Since I’ve moved to Decatur with the family, I’ve been impressed with just about nothing. Sure, the town is beautiful and quiet, and yes, the people are friendly, but….sigh….it’s not Florida. I have since come to appreciate Decatur for what it is AND what it’s not, but have had a hard time adjusting to the lack of “good” music. The radio stations here lack my type of music, which is nuts since I listen to everything from Hall and Oates to Boney James to Breaking Benjamin to JayZ….and everything in between! However, since moving here, I have found a band who has made the Midwest music scene (through my eyes) much cooler! Icon For Hire is an alternative metal and electric rock band that came to be right here in good ‘ole Decatur, and damned if they don’t pack a rock star type punch! With a sound that can appeal to pop listeners, but has enough edge to keep the head bangers breaking their necks, Icon For Hire is no doubt going places! I had the opportunity to shoot some questions to the very talented, very sassy, and oh so fabulous front woman Ariel and was pleasantly surprised by how cool, confident, and shatterproof she is!
SPGD: Take us to the very beginning, how did Icon For Hire come to be?
Ariel: Our drummer, Adam, and guitarist, Shawn met each other through the local party scene in Decatur. They used to jam out to 80’s rock and roll in the garage with their party friends but it was nothing serious. Shawn eventually decided to clean up his life and ceased contact with all of his old friends – including Adam. I met Shawn about six months later and the minute I found out he played guitar I was trying to convince him to start a band with me. I’ve always been like that – trying to snatch up any musician I can find! We started making music together but needed a drummer so Shawn finally gave in and called Adam to join us. We’ve had several different bass players throughout our four years, but right now we’re really stoked on our current bassist, Josh.
How did you all come up with the name Icon For Hire?
We wanted a name that had depth but didn’t take itself too seriously. “Icon For Hire” is pure sarcasm, but it also expresses our frustration at the current state of culture. Anybody with a rich daddy or pretty body can be famous and now all of a sudden little kids are looking up to their every move. You shouldn’t be able to hire out a person of influence, but sadly that’s how it usually goes. On that note, we have thrown ourselves right in the middle of this broken system, and we want to take advantage of it. This means living lives that our listeners can hopefully look up to.
We know that you guys are on the road, touring often. Ariel, give us the dirty deets. What’s it like living on the road with dudes? Really. Lol!
Oh, the boys are not that bad! I’ll admit I am a total germaphobe, and I sanitize EVERYTHING, but the boys are pretty understanding with it. I’d say the worst part is the smell….our van always smells like their sweat and shoes!
What’s the best thing about being in a band vs being a solo artist?
I have never been a solo artist so I may not be qualified to compare, but I will say that it is extremely rewarding to be on this journey with other people. When we are going through something difficult as artists, I’m so glad that I have my band mates to talk to, and we all understand what everyone is going through – because we’re all in it together. It also means that when something amazing happens to us as a band, we all can celebrate and enjoy that moment together. It would be so lonely to be experiencing all these precious memories by myself.
I have a feeling Icon For Hire has a general message…what is it?
Hmm….that’s a tricky one. We have a lot of goals. One of our big goals is to help reduce human trafficking throughout the globe and end the water crisis in Africa, by raising awareness and funding. But on a more day-to-day level, we just want to inspire our listeners. We want them to come to a show one way, and leave feeling completely energized, understood, and empowered to change their surroundings.
What’s your favorite song to perform and why?
Our favorite song to play live right now is Pieces. Musically, it is very big and has an epic, spiritual feel to it, and I think you can tell how much we enjoy playing it when you watch us. Lyrically, it is about not blaming everybody else for where you are at in life, and I like reminding myself of that each night we play it.
What kind of music has inspired Icon for Hire’s sound?
We all listen to completely different styles! Adam is a big Pantera fan, Shawn likes Motley Crue and The Black Eyed Peas, Josh listens to weird indie music I’ve never heard of before, and I love Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine. I’d say Breaking Benjamin, Dessa, and Lady Gaga were our biggest influences on our new album.
Your 1st album, Scripted is awesome! Are you guys working on album two yet?
We cannot wait to start on our 2nd full-length, but at the moment we are focusing our energies on touring every city we possibly can. It is so amazing to hear the stories of kids whose lives have been impacted because of the music, and to be able to meet all these fans and experience the live show together is priceless. But I have a feeling that we’ll start piecing together some demos shortly.
Wikipedia has you as a Christian Rock band among a few other genres. I have read somewhere that you’ve explained differently though. Could you break it down for our readers once and for all? WHAT?! I have to go through and change that on Wiki every few months. You are correct in that we are not a christian band. We started as a rock band, and signing to a label with other christian bands on it does not make us a christian band. It is so important to us to be out in culture, impacting it, instead of hiding where it’s safe or comfortable. Playing churches is easy – they treat you well, pay you more, and there’s usually a guaranteed crowd. But we know where we belong – in the dirty pubs and the run down venues in the middle of nowhere, because that’s where we’ll be able to do the most damage, so to speak.
Let’s take it from the top. That variation of pink/purple hair! How long have you been a non blonde/brunette/redhead? It suits your complexion and eye color! Have you ever had a color mishap? How did you fix it? I’ve been dying it fun colors since I was about 12, and I’m pretty hooked on it. A lot of people ask me if it’s real, and I always find it funny that they think I could actually pull off head banging on stage in a wig! I love to experiment with different color variations and techniques, and I probably screw it up almost every time I dye it. The main “mishaps” that come to mind all involve getting bleach or dye on other people’s bathroom walls/floors/towels/shower curtains, but it’s nothing that some hardcore scrubbing and Clorox can’t fix.
Your sense of style is something serious. How would you define your style? Have you always been this stylish?
I combine edgy, typical punk elements with more unexpected components. It’s that contrast of hard and soft that I am so drawn to. I began designing when I was in 7th grade because I wanted to turn heads without looking like everyone else trying to turn heads.
Your outfits on stage are stylish and unusual, but totally wearable! Who’s responsible for those gorgeous creations you flaunt on stage?
With the over saturation of counter culture fashion in the last 10 years, it became increasingly difficult to actually stand out. I didn’t want to look like I just walked out of my local punk store at the mall, so I had to get creative. I began sewing my t shirts into corsets, and doctoring cheap thrift store clothes into more unique pieces. Nowadays, I take my sewing machine on the road with us and sew my clothes at the merch table.
Where can our readers find other Ariel inspired pieces? Over the summer, I began sewing tutus for our female fans at music festivals. It took off and I recently launched a shop online, at customcatastrophes.etsy.com, which I am so excited about. It’s starting small and I’m slowly adding more and more pieces, as I get more comfortable sewing for people besides myself. I am in the process of adding guys stuff as well, and I’m very stoked about that.
For young girls and women struggling with finding their inner beauty and learning to love themselves, do you have any advice?
Be the kind of person that inspires people, be amazing. Walk into a room like you belong there, and speak clearly, with confidence and tact. Don’t show off your insecurity by belittling other girls, but exude a quiet, calm confidence. Some days I feel like a freaking rockstar, and some days I feel like a total mess. But I’m learning to not let my environment determine my level of happiness, or my self-image. There’s a lot to be said for “fake it till you make it”. And lastly, always draw your confidence from something more solid then how you think you look that day. Let it come from that deeper place that doesn’t waver depending on your feelings.
Don’t lie, they’re awesome, right? You can purchase their CD on Amazon!!! Go get it!!! For those of you who want to let your inner rock star come out to play, visit Ariel’s awesome shop on Etsy at customcatastrophes.etsy.com . For more Ariel, you can also follow her on twitter by searching for ArielForHire and while you’re at it, like up Icon For Hire on Facebook as well!