We Angelenos take great pride in having a wealth of legendary artists hail from our diverse city: The Beach Boys, The Doors, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, and Metallica to name a few. Recently, I was tipped off about a hot, new band emerging from the LA scene called Indio Ink.
They were scheduled to play West Hollywood’s Peppermint Club. I arranged a post-sound check chat and headed to the west side to find out for myself if they have the potential to be added to my LA legends list.
When I arrived, they were still dressed in their pre-gig clothing. Guitarist Cristobal was sporting a sleeveless Motörhead t-shirt. Their young, fresh-faced drummer Jackson Morris proudly displayed Metallica across his chest. Their gorgeous keyboardist and backing vocalist Emily Dickinson wore a tight, short romper. Their tatted bassist Alex Pitta had on a plain white t-shirt and jeans. And their star, front-man Indio Downey oozed cool with his textured, long wavy hair, and black, leather jacket.
I lured these glamorous, budding icons into the alleyway near a dumpster in back of the club to get to know them a little bit better. Here’s how our chat went…
Leeza: To start things off, I want everyone to tell me the first gig you went to.
Indio: Kings of Leon at the Fonda.
Emily: Annie Lennox and Sting in Arizona.
Jackson: Roger Waters performing “The Wall” at the Staples Center.
Alex: Chicago, with my parents at Humphreys by the Bay in San Diego.
Christobal: Jeff Beck and Santana, with my dad in Dallas, Texas when I was 14.
Leeza: How did you guys get involved with Indio Ink? Indio, did you demo the songs first, and have the band join after?
Indio: Yeah, originally I went into the studio with the writer and producer and we started writing some songs. Then, I was introduced to Emily, Jackson, Alex, and Cristobal via some other musicians. We all have such similar taste in music, which is why it made sense for us to work together.
Leeza: Emily, what did you think when you first heard the demos?
Emily: It was definitely different from the kind of bands I was playing in, but in a weird way, it kind of brought it back to my roots. I grew up on Metallica, AC/DC, so it was kind of a weird sense of home.
Leeza: So, Jackson, tell us how you got involved.
Jackson: I got introduced to Indio through a kid named Noah Weiland (son of Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland), who is a buddy of mine, and a very talented artist. Indio and I talked about our music interests together, and it just worked out.
Leeza: Now, let’s move onto Alex.
Alex: I was approached to join this band by an acquaintance. After listening to the demos one or two times, I knew that I really liked the music. The heavier musical voicing with the pop and alternative songwriting is something that I’ve always been drawn to, which is why I was very eager to hop on board.
Leeza: Ok, now on to Cristobal.
Cristobal: I can go on for hours about each of them individually, because they are all such a talented, wonderful people. When I met Indio for the first time, there was something that clicked between us, like with our guitar jamming and his writing sensibility. We were just the perfect fit, and ever since we have just wanted to try to take it to the next level.
Leeza: I guess being in a band is kind of like dating, and you all have to get along?
Cristobal: That’s right. It’s all about chemistry.
Leeza: I’ve heard two of your singles: “Headspace” and Runaway.” Tell me a little bit about each song.
Indio: “Headspace” is about making mistakes and having a bad day, but also about being addicted to this toxic love.
Leeza: Did you have a toxic love?
Indio: (curtly) I did, yeah.
Leeza: You have a second single coming out called “Runaway.” Can you give me a little bit of information about that?
Indio: The melody actually came to me in a dream, and that became the chorus of the song. It’s about rejection, and music being my escape from that.
Leeza: It’s hard for me to believe that you would be rejected, because look at you. (Indio starts blushing.) People wouldn’t assume that YOU would be rejected. You’re talented, you’re good looking, and you have a lot going for you.
Indio: I can be pretty antisocial sometimes.
Leeza: Are you shy, in general?
Leeza: I could kind of sense that, but I’ll bet you’re a beast on stage.
Indio: Thank you. I love being on stage.
Leeza: Is that where you escape?
Indio: Absolutely. Music is my passion, and being up on stage really helps me feel better.
Leeza: You have an LP coming out soon?
Indio: Yes, it comes out on September 7th. It’s called “Sakura.“
Leeza: Where did you come up with that name?
Indio: Sakura is representative of new beginnings and rebirth. It’s a cherry blossom. So, that’s why I thought it fit us, since this is our first album as a band.
Leeza: What are your future plans?
Indio: We have a show coming up at the Viper Room on August 26.
At this point, some fans started arriving, so the band needed to clear out to change into their stage outfits. The venue filled up pretty quickly, and before long, it was packed. There were a couple of bands on stage before them, but it was clear that the audience was there for Indio Ink.
When the curtains opened, and Cristobal struck his first power chord, the crowd erupted. Indio’s shyness completely dissolved. Emily wildly flung her long blond hair from side to side. Alex immersed himself in the groove. And Jackson hit the skins with ferocity. As I watched their performance, I felt honored to be in their presence, and lucky to be able to witness this event so early on in their career, which I knew would have no limits. Do they have the potential to be added to my LA legends list? Absolutely!