MFA PRESENTS: A Conversation with I Am The Icarus

We talked to Daniel Godfrey of I Am The Icarus about their latest album Postmodern Bore, Kurt Cobain & why music today is so boring.

MFA PRESENTS: A Conversation with I Am The Icarus

I Am The Icarus is the brainchild of San Diego based Daniel Godfrey. Their latest album Postmodern Bore came out earlier this month and is a refreshing nod to 90s rock & grunge nostalgia, both in sound as well as spirit.

MFA: What is the origin story of how you met the other members of I Am The Icarus?

Daniel: The band is really just me. The only other constant contributor would be Pete Charell (Trapt) who’s mixed all my records since 2012. He’s also played bass on the majority of the records, this record is actually the first I played all the bass parts. Pete and I met through a mutual friend Bob Bradley of the band Scars of Tomorrow and Fake Figures. I was working on the first full length record and was having issues with the mix and he suggested Pete. We had a phone call and hit it off and we’ve basically worked together ever since. I won’t let anyone else touch my music, he gets how I want my records to sound like no one else does.

The first EP was produced by Shaun Lopez from Far and ††† and it had a much more modern and maybe even over-produced sound, which is fine for what that EP was trying to accomplish, but it’s not really who I am. It feels very much of that era (2008/2009). With Pete we’re able to do more of a 90s sound and things are much more organic and real sounding. You can especially hear that on the new record.

MFA: I really enjoyed Postmodern Bore! I sense a slight frustration with the past few years — did anything in particular inspire this album?

Daniel: Yeah, the pandemic and the response to it was a huge factor and just the current political and over politicized moment we’re enduring. I grew up in the 80s and 90s and I don’t recognize this place anymore. The idea that if you don’t tow some political line you’re a racist or fascist or bigot in some way is absurd.

One of the first lyrics I wrote for the record was “I feel alien, straight white male, American, not queer” and that kind sums up the mood of the country I feel. We’re in a really weird place right now and I don’t know how we come out of it, but people need to start treating each other with a modicum of respect and actual tolerance again for starters.

The other huge thing was the lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates. Seeing people just go along with all of that was insane. And just shaming people who didn’t go along and watching people lose jobs and families and friendships falling apart based on opposing views. It was sad. I was raised to think for myself and to question everything, to not follow crowds or trends and I think that’s served me well in the 21st century.

MFA: When I first started this blog in 2021, it was a reaction to how difficult it had become for musicians to play live in 2020. Since then it seems like the physical closures preventing live music has now morphed into online bullying tactics to prevent "problematic" musicians from performing live in some cities.

What is the current San Diego music scene like?

Daniel: I wouldn’t know because the band doesn’t play live. The last show we played was in 2013 maybe? The tactics you’re talking about go beyond live music, I’ve seen people use those same tactics to try to just get bands totally canceled, mostly in the metal scene which has been bizarre to see.

I’m a huge metal fan in general, but I’ve noticed in the black metal scene in particular, you see a lot of Reddit types literally saying you shouldn’t listen to certain bands because they’re “problematic” and it’s like, yeah that’s the point of certain genres, its intended to push buttons and offend people. People need to stop being so easily offended and just enjoy things again.

Someone like Marilyn Manson couldn’t exist in the current environment and that’s really sad and the reason music is so sanitized and boring as fuck. When I wrote this record I wanted to push buttons to make people feel something. I wanted it to be raw and imperfect and be punk rock in a way that people seem to have forgotten how to be.

MFA: We dabble in some pop culture conspiracies here... do you think Kurt Cobain killed himself?

Daniel: Absolutely he killed himself. All you have to do is listen to the man in interviews and it’s clear he did. He also attempted to commit suicide in Rome like a month before he finally did kill himself. I’ve suffered with similar demons my entire life and we can smell our own. If I was in his position I might have done the same, I would never want that level of fame it sounds like an endless nightmare. Just give me the money.

MFA: Speaking of conspiracies, is the "I Curmudgeon" artwork a Bohemian Grove reference?

Daniel: Yes! It was just a joke for fans of the band who I know are into that kind of thing. It’s just a pixel art drawing of one of Alex Jones’ photos from Bohemian Grove. I literally gave the artist a photo and said just make it pixel art and don’t change anything.

He also did the other two singles which came out really great as well. I did the album art myself this time, it’s just 35mm photography of a bunch of shit I bought on eBay and then I collaged it all together. I always loved the back photo of Nirvana’s In Utero which was just a collage Kurt did and wanted to do a collage style cover for awhile.