Joe Cardamone (Icarus Line) – The Collapse Board Interview
Do you have a goal in mind when you play? Is there something to be …
Do you have a vision for it?
There’s always been a common ammo with all the Icarus Line’s performances since we started. It’s to pretty much be as intense as possible on stage. We’ve always looked up to people like James Brown or The Stooges — music where you could see them pushing themselves physically and emotionally and musically throughout the entire set. It’s the only time that any of us in the band have had anything close to a therapeutic outlet; to have some sort of dialogue with the rest of the world. When you have a bottleneck for your expression and there’s really only a couple of avenues that they can go down it ends up being explosive because you end up pushing so much through such a short amount of time that you get to be in front of people and play your music, that’s how it is for us. It’s always been pretty intense. Some people really like it and some people are turned off by it but that doesn’t really matter because we haven’t really been a band that panders to the audience so much. It’s more a take it or leave it situation.
That’s something I really love about you guys. When I saw you play in Brisbane in the early 00s I felt that intensity and it’s one of the gigs that always sticks in my mind even after seeing hundreds and hundreds of shows over the last 17 years.
It kind of felt like it was going to be our last show?
That’s how all of them feel. Performances have always been a rough thing for us because the fact that they hinge so much on how well we’re able to translate on the night. We take the audience on an exact journey of what we’re going through at that point. I know that sounds weird but everyone that’s in the room, we’re in their hands. If we’re not having a good night everyone leaves bummed. If we’re triumphant, everyone leaves happy. It’s a strange thing with our group. I see other groups and they can really be consistent, show up do their job and generally be liked and everyone thinks it’s successful but with us, it’s either amazing or a complete disaster. It’s always been that way.
In an interview you commented that you feel like you’ve been carrying the successes and failures of the band on your back for 10 years and that you’re the one that picks up most of the pieces more so than anyone else in the band when things fall apart. What do you see as being your biggest successes and failures of this past decade?
For the group, the biggest success is the fact that we’re able to make record and put them out. I’m astonished every time we get to do a new record. We look forward to being able to make these documents. Since we all come from rather humble beginnings we do really look at being able to do this as a privilege — those are definite successes. Being able to see the world, being able to record with some of the best producers in some legendary places, all those things are all considered successes to me. Being able to remain uncompromised throughout times where people bend over for the man and who are willing to plea bargain their way out of situations I think that’s a success — not having to compromise who I am and who the group is or any of our integrity for success or even for a chance at success. Most people just turn the other way for success. I think we’ve had a career of uncompromising vision.
What about failures? Do you feel there’s a time that the band has really failed?
Yes and no. I don’t really have any regrets about anything we’ve done, that being said, we’ve done a lot of things that probably weren’t in our best interest at the time but that’s all growing up. We started really young. People who have followed the band got to watch us grow up, got to watch us fuck up and get banned from clubs and basically learn how to become men in front of the public in some respects. There’s nothing that I regret personally about it. It is what it is, we had a lot of fun and we were being ourselves. There’s nothing to cry about.
Did you find it hard growing up in the public spotlight?
Not really because we were never really poster children or really famous or anything. For us it wasn’t really that big a deal. Any press that we got was usually either based on something fucked up we did like spray-painting on The Strokes’ tour bus or some kind of antic we pulled when we were kids or being associated with Buddyhead or it was about the music and how unique it was compared to everything else at the time. It wasn’t hard it was just our life, just what we do. Anytime anyone pays attention to the group and any of our records it’s fine, that’s great! We work really hard.
You’re still making unique music. I can’t really compare the new record to anything.
I’m not really sure what it sounds like either to tell you the truth. It’s definitely a progression. All the records relate to each other on a certain level but yeah this one doesn’t sound like any of the other records. It doesn’t sound like any other bands that I know about.
For me I feel like it’s got a real groove to it, it has like a bluesy kind of soul thing happening but it’s still rock’n’roll.
Definitely. I’m heavily influenced by black music. We were more of a hardcore punk band when we were kids but we all liked black music but we just weren’t ready to play anything like that. As we get older I guess you get more comfortable in your skin or playing different grooves.
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I believe in thoughtful in-depth interviews! My blog Conversations with Bianca is my love letter to the universe. I am the 2011 Australian Zine Maker of the Year. My Conversations With Punx Project won an award for Best Zine Produced in Australia (as a series). Marky Ramone once told me “Your heart is in the right place.”