Brite Winter 2015 Artist Spotlight: ITEM
By Jacqueline Bon
There’s virtually no way to get bored of ITEM’s live set because their sound is constantly morphing and evolving from song to song. The five-piece experimental pop chameleons are fairly new to Cleveland’s live music roster, and although they only have one song recorded online to-date, they’re in the midst of recording an album and have many shows lined up for 2015.
“I want you to leave and not know if it was the best or worst thing you’ve ever seen,” said Dylan Glover, synthesizer/vocals. “It’s a weird crossover of really thought out orchestrated music with a line of art rock, spontaneity and humanity,” Conner McCready (guitar/lead enthusiast) added.
Their recent set with Jivviden and Nowhere at the Beachland Tavern included experimental rock and noise rock influence, noisy psychedelic sounds with pop sensibilities and a few sad slow jams complete with catchy dynamic harmonies. Their set also included a cover of The Beatles’ classic, “I Want You” and R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition.”
What does The Beatles’ “I Want You” and R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition” have in common? Sex and longing. Both of which are familiar topics in ITEM’s lyricism. Glover typically writes lyrics about depression and sex that are “one in the same thing,” Glover said half jokingly.
“This sounds ridiculous, but I write about the futility of existence,” he said. “I feel it and I don’t know how to express it so I do it through music.”
ITEM is a crew of longtime Lakewood friends that also includes Khalil Cormier, (bass/vocals) Skylar Keffer, (guitar/vocals) and Jacob Kirkwood (drums). Together, they possess a high-energy stage dynamic that reflects that they’ve known each other for really a long time.
On stage and off, they fluctuate quickly between being sarcastic and introspective. “Our first band name was Bondage Jovi Power Violence, so we were very confused. We don’t know what we are,” McCready joked.
They played their first show at Mahalls under the name “Mystery Meat” before finagling between names and choosing ITEM. “We want to put a feeling to something that means nothing,” said McCready. “We made the band the most ambiguous thing we could possible name it,” Glover agreed. “It simply exists to evoke absolutely nothing.”
Although they have a definite sense of humor about what they do, at the heart of their jokes they are a band that fears pretense. Glover previously played in Cleveland’s Volta Sound and has a complicated relationship with psychedelic rock. He hopes to incorporate elements of psych rock into ITEM’s sound without committing to a genre.
The diversity of ITEM’s sounds and influences is a huge part of what makes them interesting. Seeing them perform will keep you on your feet because as soon as you begin to latch onto a specific sound, the song will change and their sound will reveal new colors.
ITEM recently completed writing an album and is currently in the early phases of recording at Magnetic North Studios. Keep an eye out for their set at Brite Winter and plan to enjoy their experimental pop album this summer.