getting their music to the people.
“We’ve been playing in bands for a long, long time, and it would be silly at this point to say that we’re just going to sell them out of our trunk and at the shows,” Davis said. “While I think that’s a huge part of it, winning people over one at a time and selling records one at a time at a show, social media and being able to share our band’s music and story with people we have never met all around the world is kind of a new thing for all of us with this project, and it feels great. It’s awesome to interact with people that we’ve never met before.”
Davis, Mata, and Jordan Achilli have been doing their thing together for a long time, first with the post-punk group Encrypt Manuscript in their native Long Island, and now with Image Society, which is completed by singer Sean Auer. It wasn’t the easiest process to find the ideal lineup, but once they brought in Auer, it clicked.
“Three out of four of us have been playing in a band together since 2003, so we’ve already had that longstanding musical connection,” Mata said. “And when we started this new band, it took us a while to find a singer that really gelled with us, until we found our friend Sean.”
Playing their first gig in 2012, the band has built a nice following in Brooklyn since, not an easy task in a place where a turn in any direction these days will likely see you running into someone in a band or some sort of musical project. But the IS gang isn’t concerned with fitting into any particular scene in BK.
“One thing that we’ve talked about a lot is that the bands that we’ve been in have never fit in anywhere,” Davis said. “When we were growing up in Long Island, we were too weird for the punk and hardcore scene but too punk and hardcore for the indie scene, and we’ve always been comfortable operating in that gray space where we don’t really fit in anywhere. There are 800,000 bands in Brooklyn right now, but we’ve never been concerned with fitting in anywhere, and we’re just going to play the music that sounds good to us and hopefully people gravitate toward that and we’ll find our fans one at a time.”
“We’re all native New Yorkers, so I love being in Brooklyn, but I don’t think just being here defines our tunes or anything,” Auer adds. “There are certainly bands from around the world that migrate over here because they feel like that’s something they can tell people, and though we’re all proud of where we live, that doesn’t define us as people.”
It doesn’t define their music either, which is an intriguing mix of styles that really defies description. Let’s just say it’s good, and if you want to get up and dance to it, that works too. A new remix of the track “Mirror Images” by Wet Kiss proves it, and suffice to say that life might be changing in a big way for this foursome sometime soon. But that possibility doesn’t affect how they approach their music or day to day life. Call it a happy perk of the job.
“One thing that I definitely zero in on when it comes to writing music and anticipating any success is that I like to think the process, in and of itself, is the part that’s the most enjoyable and the most satisfying,” Achilli said. “As far as I’m concerned, the hours that I spend alone and then with my bandmates writing and creating music, that’s the real bread and butter. If people really like it, that’s great, and it’s great to connect with people on that sort of level, but I think if you go into any situation having an attitude that any success is going to cheapen the output, it’s only going to set you up to be discouraged when you don’t achieve what you think you should.”
“You can’t really prepare for something like that because who knows what the future will hold,” Auer adds. “I don’t think any of us have any pre-conceived notion of what we’re getting into here. We’ll just roll with the punches and if great things happen, they will, and if bad things happen, we’ll just continue to push on.”
Sounds like a true New York attitude.