Wed 7th Dec, 2011 in Features
Iva Davies was and is very hip. The frontman and visionary of iconic Australian band Icehouse has always been somewhat ahead of the game. An acclaimed musician, Davies’ good natured character makes it evident why he has had such a rewarding career. Generous with his time, Davies’ candidly spoke of his experiences both past and present as if he were talking to an old friend. The band’s reunion has been spurred on by the release of White Heat: 30 Hits, and as Davies discovers, moving into the new technological ages may have its benefits.
Flowers began in 1977, with Davies and friend Keith Welsh mutually inspired to form a band over their appreciation of music. In 1980, their debut album Icehouse produced tracks such as Can’t Help Myself and Walls; propelling the band onto further acclaim as Icehouse.
Icehouse/Flowers, Flowers/Icehouse – it can get confusing, but Davies is only too happy to explain what inspired the name change. “After we got Australia and New Zealand interest, the album (titled Icehouse) then went internationally, but after a search we found out a number of people had the band name Flowers, so we had no choice but to change the name of the band. It was a logical choice to go with Icehouse because people recognised that.” Davies proves to be a man enthused by his career, continuing to detail why band names are sometimes an issue. “Many bands before have faced this predicament, like Sherbet for example, and it’s one of the realities of life.”A seasoned musician, Davies draws some words of wisdom from that moment in their careers, turning what seemed like an issue into a positive. “When I’m around young bands I always make a point of telling them to check if their name is used.”
Davies has been the driving force of Icehouse; a constant amongst various lineup changes throughout his career. He pursued the sound of the synth and the beauty of a gripping melody; an arrangement arguably most evident in their album Primitive Man. The album, responsible for hits Hey, Little Girl and the classic Great Southern Land, stands alongside 1987 release Man of Colours as some of Icehouse’s most notable work. The band was urged on to vast successes both locally and abroad, and with an array of musicians contributing to Davies’ insight, Icehouse was the mainstay of a cutting edge sound unique to Australia.
Davies has savoured such treasured moments in his memory bank, but with the release of White Heat: 30 Hits, the history of Icehouse’s career can be enjoyed by all.
Davies tells of how the album came to fruition, and what it was like looking at those old video clips. “It started with Keith, the original bass player, who has spent the last 30 years being heavily involved in the (music) industry in various ways, I think most recently for a music magazine. He was looking for projects and when that came to a close about a year and a half ago, he wanted to be involved in the Icehouse catalogue. He tells how Welsh’s involvement “brought momentum” to documenting the band’s past, also expressing excitement for the new phase Icehouse is entering. “We’ve rebuilt an entirely new structure with a new record label, publicist, website and facebook page. It’s all completely different,” says Davies.