Directed by Benjamin Young Hart
Shot by Joseph Devitt Tremblay
Fun, cheeky, summer, sexy. It’s not much to go on, but if you’ve been following the rise of Toronto duo Ice Cream over the last year, you’ll find that these four words sum up the band perfectly—at least according to the girls. Amanda Crist and Carlyn Bezic got their whirlwind year started with their debut single “Science” and since then, they’ve been keeping their silky, minimalist pop on heavy rotation, banging out songs and videos one after another. With a busy summer behind them, Ice Cream returns with more wonky bass lines and seamless synth on their latest effort, “Cool Water”. In typical fashion, the single comes equipped with another bad ass video that finds the girls lost in a magical infomercial for one of their favourite stage toys: The Bubbletron 2000. The girls also spoke to us about fashion, directing their own videos, future releases, and the urgency that comes with being an overnight success.
Noisey: You guys coined the term “Molecular Pop” to describe your sound. Which one of you came up with that?
Carlyn Bezic: We didn’t come up with the term. It was actually Anthony Nemet (Actual Water) who came up with it. I think we had to describe our sound in one of our first interviews and we were trying to figure out the best way to describe it. He was like “it’s dialed in molecular pop” and we were like “ok”. It sounded good and we just kept using it to avoid having to describe what we sound like.
Do you feel like having a sub-genre makes it easier to describe what you’re doing with the music?
Bezic: I can’t speak for Amanda, but personally I find it almost impossible to describe music, being that I’m the one making it. It’s hard for most people you make music. I think we’ve said it enough that it’s sort of become what we are and that works for me. At first it was just this silly thing that Anthony said, but now I feel like it’s pretty accurate in a strange way. With the synth and other sounds we incorporate into the songs, it’s sort of evocative of what the Ice Cream sound really is.
How important is the visual aesthetic for Ice Cream?
Bezic: Well what you’ve seen is sort of just a taste of our aesthetic. We have bigger plans and much loftier ideas for photo shoots and stage set-up, but we don’t really have the budget for that right now. There’s no pressure to have a “unique look”, but I also feel like as a new band, wouldn’t you want to try and make the visual aspect as exciting as possible or have as much control on it as you can? Personally, I think it’s important and adds to the general vibe.
Amanda Crist: Carlyn comes from a visual arts background, so that’s sort of natural to her and to me as well. I guess we’ve never looked at our visual aesthetic as a way to consciously set ourselves apart. It’s just about doing what we think is cool. We both like clothes and have a lot of talented friends who’ve helped us out with press photos and a lot of the other visual stuff.
What do you guys like to wear on stage?
Crist: I feel like the crazier the outfit, the better I feel on stage. Actually, I think I just need to feel like I have something planned, not even crazy. It makes it more fun for us. As Carlyn puts it, a good outfit is like a shield. When you have a good look, it sort of acts like an armour, a confidence boost that makes you feel awesome when you’re playing shows. Eventually we want to have actual stage outfits. The gold body casts Avery Flawes designed for our Flare photo shoot were amazing. We’re hoping to do more high fashion looks like that on stage in the future.
Bezic: We both like hats and weird shoes. I definitely get into a party mindset when I wear my “turn up” shoes. I need that.
Danielle Nemet has shot your press photos and she also did the “Plastic” video. What was the creative process like for that video?
Bezic: Danielle is a very talented photographer and we knew we wanted her to do a video for us. I think we just had a conversation with her about different ideas, what the song was about, and she sort of came up with this vague idea of dolls trapped in a dollhouse. We just brought our outfits to her house and she had every set up to shoot the video. There’s some other footage of us playing around a bit more, but Danielle decided that us just sitting there chilling out fit more with the style of the video.
Do you like a director who keeps the creative input 50/50 or would you rather work with someone who comes into it with their own vision?
Crist: We really like a collaborative effort, but I think from here on out, we’re gonna be directing the videos ourselves. We know a few great people that have camera equipment and experience who will shoot them and handle most of the editing, but the conceptual side will be us.
Bezic: The new video is the first video that’s been all our own ideas and vision, right down to the wardrobe and styling. We had someone handle the filming, but we controlled every other aspect of the video.
Do you find the process of releasing song and video simultaneously difficult? Is it hard to finding time to flesh out these great ideas while also working on music?
Crist: We started writing songs with the idea that we wanted to release videos with them, so it almost happens instantly once the song is finished. The concepts sort of just appear. We never really have any conflicts over what the song for each video should be. We’ll talk about one idea and build on it.
Bezic: Yeah it always just depends on what we think is right. I personally don’t think you need to have a clear idea of what the concept is for the video to be interesting or mean something to someone. The video always adds to the song anyway. Having that visual component is key because it can add a vibe that enhances or contrasts with what the song is about.
Can you tell us what the recording process has been like for your upcoming release?
Crist: Nothing is set in stone at the moment. We pretty much just record as we go. Like when we have a few songs done, we’ll just go record them because we know we like to have the videos and songs done at the same time, so it’s good to plan around when we wanna release the next video.
Bezic: It’s a pretty quick and dirty process at this point. Our set-up is pretty simple because we don’t have live drums and between the two of us, there’s never more than three instruments going at one time, so it’s pretty easy to pump things out. It’s also helps that Ben Cook (Ice Cream’s manager) knows what he’s doing, so it always goes quickly. As of right now we have a bunch of songs finished and a couple more on the way. We’re hoping to have a physical release sometime in the near future.
Max Mohenu is a fierce writer in Toronto - @RefiningMasc