The Harbour Agency presents
After more than 30 years of writing and performing some of Australia’s most successful and iconic music, Iva has made a discovery: “I’m Iva and I’m strictly roots.” For two gigs this December, ICEHOUSE becomes the reggae/bluebeat-soaked DubHOUSE.
In a recent interview in his studio, Davies explained how this temporary metamorphosis came about. The explanation took us on a journey from Iva's first instrument, the bagpipes, to his classical training on the oboe, from a festival in Germany to a holiday in Fiji. But at the heart of the story it was a simple case of having some fun.
"When we play as ICEHOUSE, we make sure we play the songs as faithfully as we can, the way people have loved them over the years. DubHOUSE is a bit of fun for me and the band plus we're adding extra singers and a brilliant brass section to make this into an end-of-year party for the band members, our fans and our friends," Iva says.
FATEFUL ENCOUNTER WITH REGGAE LEGEND
The idea to bring the Caribbean influence to the ICEHOUSE catalogue came from a few sources, one of which took place at a German music festival in 1983 at which ICEHOUSE were playing and where Iva met the reggae legend, Peter Tosh - one of Bob Marley's original Wailers.
"Ever since I saw Peter on stage, just happily playing, I wondered what it would feel like to be that relaxed!," Iva says, laughing at the mem- ory. "Since the early '80s, the live ICEHOUSE band started occasionally throwing reggae feels to sections of Can't Help Myself and from time-to-time the band has had fun bringing those rhythms to other songs".
"During the Primitive Colours tour last year, I was asked in an interview what musical role I'd like most outside of ICEHOUSE. I said I'd love to be the guitar-player in a reggae band - a chukka-man. The journalist and I had a laugh about it and moved on," Iva says. "However, the idea seemed to keep resurfacing".
"This year, we started working again with European label Repertoire and its founder, Thomas Neelsen, who talked to me about putting out
a collection of extended and 12" mixes which we have released here through iTunes. As I went back over the various mixes, I found myself gravitating again and again to the more Dub versions of the songs and my desire to be the chukka-man kept coming back. So I thought: why not have some fun and see how a couple of my songs would sound if I got the band to play them in a dub-meets-reggae-meets-pop style. And it just grew from there - this path has opened up a kind of 'dancehall-party' in the band and the music".
At the shows in December, fans will be treated to reinterpretations of classic ICEHOUSE hits plus explorations of some of the extensive catalogue of songs and remixes which Davies and his musical partners have created over the past three decades: "In a way, in DubHOUSE we're revisiting and compiling things we've been doing for ourselves for decades and now we're letting other people hear the music with those colours. And there might just be a few other songs thrown in for fun."
'REGGAE MAKES EVERYTHING FEEL LIKE A PARTY'
Iva has visited Fiji many times and whenever a local reggae band there starts to play, he sees three things happen every time: people smile, they start to move and then they dance.
"Reggae is the music that makes everything feel like a party, So, this Christmas, for just a couple of gigs, we are going to BE the party. Smaller venues than we normally play with the people who are there having a great time. For the joy of it. We're going to have a lot of fun with the music and performances and we want our fans and friends to come along with the idea of being part of a joyous gathering."
IVA DAVIES AND DREADLOCKS?
When asked if he would be growing dreadlocks and making the change permanent, Davies laughed.
"We are DubHOUSE for a few dates in December. This is fun for us - and it should be great fun for everyone who comes to party with us. If the audiences like it, we'll see where we go from there. But no, this is definitely not a permanent change! And no dreadlocks! I get enough stick from my mates for the pictures of my hairstyles back in the 80s!"