Paul Bloom, CC ’17, of iiii talks forming a band, jazz, and teddy bears
Paul Bloom, CC ’17, plays piano in iiii, alongside Laila Smith, Jeremy Dutton, and Connor Schultze. Bloom sat down with Spectrum to talk about iiii’s self-titled debut album, getting married to teddy bears, and tonight’s show at the West End at 7:30 p.m.
Responses were edited for clarity and length.
KM: When did iiii get together?
PB: The bass player, Connor, and I met about five or six years ago through a high school jazz band. Then we did this music program in California the summer after junior year, and met Laila and Jeremy there, and played with them a little bit, but didn’t really get to know each other. The summer after graduation, a mutual friend of ours from California invited us to play music at his house. He had this nice music studio room, and we all ended up writing this song together. After that, we decided that we should probably be a band and play more music together.
KM: And you all attend different colleges?
PB: Yeah. Connor goes to the Manhattan School of Music, Jeremy, our drummer, goes to the New School, and Laila goes to Harvard and the New England Conservatory in this joint program.
KM: Could you describe your sound? What are the influences?
PB: When we’re driving together in the car, or whatever, there’s so many different things that we listen to. People I’ve been checking out recently are, like, Emily King, Stevie Wonder, Becca Stevens, Hiatus Kaiyote. But then we’ve all come up in the jazz education system, and have listened to and played a ton of jazz.
KM: So how did you go about putting the album together?
PB: It was two days of recording and one day of mixing—the production is very minimal. There are mistakes on the album and it’s very real, the real iiii, not us covering up everything and making it perfect. It’s sort of recorded in the way that a lot of our jazz albums are, you go into the studio and you play everything and you don’t do a lot to it. Cooper Vacheron [a producer/director friend who attends Emerson College] designed all the artwork. There’s a website called CD Baby, it’s DIY. We went through CD Baby and ordered a thousand of these [albums]. They put it on iTunes, on Spotify.
KM: I have to ask—what the fuck is going on in the Beady Bear video?
PB: So originally, Beady Bear stories are these bedtime stories my dad used to tell. Beady Bear was this cartoonized version of me, and he had a sister. They had lots of adventures—they’d always get into trouble. That was what the song was about. Coop [Vacheron] didn’t know what the song was about. So he was like, “I have an idea for Beady Bear, I’m gonna make a music video.” We didn’t know what was going to happen—he just told us to show up to this church and bring some suits. And he was like, “OK, so, Laila’s gonna get married to a bear.”
KM: OK … so tell us the details of tonight’s show.
PB: We’ll be playing the West End [formerly the Underground Lounge] at 7:30 p.m. We’ve written a bunch more songs, and we have some covers. It’s just a good old-fashioned music show.
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