Icon for Hire
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Despite their name, ICON FOR HIRE aren't indebted to anyone but their fans. Since forming in 2007, the duo—singer Ariel and guitarist Shawn Jump—have amassed a legion of followers (a group they collectively refer to as the Icon Army) who have connected with not only the band's genre-bending sound, but also their honesty. That soul-baring spirit and realism is at the heart of everything Icon For Hire do, and it's front and center on YOU CAN'T KILL US, the band's third album, due out November 25, 2016. Produced by Mike Green (Gwen Stefani, All Time Low, Paramore) and funded by fans through Kickstarter on a campaign that raised $127,000—making it one of 2016's highest-raising music campaigns—the self-released album marks a brand-new chapter for the band after splitting from former label Tooth & Nail Records. "We've got a beautiful, badass relationship with our fans," Ariel says. "They're crazy in the best way. They've got our backs, very literally, and they want the creation of the music to continue. We shared the story of us leaving this abusive record deal and asked them if they wanted to hear what we could do without the label and the limit – the response has been amazing." The band's previous albums (the Billboard-charting 2011's Scripted and 2013's Icon For Hire) established the Nashville-based pair as one of the underground's biggest rising stars—including launching them to two stints on the Vans Warped Tour, where they even received bumps up to the main stage—but You Can't Kill Us is poised to take them over the top. Blending bits of hard rock, hip-hop, electronica and pop into an anthemic swirl of both melody and muscle, You Can't Kill Us isn't only a modern sounding record—it's awash in lyrical themes that tap into the times as well. Addiction, depression and self-worth are all topics Ariel addresses on songs like "Demons," "Happy Hurts," "Under The Knife" and, of course, "You Can't Kill Us," and these themes reverberate loudly in today's tumultuous, judgment-first culture. In that sense, the songs are written just as much for Ariel as they are the thousands of fans who consume them. "I see how much our fans have to deal with self-hatred on a regular basis," she explains. "We've gone through some tough stuff [as a band], and we aren't afraid to talk about that. I think people crave authenticity in this very plastic society. We tried to get super vulnerable because, more often than not, vulnerability rewards you with deep, emotional connections." The band's push for positivity and self-betterment extends beyond music, too: Ariel hosts a popular YouTube podcast, The REL Show, featuring everything from singing and fashion tips to strategies for dealing with life in a social media society, and she's currently prepping a book for release in 2017. All along the way, she and Shawn hope to inspire not just fans, but fellow artists as well, to break free from whatever's holding them back: whether that takes the form of a label head or the crushing pressures of 21st-century life. After all, having survived the record label system and reemerged stronger than ever, Icon For Hire are living proof that you can take control of your life—and that's perhaps the greatest success anyone can hope to accomplish. "Can we take this to the next level?" Ariel ponders about Icon For Hire's music and message. "Can we inspire other bands to break away from their abusive contracts? Can we make this a very beautiful, authentic movement of overcoming adversity and not letting the man take you down? I used to see my record label president's face in my head when I wrote songs. It dirtied up the process. Now I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm just going to be myself for a living. It's such an authentic way to live." XX Age Limit: 16 and Over
Venue: The Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St
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