Earlier this month, Delaware’s most sorely overlooked folk outfit, Innoko, caught our attention with their endearing sophomore EP, Honest Places. According to their Facebook page, the group characterize themselves as “groovy folk” artists, and as far as I can tell, they live up to this description. Although they draw inspiration from fellow folk acts Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, and Bon Iver, much of the band’s sound can be traced to the West coast. There, the band have found the inspiration for their sound, which has allowed to create their own unique blend of folk-pop.
Honest Places sees the band embrace coastal motifs and carefree rhythms, while keeping their folk roots intact. At seven tracks in length, it’s the group’s fullest offering to date in both time and substance, although it’s anything but drawn-out. The EP is full of sweeping melodies and breezy, upbeat rhythms, making for a marvellous collection of folk ditties. From the rollicking guitar riffs of “Still Glowing” to the emotional-tug of “Through The Forest,” there’s enough variation in the EP to appeal to any old listener.
At it’s heart, Honest Places is a laid back album full of sincere folk ballads and instrumental-heavy tracks, but it saves for a few poetic tropes. Drawing inspiration from the wilderness, the band appear to be exploring their surroundings with each new track as the thought of nature and the great outdoors spins in the back of their minds. This reoccurring theme, however, is no coincidence; it’s ingrained in their creative process. Tracks like “Birds Fly,” “Honest Places” and “Into The Wild,” inspire you to disconnect with life as you know it and head for the nearest open space.
To learn more about the band and their plans for the future, we asked them a few questions via email. As you’ll see below, they’re not afraid to reveal the source of their inspiration and their rather unorthodox creative process. See our interview below.
IC: How did you all meet? Were you friends before or did your passion for music bring you together?
Innoko: Towards the end of high school Jon (lead guitar) and Andrew (vocals/guitar) met through some mutual friends and started cranking out some tunes. For the initial year, our duo was an instrumental jungle-funk band, but then Chip (bass) came along and allowed us to expand our horizons. Andrew went from playing percussion to playing rhythm guitar, freeing the band up to give their songs some much-needed lyrics. Finally, we added Dan (drums) and Alton (percussion/vocals) to fill out our beach-groove sound. Beneath the music though, there will always remain the tapestry of our friendship.
IC: Growing up in Newark, was there a music scene that inspired you to start making your own music or did your inspiration come from somewhere else?
I: Our inspiration to make music didn’t really arise from any local influences. Each of us has always had a passion for playing music, and we each bring a unique heritage to the table when we play together. We do have some friends who have helped pave the way for local bands in Delaware, but as a whole, the state has never really had a booming music scene.
IC: In your hometown is there a venue that you like to play most?
I: We really enjoyed playing at The Queen in Wilmington, World Cafe Live in Philly, and The Feed Co. However, our favorite shows seem to be house shows, where we have free reign to dance around like a pack of dingos.
IC: On your Facebook page you name Lord Huron, Local Natives, Fleet Foxes, Givers, and Bon Iver as artists that you like. How would you say that their music has influenced you as artists?
I: Each one of our songs is a patchwork of sounds and styles that we’ve gleaned from a bunch of artists. We appreciate the dynamics and instrumentation of Bon Iver, the feel-good energy of Givers, the folky licks and vocals of Fleet Foxes, the adventurous spirit of Lord Huron.
IC: Your band name, song titles, lyrics, and even album artwork makes references to nature and being outdoors. Was this theme conscious or did it evolve during the creative process?
I: Both. Much of our creative themes, both lyrically and artistically comes from our deeply rooted love for nature. When we get together we typically journey outside to jaunt through the woods and tromp through the rivers. Often we bring our instruments along with us to play music during our adventuring as we scour the outdoors for new inspiration.
IC: Is there any band or artist that you would most like to collaborate with?
I: It would be sweet to collaborate with any of the artists we mentioned above, but it would also be a blast to work with Grizzly Bear, The Lumineers, The Black Keys, Jinja Safari, or Vacationer. We can dream can’t we…
IC: Now that you have two EP’s under your belt, do you have any plans to release a full-length album in the near future?
I: At the moment, we have a secret stash of songs that we would love to record and release for everyone to hear. If we pulled up our britches and hunkered down, we could probably release a few full-lengths over the next few years. We have been having a lot of fun releasing less music more often, but we have high hopes for putting out a full-length sometime soon.
IC: Have you had any discussions with labels? If so, do you have one lined up?
I: We’ve floated our music around to a few different labels, but we have yet to set anything in stone. We are always open for suggestions!
If you’re looking for the perfect album to unwind with, check out Innoko’s Bandcamp page and download Honest Places in its entirety. We have a feeling that their first two EPs are just the beginning of a long line of amazing work from this group.