Denver natives and indie-alternative darlings Ivory Circle are scheduled to perform at the 2016 Westword Music Showcase on the City Hall Main Stage. They're currently working on a new EP, the third and final in a series that started with the release of Equilateral in 2014. With the second, Isosceles, behind them and (you guessed it) Scalene on the horizon, vocalist Connie Hong and multi-instrumentalist Chris Beeble now have a clear vision of how they want to build on what they have.
Ivory Circle is primary the effort of Hong and Beeble, who are joined by Rob Spralding on drums, who also runs effects for their live performances. "I've always been drawn to her songwriting," says Beeble of Hong. The two had been friends for years before the band took shape, with Beeble using Hong's past groups for projects while studying audio engineering. When Hong enlisted Beeble's help for what was intended to be a solo project, the two quickly realized that their own group was forming.
The band's distinctive sound is largely a result of their varied influences. Hong grew up listening primarily to '90s R&B and cites singers like Mariah Carey and Sheryl Crow, while Beeble cites alternative-rock acts like Thrice and Copeland as his primary influences. As a band, however, Beeble and Hong agree that Florence + the Machine is an inspiration to their immense, spacious sound.
What makes the group unique, however, is its songwriting. Hong draws on her experiences with heartache and loss to craft songs that are both personal and engaging for listeners, simmering with soft energy, and crescendo into grandiose, heart-on-sleeve anthems. The audience's ability to relate to her music is the driving force behind Hong's craft. “It means a lot when someone is connected to the story that I’ve told," she says. "I feel like I’m successful when someone connects to the story I’m trying to tell through the feel of the music.” Beeble, who builds arrangements with Hong in the studio, adds with a laugh, “[With Ivory Circle], I get to produce with a little more freedom, which I think is important for my own sanity.”
The bandmembers also recognize the importance of not overextending themselves, stating that the most important thing for them is sustainability. “We try to model everything around not burning ourselves out,” Hong says. With Beeble currently based in Fort Collins (where he works at renowned studio the Blasting Room), the two have found that a strong social-media presence is a good way to keep up the band's exposure without tiring themselves out, primarily through the regular posting of video content. When Beeble makes the commute to Denver, however, he always enjoys himself. “I think largely what makes [the Denver music scene] special is the community and the quality of the people in that community," he says. "Every time I go out to a show, I get to see a good friend and share a laugh, and that's something I cherish about our scene here.” Hong adds that the scene here is also special for its eclectic variety of styles, and that “Denver is a really great place to figure out what you want the scene to be for yourself.”
Ivory Circle will perform at the Westword Music Showcase at the City Hall Main Stage on Saturday, June 25, at 2:45 p.m. You can find tickets and more info here.