Intervision
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Intervision

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States
Band Pop R&B

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There are a whole lot of folks out there that can’t say they got much out of community college. Then there’s Portland’s jazzy groove quintet Intervision – a musical testament to those whose days at “high school with ashtrays” proved valuable.

As music students at Clackamas College, the members of Intervision crossed paths in a vocal jazz ensemble and while they eventually went their separate ways to continue education or explore other avenues, musical and otherwise, the guys eventually reunited about four years ago and have since been steadily climbing the ladder within the ranks of Oregon’s music complex.

In it’s formative years, the band went by the name Intervision 5—and you can guess what other five-piece pop crossover act the band was often compared to.

“We try not to compare ourselves to Maroon 5. When we were called Intervision 5, people were always saying ‘you guys sound like Maroon 5,” says Intervision drummer Jon Barber, who might be somewhat to blame for the comparison thanks to his mathematically precise, pop-soaked snare chops.

“Don’t get me wrong, I liked Songs About Jane [Maroon 5’s 2002 breakout record], but I think there are some differences between the bands,” Barber says.

Considering Maroon 5’s massive record and concert ticket sales, maybe Intervision shouldn’t be so quick to shy away from similarities with the poppy teen icons. Before they started shooting blockbuster-scale videos, playing mega arena tours, and wearing women’s hairstyles, Maroon 5 was an explosive and complex live jazz-fusion act with a promising tour schedule and loyal fan base. In 2003 I saw them pack the Sunset Strip House of Blues—a show that ended with a dead-on cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.”

But Intervision is not Maroon 5, and it’s not Jamiroquai (the other act to which the band is often compared). But parallels to other acts quickly dash into the brain when taking in a dose of Intervision. The band’s latest release, which has garnered some positive regional reviews and a nod of approval from this writer, has some unavoidable vibrations of Stevie Wonder running through it. And that’s a good thing because Stevie Wonder is about as cool as a vocalist can get within the framework of the jazzy and the funky.

“You have to hang a lot of that on Paul,” Barber says of his band’s singer, Paul Creighton, and his Wonder-esque vocal flair.

Creighton isn’t all Stevie all the time—he tends to bend and mold his sound (as does the band as a whole) from track to track, always imploring a crisp and clean tone, but allowing himself some stylistic slack to bring things down for mellower, near ballads like “She’s Gray” and “Violet.”

Intervision’s sound ranges from spacey jazz to brushes with drum and bass, stopping off at times for the aforementioned slow-down numbers. Barber likes to call this amalgamation “groove pop.” Whatever he wants to label it, Barber acknowledges that his band inspires booty shakin’, as the band’s eclectic audience of jazz fans, pop purists, and jam band enthusiasts demonstrates at most shows.

Again, Intervision is not Maroon 5 – and thank God for that.

Intervision
7pm, Wednesday, Nov. 14. McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond St., 382-5174. Free, all ages. - Mike Bookey - The Source Weekly (Bend, OR)


The Internet's music community has been abuzz for the last few weeks with talk of "A Paler Shade of White", an article by The New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones decrying the lack of black-music influence in today's underground rock 'n' roll.

Bands like the Arcade Fire and Wilco, Frere-Jones posits, have left behind the rhythm and swing of traditionally black genres - R&B, jazz, funk, and so on - and caused indie rock to "lose it's soul", as the story's subtitle suggests.

The Piece is well-written, but the argument is flawed in a few different ways, not the least of which is Frere-Jones' choice to ignore current bands that do mine black music for their sound, such as Spoon, LCD Soundsystem, and TV on the Radio.

Though its national profile doesn't quite match those bands, the Portland-based quintet Intervision, performing Wednesday in Bend (See "If You Go"), also stands as a counterpoint to Frere-Jones' suggestion. The group, formed by classmates in Clackamas Community College's music program, has a new album out called "Shades of Neptune" that, while perhaps a little too slick, captures a kind of liquid-soul feeling that's equally retro and futuristic.

Resplendent with horns and synths and front-man Paul Creighton's silky-smooth voice, "Shades" is an impressive showcase of Intervision's influences, which generally fall into the category of soul and pop, with the occasional foray into funk, jazz and reggae here and there. Think Jamiroquai meets John Mayer, and you're in the right ballpark.

Or, you may have noted the transparent connection between the band's name and the title of Stevie Wonder's magnum opus, 1973's "Innervisions".

You have to think long and hard before comparing anyone to a legent like Little Stevie, and it's probably too early to do so for Intervision. But the influence is obvious, and the band seems to have the chops to carry its sound far into the future.

Ben Salmon can be reached at 383-0377 or bsalmon@bendbulletin.com

If You Go:

What: Intervision
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 N.W. Bond St., Bend
Cost: Free
Contact: 382-5174 - Ben Salmon - Bend Bulletin


"Green hue and shades of Neptune / Found in any eye or in the vastest sky / Do you see those flowers looking at me? / Am I finally, could I be, did I go crazy? / Everything seems so amazing lately."

—"10,000 Years"

When Paul Creighton wrote "10,000 Years"—which contains the lyric from which his band, Portland, Ore.-based Intervision, took the title for their sophomore release, Shades of Neptune—he was trying to put into song an idea that colors and shapes found in the human eye can also be found in the orbs that circle the sun.

Not exactly the kind of inspiration you might expect from a band that calls its sound "groove-pop." But that's exactly the kind of person Creighton is. He's an academic; he talks like a dharma punk; he watches (and loves) Cops; he truly believes in world peace. An enigmatic character. Creighton makes it clear, though, that just because he is the band's lead singer, the rest of the band—Josh Cliburn on sax (not pictured), guitarist/vocalist Tony Stovin, Kit Taylor on vocals and keys, bassist Mike Glidden and drummer Jon Barber—does not orbit around him.

All but one of the songs on Shades are written by Creighton and his writing partner Stovin, and two of the tunes—including the heartachingly plaintive ballad "Mended Seams"—were penned by Stovin alone. The only song not written by the songwriting team is the last track, "Wrapped in Grey," (written by XTC's Andy Partridge), which Creighton said they chose for its lyrics, but might have had something to do with the fact that Creighton's vocal abilities are on par with Partridge's.

However, Creighton is quick to credit his mates for the band's success, describing himself as "so codependent." But it's not an emotional issue on Creighton's part. Instead, it's a recognition of the band members' reliance on one another. Intervision works in synchronicity; Creighton describes the group as a "collective," a philosophy reflected in the band's name. The name Intervision was inspired by the Stevie Wonder album Innervisions that was—and still is—a favorite among all the band's members. Creighton said they changed it to "inter" to imply the band's inclusive nature. Originally Intervision 5, they dropped the "5" for two reasons: Maroon 5 was shooting to the top of the pop charts and with Intervision's jazzy-pop sound, similarities and comparisons were inevitable. Intervision didn't want to be seen as a copycat band. Plus, they recently added a sixth member.

Creighton said the band didn't want Shades to sound sophomoric so they raised the bar. Shades does sound sophomoric in that it has more grown-up sound than their debut, and though Creighton said they wanted Shades to sound "less over-produced," some of the songs are clearly rooted in where some of the members of the band first met: a college jazz ensemble. In some cases, the band's crescendoeing harmonies sound straight out of a swing choir; at other times, they give a song its goosebump-inducing power, as in "Mended Seams." The harmonica in the intro to "All I'm Thinking About," is distracting but lets the listener know right away what kind of song it's going to be: poppy, jazzy, happy, bright, though the backing "na-na-na-na-nas" followed by Creighton's scatting and feel-good harmonica are a bit obvious. If a guy could get an MFA in Pop music, this might be his master's thesis. It's otherwise a perfect pop tune sung in a seemingly pitch-perfect voice. Creighton can sing in a low, bass tone one minute and an almost dog-whistle-high falsetto the next with seldom a crack and never a miss. He's the poster boy for vocal control, with a prowess that's a combination of innate talent and practiced skill that's both lauded and envied.

Creighton said the next step for the band is to expand their fan base beyond the loyal Portlanders who come out to see them week after week. They want to make Boise a regular monthly stop, have plans to tour California and are in very preliminary talks about doing some things overseas. In preparation for the changes in the band's future, Creighton says he'll start with his songwriting. "I'm excited to write about awareness and just happy things. Things you feel good about," he said. He plans to write songs that aren't about lost love.

"Even 'Violet' [on Shades] is bittersweet, but it's kind of hopeful," he said. "I'm not a real pessimistic dude. I don't want to keep reverberating that victim thing a lot of songwriters do even though it's a real natural human feeling, and people can identify with it. I'm no exception. It's gotten me through some real gnarly nights. At the same time, I want to move forward a bit and talk about the power that each person has to enjoy their own life. So, I'm writing tunes that feel good."

But heartache seems like such a natural inspiration for a song. How does Creighton come up with songs that are happy without sounding trite? Or even religious?

When asked if there are religious overtones in his writing, he said, " - Amy Atkins - Boise Weekly


COVERING ALL THE BASES-

There are a few seconds in the opening track of Intervision 5's debut CD when a pensive moment turns wonderfully weightless. Frontman Paul Creighton compares "the man I am with who I was and what I shall become" before his velvet tenor guides three-part harmonies into the chorus and guitars help strum introspection into exuberance.

That moment, those words, reflect I5's career.

In the past year and a half, the Oregon City quintet has logged about 150 gigs and mastered a repertoire of about 70 songs by soulful artists such as Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder, and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Now, with the launch of the new CD, "Inside", I5 jumps into its own songbook full-force.

"I think of cover music as a kind of courting process", says Creighton. "Your learning the music, getting your chops on their work first. This transition is a little scary but man, we're EXCITED!" They'll put it all out there Friday night on the Roseland stage.

Magnetized by their love of music, Creighton, guitarist Tony Stovin, keyboard player Kit Taylor, drummer Jon Barber and bassist Mike Glidden met while attending Clackamas Community College, where jazz was the main flavor of the music program. Jolts of soul, funk and reggae found their way into the players' session work in and outside of class.

Although Creighton was thrilled with the ensemble, an uncertain future in music compelled him to earn a master's in education. After teaching middle school for a year, the itch to play again and the urging of his mates brought him back to music in 2003. Since then, the members of I5 have been cutting their teeth as the cover band that can't say no, playing weddings, parties, Blazer games, and growing a steady audience at The Buffalo Gap.

There were times we had five shows a week last summer. It was insane!" says Creighton, who's nevertheless thankful for the work. "Private gigs are great. You can make money and do music you love. And, hey, everybody loves a cover band."

The shift from others' songs to originals was a natural progression, with current shows breaking down to 70 percent originals, 30 percent covers.

Recorded at Portland's Kung Fu Bakery, "Inside" bears the fruit of the hard sonic labor. It's a sweet listen. Lyrics tug at the heart from everyday moments. Creighton's pure voice steers melodies over engaging rhythms. Jazz guitarist Dan Balmer and horn player Hans Tueber pop up as surprise guests.

COMING UP

Intervision 5

When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave. 503-219-9929
Admission: $10 ($8 with CD purchase)
Also appearing: Sidestar, The Justin Hopkins Band
Web site: www.intervision5.com - Lee Williams - The Oregonian


In case you didn't get the mimeographed memo, the '70s are back: The young men are wearing shaggy beards, young women are in silky running shorts and tube socks, and the sound of danceable soul is all the rage.

And Portland's five-piece Intervision is just right for the moment.

For the band's CD release show Saturday at the Aladdin (sponsored by a local brewer, radio station and record store), the band expanded to at least eight musicians and drew a near-capacity crowd that relished the recycled sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder.

The members of Intervision aren't of the '70s, though perhaps some of them learned to walk in that decade, but they can't escape the influence of the music -- Dave Matthews, Jamiroquai and most notably Maroon 5 (which may partly explain why the band has shortened its name from Intervision 5) are all over its latest, undeniably groovy and impeccably produced album, "Shades of Neptune."

Whether such obvious and unashamed artistic influences are inspiring or annoying is really for each listener to decide, but there is no denying that the homage is both reverent and precise.

It was crystal clear that Intervision's enthusiastic supporters, who appeared to be a mix of ultimate Frisbee fans and their parents, found the hour-plus performance to be a source of celebration, and the band appeared to be loving every second on stage.

Paul Creighton ("Pauly" to many in the happy crowd) is an engaging, if unlikely, frontman, and his steady tenor contains convincing amounts of sexy, smooth soul. The rest of the band has the supporting sounds down like an old family recipe for funk, albeit one that gets used a bit too often, creating a certain sameness across the songs.

One of the night's highlights was a keyboard-heavy, slower ballad that had the space to allow Creighton to shelve some of the affectation in his voice and sing simply and sweetly from the heart.

But the band followed that by applying its throwback formula to a signature song from the following decade, Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party." The '80s "classic" lost nearly all of its charm and silly spookiness, nearly becoming a Muzak version of itself.

Or maybe the band was just staying true to the simple democratic spirit of the '70s.

Scott D. Lewis can be reached at JonezinMzk@aol.com - Scott D. Lewis - The Oregonian


MPS and Preview: Intervision-

Sweet, mellow, jazzy and soulful: Portland band Intervision are celebrating their new CD Saturday night at the Aladdin Theater; the disc is laid-back and danceable, and man, does it ever get in your head (and I mean that in a good way). Don't believe me? Take a listen. - Luciana Lopez - The Oregonian


[SPACE JAZZ] Goddamn, can Paul Creighton sing. And on Intervision’s second full-length, Shades of Neptune, he runs up and down his vocal register with the greatest of ease, moving from soulful ballads to staccato lyrical bursts with such finesse it melts your eardrums like butter.

Creighton and company wax chill and sexy, offering funk-laced jazz with a decidedly futuristic bent, making dance-soul fusioneers Jamiroquai an easy comparison. Opening track “10,000 Years” mixes synth and sax while Creighton’s voice drifts melodically, exploding suddenly into a fast-paced, highly verbose machine-gun flow. The same thing happens on the second track, “Live Out Loud,” creating a robust formula that’s prevalent through much of the album. “Sing, dance/ It’s an intimate romance formed by cosmic circumstance/ Move, groove/ What have you to lose except the tread beneath your shoes,” Creighton croons, drawing out the notes before firing into another trademark burst of fast-paced flow.

In a sense—many of the songs sound remarkably similar. But just when you think you’ve got the Portland-based outfit pegged, out comes a heartfelt breakup ballad like “Violet.” All of a sudden, Intervision’s tugging at your heartstrings as Creighton’s voice digs deep into a familiar emotional reservoir.

These slower songs can also bring the album to a screeching halt, occasionally evoking Coldplay and teetering dangerously close to adult-contemporary. But just when you’re ready to dismiss Neptune, it slaps you hard across the face with some deeply infectious grooves. Take “Always on my Mind,” a track that follows the somber “Violet” and builds gradually from a slow pop song to an all-out funk free-for-all. Bassist Mike Glidden slaps and pops under some serious Stevie-esque keys, and an assortment of horns blare blissfully as the track just keeps climbing.

Despite some redundancy and the occasional bring-down, Shades of Neptune delivers a deeply felt groove, placing it somewhere between classic soul, modern jazz and a distant, futuristic funk. Each song is heartfelt and honest, amplified by Creighton and crew’s commitment to sonic density—making for an undeniably smooth, sexy experience.

SEE IT: Intervision plays Friday, Oct. 19, with the Damon Castillo Band at Jimmy’s Mak’s. 8 pm. $10. 21+ (after 9:30 pm). - Ap Kryza - Willamette Week


Friday, October 19, 2007

intervision: All about the band, in their own words.

Members: Paul Creighton, Tony Stovin, Kit Taylor, Mike Glidden and Jon Barber

Sometimes we cover: "Cosmic Girl" by Jamiroquai, "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo

Other band names in the running: Porcelain, Sonic Symposium, Stovin'

Most treasured instrument: Creighton's voice. The man has chops, pure and simple.

(Un)official slogan: "Grip It and Rip It."

Why we rock so hard: We don't "rock," we funk those ear holes dry!

After a gig, nothing tastes better than: Pitas

How the group formed: The short version? College musicians who had no other way of getting chicks.

Who's the slackest band member when it comes to loading your equipment? Depends on whether or not we have a sax player that night.

Musical guilty pleasures: Michael McDonald, Justin Timberlake, Bryan Adams (more guilt than pleasure).

Touring must-haves: Beer and "Family Guy" DVDs.

Most curious audience interaction: A guy once paid us $50 to play "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple -- not to sing it, merely repeat the first four bars over and over.

On the record: "Shades of Neptune" (Burnside Distribution)

Catch us live: 8 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Mak's, 221 N.W. 10th Ave.; www.jimmymaks.com, 503-295-6542. - The Oregonian A & E


Like many people here at the Weekly Volcano, Bobble Tiki gets a lot of mail. Sometimes Bobble Tiki gets good mail, and sometimes it’s not so good. On the not-so-good side, the IRS is currently trying to levy Bobble Tiki for not reporting profits received from autograph sessions at collectable shows. To date, Bobble Tiki has made nearly 27 dollars putting his John Hancock on various clippings and empty bottles of Wild Turkey — and he’s reported none of it to Uncle Sam. When the big, official looking envelope showed up from the IRS, Bobble Tiki knew he was in trouble. When he got called into the Human Resources office, Bobble Tiki knew he was getting levied. (What the hell does "Human Resources" mean, anyway?) Then there’s the good mail.

A few weeks ago Bobble Tiki received a stuffed manila envelope from the band Intervision, who will be up from Portland to play Jazzbones Saturday, Oct. 20. Inside was a copy of Intervision’s second record, Shades of Neptune, released earlier this year. The envelope also contained a brief bio, describing Intervision as "soul/R&B/Pop-rock," and saying the group combines "elements of soul, rock, jazz, and pop, the quintet is earning lofty comparisons to bands like Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, and Jamiroquai, yet have created their own intensely unique sound." Bobble Tiki loves Steely Dan and Jamiroquai. What can he say? Call him left handed if you must, but Bobble Tiki wasted no time throwing on Shades of Neptune during his drive home. Over the exhausted whining of Bobble Tiki’s piece of crap car, Intervision sounded like a band Bobble Tiki simply had to know more about.

Singer Paul Creighton, guitarist Tony Stovin, keyboardist Kit Taylor, bassist Mike Glidden, saxophonist Joshua Cliburn and drummer Jon Barber met at Clackamas Community College, located south of Portland in Oregon City. At the time, it was 2004, and the six friends who would form Intervision probably didn’t realize that within a few years they’d be playing Portland’s massive, Willamette Week sponsored, MusicFEST NW, or opening for the Neville Brothers. What the six friends probably did realize is they shared a passion for crafting challenging compositions with pop sensibility, and that they weren’t half bad at it.

"Each of us has our own influences that we bring to the table," explains Barber."But we definitely share a core listening, a place we’re all coming from." Shades of Neptune is Intervision’s second full length record. The band released its first record, Inside, in June of 2005. Back then, the band was known as Intervision 5, and much like their name, the band’s sound was still developing. The soulful rock elements that Intervision has come to rely on were evident, but the band hadn’t reached maturity. Where Inside showed promise, Shades of Neptune shows arrival. "This record was a big step for us. We tried to branch out with this one," says Barber."I wouldn’t say we tried to go in a different direction, that’s just how it turned out. I’m still very happy with Shades of Neptune."We appeal to a wide variety of people. Our listening audience is very diverse. We’re very energetic, the music is danceable, and our songs have lyrics you can relate to. I think it took us a little while to find our niche, but now we’re there. We’re just trying to spread the word about Intervision."

Intervision will play Jazzbones Saturday, Oct. 20. Tacoma’s Phil O’Sullivan of Nouveau Rich and the Glass Family fame is also on the bill. He’ll be pumping the release of his first solo record, Mystery Romance, which will hit stores Oct. 23. Bobble Tiki isn’t very good at managing his money — as the IRS can attest to, but he knows a first-rate show when he sees one. Intervision is a band you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. O’Sullivan is an artist worth reintroducing yourself to. Together, the show will be hard to beat.

Check out Intervision at www.intervisionmusic.com. As you may have guessed, Bobble Tiki doesn’t give a crap what you do this week because Bobble Tiki doesn’t even know you. That’s been Bobble Tiki’s line for as long as he can remember, and he sees no sense changing it now. Actually, if you’re a tax lawyer or can help Bobble Tiki settle his dispute with the IRS for pennies on the dollar, then maybe Bobble Tiki does want to meet you. If you don’t fit the bill, join Bobble Tiki for breakfast, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at www.weeklyvolcanospew.com. That’s about as close as you’re going to get.

[Jazzbones, with Phil O’Sullivan and Damon Costillo, 9 p.m., all ages, $8-$10, 2803 Sixth_Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169] - Bobbie Tiki - The Weekly Volcano (S. Puget Sound, WA)


Don't let the first song on this CD put you off of it. Don't get me wrong, the music and the singing are good, but the lyrics had me thinking this was going to be another case of a singer who could really use a decent writer... but then I heard the rest of the CD and was just blown away. Intervision 5 is creating pop in the style of Jamiroquai, Glenn Lewis, and Remy Shand. (If you don't know who they are - shame on you!!!!) I fell in love with 10 out of 11 of these songs, and on the second go round, even the first song started to grow on me. This is great music and great singing combined with good lyrics - hard to ask for more than that.

Production - 5/5
Lyrics - 4/5
Music - 4.5/5
Vocals - 4.5/5
Musicianship - 4.5/5 - Unsigned Magazine


Discography

"Inside". Released June '05.

"Shades Of Neptune". Released April of '07.

"Intervision". Released May of '10.

Tracks to receive Internet and FM airplay are "Your Mind", "All She'll Never Have", "Still", "This Time", "All I'm Thinkin' About", "Dark Lady", and "Live Out Loud".

Photos

Bio

2010 dawns the advent of Intervision. What is Intervision? Its the collective efforts of musicians devoted to the art of sonic quality, blending the diversity of their histories with the unified direction of their artistic endeavors. It believes that coalescing fine ingredients with a refined recipe can deliver an exceptional musicality. Featuring a cast of professional players, Intervision draws upon the strengths of its members to create a soulful, groovy playlist of pop music for adults.

Intervisions 2010 self-titled release introduces the audience to the concept of Intervision in its purist form. Combining elements of soul, jazz, and funk within the construct of adult-flavored pop, Intervision reminds listeners of a time when a record had a character, when the listener wasnt asked to choose between a cool groove and an introspective lyric, when playing ones instrument well was not only revered, but a natural component of the music scene.

They began at a college, and as they continued to develop their skills and expand their education, they wrote and gigged. They opened for some great bands, and they played some great rooms. They recorded a couple albums, sold a bunch of them, got some airplay and then began to open for better bands and play better rooms. iV has opened for Lifehouse, the Neville Brothers, Ghostland Observatory, Garage Mahal, among others. Recent winner of Best R&B category of the Independent Music Awards and finalist in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Intervision has polished and developed their sound into a musical samurai, seeking only the reclamation of honor to the popular music genre. Intervision is taking back pop, and they welcome all who wish to join their campaign.

Is Intervision for you? If you are weary of lyrical lamentations of a broken heart, if you reminisce of the days when a record told a compositional story, if you like music to move you in your seat, and then, perhaps, move you right out of your seat, then prepare yourself for what youve been waiting forthis is Intervision.