With three-and-a-half years of pounding the pavement throughout the Midwest and a feverish social networking presence, heavy alternative rock/modern pop trio Icon For Hire signed the dotted line with Tooth & Nail Records.
The ensuing Scripted serves as the Decatur, Ill. band's national debut disc. Between the immediately apparent chemistry amongst front woman Ariel, guitarist Shawn Jump and drummer Adam Kronshagen, coupled with powerhouse production from Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, The Almost, Acceptance) and Rob Hawkins (Fireflight, Philmont), the group sounds nothing short of innovative, infectious and explosive.
NRT's Bill Lurwick talked with frontwoman Ariel about the project, and about taking responsibility for change.
Talking with Ariel from Icon For Hire about Scripted, your debut project and Ariel, you’ve got some pretty heavy hitters involved in this. Aaron Sprinkle and Rob Hawkins both helping you out.
Yes. We got lucky with those guys.
Now, Rob of course working with Pillar in years past and Aaron’s worked with Anberlin and the Almost and just about anybody. How was it working with them?
It was fantastic. We didn’t really grow up in the Christian music industry, so we weren’t really familiar with a lot of those artists that they had worked with, but they were both fantastic people. Their work selves could not have been more opposite. We worked with Rob first and it was like go, go, go from nine to five everyday solid and we get to Aaron. He was just like so chilled. Just hanging out. He’s like, “We’ll get to it when we get to it.” So, it was a lot of adjusting to the two extremes of work styles, but we really like what came out of the studio and it’s good for us to be flexible and to learn how to work with different people.
Talk about the first single, which is "Make a Move." It's a call to action, right?
Yeah. It’s about not blaming the world for your problems. That’s a topic that’s really close to my heart. Everyone’s had a crappy life. I feel like I have, everyone’s had, whether or not that’s because there was something really dramatic that happened in your childhood or if it’s just teenage hormones and emotions that get the best of you, all that can contribute to you feeling like a victim and looking at the world in a mindset that says someone else should come along and fix it and just pointing this finger, but I really want to get the message across that that’s not the way it works.
If you’re not happy with what’s going on in the world, you probably have something to do with it too. So, we tell kids that that song isn’t about their parents. It’s not about the boyfriend or the girlfriend. That song is about them. That song is about me and what we can do to try to make a contribution in the world we live in.
Scripted is kind of a tongue in cheek title and the project cover, people get it and they look at it, it’s pretty tongue in cheek too. Talk about what’s behind Scripted and those stereotypes that you guys are trying to break.
Definitely. Well, the Scripted
album cover is basically the boys putting me back together. It’s just making fund of this industry where you have to be so calculated all the time. Anything you sing, any reason is going to be ripped apart. You’re not going to get it right. There’s always going to be someone hating on you and we’ve completely already discovered that and we realize that’s part of the job and we’re fine with that, but the title Scripted is just a reference to having to be so calculated and intentional all the time and there was definitely an element of intentionality with this record, but at the same time everything came from a very genuine and authentic place.
We made the music. We wrote the lyrics ourselves and it definitely came from our hearts and we tried not to just put together this kind of generic thing that I think is very easy to do in the music industry sometimes. I’m sure that we have failed in some ways and succeeded in other ways, but hopefully we can keep pushing forward and keep going in that direction.
Do you have a favorite cut on the project? I know that’s kind of a big question, but do you have a favorite?
I do. It’s called "Get Well." We just actually recorded a music video for that a few weeks back that I’m very excited about and I liked it because it came from a very honest place when we wrote it and also the music I think is so fun. It totally shows in those over the top [3:25 inaudible] elements that I was referring to earlier as well as the brutal rock [3:29 inaudible]. I get to do some really cool vocal things on there and I just really love it. I’m very excited for our fans to hear that one.
What’s the song about in itself?
The song is about realizing that – it was basically a wakeup call for me when I realized that a lot of my friends from high school, the only thing we had in common anymore was that we all hated life at one point and we would get together, as youth often do, and talk about how crappy everything was and how much we wanted to get out of the town we were in and all that stuff and I realized that I had nothing in common with these people except for that negativity.
So, it’s kind of me saying, “Let’s grow up.” I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. It’s not necessarily a popular view at a teenager’s age to want to be happy and there are definitely a lot of pity parties going on and it’s kind of wanting to move beyond that.