Ithaca rocks next level

By Matt Watson

After playing its biggest show yet on Dec. 18 at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Ithaca sets its sights on the future. The progressive heavy-metal band calls itself local, but with the help of social networking and self-promotion they’re known across the country. Singer Chris Blume and guitarist Adrian Kobziar sat down with The Chronicle to discuss success, inspiration and their new EP “1920[2].”

The Chronicle: When did you start Ithaca?

Adrian Kobziar: Ithaca started about a year ago. Officially it came out in April, so we’ve been a band since April 2010.

The Chronicle: Why the name Ithaca?

AK: Well, if you have read the story “The Odyssey,” it’s paradise; it’s where [Odysseus’] wife and children are, so it’s home—home is where the heart is.

The Chronicle: What are some of your inspirations?

AK: We all have bands and musical talents that inspire us, but what really inspires us is ourselves and our drive to be better.

Chris Blume: Some of them we don’t agree on, so we bring it all to the table and it mashes together really well.

The Chronicle: Who writes the music for the band?

AK: Well, I write it by ear from guitar. Then I’ll usually record it, listen to it, modify it and record it again and give it to everybody to write their parts to it.

CB: Everyone gets a say in what other parts go on. If I don’t like something he’s doing, I tell him. If he doesn’t like something I’m doing, he tells me. Sometimes we don’t agree on it, and you have to stick to something because that’s the only way it happens.

The Chronicle: What genre do you classify yourselves as?

CB: Obviously it’s metal and heavy. But if you put heavy metal on it, people think beards and Iron Maiden shirts and stuff like that. So you can’t classify us as that.

AK: And what we mean by progressive is we try to take our music and our so-called genre and progress that beyond what everyone else is doing. You can’t really classify us. We’re progressive heavy rock ’n’ roll.

The Chronicle: What do you guys do to promote yourselves?

CB: It’s really hard because we like to be frontal people and actually meet people, but we haven’t been able to go on a tour or anything. So it’s really just social networking and giving out our music for free.

AK: Everyone’s got a fancy Facebook or Myspace page now. How did bands make it 20 years ago when there was no Internet? They went to shows and talked to people, gave out free music. You can’t just sit on the Internet and expect things to happen.

The Chronicle: Who do you make music for?

AK: I make music for myself and for my band because I know we all love it and for people [who] want to hear it.

CB: We never made music saying, “Everyone’s going to like this.” When we write it, we [say], “This is sick.”

The Chronicle: Was headlining at the Congress Theater intimidating at all?

CB: It was a little bit.

AK: Yeah, but I’m just thinking, “Whoa dude, I saw my favorite band on this stage.” And it’s insane to be where they’re standing, spitting where they were spitting.

CB: It was the most fun I’ve ever had.

The Chronicle: What is your ultimate goal for Ithaca?

CB: Honestly, the only way I would be happy is to see myself on stage with thousands of people singing the same words I am. The first time I get that, I’ll probably break down and cry.

AK: When people idolize you—like, “Dude, I want to go see that band!”—that’s when you know you’ve made it.

Ithaca’s next Congress Theater show will be on Feb. 12. Tickets are $10. To listen to tracks by Ithaca, visit its Facebook page.