Interview: Isadora – of those who put the sexy into Brooklyn

Photo by Eric White.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A place, where thousands of musicians produce and play, where the quality of output is so intense that regular citizens get spoiled everyday. When I moved from Brooklyn to Berlin four years ago, it was the music and that buzz I missed the most. Especially the sound of those who stand out, such as Isadora. Bittersweet rock music. With songwriting so elegantly put, melancholic and raw-voiced at the same time. Influenced by Tame Impala, Nick Drake and Kurt Vile. Read about lead singer Aaron Mendelsohn insights into Brooklyns music scene and about how drummer Jesse did not die in their last music video.

Also, watch out for Isadoras self titled first EP – ready, hot and dropping on 19. of February on iTunes. And if you live in the NYC, don’t miss their release show at Glasslands Feb 22. YOLO!

PDC: You changed your name from „The Yes Way“ to „Isadora“. What is different for you now, what changed except for the band name?

Aaron: We added a new bassist and keyboard player/singer – they both sing actually.  The energy of the project, from the new people and from having more voices, is a totally different thing.  We’ve come so far away from where The Yes Way had started that it seemed the only thing tying us to the name and what it had represented was the name itself.

PDC: Why the name Isadora, what does it mean to you?

Aaron: It’s a tough one to nail down.  It was a picture on the wall of the bar near our practice space – Josh (keyboards) said she looked like she’d be an Isadora.  We all got behind it as a band name really quickly.  There’s a certain vibe that comes across from just the look and sound of the word, and we think the vibe of the music we play aligns well with that.

PDC: We are in love with the song “21 ½”. What is it about and where did you get your idea for the song?

Aaron: I was listening to a lot of Nick Drake when I wrote the basic guitar line and words, so on a musical level, there’s that.
I’d been involved with a girl and she lived 21 1/2 King Street – which is one above prince and two above spring, as the lyrics go. I’m just trying to paint a picture of a certain evening there by her place, really.  I’ll leave the details up to the listener’s interpretation.

PDC: We must admit, we were pretty creeped out but also impressed by the video to “Falter“. What is Falter all about and why this sadistic video?

Aaron: We put the video in the hands of the director, and were absolutely in love with his concept.  It’s difficult to shock people these days, and that is a challenge that appeals to us.  The song is an examination of how fragile things can be in a new relationship in the modern world.  We understand that our innocence is lost but we refuse the notion that we aren’t going to have something pure and beautiful.

PDC: Did Jesse suffer a lot during the making of?

Aaron: Oh, boy. Yes.  I think he scarred.  But he didn’t really die at the end.  That was just special effects.

PDC: Do you find it hard, to compete with so many other bands in Brooklyn?

Aaron: It can be hard to rise above in such a saturated environment, but it would probably be harder for us to be doing it anywhere else.  The city is such an inspiring place to be and I have no idea what our music would even sound like it if we were anywhere else.

PDC: What is your favorite venue to listen to live music in Brooklyn and why?

Aaron: Glasslands and Union Pool are probably tied for my number 1.  Both places have so much character and they also tend to get the acts that I’m looking to see.

PDC: Aaron, I assume you still write a lot of songs yourself. How to you get into the song writing mode?

Aaron: So many different ways.  I like to put myself in the rehearsal space and just play and play until something feels worth repeating.  This is how I’ll arrive at chords and guitar parts a lot of the time.  The lyric writing is usually something I do separately and something I’ll put more time into editing on my own.
We do write together a lot as well.  I feel pretty good about bringing something that’s incomplete to the band and seeing where we take it from there as a group.  I’ve learned that songs often turn out better when I look for collaboration before trying to complete an idea.

PDC: Which musicians inspire you as Isadora currently?

Aaron: Tame Impala, Zulu Winter.

PDC: Who was your musical childhood hero?

Aaron: John Lennon.

PDC: Which Brooklyn newcomer band can you recommend?

Aaron: Foxygen.

PDC: Which question did you always want to be asked as a band and what is the answer to it?

Aaron: Question: What chord is that? Answer: Usually D.

PDC: When will you come to Berlin?

Aaron: ASAP.  Is that an invitation?


Thank you dear Aaron Mendelssohn, lead singer of Isadora, for making the time for this interview.

Btw – isn’t this just the most adorable album cover?

isadora_front cover

Julia steht auf schwitzige Rockkonzerte, Whiskey und blutige Steaks. Sie braucht jede Nacht mindestens achteinhalb Stunden Schlaf und mindestens zehn Minuten um einen ironischen Witz zu verstehen.

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