Ivory Hours
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Ivory Hours

London, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Pop




"Ivory Hours: Love and Loss"

Unlike past generations, it seems as though today’s youth are burdened with more mature expectations. Gone are the days of finishing high school, knocking up your girlfriend, and still living a happy, financially comfortable life. Nowadays kids finish school lost in debt, and are spit out into society to experience real problems such as taking care of loved ones, and ultimately trying to figure out what type of person they want to be in this fucked-up world we live in.

London, Ontario native Luke Roes is no stranger to the dilemmas of young adulthood; after attending Queens University in Kingston, Ontario for mechanical engineering, Roes fled to British Columbia where he and his sister Annie worked on their songwriting skills and the formation of alt-pop outfit Ivory Hours. However, after the loss of their brother, Luke and Annie returned home to Ontario where they spent time with family, and put their experiences to music on their recently released album Mary (June 3). Luke sat down with Noisey to talk about his new outlook on life, death, and his experiences as a young songwriter.

Noisey: Tell me a little bit about how the band started. Did you and your sister always play music together growing up?
Luke: I started the band as I was leaving university in 2012. Annie and I had played together infrequently before that, but I really wanted her to be a part of the project; her ability to harmonize is amazing and I thought it'd be a great way to stay close as siblings. Annie had been really active performing in dance and theatre in high school, but I was a much more isolated player.

Were any of your other family members musicians?
Our parents were really big on each of us having some kind of musical interest, despite not playing anything themselves; my older brother Adam took up drums pretty young, our younger brother Paul got a bass by default but really took to guitar. Other than that there are just a few acoustic strummers in the extended family.

Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
I was always into rock and roll - Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath - I was primarily a guitarist so it wasn't until later that I developed a passion for singing and writing lyrics. Once downloading became more popular I branched out to some electronic stuff, folk and hip-hop. Eventually I went on a big Beatles rampage, got really into Radiohead, Queen's of the Stone Age and some more progressive music like King Crimson. All the while I maintained a guilty pleasure for guitar pop - some Coldplay and the like - I think that stemmed from the nineties when I only had two tapes to listen to and I had my ears glued to the radio. I eventually got really into fingerpickers and lyricists like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen.

How did your time at university change your musical preferences and your views on life?
When I first left London to go to Queens I found that I had a ton of time on my hands to listen to new music, practice and write. Downloading was rampant so I had access to all kinds of music collections that really broadened my ears. I met a lot of good friends, one in particular who turned me on to poetry which really made me pay attention to lyrics for the first time. I fell in and out of love for the first time, and progressively became more jaded about the value of my education. Hard to say how much of that is just life. Unfortunately the social climate there made me guarded and a bit pretentious about a number of things; in the end it's my own fault and I'm happy to have shed that now.

After your time at Queens University studying mechanical engineering you moved to Vancouver; why?
Looking back on it, I think part of me really wanted to distance myself from where I went to school; I'd gotten really fed up with the environment there and wanted a huge change of scenery. I'd spent a summer in Victoria a couple years before and was completely enamored by the ocean and mountains so it was an easy choice that way. A couple of the musician friends I had were from the city so it seemed to make sense that way as well. All in all pretty rash, but it made for some amazing travel and incredible experiences.

What influenced your return home to London, Ontario?
My sister Annie and I left Vancouver to be closer to our family after the loss of our brother. Since then we've pursued music with a renewed passion, and an invigorated purpose.

Such a loss must have really altered your perspective on songwriting and life in general; care to explain the effect it had on your music?
I'll start by saying that for the sake of the family we're trying not to focus too much on that part of our experience; everybody's working through it in their own way so we're always trying to make sure everybody is comfortable with what information gets put in the public sphere. That said; I felt it was impossible not to mention it - it shattered our lives in countless ways and I think we've come out stronger individually and as a family because of it. Coming home made it so much easier to support each other and talk our way through it.

I think I can only accurately explain my own feelings about it, so in terms of the music, knowing first hand how fragile life is drives me to pursue my passion in the most ardent, authentic way possible. I put a whole new value on communication and redefined my goals in songwriting. Beforehand I'd started to lean on abstraction in the writing, and was holding onto a lot of immature pressures and ideals that suddenly seemed silly and unnecessary. Hence the move to a more pop-influenced format, pared down playing, and always trying to create a focus in the music and a stronger intent supported by every part of the music. Lyrically I used to be really concerned about telling the listener something, giving them some kind of answer, but now I just want to tell stories. Because art (if you go so far as to call it that) is able to elevate common experiences, I think there's a real responsibility there as to what you draw people's attention to. As such, my goal for the year is to write a truly happy song.

How would you say the sound of your music has changed after your loss?
The music is upbeat and colorful, while lyrically undercut with themes of loss, relationships and depression. As a younger songwriter it sometimes felt like I had to seek out chaotic experiences in order to tell compelling stories, but time has shown me that hardship will eventually find everyone. Songs can't change difficult circumstances, but I hope they can help people navigate them.

Let’s turn the focus onto the new album Mary; how was the recording process?
We recorded it at EMAC Studios in London, Ontario; we covered most of the costs through a contest we won from a radio station here called 98.1 Free FM. Recording took place over about three weeks, with dedicated sessions for drums, bass, guitars, and then keys and vocals. It was our first time in a full-on studio so it was inspiring to work with other people, and a huge load off me after recording the last two EP's myself.

Each track on the record seems to differ in genre and writing style; care to shed some light on this?
One song's been around for a couple years (“The Attic”) another for about a year (“Nettle”) - both those are remnants of my lengthy love affair with country/folk finger-picking. The remaining four came about in the last four months or so while I was trying out different types of writing. I started to focus more on rhythm; building songs from drum beats and bass riffs (“Young Blood”, “Mary”) and really tried committing to specific genres with individual songs (instead of the musical hodgepodge I'd been aiming at in years previous). That led to the soul track “I'll Stay Away” and the unabashed pop tune “Hello Honey”. I spent a lot of time learning songs by ear, going through whole albums and absorbing different styles. I think each tune has a separate set of influences’ everything from Gordon Lightfoot to the Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney to Paul Simon and many more.

Was this your initial goal when you started putting the album together?
Well I wanted to make something far more accessible than what we'd made in the past. I stripped away a lot of progressive elements. For example “Hello Honey” was originally in an odd time signature, which was scrapped after my dad repeatedly thought the song was skipping. I took a lot of people's opinions into consideration and I think it really helped me identify what's important in a pop song. I hope that the album will gain a lot of trust from listeners so that they'll have the patience for us when we decide to take some bigger risks. I hope that doesn't sound like I think the songs are boring or simple, I just compare it to using common wording instead of esoteric language.

I found the title track to be lyrically intriguing; the song touches on themes of addiction, partying, and the negative repercussions they can have on somebody’s life. Is “Mary” based off of a real person?
The song's not based on anybody in particular, but rather a kind of lifestyle I've witnessed and always felt is a little tragic. The relationships are hedonistic and superficial but instantly gratifying so it ropes a lot of people in. Addiction makes people myopic and eventually they dig a hole they can't get out of. Mary starts off as an innocent, affluent girl, adding to the tragedy knowing that she had every advantage.

The song also addresses a type voyeurism (I think it's called schadenfreude); at times I can be really cynical and think that people like seeing these kind of things from the outside because suffering makes for a gripping story. I'm guilty of the same rubbernecking interest so it makes me ask a lot of questions about my own intentions. Despite that, I'm reminded often that the response is more empathetic than I give it credit. Most people are attracted to harm because they have an instinct to help the person.

Have you ever experienced losing someone to such a lifestyle?
Not directly, only through friends.

What are your plans for after the album; is there a possibility of a tour or more recordings?
We'll definitely be doing some touring this summer, playing at some festivals (Lachie Music Festival, Wild Mountain Music Festival and Rockin' Wheel). We'll also be playing regularly in Toronto (June 11th @ Supermarket, July 25th @ Horseshoe) and our home-town of London. I've got a FACTOR application in the works to try to get us in the studio by fall. I get really productive by having due dates so I like to have something to aim at. - Noisey

"Upbeat but emotional sounds from Ivory Hours"

ALT-pop outfit Ivory Hours will release their new album Mary on June 3rd.

Luke Roes from the Canadian band describes it as "a smorgasbord of six of the best pop tunes we've made to date".

He told RealSoundsOK: "The music is upbeat and colorful, while lyrically undercut with themes of loss, relationships and depression.

"Before Mary, my sister Annie and I were living in Vancouver, but moved back home [to London, Ontario] to be closer to our family after the loss of our brother. Since then we've pursued music with a renewed passion.

"As a younger songwriter it sometimes felt like I had to seek out chaotic experiences in order to tell compelling stories, but time has shown me that hardship will eventually find everyone.

"Songs can't change difficult circumstances, but I hope they can help people navigate them."

You can get a taste of the band below and for more information visit ivoryhours.com or facebook.com/ivoryhours - Real Sounds OK


Ivory Hours describes their sound as “upbeat and colourful”. It is an apt description, considering the Paul Simon-esque jovial and sunny aesthetic to songs like Mary. But after hearing the story behind the creation of their new EP, I would also add the word ‘uplifting’. As the story goes, brother and sister duo Luke and Annie Roes were living out in Vancouver until they got word of their brother’s passing, wherein they immediately returned home to be close with their family. Hearts heavy, they sought solace in a newfound passion for song writing. Luke notes in his press release: “As a younger songwriter it sometimes felt like I had to seek out chaotic experiences in order to tell compelling stories, but time has shown me that hardship will eventually find everyone“. And the weight of that reality provides depth and an uplifting power to a pop gem like Mary.

Juxtaposed with a crystalline and summery guitar lick and a jaunty bass line is the story of Mary, a depressed young woman who turned to drugs and partying to curb feelings of emptiness. She hits a low, which for most songs means doom and gloom, but the Ivory Hours turns it into a song of hope, singing the sweeping chorus from the prospective of a concerned friend inviting Mary back home. The sliding guitar bleeds the sweetness out of the plea, and you can’t help but experience the story as one of a promising future. And that is an impressive quality to a band, because like Graceland taught us, pop can reach great heights when it seeks out its “upbeat and colourful” in the darkness. - I'm Very Ape

"Ivory Hours"

Ivory Hours is led by brother-sister duo, Luke and Annie Roes. The Roes siblings devastatingly lost their brother a short time ago and decided to take their music together to new heights with a full four-piece band. The sweetness in these songs is underlined by a tinge of sadness, and expectedly so. The sound is delicate and the emotions crackle through the tender voices of the siblings. As Luke says, “Songs can’t change difficult circumstances, but I hope they can help people navigate them.”

This is a band to root for, so you’ll be finding me keeping track of their work. Have a listen to two songs off their upcoming pop-filled EP, Mary. - Knox Road


Ontario-based folk rock band Ivory Hours have released a new music video for “Mary,” the title track off their upcoming EP. There is currently no set date for the release, but that band maintains that it will be early May.
Described as “an organic blend of wailing jukebox blues guitar, melodic country vocals and a slice of sixties soul” on their Facebook page, this band is definitely one to keep an eye on. Although I was a huge fan of Ivory Hours’ older material, their new songs don’t disappoint in any way; the more prominent electronic elements in “Mary,” as well as short video clips of their other new material, only create, in my opinion, a fuller sound – and even more toe-tapping, danceable rhythms!

Ivory Hours, consisting of Luke Roes (vocals, guitar), Annie Roes (vocals, piano), Chris Levesque (bass) and Thom Perquin (drums), has a truly unique smorgasbord of a sound, drawing from genres including blues, country and rock. One can’t help but sway along to their flowing, whimsical tunes; including those in their funky new music video.

"Mary," dubbed a "cute tune about a cocaine addict," is a light-hearted song about a girl who becomes just that–giving meaning to the fact that "a little coke" at a time of weakness can have lasting consequences. The soulful blend of siblings Luke and Annie’s vocals breathe life into the track, and it is just a joy to listen to.

The music video was directed, shot and edited by Alex Stephenson, and produced by Matt Grady and Ivory Hours’ Luke Roes. Props to all the funky dance moves in the video; I am loving the energy! Be sure to check it out below. - The Permanent Rain Press


Two Keys – Ivory Hours
Release Date: June 7th, 2013
Track Listing:
1. Old Letters
2. Lithograph
3. Thread
4. Two Keys
5. Petals

If you’re in the mood for some sweet tunes for those lengthy, summer drives, look no further than Ivory Hours latest release, Two Keys. Comprised of Luke and Annie Roes, the brother-sister indie-folk duo released their debut EP, Sweet Thief, in October of 2012. Though Two Keys does not veer far from the whimsical tracks of its predecessor, their music never ceases to leave me with a smile on my face.

The EP kicks off with ‘Old Letters,’ a thoughtful track about a young, female ghost trapped within letters she wrote. I thoroughly enjoy the amount of imagery present in their lyrics: “It haunts me like a phantom limb / Or an old forgotten hymn / Like ashes flittering / Dying and born up on the wind” leaves a haunting, yet light-hearted image in my mind. The next song, ‘Lithograph,’ appears to the tale of old love. Both Luke and Annie have a really soft spoken aura in their voice that mixes well together, and I simply adore their harmonies. ‘Two Keys’ is another charming tune with a very dream-like (or is it afterlife?) quality. The idea is only supported by the lyrics, “A spectre came along / Kept me company / She sacrificed her bones / For my ivory.” The band also created an impressive stop motion music video for the song, which I will leave at the bottom of this post (because really, it should have gone viral by now). The album’s closer, ‘Petals,’ is a sweet, though slightly depressing, song about love. Again, the duo sets the tone perfectly with imagery such as “It’s lonely when you watch the night fall / And the pale light casts a shadow on a rose.” The guitar lines between the verses give off a very chill, alternative rock meets blues-inspired vibe. Even so, my favourite part of the song has to be the 30 second instrumental at the end; it reminds me of something I would hear in some sort of make-believe, magical garden, and caps off a beautifully crafted EP.

Two Keys has the ability to take listeners on a nostalgic journey through heartbreak and self discovery. Although Ivory Hours’ tunes may seem simple, there is enticing complexity in the stories they tell through their lyrics. In conclusion, it is safe to say I’ll be listening to this EP whilst I browse the web for awhile. And ultimately, doing so makes me sad that I never got to catch one of their shows in Vancouver. - Permanent Rain Press

"New video from Ivory Hours!"

Ivory Hours, one of London’s best and favourite bands, is hard at work on a brand new EP, Mary. Fans will have to wait until May to hear the whole thing, but the band was gracious enough to give us a teaser, courtesy of a cool video for the title track (see below). Luke Roes was also gracious enough to share some background information on the song and the video with LGM.

Here he is in his own words.

On the song: “The song is about a girl with a cocaine addiction and it kind of depicts her downfall.”

On the video: “The video is more about playing off of the fun, dancey beat. At the same time it kind of creates that contrast to me. People in the video are very happy and enthused, which is completely at odds with the lyrical content. I like it in a lot of ways.”

On developing the video concept: “It was a combination of myself and Annie, as well as our filmmaker that we work with all the time, Alex Stephenson. Annie’s been a dancer for years and years. She did that as a kid and in high school and university and stuff, so she coordinated the beginning of it, and then we just had people freestyle. That was the really interesting part of it. The camera never moves, so we just kind of brought people in and let them do whatever they felt and captured an entire take of the song, and then Alex cut it together. I just tried to get a lot of candid stuff that way.”

On the video shoot: “(It was) at a factory in Mt. Brydges where my parents run a manufacturing business. The shoot was probably five hours. We just had lots of beers and snacks and stuff for everybody and just freewheeled it. I feel bad always for Alex because he’s got to comb through all the footage.”

Ivory Hours will be at Call The Office on May 16 - London Groove Machine

"Ivory Hours Debut “Mary” In Most Excellent, Dance-Laden Video"

Ivory Hours are a pop-laden group out of the mighty metropolis of London, Ontario. Let’s get kooky while it warms up outside, huh?

Our own Alex Stephenson did the most excellent work behind the camera for this kook-out jam.
It’s the kind of track you want to put on just at dusk while half-cut, day drunk in the backyard of your friend you kind of know, but don’t know that well. A build up for adventure. Just try it.

Keep an eye for the debut full-length from Ivory Hours primed for a May 30th release. Catch them in, around, and outside the forest city this summer. - Songs and Cigarettes


Mary (2014)

Two Keys (2013)

Sweet Thief (2012)



Ivory Hours is a sassy alt-pop trio from London, Ontario. The band was formed by Luke Roes (Vocals/Guitar) in 2012 and features Chris Levesque (Bass) and Thomas Perquin (Drums). 

It’s been a big year for Ivory Hours. Amidst constant touring, the London, Ontario natives hit the studio to record their debut full-length album ‘Morning Light’ - a collection of infectious pop tunes co-produced by Dan Brodbeck (The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan) and mastered by Joao Carvalho (Lights, Stars). 

After releasing the album on June 9th 2015 the band went on to win 102.1 The Edge’s ‘Next Big Thing’, garnering their first commercial airplay for the single ‘Warpaint’. Within weeks they announced their grand prize win of the Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Mentorship Program. Shortly after the band announced a North American tour for spring 2016. 

With ‘Warpaint’ spreading on radio and online with the help of a clever stop-motion video, a new album and acoustic release in the works, a MuchFACT funded video for ‘Dreamer’ on the way and a hometown brimming with support, it’s safe to say Ivory Hours is riding an upward spiral.  

Band Members