iPhonic was featured in this article from BuzzBinMagazine.com.
When I entered the home base of iPhonic, the sweet, stale smell of a recent party hovered in the air, and empty liquor bottles and several recently shattered guitars lined the room. Over the just-dried booze was the even sweeter aroma of burning Zig-Zags.
The house just off Lake Erie on the west side of Cleveland resembles a fraternity annex. In their living room, Dave D asks, “Do you know how many AIDS are in this couch?” Broken glass and the eclectic decorative tastes of garage-sale artwork reinforce a post-collegiate atmosphere. It fits for a crew of guys in their mid-20s, and even more so as the launching pad for Cleveland’s fast-rising party hip-hop/rock group, iPhonic.
The 2011 Ohio Hip-Hop Award winners for Best New Artist describe themselves online simply as “iPhonic = Rock N Roll + VODKA + Hip-Hop.” The foursome is made up of Dave D on vocals, JQ (“no period, because periods are for girls”) as MC, Matt Gibson on guitar and Ben Schigel, who handles percussion and production.
The band officially formed three years ago between Athens, Ohio, and Cleveland, and mark 2009’s Six Fest as the beginning of their rise. The yearly rager at Ohio University has recently been a catalyst for national acts like Mike Posner and Machine Gun Kelly.
“Every year since Six Fest, we’ve gotten, like, a little better time slot, a little better treatment. So every Fest, we know we’re progressing,” said JQ.
The band can easily mark progress in many other ways. Their first official mixtape, “Rock N Roll Vol. 1,” was released in November 2011. The 14-song release was put out in collaboration with Cleveland institution DJ E-V and boasts features from a diverse array of artists, including Patrick Stump, Aaron LaFette, MGK and the Bone Thugz N’ Harmony luminary, Krayzie Bone.
“Shut It Down” is the standout track, featuring Krayzie Bone. The collaboration marked a major moment for a band that grew up in Cleveland: “He’s a legend and, most importantly, he did it because he believed in the music.”
It was also a great rock ’n’ roll moment. As JQ describes it, “He [Krayzie Bone] flew in from Cali and came to the studio. We smoked like 20 blunts. The dude drinks his vodka straight,” and equally important, “lukewarm,” a drink which iPhonic now calls The Krayzie Bone. “And we’re not ones to be partied under the table,” said JQ, “so we were going shot-for-shot with him.”
“For the video, he was our getaway driver from robbing the liquor store, so he was driving around the parking lot,” said Gibson. “It turns out, like, he doesn’t drive much because he doesn’t have a license. By the end, that dude was driving around with the biggest smile on his face.”
Such landmark moments in the band’s rise are coming at an exponentially rapid clip. Since the mixtape release in November, they’ve been touring and recording “Rock N Roll Vol. 2,” a project they’re keeping under wraps for now but plan to release at the end of summer, as well as working on DJ E-V’s upcoming “Bitch, I’m from Cleveland III.”
This March, the band made trips to perform at SXSW in Austin as well as in New York City, where they played a show heavily attended by industry reps. The labels told iPhonic to “keep working harder and harder than ever before,” and they’re taking the advice, developing their music and expanding their efforts with online video “episodes” and even animated shorts.
Through it all, iPhonic knows why they’re in the game: “Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll,” said Gibson, with a grin. They dismiss the indie scene, which JQ matter-of-factly calls “pussy music.” For its members, iPhonic “is what rock ‘n’ roll sounds like in 2012.” The band may not have a record deal yet, but they do have a vodka sponsorship, complete with free booze. For some bands, that might be a concern. But for iPhonic, it’s simply keeping priorities straight.