Iffy Comma: In sound and vision

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by McKenna Cardwell

Unique but familiar, the music of Seattle-based band Iffy Comma calls to anyone longing for that sense of nostalgia and belonging that music can provide.

Made up of guitarist and vocalist Ben Rea, Jacob Roos on bass, and Cody J. Cecil on drums/percussion, Iffy Comma stemmed from a heavier, grimier project Slug Queens, started by Cecil and Rea. The addition of Roos lead the band in a calmer direction, eventually inspiring them to create their 90s alternative, classic rock music.

Amidst playing shows at venues around the Seattle area, Iffy Comma is preparing to take off on a 10-day tour along the West Coast in August. The tour will be their first one as the complete band, and provide them a chance to share The Terror, their second EP released in June on Lifevest Records.

The recording time they had booked to create the four tracks for The Terror was originally designed for studio practice only, and songs were never meant to be released.

“The process of recording The Terror was complete sabotage from the beginning,” Rea said. “We had two days to track the record, but unfortunately I was called into work for the entire first day. Luckily, Roos and Cecil powered through most of the material without me.”

The chaotic recording process took place in 2015-2016, but the band made the decision to hold onto the songs, until current politics and global events compelled them to release the EP.

While being influenced by current times, Iffy Comma’s songs are also heavily shaped by past, personal experiences that went without a proper resolution, Rea said. The creation of these songs is the band’s way of providing a conclusion to a situation that may have gone without one.

“The Terror thematically captures progression and composure in the midst of harsh circumstances,” Rea said. “In my mind I see things very clearly and vividly. They tend to stay in the foreground and dwell there until I do something about it. Most of our songs are an outlet to explain this phenomenon.”

In March 2016, the band released its first EP titled The Obsession. While the inspiration behind the songs remains similar for both albums, the band said the first time writing and recording was a huge learning curve for everyone.

“We released The Obsession with the intention of booking more shows and localizing ourselves a bit more,” Roos said. “One of those songs was recorded in the garage that we practiced in, the rest of it was recorded with our good friend Tor Caspersen in various studios. It took us a long time to release those songs, in the end we felt like we could have done better.”

However, this experience provided them with newfound skills and refined recording tactics to be overall happier with the outcome of their second release, despite the difficulties they faced.

Overall, The Terror was produced in a similar style to the first EP, but with the added help of a few friends to further elevate the final product that “extra mile.”

In addition to the creative talents of the Iffy Comma trio, the album was mixed by Justin Davis and mastered by Ed Brooks. The tracks also feature special appearances from friends of the band Caspersen on piano and violin, and Flow Carter on the trumpet.

The band’s passion for creating and playing personally expressive music has not only served as a bonding element between the band members, but provided them individually with an artistic outlet.

“We were all in a weird spot, the music just manifested from those feelings,” Cecil said. “We would just play for hours on end in my parents’ old garage two to three times a week, and learned a lot about each other by hanging out outside of practice. Now we all live together and know one another a lot more intimately and I think the music reflects that.”

Following their West Coast tour, Iffy Comma is scheduled to head back to the recording studio this fall in order to release their first, full-length album sometime in the coming year.

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nique but familiar, the music of Seattle-based band Iffy Comma calls to anyone longing for that sense of nostalgia and belonging that music can provide.

Made up of guitarist and vocalist Ben Rea, Jacob Roos on bass, and Cody J. Cecil on drums/percussion, Iffy Comma stemmed from a heavier, grimier project Slug Queens, started by Cecil and Rea. The addition of Roos lead the band in a calmer direction, eventually inspiring them to create their 90s alternative, classic rock music.

Amidst playing shows at venues around the Seattle area, Iffy Comma is preparing to take off on a 10-day tour along the West Coast in August. The tour will be their first one as the complete band, and provide them a chance to share The Terror, their second EP released in June on Lifevest Records.

The recording time they had booked to create the four tracks for The Terror was originally designed for studio practice only, and songs were never meant to be released.

“The process of recording The Terror was complete sabotage from the beginning,” Rea said. “We had two days to track the record, but unfortunately I was called into work for the entire first day. Luckily, Roos and Cecil powered through most of the material without me.”

The chaotic recording process took place in 2015-2016, but the band made the decision to hold onto the songs, until current politics and global events compelled them to release the EP.

While being influenced by current times, Iffy Comma’s songs are also heavily shaped by past, personal experiences that went without a proper resolution, Rea said. The creation of these songs is the band’s way of providing a conclusion to a situation that may have gone without one.

“The Terror thematically captures progression and composure in the midst of harsh circumstances,” Rea said. “In my mind I see things very clearly and vividly. They tend to stay in the foreground and dwell there until I do something about it. Most of our songs are an outlet to explain this phenomenon.”

In March 2016, the band released its first EP titled The Obsession. While the inspiration behind the songs remains similar for both albums, the band said the first time writing and recording was a huge learning curve for everyone.

“We released The Obsession with the intention of booking more shows and localizing ourselves a bit more,” Roos said. “One of those songs was recorded in the garage that we practiced in, the rest of it was recorded with our good friend Tor Caspersen in various studios. It took us a long time to release those songs, in the end we felt like we could have done better.”

However, this experience provided them with newfound skills and refined recording tactics to be overall happier with the outcome of their second release, despite the difficulties they faced.

Overall, The Terror was produced in a similar style to the first EP, but with the added help of a few friends to further elevate the final product that “extra mile.”

In addition to the creative talents of the Iffy Comma trio, the album was mixed by Justin Davis and mastered by Ed Brooks. The tracks also feature special appearances from friends of the band Caspersen on piano and violin, and Flow Carter on the trumpet.

The band’s passion for creating and playing personally expressive music has not only served as a bonding element between the band members, but provided them individually with an artistic outlet.

“We were all in a weird spot, the music just manifested from those feelings,” Cecil said. “We would just play for hours on end in my parents’ old garage two to three times a week, and learned a lot about each other by hanging out outside of practice. Now we all live together and know one another a lot more intimately and I think the music reflects that.”

Following their West Coast tour, Iffy Comma is scheduled to head back to the recording studio this fall in order to release their first, full-length album sometime in the coming year.

Catch Iffy Comma at the Alternative Library on Aug. 16. For more information about the band, check out their Facebook page.