I the Mighty to debut at Riot Fest


Courtesy Jason Cox

I the Mighty, whose EP Oil in Water released on Sept. 2, is preparing for its second headlining tour.

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Members of progressive rock band I the Mighty are no strangers to playing high-profile rock shows, but they will outdo themselves Sept. 17 when they  their debut at Chicago’s annual Riot Fest. 

The group, formerly a singer/songwriter duo, released a new EP Oil in Water on Sept. 2, which features five songs from its 2015 full-length album Connector. The songs were re-imagined in new genres such as a capella, bluegrass and lounge jazz.

Originally formed in San Francisco in 2007 as Breakpoint, I the Mighty signed with Equal Vision Records in 2011.

The Chronicle spoke with drummer Blake Dahlinger about Oil in Water, the band’s evolution and upcoming headline tour.

THE CHRONICLE: What was the main goal of revisiting songs from Connector with Oil in Water?

BLAKE DAHLINGER: It has been about a year since we recorded Connector, which all these songs are from on Oil in Water, so we wanted to do something a little different. We thought it would be cool to kind of re-envision all the songs on the EP in a different way. We tried to get them as polar opposite as they were on the record. [We recorded] “Playing Catch with .22” in a bluegrass style on Oil in Water; [we recorded] “The Hound and the Fox” in a lounge jazz style. We came up with the title based off that idea. 

Where did the idea of re-recording the songs come from? 

I brought up to the guys the idea of each of us taking a song and arranging it in our own way. We all listen to a pretty wide range of music, so it was really fun to try to do a jazz song or a bluegrass song. It was fun to be able to explore that area of our minds. 

How has I the Mighty’s music changed since its inception?

The album We Speak was all music that Ian [Pedigo, the guitarist,] and Brent [Walsh, vocalist and guitarist,] had written in high school and right after. They have known each other most of their lives, and they played as an acoustic duo before I the Mighty started, so they had all those songs written. We put out Karma Never Sleeps [in 2012]. That was kind of our first foray into all of us writing together. On [2013’s] Satori, we liked to have everything thought out to a T. When we did Connector, we thought it would be good to try something new. [We incorporated] more synth in the record. Going into the next record, which we are going to start writing after our upcoming headline tour, we are going take the best aspects of each of those recording experiences and put them into one.

How are you expecting your second headlining tour to be different than your first?

This last year we had a wonderful opportunity to tour with some really great bands. Most of [the venues] are a step up from what we had done last year. We were ecstatic we got booked for Riot Fest. We have consciously made an effort to start [playing summer and fall music festivals.] It is a whole different crowd and experience. We are going to put our best foot forward [and play] as many of the good live songs we can, and if people like it, awesome. If people do not really like it, at least we know we did our best and put it all out there.