Izy – Irene

Ex Cairns lads Izy have been down in Melbourne for a few years now. They are playing a homecoming show at the Tanks Arts Centre on Sat 24th of July to celebrate the release of their new album “Irene”. So where do the curious band and album names come from? I caught up with affable guitar player Ryo Montgomery who explained..

“We were originally know as the Montgomery Brothers playing covers and blues at venues and festivals around NQ and then moved to Melbourne and just got inspired by the melting pot down here. When we started writing, it just started changing into this soul kind of thing. When we changed our sound, The Montgomery brothers name just didn’t fully make sense. Growing up the band have always been like a close family, and close with our families, and the one person who always held us together was our grandmother Irene Montgomery. I think a lot of Cairns Musos knew Mrs Mont working in Music City. She always told us to keep going on, and she loved the connection we three boys had. Her nickname was always Izy. and we just wanted to honour her”

So what prompted the move from blues and covers to original chilled out futuristic neo soul?

“I guess we all just had stuff to say honestly. In a way it was kind of therapy, and the only way we could let out what was happening inside and what we experienced and soaked in from the world. We just needed to play and write our own stuff. We were inspired by a lot of soul people like Prince, Sharon Jones and D’Angelo, Charles Bradley, a lot of old school soul artists that would just encourage people to write”

The COVID pandemic has been hard on everyone, not least the music industry, which has effectively been shut down. I asked Ryo, how it was being in the middle of it in Melbourne away from his hometown in lockdown.

“When things are normal in Melbourne, it’s bloody amazing, insanely good, musicians and bands everywhere. It’s good to be inspired and keep busy and keep hustling down here. I guess at the start of the main COVID Lockdown it was a bit hard because we were in this routine where we were travelling around to gigs everywhere down here, and when it came to a halt it was like Oh, what do we do? we had to learn how to relax, which was much needed I think for a bit for a lot of people”

One might suspect with the album only just coming out that the Izy lads used their time in lockdown to craft the album…

“What happened was we were supposed to release it the week after we went into lockdown. We finished most of it before the lockdown but we wanted to be able to play the album around rather than just releasing it. We wanted to do a launch and that kind of thing. So I guess we sat on it for a another whole year, which was difficult, but felt right. We had a chance to listen to the tracks again and say hey, we can do this to it and this to it, although in the end we didn’t change much.”

And next for IZY?

After Cairns we are going to go back into the studio and record our second album down here at Hope street studio. After that we just have to see how N.S.W is going, we have a few festivals booked down there and our launch, but just need to see how they are going with lockdowns.

Izy play The Tanks Arts Centre on Sat 24th July. Tickets available through Ticketlink

Todd Macalpine

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