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The best kept secret in music



by Todd J. Marrero

Life, love, DNA, the swirling hot magma that gives life to mother earth. Everything is IOS, IOS is everything.
Simply put, IOS is everything and anything one wants it to be.
We are all IOS... IOS is all of us. Anyway you want.

The insipid rhythms that we all listen to over & over everyday are about to take an immediate and sudden ninety-degree turn to the left. That hard left will take us on an intrinsically visceral tour of our inner-most primordial urges for deep resonating tribal rhythms... This band will satisfy those primal urges. IOS is here, NOW... equipped to fill the empty void that most of us walk around with. In this socially fragmented, politically ravaged day and age, one thing still binds us together as a single species... a recurrent pulsating beat and the vocalized word, in other words... MUSIC. Forget all the religion, forget all the politics... IOS’ intonations breaks the melody down to a basic primal tribal beat, then builds and evolves it into the next generation of sonic clarity- combining the genres of Alternative Rock with Dance.

Being somewhat of a techie gear-head myself, I can relate to anything that’s got guts, and can be broken down into basic technical specs & data... speed, horsepower & all things military are what get my motor running.
IOS consists of three guys that by destiny, the chaos theory, or some type of benevolent divine intervention have been brought together as one dynamic “audio-vision”.... taking on the military premise, I like to consider IOS as my AUDITORY-ASSAULT TEAM.

IOS is a study in Electronic / Dance music with a strong blend of Rock & Roll mixed in. Most bands & music genres are fairly well classified into Electronic/ Dance OR Rock & Roll... IOS fuses these two genres into one, conceiving an exciting new sound that taps into the classic rock & roll auditory responses in us all.

The core of IOS is comprised of 3 original members: Taylor Martyr (singer/songwriter/producer), Kevin Holt, (lead guitarist) and Tom Benzian, (DJ/bassist/producer). IOS has taken on many amalgamations along the way, although they have always stayed true to form. Since its inception, the band has been in constant collaboration with many talented up-and-coming artists like sultry vocalist Karina Ware, percussionist radical Jason Drumfire, and most recently Tony "Sony-pi" Ushino on drums. When IOS plays live, this unique electronic/rock act can erupt onto stage in many violent yet beautiful forms. Often, they will show up to a gig as 'IOS LITE' - stripped down to only the bare essentials... a microphone, a guitar, and two digital turntables. This trio has half the carbs, but packs twice the kick... it’s hard to believe that this mountain of sound comes from just three guys. When Bassist/DJ Tom Benzian isn’t busy ripping it up on the ones and twos, he picks up an electric bass and delivers a robust resonating power bottom. On occasion Tony "Sony-pi" Ushino backs them up on drums. You'll appreciate the mad hammering that Tony laid down for them on one of my personal favorites,
“BAGHDAD BETTY”. Listen to it again; he bangs the skins as if it’s the second coming of Pearl Harbor. IOS transcends the normal constraints of typical music genres and rips the top off the whole thing. It’s an eclectic experience to hear a live electronica band that rocks with such magnitude... or are they a rock band that can light up the dance floor? That’s the question... what exactly is IOS?

Creating the music is truly a collaborative effort with IOS. In typical fashion, Martyr isolates and goes into Poet mode... he writes the lyrics, tempo and overall feel that he wants to project based on the inspiration that he’s working off of, then incorporates the expertise of the other members.
This is usually when I get the phone call the following day from Martyr.
“Uh, dude, can you cover for me... I’m so fucking tired, I was up all night... “
“How late were you up?” I ask,
“It came to me last night”
“Yeah, go ahead...” I say
“I woke up at 1:00am, with this tune in my head...”
“Did you get it down at least?”
“Pretty much... you’re gonna love it, it’s called Rock is dead, and it’s based on, well... how rock & roll is dead...”
“Nice...Lay it down”, I say. After all... you can’t schedule art, right? That’s just part of the creative process... sleep or a strong creative vision, take your pick, it’s one or the other, but you can’t have both.

From that point on, Martyr or Benzian will lay down a bass line to give it the basic structure to build upon. From there Holt will drop in his tight guitar licks, and that’s when the real construct gets going... track by track, fitting in aural sensations one by one. Bassist Tom Benzian creates selected tracks from a true engineering process, piecing together small packets of information, until he feels the sonic quality that starts to flow like a hit... if Benzian was around before the age of computers, he’d be the first guy in line at the office supply store to pick up his slide-rule & abacus. The guy is a number-cruncher, and by doing so, turns digits into verses. Piece by piece these symphonic artisans compose their “audio-collage” with the same skill and dexterity that an open-heart surgeon uses... patience & skill are a must.

In the beginning, IOS began on the crystal blue shores of the Mediterranean. Three friends visiting the notorious Greek island IOS, and immersing themselves in the primal, uninhibited international party scene. After a captivating acoustic performance at a bar in front of what seemed to be the entire world, the friends swore that they would one day return to the island to play again.
Back in California, they began writing songs on guitar, then adding their own synthesized beats and bass lines. The trio soon realized that their sound was a unique crossover between dance and rock and quickly moved to expand their repertoire. The young musicians moved from San Francisco to San Diego to attend college and spend countless hours honing their skills. IOS was born out of the fiery depths of the minds of Taylor Martyr, Kevin Holt and Tom Benzian as a means to reconnect with the path that leads back to paradise, or IOS.
IOS began to forge the sound and image that is distinctly their own by producing a 12" single and three consecutive EP's on “We Are One Records” out of San Diego. Their latest EP, “IOS > ANYWAY YOU WANT”, is a dazzling display of guitar-infused melodies, antagonistic romping beats, and liquid linguistics. IOS is oiling up for an endless summer in 2004, with shows lined up in Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and beyond...

Just to give you an idea as to where I sit on music likes & dis-likes. I’m a steak and potatoes fed hyper-patriotic rock & rolling All-American jingoist. Bottom line, IOS rocks... take it from me, a guy who took karate lessons in high-school, because I had to be able to spin the round-house kicks that David Lee Roth performed for Van Halen. My misspent youth survived on a steady, yet vigorous diet of Def Leppard, Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Van Halen etc... if it didn’t have a strong power-chord and that all too familiar anthem of rebellion, I had no need for it. IOS is a new and improved version of the 80’s rock & roll. Lead singer Taylor Martyr tells me that I would’ve been classified as a “Cock-Rocker”. I’ll let you figure out as to how he came to that designation.
This is when I realized that I had stumbled upon a group of guys that had a clear musical vision, and were going somewhere. I could connect with their music, even though I was from an era that thrived on big-hair, ripped sweat-shirts, and multi-colored spandex, I recognized that there was a strong base of music flowing under this group. For a guy of my hard-edged tastes to listen to, and truly appreciate the offerings of Martyr, Holt & Benzian, tells something of the unique attitude exuding from this up and coming group of techno-rockers.
IOS is riding the crest of this new genre-bending creation of music. I would personally classify it as ALT-Dance, but I wouldn’t tell that to the band members themselves, especially front-man Taylor Martyr, as he looks at me with furred-brow and a slight twinge of disdain, as they do not like being lumped into any particular single genre, or sub-genre for that matter.
“IOS is universal man... it’s for everyone”, Martyr says.

So this brings us to the Winter Music Festival in Miami, where the opening track on their just recently cut EP, “LA MAS BONITA” makes it’s debut, and instantly connects with the whole Miami sound scene.
“La Mas” is a powerfully engaging high-energy dance track that IOS has taken to the next level by infusing their brand of pulsating Latin flavor directly into the main lyrical riff. La Mas Bonita simply means The Most Beautiful. Inspired by, surprise, a woman named Macarena, who can fulfill all fantasies, and come up with a pretty kick-ass Milanese as well... m-m-m, food & sex, what more does the primordial man want? You can substitute Milanese with any sexual connotation that fits the bill. That's what IOS is all about, the merging of two separate ideas into something new, whether it's English and Spanish lyrics in the same song or electronica fueled with rock.
Not one to miss-out on a brilliant synergistic tie-in...”La Mas Bonita” fits perfectly into the whole Miami/ South-Beach scene. The culture and way of life seem to be what IOS and SWAY Magazine are all about... enlightening the same populous.

- Sway Magazine Miami

"Album Review"

Album Review
by Sarah B.

For IOS, everything's up for grabs when it comes to making thoughtful party music. From the Latin disco of "La Mas Bonita" and evolved funk of "Rodeo" to "Bagdad Betty"'s hard rock churn ("your love is a weapon of mass destruction"), IOS can make you dance to anything. Named for the notorious Greek party destination.
- Sarah B.
- Real Music Store


KM//H – LP (2005)

Any Way You Want – EP (2004)

Sustenance (feat. Karina Ware) – 12” Vinyl (2003)

Tracks from iOS: KM//H are available on iTunes, Beatport, & Real Music.


Feeling a bit camera shy


iOS is a rambunctious dance/rock band that will serve up electronic music to people just how they like it… LIVE, LOUD, and with ATTITUDE. Their latest album KM//H is continuously mixed from start to finish, making it the first dance/rock album of its kind. iOS is a creative vision that sprang to life in 2001. At the core of the band are three long time friends: Singer/songwriter Taylor Martyr, lead guitarist Kevin Holt and bassist/dj Tom Benzian. Together, their passion for music has brought them from the eclectic urban nightlife of San Francisco through the vibrant San Diego house music scene to the rock & roll rodeo lifestyle of Los Angeles. Recently the group has added on a new keyboardist/producer from Transylvania named RAD whose killer beats are as vicious as his bite.
iOS tracks have been getting spins on California Dance and Indie-Rock radio shows and continue to be favorites of DJ’s from San Fran to South Beach. The band will be gigging out this summer & fall as a a four piece live liquid rock band as well as a live electronica/dj act.
iOS influences include daft punk, jamiroquai, groove armada, smashing pumpkins, and all other forms of house music and rockNroll. iOS is a dance music anomaly because they write songs on guitar, produce their own tracks using the latest technology, and remix the same songs live in concert.