Elizabeth Miranda

Indio Downey – Preparing for New Music in a New Year

The projects at hand, and those to come, are the journey of a man being set to music.

Indio Downey is a creative soul. He is artist by nature, that much is true, but the reason he is an artist right here and right now is almost out of necessity. Breathless, timeless alternative rock music has shaped the reality of Downey, so now it’s his turn to shape alternative rock with those same standout qualities. The contributions made thus far have been grungy and against the grain, but rooted in all our favorite classic rock acts. Tastefully truthful without romanticizing tough situations, Downey showcases what an affecting artist he is.

These raw songs have kept this creative soul still, focused, and at peace, so now everything electrified and rocking on the way has merely left us on the edge of our seat. We couldn’t wait to get to chatting with him about such, especially as his brand new single, “Dume,” in all its growling and captivating glory, releases into the world today.

Your debut EP has been a longtime coming, so right off the bat we are curious – why is January 2024 the right time to put this out?

We’ve been releasing music since 2022 and so the start of the new year felt fitting for this new chapter for us. We are opening for Dogstar at The Crest Theatre in Sacramento on December 5 and I feel like this EP as a whole gives people a better opportunity to connect with what I’m going through than the songs we’ve released thus far.

There is some beautifully heavy-handed vulnerability in your lyrics. Between the anticipation to put out your art and having it be quite personal, where is your head at? How are you feeling?

Good. I’m a little nervous, but we’ve all worked hard on this so I’m excited for people to hear it. The last album I released with my previous band was much heavier so I’m curious how people are going to react to the new sound. I’m opening up about things that are personal, so I feel a little exposed, but I think that lyrics should be a confession and give people a glimpse into what someone is going through.

Going off of that, what do you hope that people listening to this collection of songs take away from it? There are quite a handful of sonic themes and influences here, so with that being said, what were you listening to when creating these songs?

I’ve been through addiction, arrest, breakups, rejection, and failure and still somehow made it out. I hope people who hear this remember that no matter how hard what you’re going through is, there’s always hope for you if you follow your heart and don’t give up.

I was listening to Weezer, The Shrine, Wolfmother, Tame Impala, The Sex Pistols, and Pixies when creating these songs.

Similarly, is this an EP meant to be heard cover-to-cover, not on shuffle, to take in the full tracklisted narrative?

Yes. I feel that the songs flow well into each other. Most of the songs are love songs, but the context changes.

Cigarettes In Bed. Tell us about the title and when you knew that was what you were going to call your debut EP.

“Cigarettes in Bed” is my favorite song on the EP, but I also feel like it fits well as the title because the comfort of a bed is something that everyone can relate to. I think the imagery of smoking cigarettes in bed applied to the EP as a whole because it can relate to addiction, as well.

“Dume” is the final single, following “Plastic Rainbow,” before the record is out in the world. How did you decide which songs would lead the pack, so to speak? Did you shop them around to people whose opinions your trust, or was it more a gut feeling? You come across, musically, as a kindred spirit already, so I think you might be a gut-feeling person to some degree.

I wanted to pick songs that were strong, but also still built suspense for the album. I feel like these four have a lot in common in the sense that they have both dark and uplifting sides. I also feel that these songs fit well together emotionally, because in addition to love, they also convey overcoming suffering, which is a concept that is really relevant in my life right now.

How has having support from friends and family made being a creative easier or more earnest? Do you share your songs with anyone ahead of their release or do you keep them close to your chest until they are perfected and ready for the world at large?

I grew up in a very creative household. Both of my parents were musicians and have made albums that I love. One of the first times I remember knowing I wanted to be a musician was at one of my mom’s shows when she called me up in the middle of her set to play tambourine. Having my friends and family’s support has definitely been encouraging. Seeing them show up to the shows has always made me want to try harder. 

Some songs I’ve shared with people along the way and gotten constructive criticism, and others I’ve felt more inclined to perfect until they were exactly the way I want them to be before I showed anyone.

As an artist, you are the visionary and the frontman, but you work with your drummer and bassist to round out the sound we are getting to know on “Plastic Rainbow” and “Dume.” What is the process like of working with them and piecing together what you hear in your head live, in the real world, and ready for recording?

Sometimes I’ll finish a song and bring it to the band and others. We’ll just be messing around with ideas at practice and that will turn into something. Playing a song together definitely sheds a light on whether or not it works. There have been times when we’ve been playing something and one of us will do something that we wouldn’t normally do and we’ve gone back and added that in. For example, the scream at the end of “Plastic Rainbow” was originally something I just did at practice. Also, putting live drums on some of the songs definitely helped them come to life.