As you reflect on the closing year and welcome one anew, there is one more thing that you might like to accompany you, namely, The Sweater I Gave You. Embodying the warmth of a sweater that fits perfectly and rivals only the warmth of lovely company, good conversation, and a well-stoked fire, this rad and reflective tape recorder music project coming out of Salem, Oregon is definitely one to watch. 2013 saw the release of three EPs via his bandcamp here, however, 2014 has much more in store for listeners/followers. Turn on any of his EPs here: One, Two, or Three, find a cozy, special place, and learn more about The Sweater I Gave You below:
Hi there, who are you?
IG: Hi, my name is Ivan. I’m 20 years old and living in Salem, Oregon. I’m in college right now and work at a library. I started releasing music as The Sweater I Gave You earlier this year. I originally planned on putting out little EPs every month, but things got in the way and I haven’t been able to release stuff as much as I’d hope.
What is your creative process?
IG: Music for me has always been a way to deal with things and transform them into something positive. My mom got me into piano lessons when I was 9 after my best friend and a bunch of people in my family died. Ever since, I’ve just had to make music or else everything becomes too much to handle. It’s like sleeping, it’s unavoidable.
Writing songs is never the same for me. I’ve been doing it for so long that I write songs in so many different ways. Usually, it starts with something I need to get out, or with lyrics I’ve written. From there, I just try and play what I feel fits best.
What and/or who inspires you?
IG: Music-wise it’s usually my friends. Rachel (R.L. Kelly), Mat (Coma Cinema/Elvis Depressedly), and Warren (Foxes In Fiction). They’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and are some of the best musicians/humans on the planet. I think Alex G. is hands down one of the greatest songwriters to ever exist and inspires me as much as he makes me want to just quit because he’s so incredible.
Other than that inspiration is endless. It comes from everywhere. Salem is a horrible city, but if you’re truly awake you can accept everything as it is in order to find what you’re searching for.
Where is the ideal setting to listen to your latest release?
IG: Driving from Salem to McMinnville off the highway there’s a big abandoned white house. Go through the front window and up the stairs to the room on the right. It’s the best room in the house. I wrote the lyrics to “lonely” there.
What is your history with music?
IG: It started with piano lessons, but all my teachers quit on me pretty fast because I wouldn’t practice scales or anything, I’d just write little songs. Then I got a guitar, and the summer before 6th grade I was spending the summer at my grandma’s and she bought me a tape recorder and that’s the first recording I ever did. My first band was in 7th grade. We were called “Spack Vandy”. I’ve been in a couple of bands since then and had a couple projects, but The Sweater I Gave You is the first thing that I’ve ever done that I’ve been truly proud of.
How are you balancing life right now?
IG: Everything is pretty chaotic and off right now. I’m moving to Portland in less than a week for college and as it is I haven’t been able to write music nearly as much as I’d hope. All my free time up there will be devoted to music most likely. Right now I’m in the middle of recording an album that’ll be out on orchid tapes. Hopefully I’ll finish that soon so I can get back to recording EPs and releasing music more often.
If you go look out your window, what do you see?
IG: That picture [please see the above use artwork with the drawn hands and photograph] under the hands is actually the view from the window in my room. I live on a dead end street, and past the dead end there is a park where there’s this huge homeless camp with like, 250+ homeless people. There’s always super fvcked up tweakers and drunk homeless people walking by my window. Salem is known for its meth. I have a bunch of songs I’ve recorded where you can hear people walking by my window yelling and fighting and stuff.
What would you do if you were not making music?
IG: I honestly have no idea. I’d probably be writing poetry or just be a super self-destructive, unbalanced person. I don’t know, I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I couldn’t make music. Music has saved me in so many ways, that without it I’d most likely be dead, honestly. But who knows, I hope I never have to find out.
Many thank yous for reading and Happy New Year! Welcome 2014 and connect with The Sweater I Gave You below: