New York City, NY
No single concentration of power could force conformity. Free inquiry became possible. They were beyond the frontiers of the empires.
In order to understand Ionia's present we must first delve into their past. It began in a small town in Alaska with Blaise Beyhan. Born into an alternative community, Blaise grew up in a non-conventional setting with 7 siblings and a Mother and Stepfather who home schooled him. There was no traditional educational structure, recalls Blaise, but he did realize that he had a love for music. He started playing harmonica at a very young age and eventually switched to guitar. The only music that he had access to were the records that his Parents had around. "When I was 12, I thought Bob Dylan and The Stones were still 20. When the kids in the commune were finally old enough to drive they would go into town to soak up as much music as possible. My brother and I started getting heavily into NIN and Marylyn Manson, we were kinda the providers of new and cool music to the community," he recalls.
At the age of 14, Blaise's world turned upside-down by the death of his Mother. With a broken family structure, the world that he knew ended. Blaise eventually left home, never staying in one spot for very long and never having a solid roof over his head. "When I got to a real city I realized there were a lot of distractions and I kinda spent a lot of time being self destructive and getting into trouble," says Blaise. He soon began to wonder what he was doing with his life.
At 18 he hopped on a bus to NYC and decided to dedicate his time to music. He quickly realized that it?s not easy in a city of millions. Blaise was eager to meet some musicians that were serious about what they did. Enter Donato. The two met through a mutual friend that Donato frequently gigged with and began to hang out and jam together. They immediately realized that they had connected, both musically and personally. "I'm addicted to my instrument and music, therefore the work becomes worship for me, it was cool to meet someone who shared that lifestyle and ethos." remembers Donato.
Blaise and Donato decided to put an add out in the paper and after meeting with about 50 guitarists they finally met their match. Enter Craig. Born in Brooklyn with a passion for the guitar, Craig was just what they were looking for. "When I came down to play with these guys, I realized that this is exactly what I've been searching for ever since I picked up the guitar" says Craig. I thought to myself, this guys a psycho, recollects Blaise, he's perfect for us and he's playing for keeps.
With Ionia's core in tact, they hunkered down in their rehearsal space in Manhattan's lower east side writing and honing in on their sound. That was a period of time that we learned how the 3 of us work best together, recalls Donato. Craig was giving the songs hands and Donato was giving the songs legs, says Blaise, and it was a heart and head that I was bringing in -- so all together we created something that could breath by itself.
A few months later a rehearsal recording caught the ear of a lawyer who invited them to record a demo. We put a lot in our producers hands, recalls Blaise, But as we were recording, we realized more about what we wanted and became more confident. That confidence and dedication to their craft created an addictively strong 4 song EP. When we write there definitely is a vision, Donato reveals, We want to create a common thread through our music. Upon first listen you immediately feel that mood--the emotionally driven, intense vocals, blended with the fierce yet melodic crafting of guitar and the fervent drum grooves, the songs open a window into Ionia's world. Having grown up separated from the rest of the world, Blaise is highly affected by what he sees in today?s society. "I tend to pull my lyrical content from things that disturb me about the way the world is set up, that I think should change, and believing that something's gotta give", emotes Blaise, I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of mutiny yet
With the EP in their hands the guys knew that they needed to search for a permanent bass player. We created a triangle that now needed a 4th element, and we knew that was going to be difficult, says Blaise. After months of trying to find someone, Blaise put a posting on the internet. Immediately after I posted the ad, my phone rang, remembers Blaise. Enter Freddie. Born in London, and living in various US cities Freddie ended up at the Manhattan School of Music - he was that final piece they were searching for. Freddie brings a creative element to the band that widens the palate of our writing process, Blaise says.
With Ionia's lineup now complete they are ready to jump into whatever challenges lay ahead of them. "We've all spent a lot of time devoting ourselves to our craft, and that evolution will constantly continue", says Blaise, but now we are finally in a position where we are creating something genuine and that's the most important thing