Tongue Tied is out now!
Image: Blake Lisk
South-coast based artist ioakim is making his debut, with his superb single Tongue Tied. We caught up with the musician to chat about the song, the marriage of music and visuals, what he has in store for the rest of 2021 and so much more!
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music…
I grew up in a pretty musical household, there was kind of no escaping it. Mum is a piano teacher and also owns a music store with dad, there was always something that made some sort of noise lying around. Learning piano, guitar and drums pretty early on helped expand my scope of music from jazz to heavy rock. Production came a bit later on for me. I’d always play around on garageband but it wasn’t until I was around 18-19 that I began to really go down the wormhole of producing and start to explore new sounds. The last few years have been some of the best, having the chance to collaborate, write and produce with new friends has been super exciting - I can’t wait to do more of it.
Your debut single Tongue Tied centres itself around the importance of communication, threading in themes of love and relationships. What prompted you to make this conceptual exploration and document it on the track?
For me, music is my way of communicating. If I need to say something or get something off my chest it usually comes out in a song, I don’t know what it is but it just feels like the most natural form of communication for me. I remember at the time of writing tongue tied I was frustrated at not being able to say what I wanted to because I didn't have the words in the exact moment. Talking to a few friends at the time and hearing their experiences in similar situations also inspired me to write it.
You wrote, recorded and produced the song in June last year. What are your thoughts listening back to the song now, fifteen months later, and what emotions does it conjure?
Wow, crazy to think it's already been fifteen months. Honestly, this last year just feels like one massive blur. Listening back to tongue tied now, it definitely has a sense of rawness to it, it's a super honest song, especially in the chorus and bridge - it kinda just says exactly what i was feeling.
The track introduces us to the sonic realm your music exists in, offering up alt-pop goodness. How did you arrive at the style of music we hear?
Being heavily inspired by the the 2010’s indie era acts like Phoenix and MGMT were always massive influences. I loved how their music made me feel, that was the biggest stand out for me. The Pop side of my writing is definitely influenced from bands such as LANY, COIN and growing up listening to heaps of Michael Jackson.
The release is accompanied by an official music video. How important do you think visuals are when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track?
Yes, it is, we shot the music video around my home on the south coast. It was directed by my friend Isabelle Laurent. We shot the entire video on 16mm film so everything was one take which is pretty scary but i’m stoked with it.
I’m obsessed with the visual side of a project. It is so important to me. I love how by just looking at an artwork / video / merch design you can automatically set the scene of an artist and provoke feelings before even hearing the release !
How would you describe your sound to someone who is about to press play on Tongue Tied?
I’d say close your eyes and picture yourself driving down the coast as you disappear into the summer sunset.
If Tongue Tied was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would it be?
I’d say Cloud Gate by Sir Anish Kapoor because of how it makes you take a second and think. Tongue Tied makes me reflect and puts me in the same nostalgic kinda mood.
What’s one line from the song you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
I always come back to this line in the bridge, “Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, what this really means” I think being in situations and just generally wondering why things happen the way they do and what they mean is interesting. either that or I'm just an over-thinker, which I am, so… go figure.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
The diversity and quality of Australian music at the moment is insane. Some of my favourite acts include Tame Impala. I love Kevin Parker's ethos and the aesthetic side again is just mental, especially the production in the live shows. Some other favourite acts include LOVER, Mel Blue and Methyl Ethyl. I love how they’re all constantly pushing the boundaries sonically, it’s super exciting.
What do you have in store for the rest of 2021? Will we be seeing an album or EP, and if so what can listeners expect from it?
The back end of 2021 see’s another release which I'm super pumped for, it’s the kinda song you would put on loop during a road trip which I feel like is going to fit well in our current climate, haha, it’s definitely a favourite of mine - so stay tuned!
Next year is super exciting already, I’ve been busy finishing off a body of work, planning live shows and building out the aesthetic side of the EP to go along with each release. Sonically it builds off Tongue Tied with more guitars, more synths and bigger drums. It’s going to be really fun to play live and we have some really cool ideas that go outside of the box of seeing a traditional gig.
MGMT, Cut Copy, Tame Impala, Phoenix, Empire of the Sun.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Nostalgic, happy/sad vibes you can dance to, “indie bedroom dream-pop”
Best song of 2021 so far?
This is sooo hard, but You Are The Traffic by COIN has been on repeat this year.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Interstellar - that would be WILD !
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley Cyrus - stood in line next to her in an IGA store once, she seemed cool.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Brother - Matt Corby.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
T-shirt Weather - Circa Waves.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
In Ghost Colours - Cut Copy.
First concert you went to?
Mumford and Sons supported by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.
Best concert you have been to?
Tame Impala at Splendour in 2019 on the friday night. Take me back!
First album you ever bought?
Hook Me Up - The Veronicas ...
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
N/A currently - but i met my now manager while i was busking when i was like 16, so that was a good time!
Guilty music pleasure?
Drake’s album Views.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
LANY - their shows are just so much fun.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
It would have to be The Beatles, but I think when we all look back, John Mayer is definitely going to be up there too.
What advice would your current self give your future self, for a year from now?
Stay patient, don’t take life too seriously and keep having fun - you know self care kinda stuff!
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve never really had a “moment”, it's been something I’ve always loved doing. But, seeing George Benson at the Sydney Opera House when I was 13 was pretty inspiring to say the least.