One of the best things about music festivals is always the new musical discoveries that you make. One of mine from SXSW was the California-based band IO Echo, which consists of Ioanna Gika and Leopold Ross. Their music is dark and melodic, but also airy and light – a contradiction you don’t often find in music. They just released their debut album Ministry of Love earlier this month and are quickly building buzz. In addition to making the summer festival rounds they’re going on tour with the Joy Formidable, and also composed the score to the Harmony Korine & James Franco film “Rebel.” Read on for an interview with the band and listen to a few of their tunes below!
What was your personal highlight from weekend one?
Ioanna: It was our first time playing so we’re just so grateful to be here, we’ve been to the festival before as fans, so to be here playing is a dream come true.
Do you expect anything different from weekend two?
Ioanna: Hopefully we’ll be able to see more bands. The first weekend we had a lot of work commitments so this time we’re looking forward to having more time and seeing some more shows.
You guys also played SXSW – do you have a preference between the two festivals?
Ioanna: They’re vastly different…they’re both a lot of fun. SXSW for the most part is on a smaller scale, but it’s a larger geographic scale. You have so many venues and they vary from really small where you’re playing to a crowd of 50 people, to larger venues like Hype Hotel. And Coachella is just such an incredible festival, like I said we’ve been here before as attendees so its just amazing to be playing here now.
What other bands are you looking forward to seeing?
Spiritualized, New Order. Last weekend we saw Wu Tang Clan, Nick Cave.
You’re touring with Joy Formidable after this, what are your plans for when the tour ends?
Leo: We just announced we’ll be playing Lollapalooza, and we’ll probably play some more shows after that. We just released our album two weeks ago so we’re just touring and supporting the album, and we have some cool remixes and videos that will be coming out.
Ioanna in her signature Kimono at SXSW.
You both have great style, what do you like to wear when you’re on stage?
Ioanna: I think for both of us, what we wear onstage is what we wear off stage. I’ve been building up this kimono collection throughout the years and I tend to rotate through those and wear them over other things. And Leo has a good assortment of floral jackets.
Describe your album in three words.
Leo: Buy it now. Haha.
Ioanna: Oh man I’ve never been good at this stuff…floral ecstasy space ice cream. Or is that five words?
What does free mean to you?
Ioanna: The best things in life… no but really, freedom of speech is one of the best things about our country, and getting to play these festivals is a form of freedom of speech and we just feel so lucky…especially reading in the news about people who don’t have that right.
Lead image by Brad Elterman.