‘Hell yes, refresh’: The Get Right Band release ‘iTopia’
With its latest concept album, “iTopia,” Asheville-based indie-rockers The Get Right Band have offered up food for thought on where we currently stand as a society — this juxtaposition of humanity and technology in the emerging 21st century.
“So much of the point of all this work is connection — sharing the record with fans, with the world, and hoping people hear it and say, ‘Hey, I feel that way, too,’” said lead singer/guitarist Silas Durocher. “And they can share their experiences and their energy with us, in response to us sharing our experiences and our energy with them, and you just get this beautiful feedback loop going.”
Captured by producer/engineer Julian Dreyer at Echo Mountain Recording, “iTopia” is the fifth studio album The Get Right Band, a rising Western North Carolina group constantly, whether consciously or subconsciously, in a perpetual state of sonic evolution — this elusive, moving target of inspiration, creativity and intricate musicianship.
“We like to spend a ton of time working on the sounds, the textures, the psychedelic ear candy, the vocal phrasing, the nuanced timing between the instruments,” Durocher said. “And sometimes the most interesting moments of the album come at the end of many hours of chasing an idea.”
With “iTopia,” what has resulted is an album touching upon many of the countless influences — rock, pop, soul, psychedelic — at the core of the band. And what remains is yet another installment in this ongoing conversation between the group and the listener — of life and love, of the knowns and unknowns of a world gone mad in the digital age.
Smoky Mountain News: With “iTopia,” tell me about the concept behind it? What sparked this idea for a theme, and how it evolved into the final product as it stands?
Silas Durocher: Our new album is about our relationships with technology and social media. Almost everyone in the world is being massively impacted by these issues — it’s something so many of us are thinking about and trying to understand better.
The three of us in the band were having conversations about this subject, not in the context of writing about it, just because we were interested and saw its importance.
Eventually, I started to realize that there were so many different angles to this story — mental health, the beautiful side of the internet, phone addiction, trolls, conspiracy theories, sense of self, loss of our relationship with nature and on and on.
And that’s when we started to form the idea of doing a concept album. I’ve always been really impressed and moved by music with a social message — Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Run the Jewels, Rage Against the Machine. We felt like this was a social issue that was really pulling on our attention, and we thought it might be helpful to some other people out there, too.
SMN: Your band has been together for over a decade. What does it mean to you when you’re onstage or in the studio, and you look over and it’s those same faces that have been with you on this journey?
SD: It’s beautiful to have shared so much together — blood, sweat, tears, years, cities, miles, highs, lows, tour delirium, hearing loss, adventures, van breakdowns and on and on.
And, like every relationship, it’s complicated. Shared experience is an incredibly powerful bonding agent, but it takes work, communication and a shared goal to keep a relationship going.
I think the decade-plus of playing together is most evident when we’re onstage, on our best nights, moving and thinking as one mind is effortless and magical — that only comes with time.
SMN: What’s been the biggest takeaway from this project? What have you learned about the theme you set out to analyze and capture?
SD: Through the process of making the album and researching the subject matter, I learned that technology is affecting us in more ways than I even realized — nothing about this is black and white. We aren’t saying that technology is bad. We aren’t saying social media should be banned.
We’re saying that there are algorithms and super computers trying at all times to hijack our attention, and that that has massive ramifications on almost every aspect of our world, our lives, our emotions, our mental health — it’s best to be aware of it and to pay attention to it.
And beyond all the heady, timely subject matter, we’re also saying that being alive is difficult, and sometimes music can make it a little easier, because it makes us feel not as alone — it makes us think, it makes us dance, and it just feels good, groovy and fun in our bones.
Want to go?
The Get Right Band will host its album release party for “iTopia” at 8 p.m. Friday, April 7, at The Salvage Station in Asheville. The show will be on the indoor stage. All ages. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day-of-show.
For more information and/or to purchase tickets, click on salvagestation.com/events.