The first time IO Echo’s Ioanna Gika recorded in a professional studio, she was working on an original song for a major motion picture, under the guidance of famed film composer James Newton Howard.
It’s not that Gika, who brought post-punk to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman via “Gone,” was a musical newb. Fancy studios aren’t necessarily how IO Echo rolls, opting instead for self-produced and self-recorded. Not exactly surprising stuff for an indie act… unless of course you’ve actually spent any time with IO Echo’s music.
The L.A. duo’s 2012 debut, Ministry of Love (IAMSOUND), just sounds big, even when it’s trying to be quiet. It transports listeners to cities like London, Berlin, Milan, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing–some locations more literally than others, lyrically speaking.
For Gika and bandmate Leopold Ross, their music is a product of their environments, both past and present. On one hand, they’re both lived overseas; Ross having been raised in London and Gika moving from D.C. a few years ago to travel with her family through Asia. It was during that period when Gika “fell in love” with the koto, i.e. the Japanese harp, which helps–along with the Chinese violin–to differentiate IO Echo’s sound.