When it comes to mystery, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me’s Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman took a page out of the Stranger Things book. The duo – comprised of longtime musicians and touring members of multiple bands – kicked off their new venture with an idea that sprang up in Dallon’s mind as he was making music in his extra time. “[I] fell into this weird YouTube hole watching old talent show clips from cable access talent shows from back in the early 80’s and I really wanted to be on one of these shows, so the only way to do that was to make a video kind of emulating that,” explains Dallon. The concept for him was undeniable and completely doable. The idea of a hidden band, surrounding by the age of social media was a bit too tempting to not run with, and IDKHOW was born. “That’s where the whole concept got started- to have a secret band that sort of did exist 30 years ago, but people had to discover it on their own.”
And discovered it, they have. Shocked by how soon people began to catch on, “we thought it’d be a bit longer, but we’re not mad about it,” Weekes jokes. The fans of both members of the band have proven just how loyal they can be to great musicians by constantly coming out, and selling out the shows they’ve been playing. For a lot of fans, it’s a gift to see Ryan and Dallon on stage together after the decade away from their first band, The Brobecks. Explaining how the two have been a constant in each other’s lives, Ryan is quick to point out that although“we put the Brobecks on a hiatus…” the two of them never strayed far for too long.
And although a lot of big Brobecks fans are excited about this venture, there are some big differences in the look. “Aesthically it’s a little more concise, there’s a little more vision there,” Dallon states. “And it’s a two-piece,” Ryan adds. However, musically Dallon doesn’t think “it’s terribly different.” But each act has it’s time, and they understand that. “It’s also like a natural progression from where we left off with songwriting,” Ryan confesses.
If Dallon is the eccentric leading man, Ryan plays his perfect – yet still outgoing – chill vibe counter part. The two’s rhythm when speaking about this project is only matched – and quite possibly upstaged – by the brilliant stage performances they are constantly providing fans. It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly makes this duo so powerful, but there’s something incredibly special about watching them perform together.
Perhaps it’s having two people who have relied so heavily on playing live music for other bands, create their own with all the knowledge they’ve learned that makes it so special. “Ryan’s been in like, every band,” Dallon jokes. “I would kind of label myself as uh – you know who Josh Freeze is? – one of those guys.” Ryan himself is one of the most well-known touring drummers around, and for good reason. He’s brilliant at his craft, but it’s good to be part of his own thing. “Dallon and I- we just wanted to do this for fun. And then when people found out about it, that’s just what made everything that much better… We didn’t wanna use our jobs to get us notoriety, we wanted to start from the ground up.” But that doesn’t mean that being constant touring musicians doesn’t help them creatively. According to Ryan, “The more people you play with and expose yourself to, the better musician you become, you always learn”.
For IDKHOW that learning has led them here to that grassroots stage of their newest venture. Ground up means small shows, personal interactions with all the devoted early-on fans, and insane amounts of DIY. “It was really fun playing in secret for a while,” Weekes explains “it felt really good to gain the attention of strangers and people who don’t know or don’t care what bands we’ve played in”. It’s a brilliant way of marketing, and has created an already devoted fanbase who attends their shows without needing constant social media interaction. Dallon is hopeful that this goes beyond the normal fan and band connection we’ve seen become so popular over the past decade. “It’s always more to discover something on your own, and that’s what we wanted to create rather than do a big press release and an official announcement and stuff like that. We wanted to make something that felt more organic and more natural”. It gives you that retro feel of going to a show, having no idea who is the opening band and then leaving with a new favourite band you didn’t even know you were going to see. IDKHOW’s entire vibe seems to revolve around the concept of music being the main connection between them and their fans, and it might be old school, but it works.
It could be that they were in bands before and have crazed fans, but it seems as though IDK’s secret lies more within Ryan’s and Dallon’s passion for what they’re doing. “It’s like watching a different movie, you know? It’s not the same routine, it’s something different. It’s something fresh and special, it’s always nice to hit a reset”. And reset, they did. Having their breakout single hit the alt-charts, and their music video be met with insanely positive reception, Dallon states “I hope that we could fit into like a pop world, but maybe on the fringes of it. There’s a lot of that world I really love, but I wouldn’t feel natural if we were doing it. So I think pretty much everything that I’ve written and everything that we do is or should always be on the fringes of any major genre like pop and alternative”. It’s a way for them to bring in as many fans as possible but also to “not limit ourselves creatively, too.”
It’s refreshing to hear a band be so about the music first. “We try not to worry about what-ifs,” Dallon explains “like any creative person we want the thing that we create to be as successful as possible, and that’s definitely a goal, but we’re not worried about what-ifs.” It’s the exact mentality you want a band to have, play the music as long as the fans enjoy it, and it couldn’t come from two more experienced, talented or dedicated people. Their chemistry is so on, it’s easy to see how the writing process – although Dallon wrote the record – was so smooth for them. Ryan was quick to share how they’re able to work with one another on difference facets of the music- “even like when we were doing the stuff on our own he’d be recording vocals in the vocal booth and I’d be out there with the engineer, he’d ask me like ‘what do you think about this’ and I’d be like ‘oh well I think….’ And that’s how we got through.” Quickly Dallon explains that working with Ryan is “kind of like riding a bike. We’ve known each other for so long.” “We always try to push each other,” Ryan adds. “In a good way,” Dallon jokes.
It’s the two of them against the world in the band, balancing the act of DIY with releasing their music on the big global scale so it reaches as many as possible, but it’s also enough to remind you of the times where bands really could walk that fine line and still be successful. In the age of technology, IDKHOW has found the keys to being retro, successful, and inspirational. Whether it’s Dallon’s glittery jacket and face make-up, or Ryan’s bright blue hair that catches your eye, it’ll be the music and the magic that will make you glad you found them.
They left Don’t Bore Us by answering the big question of the night… When will we see an album? All we got as an answer is a coy “IDK”.