Interview: “Angels On The Moon” with Lead Singer Clayton Stroope of Thriving Ivory.

by Daniel Haim

We recently had the pleasure of experiencing the ‘Angels On The Moon’ band live. We’ve fallen in-love with Clayton Stroope’s vocals. Thriving Ivory are the fresh face of young rock, they are delivering something new. Like most people, lyrics are the most important for me, the lyrics that touch your heart mixed with brilliant vocals, keyboard, rhythms and guitar sounds, with ‘anthemic’, piano-driven songs and plaintive vocals.

“Don’t tell me if I’m dying, cause I don’t wanna know. If I can’t see the sun, maybe I should go. Don’t wake me cause I’m dreaming, of angels on the moon. Where everyone you know, never leaves too soon.”

Thriving Ivory is a driven and talented band from San Francisco that has learned that all good things come to those who wait. While the band has been performing together since 2004, in the past year, the band has not only changed its lineup, but has also been recognized as a “You Oughta Know” artist by VH1. Clayton Stroope (vocals), Scott Jason (piano and keys), Drew Cribley (guitars and backup vocals), Bret Cohune (bass) and Paul Niedermier (drums) make up the band that is known as Thriving Ivory.

Daniel: When did you realize you had such a unique voice? Also How long have you been singing?

Clayton: I started singing when I was in the 4th or 5th grade. I was in a few musicals and that was really my first experience being on a stage and singing in front of people. The way I sang back then and even the way sang in the early days of the band were a lot different from the way I sound now. I guess you just develop your own way of singing after a while. I guess I never really thought about having a “unique” voice. Over the years I just tried to sing in a way that felt the most natural to me.

We all met while in college in Santa Barbara, California. We lived in an area called Isla Vista, where there were over 20,000 college kids living within one square mile. It was a crazy place to be living but a great place to be in a band. I met Scott at a party, Drew worked at the local coffee shop, we stole Bret from another local band and Paul was recruited fresh out of high school.

Daniel: Tell me the story of how you got signed with Wind-Up Records?

Clayton: After playing for several major labels and going through some difficult rejections, our management on a whim sent a demo of “Angels on the Moon” to Wind Up Records. A few days later we got a call back from them and they were truly in love with the song and the sound of the band. We had a show coming up a week later in San Francisco and we invited them to come see us play. Alan Meltzer, the owner of Wind Up and his wife Diana, the head of A&R, then chartered a jet and flew out that following week. They came to the show and afterwards at dinner offered us a deal with the label.

Daniel: Chris Manning produced your album how did that relation come to fruition?

Clayton: We were looking to record some tracks for a demo back before the album was released.  We had interviewed a couple of producers.  Chris is a Bay Area local and just seemed right from the beginning.  When it came time to do the full album it was a no-brainer to finish the album with him.  We were operating on a small budget and Chris really helped us to put together the best album we possibly could have considering that ninety percent of the album was tracked in Drew’s parent’s basement.  He is very passionate about the music he is working with and it really shows in how well the album turned out.

Daniel: Up until august 26th your album was exclusive at Best Buy only. How did that deal happened and why did you decide to give Best Buy an exclusive window with your release?

Clayton: Best Buy was really good to us.  The exclusive thing happened because they put in extra marketing and really gave the album support that normally new bands wouldn’t get right off the bat.  They also offered some bonus acoustic tracks through when you bought the CD, so that was really cool.

Daniel: What has been, in your eyes, your greatest accomplishment so far?

Clayton: So far it is really just getting to where we are today.  It’s really crazy seeing things happening around us that we have been working towards for so many years.  It’s one thing to want it and think about it and it’s another to actually have it happening.  To name one thing specific it would probably seeing all the new fans on the road that are hearing us on the radio. It’s really crazy having crowds of people singing your songs that you’ve never played for before.

Daniel: What has been the most memorable experience on the road?

Clayton: For all of us I know it’s different, but I think we can all agree that one thing we’ve all loved is being in all these new cities and all the people we are getting to meet along the way.  You forget that America is a big place and there is a lot out there.  Getting to experience all those places is really a great adventure.  Getting to do it with four of your best friends and band mates is a really unique thing.