Our friends at Oliberté are connecting bands with Mozaqa, the shoe company’s project that aims to educate consumers about the difference between trade and aid in struggling communities of Africa. With this year’s release of their first full-length album All the Times We Had, Seattle natives Ivan & Aloysha had a lot to talk about. In the middle of an extensively West Coast-heavy tour, guitarist and vocalist Tim Kim was able to sit down and chat with Oliberté Mozaqa’s Nick Rice (@iamNickRice) and Elisabeth Burks.
Tell us about Ivan & Alyosha in 300 characters or less (we’re way more generous than Twitter).
Tim Kim: The idea for the band emerged when Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary met back in 2007 in Seattle while they were both separately involved in musical projects. Tim’s earlier demos piqued Ryan’s interest in partnering up and fleshing out the songs into something of a Beatle’s influenced folk pop. When they began to perform the songs live, they asked me—I was a friend and at the time and a roommate of Tim Wilson’s-to play guitar. At that point, I was also involved with another band with Tim Wilson’s brother, Pete. It wasn’t much longer before that band dissolved and Pete and I were added to the roster. It was a very organic transition because of our long history as friends and roommates. From there, we realized that we shared a fondness for similar music. The 60s-pop vibe came naturally through our musical influences but I think that’s sort of evolved now to a more balanced mixture of vintage-pop/indie/folk.
Your album, All the Times We Had, is amazing, just really standout and has made a lot of waves. What was it like working on this first album? How did you handle building together toward something that was so important to all of you?
Kim: Thanks! The recording process for this album was a little hectic to be completely honest. We reserved about two weeks at a local studio and hired Chad Copelin to engineer the record. We felt a bit of pressure because of time restraints, however, we’re very proud of the end result and couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who had their hand in its completion. Considering that this was our first full-length album, we obviously wanted it to make a very good impression. Iin a lot of ways, this was a big leap for all of us and really solidified our friendship with each other as well as our ambition for this band.
Shameless plug here, but as you know Oliberté is all about building a sustainable economy in Africa—one job builds a life, a family, a community, a continent. Why did you feel it was important to get involved with Oliberté Mozaqa and get behind this cause?
Kim: Personally, I’m a huge advocate for organizations that focus on helping those in need just in general but I have to say, I really love supporting the ones that set up sustainable ways for those same people to get involved with helping their own communities. It’s not easy to find organizations that you can feel 100-percent right about supporting, but when you find one that takes a very comprehensive look at how it can effectively solve problems and has potential to change the momentum of poverty, we’ll definitely get behind that.
What do you hope your fans take away from your involvement with Oliberté?
Kim: We hope fans will be inspired to get involved somehow in some shape or form of helping to restore life from the brokenness in the world. Whether it is in their immediate families, communities or across continents, we hope that people will realize that their support is needed and that they will be motivated to actually take steps in that direction.
What role do you think each of us play in affecting change and building a better world and future?
Kim: I think we play the most important role in affecting change for the better in the world because it is people that are needed in order for organizations like Oliberté to run and to carry out its mission. It is your choice to decide how to use your time and money. If more people in more fortunate circumstances begin diverting more time and more money to these causes, the potential positive impact that would have on the world would be enormous.
Passion plays a key role and is a really big part of it. What keeps you going when you hit bumps in the road, especially given that you’re a group who has individual members with different points of view? How do you make sure you come out stronger on the other end?
Kim: I think we tend to look at the bigger picture. When we face challenges together and are unified, the chances of overcoming that obstacle are far greater than if we try and break off and do our own thing. There is a lot of compromise involved, but I think each of us realize that our relationships with each other are more important than anything. We are friends/brothers first, bandmates second.
Sweet. Thanks for taking the time, great words. For the finish line, how about we have a little fun with some fill in the blanks?
Kim: Let’s do it.
Africa is: Inspiring
Ivan & Alyosha is: Inspired
Oliberté is: Encouraging
Together we: Sing
Watch an exclusive performance from Ivan & Alyosha from Oliberté Mozaqa HQ: