Ever since the official launch of musical project I Don’t Know How But They Found Me in 2017, people from all over the world have discovered the young band and connected with their music. The new wave pop rock duo comprised of Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman is currently on tour for its EP, “1981 Extended Play,” released in Nov. 2018.
Both Weekes and Seaman sat down with the Daily Nebraskan before their headline show at the Bourbon Theatre Friday night to discuss the musical inspirations behind their EP, where they see the future of the band and the meaning behind the abnormally long name of the group.
The Daily Nebraskan: So you released your first song “Modern Day Cain” in 2017, but it is not on your 2018 EP, “1981 Extended Play.” Why did you guys decide to do that?
Dallon Weekes: Well, we wanted to get something out that people haven't heard before, and it was kind of a challenge because we needed to put “Choke” [out]. But we wanted to get some new songs into the world because “Modern Day Cain” had been on the internet for a while. We will probably put it on the LP, so people can finally have a copy that isn't on YouTube.
DN: Not long after that, you released “Choke” in 2017 and then re-released it in 2018, which has garnered a lot of success on the charts. Did you always know there was something special with it?
DW: We didn't plan on it being a single. I made a lyric video at my kitchen table and put it online. I think that is the first time we admitted our band was an actual thing. We had been doing it for almost a year in secret, but [we] threw that online and finally fessed up to the fact that we had this band. It kind of took off and that's really why it ended up being a single.
DN: What was it like to keep the band a secret for so long?
Ryan Seaman: It was kind of fun to do. Because we both came from other bands, it’s hard to create credibility. We just wanted to start fresh like any other band that is starting out for the first time.
DW: That was the only way we could have done it, realistically, was by doing it in secret.
DN: As you two wrote “1981 Extended Play,” what were your musical influences at the time?
DW: The musical influences that took a big step forward when I was writing this stuff was Moby and T-Rex, Sparks, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, some late 1970’s Britsh glam rock and god rock and early new wave stuff I guess.
DN: Since the EP took over a year to release after your first single as iDKHOW, do you think your mental image of what the tracks would look like ever changed?
DW: The vision and the aesthetics developed as we were recording the EP, but it ended being the way we intended it, which was really great. And you know, those aesthetics and things will change and evolve as we move forward, but the idea is to always keep our vision on point for what we want it to be.
DN: Obviously most of your time is taken up by touring, but after this, what is next for you guys?
RS: Go and open up with Silversun Pickups.
DW: We’re going to do a run with them and then just more shows and shows and shows until they, um, kill us.
RS: ‘Till they tell us to go finish the full length album.
DW: Its all ready to go, we just need to get in the studio and record the thing officially.
DN: Do you have any rough dates in mind for when you would like to release that?
DW: Like six months ago. It's kind of frustrating playing the waiting game.
DN: What is like to do these live shows and have songs written for the full length album but not be able to play them because they have not been officially released?
DW: It’s hard, but at the same time, we know that the payoff will be worth the wait. We just have to be patient.
DN: Within all of your music you have released and plan to release in the future, what do you want it to say to your audience?
DW: Well there are a few things. One, I don't like L.A. I lived there for eight years, and it’s just not my kind of town. I shouldn't say that I hate L.A. because there are aspects of it that I do like, but the entertainment business culture and the me-first narcissistic attitude sort of permeate that town. I wasn't welcome there, and it never felt like home to me. A lot of songs are inspired by my distaste for that experience and having lived there for so long.
DN: How do you avoid becoming part of that “me first” culture you talk about in the entertainment industry?
DW: Well, one way is to have a good friend come play drums for me. I could have made it a solo project, but I didn’t want to. I think when you get into that neighborhood, it's easy to fall into your own ego because there is no one around you to check you and pull you back to reality. That is why Ryan is here, to tell me when I am being dumb.
RS: Which hasn't happened yet.
DN: What was it like to know each other for a long time and finally come together to make iDKHOW a reality?
DW: It felt really good. It felt natural and organic. We were both in similar situations, both employed by bands that were successful but just having a miserable time doing it. Playing music is supposed to be fun. We started this so we could remember that and get back into that feeling. If it’s not fun you need to change something.
DN: So has it been fun so far?
RS: When you are doing a band on your own, there are a lot more hurdles, I guess you could say.
DW: A lot more work.
RS: Yeah, it’s like a seed starting out. As it grows, it turns into a plant and then a tree.
DW: But it’s a lot more rewarding.
DN: For those who don't know, the name of your band, I Don't Know How But They Found Me, is a quote from Back to the Future. Did the quote just speak to you? What drew you to that name?
DW: I’ve been a fan of that movie from the time I was a kid. It was my favorite. But that phrase in particular, I really enjoyed and wanted to use it for something, like a lyric or a song title. But when we started playing shows in secret, it would sort of hit our whole m.o. of “deny everything.” So we would book shows anonymously under this ridiculous band name, sort of challenging people to come see what it is. It’s long, and it’s a ridiculous band name. So if you could get past, then…
RS: I remember we were booking shows and one of the places was like, “That's the name of the band? Okay, that's a hell of a name.”
DW: And that's what we get everywhere we go. If you can't get past that, then we don't want you around.
RS: Yeah and names are supposed to…
DW: They are all ridiculous.
RS: They are all stupid pretty much.
DW: You just have to embrace it and make it cool by not caring.
RS: Like if you didn't know what Jimmy Eat World was…
DW: Or The Beatles, their name is a pun.
DN: As musicians who have played with a list of other groups, how do you think this tour has been different from ones in the past?
RS: We used to play for literally nobody back in the day, and now it’s crazy. We still play some of those songs that [Weekes] wrote and just looking out in the crowd, and thinking like 10 years ago, I was in front of like five people and a dog.
DW: And now we are able to go play a show at any random spot in America, or otherwise, and people show up, it’s amazing to us. We never had any expectations when we started this thing other than to have fun, and everything that has happened since then has just been an amazing bonus.