Bands like iNFiNiEN make me remember why I started this site in the first place. They are true music innovators, mixing a wide array of influences from all over the world into an incredibly unique blend. Whether they are playing Latin jazz rhythms or Middle Eastern scales, iNFiNiEN jumps deftly from style to style, guided by the formidable vocal talents of lead vocalist/keyboard player Chrissie Loftus.
In preparation for their concert at the NJ Proghouse on June 10 (purchase tickets here)., iNFiNiEN dropped in to talk a little bit about who they are, what they’re up to, and what’s in store.
Tell us about the history of iNFiNiEN. How did you all meet?
We met at music school at Temple University in Philly. We all had an interest in joining a serious band that drew inspiration from an eclectic source of influences. So we got together and starting jamming and writing songs together.
Why did you choose the name iNFiNiEN?
We felt the name iNFiNiEN sounded like infinity. The concept f infinity is important to us because you have to have an imagination to understand it. It can also represent open mindedness. That idea helps reflect our musical approach of using various influences to defy the limits of musical genres. Also the use of lower case and capital letters create a symmetrical logo. Coincidentally there are 8 letters in the name. And, if you assign each letter to a numerical value based on the alphabet thier sum equals 8. Also 3 “I”s is a reference to 3rd eye vision. Using your inner eye to see the world.
What would you say are your primary musical influences as a group?
We all come from different musical backgrounds, but we do a lot of similar influences when it comes to this band. Radiohead, Bjork, Mahavishnu Orchestra, the John Coltrane quartet, Secret Chiefs 3, and John Zorn, just to name a few! Truth be told, the number of influences is constantly growing, and is always different depending on the day you ask.
Where did the interest in/integration of world music concepts (like unusual scales and instrumentation) originate?
Our new record showcases a lot of music that is heavily influenced by Ethiopian, and Balkan styles. Our guitarist Matt Hollenberg is the primary integrator of those particular styles. He has introduced us to a lot of recordings from those origins.
What does iNFiNiEN’s songwriting process look like? Does it vary from song to song?
Yes, it varies from song to song. The primary song writers are Matt and Chrissie. Usually one of them will present a somewhat-fleshed-out idea for a song, and then the other members help to mold and shape the ideas. Sometimes, whole sections are written collaboratively on the spot. From speaking with other groups in our similar soundscape, this is somewhat uncommon. Matt Hollenberg has brought in some completely through composed music, that needed very little arranging on the part of the band as a whole. Usually, what Matt brings in doesn’t have lyrics, and that’s where Chrissie comes in. Sometimes it’s the opposite, where Chrissie will bring in a song with lyrics and sections already worked out, and the rest of the group will chime in and help write some instrumental sections. There have been a few instances where Jordan will write an entire section for a song after it’s been brought to the table. Our drummer Tom has contributed lyrics, as well as some instrumental sections or ideas. It most definitely varies from song to song.
We’re very excited about the upcoming NJ Proghouse show on 6/10. After that we’ll be performing at “the Stone at the New School” in NYC as a part of our guitarist Matt Hollenberg’s residency there, which is curated by John Zorn. We have some more dates in works for later this year. The best way to keep up with all things iNFiNiEN is to “like” us on Facebook, or Instagram. We also have a mailing list that we send updates to. Shoot an email over to email@example.com to be added. The future looks bright!
We’ve been writing new songs and trying a few out live. Hoping to record another full length soon and tour the west coast for the first time. The east coast for our 4th time and even Europe for our first time! (Fingers crossed)
If you have never heard iNFiNiEN, do yourself a favor and check them out here, and if you are in the area, make sure to see them on June 10, 2018 at the NJ Proghouse (purchase tickets here).
Excellent band. I hope they do come to Europe, and especially the UK.
Just out of curiosity I added up the letter values in iNFiNiEN – your total of 8 couldn’t be right because ‘i’ alone is 9 – and I think it comes to 80.