Their set time's far too early
And I've never heard of them
And chances are, they won't go far
Career is sure to end
'Cause no one likes an opening band
I Don't Know How But They Found Me (often shortened to IDKHow or iDKHOW) is a two-piece band featuring bassist and vocalist Dallon Weekes (formerly of Panic! at the Disco and The Brobecks) and drummer Ryan Seaman (formerly of Falling in Reverse, also played for The Brobecks). It was created in secret in 2016, and both Weekes and Seaman denied all knowledge of the band for several months after their first show. IDKHow is a concept band, centred around the idea of "a band out of time" originally from the The '80s. They never got their big break, and were entirely forgotten about until a box of old cassette tapes was re-discovered in the modern day, leaving behind a trail of sinister mysteries behind them.
Three singles were released prior to the band signing to a label: "Modern Day Cain", "Choke", and "Nobody Likes The Opening Band". On the 25th of August 2018, the band released a new single, "Do It All The Time", re-released "Choke", and made it public knowledge that the band had been signed to Fearless Records.
On the 9th of November, 2018, they released their debut EP, called 1981 Extended Play. Their debut full-length album, Razzmatazz, was released on October 23, 2020.
We invite you to follow along to these examples:
- A Cappella: When they perform "Nobody Likes The Opening Band" live, the first verse is just Dallon singing and snapping his fingers. After that, Ryan joins in with a tambourine and drums, though the song's set-up is still very simple.
- Anonymous Band: The band played with this early on. Despite their faces and voices being prominent in the promotional materials of their songs, and the fact they even did live performances as part of the band, neither Dallon Weekes nor Ryan Seaman advertised nor even acknowledged the project (and would deny any association should they be pressed about it), and the project itself never fully attached their names. The duo have stated that this is because they wanted the music to speak for itself and didn't want to coast off fans from their previous projects, so when audiences showed up to live performances, they'd go in not knowing who to expect. This was been abandoned ever since they got signed onto a proper label, and now both Dallon and Ryan are fully open about this project.
- Arc Words: "We invite you to follow along..." appears throughout the band's lore, from the intro of the 1981 EP to visual captions in the end of music videos, most often associated with a mysterious group known as The Telex Foundation.
- Book-Ends: On physical versions of the Razzmatazz album, the second and second-to-last songs are spoken-word narrations by the Tellex Foundation, welcoming and bidding farewell to you, the listener, in partaking in their "Temporal Arts" program.
- Call-Back: In several scenes during the "Social Climb" video, the socialite cult is seen drinking a vibrantly green drink believed to be absinthe, which would be a nod to their song "Absinthe".
- Christmas Episode: The band released the Christmas Drag EP in 2019, which is partially an Updated Re-release of a single of the same name from Dallon's previous project, The Brobecks. Like in many of Dallon Weekes' Christmas songs, the holiday is approached with sincere reverence and depression.
- The Comically Serious: During videos, both members love playing up a stoic image and rarely deviate from it no matter how energetically they otherwise perform or what kind of madness plays on around them.
- Cover Version: The Christmas Drag EP features a cover of "Merry Christmas Everybody" by Slade.
- The video for "Social Climb" is framed as a recruitment video by The Telex Foundation called Thought Reform & the Corporate Guide To Social Reconditioning, and is highly evocative of an cult full of deadpan socialites performing rituals from seances to drinking unnaturally fluorescent absinthe.
- Razzmatazz more explicitly frames The Tellexx Foundation with the distinct air of one in the spoken word intermissions "Indoctrination" and "Tomorrow People".We invite you to follow along as we work together to decode and exploit the secrets of time and space for our benefit. Each volunteer pairing will be assigned a chaperone. Our white shadows will oversee your progress. Be sure that our company's interests maintain the highest priority throughout your journey. Please enjoy your experience, and remember: Time is on our side.
- Easter Egg: That phone number at the end of the "Social Climb" video they're inviting you to follow along with? Give it a call, and you'll end up hearing some odd and disjointed phrases alternating between male and female voices.For those curious...
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: The standard for their lyric videos. First used for "Bleed Magic", then continued for most songs from Razzmatazz, both of which are employed in the style of old singalong tapes.
- Fun with Subtitles: A common staple in their lyric videos:
- The initial lyric video to "Choke", several purely instrumental segments continue broadcasting text, such as "Are you still reading this?", "You are!?", "Neat!"
- The lyric video to "Bleed Magic" garnishes a few subtitles based on sound effects, including (bloop bloop bloop bloop bloop), (snappy guitar solo), and (extra fun gershwin piano bit).
- In the video to "Lights Go Down", the sax solo is accompanied with "(Saxophone Solo)", followed by text reading "We were told not to have a sax solo here. We did it anyway. Eff the rules." The video also ends with "Thank you for listening. And for reading."
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Played with; the single artwork for "New Invention" featuring Dallon being seduced by two shoulder devils, tying in with the song's themes of being pulled towards bad dreams and even worse life decisions and being helpless to escape from them.
- The Hedonist: Satirized with "Do It All The Time", sung from the perspective of a trust fund brat living his easy life singing about cliche'd lyrical topics which he knows are harmful (celebrating "taking your girl" and "selling lies") solely for his own enjoyment.
- Horrible Hollywood: The lyrics of "Choke" are implied to be directed towards another person, but Dallon claims they were written as he was sorting out his feelings of disenchantment from living in Los Angeles. Some of the lyrics come off as bitter swipes at the sycophantic and superficial nature of the place.You get everything you want
And money always talks
To the idiot savants
- Inaction Video: "Merry Christmas Everybody" and "Christmas Drag" are oners consisting of Dallon singing in place as people put up Christmas decorations around him or on him.
- Lead Bassist: Dallon founded the project, writes the songs, and sings in addition to playing bass. Ryan was brought on to the project during the initial recording process because Dallon needed someone to play drums.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "Choke" is an upbeat, cheerful-sounding song about watching someone die and enjoying it.
- In the likewise up-tempo "Bleed Magic," the singer boasts about taking advantage of a person he's invited on a date.I wanna take you homeA night out on the townSay that you're pretty so you stand up, stand upBefore I drag you downCrawling up your skinPotions pills and medicinesTo drain you and bleed your magic out
- "From the Gallows" is a nifty subversion. Structurally, it's a Silly Love Song in the form of a low-key, 30's-style jazz ballad, but while the lyrics are very morbid and self-destructive, the loving sentiment behind them is played as sincere, if obviously dark.You're beautiful and evil, too
Sinister and vile
For you, I'd die, or kill myself
Whichever makes you smile
- Murder Ballad: "Choke", which when taken at its most literal is about the narrator's gleeful fantasy of watching someone suffer horribly and die through... well, choking.
- Mysterious Watcher: A mysterious, skeleton-looking character in white is featured in several videos, most prominently in the background of "Nobody Likes The Opening Band", but also in freeze-frame shots in "Do It All The Time", "Choke", and "Social Climb". Dallon has acknowledged it as a "White Shadow" constantly following them, and Razzmatazz revealed them to be "chaperones" employed by the Tellex Foundation, but what exactly they are and are capable of remains unknown.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Telex Foundation is a recurring entity within the band's lore, and pops up sporadically and in various forms within the timeline — the "Social Climb" video claims that "Telex Foundation International" dissolved by the late 70's, while the "Leave Me Alone" video featuring "Tellexx" lab footage has an unknown date, but features a slightly cleaner, more modern quality. Razzmatazz explains that they jump around in various fields of work, including corporate propaganda, music-making machines, national defense, aviation, oceanics... dimensional modulation, temporal arts, and thought reform.
- Overly Long Name: Their band name can be quite unwieldy, hence the trend of shortening it to IDKHow for convenience. Dallon and Ryan are well aware of how unusually long their band name is, and often Lampshade it when introducing themselves.
- Precision F-Strike: By accident. During one live performance of "Choke", the lyric "break your pretty face" instead came out as "break your fucking face" as Dallon was having a bad day. It has since become a widely accepted alternate version of the lyrics.
- Retreaux: A huge part of IDKHow's imagery, from the artwork to the videos, is evoking obscure 80's media. 1981 Extended Play is framed in its introduction as a children's read-along cassette tape, complete with a little chime indicating to "turn the page" that shows up in the middle of "Bleed Magic", appropriately halfway in the EP.
- Sampling: The single edition of "Modern Day Cain" ends on a looping bossa nova preset from a 1970 keyboard.
- Self-Deprecation: "Nobody Likes The Opening Band" was written from the duo's personal experiences and anxieties from playing opening acts, with the song essentially being a tongue-in-cheek plea for fans to respond well to their unfamiliar project. The music video dials this to a hilariously confusing extreme, where once Ryan finishes his part of the performance near the end, he takes a seat in the crowd... and when the song finishes, the audience starts booing and throwing things at Dallon, Ryan included.Take pity on the opening bands
'Cause no one came to see them, except their mom and dad
But if you lend an ear
And give them just one little chance
You may just like the
You may just like the
You may just like the opening band
- Sexy Sax Man: The song "Razzmatazz" features two booming sax solos, and its video accentuates them by featuring one of these guys performing itnote .
- Shout-Out: The name of the band comes from a line in Back to the Future, appropriate for an 80's-inspired band whose lore is drenched in Time Travel shenannigans.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The recurring Tellexx group was first introduced spelled as "Telex". Given the strange and ambiguous nature of the group, it's unclear if these are accepted alternate spellings or an authorial retcon.
- Spiritual Antithesis: 1981 Extended Play could be viewed as this to Panic! at the Disco's Death of a Bachelor. Both albums, products of the late 2010's alternative rock scene, provide commentary on celebrity and fame, and use Los Angeles as a representation of the culture surrounding them. But while the Bachelor tracks "Victorious" and "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time" celebrate a partying, free living lifestyle, and "Emperor's New Clothes" is a song about the narrator taking what he wants without thinking of others ("If it feels good, tastes good, it must be mine"), these attitudes are mocked relentlessly on Extended Play with "Do It All the Time." Bachelor also contains the track "LA Devotee," described as "a love letter to Los Angeles," while Extended Play has "Social Climb" and "Choke," both of which contain some rather biting remarks on the city ("Come break some hearts now, tear them out/File in for amusements with the crowd," "Oh, you clever little things/The sycophantic teens, And money always talks/To the idiot savants). On another note, the aforementioned Bachelor tracks reference alcohol in the context of celebrating with champagne, getting blackout drunk at a party, and "vintage wine" related to a luxurious lifestyle, while Extended Play's track "Absinthe" associates alcohol with drinking to horrifying excess ("I hear voices/I see visions/These spirits/Are your prison").
- The Stoic: In many music video appearances, Ryan is played as the more deadpan of the two, as Dallon has his own form of expressive seriousness). If he's doing anything in the video at all, he'll do it with a completely expressionless face.
- Studio Chatter: "Bleed Magic", more prominently than other songs off the 1981 EP, features some recording chatter in the background, including a voice asking "Try it again?". Right before the first chorus hits, Dallon can be heard accidentally knocking over a glass and going "Oops."
- Take That!:
- "Do It All The Time" is a sarcastic number about individuals who follow (and endorse through their music) the mindset of doing whatever they want without paying mind to the consequences, justifying themselves by saying that... well, they do it all the time.We're taking over the world
One kiss at a time
And then I'm taking your girl
And I'm making her mine
- "Do It All The Time" is a sarcastic number about individuals who follow (and endorse through their music) the mindset of doing whatever they want without paying mind to the consequences, justifying themselves by saying that... well, they do it all the time.
- Time Travel:
- Strongly implied with the video for "Leave Me Alone", introduced as a "TELLEXX TEMPORAL MODULATION" video for corporate investors, featuring Dallon and Ryan being intensely monitored while stuck in some kind of quarantine bubble, ending with Dallon zapped away in a neon light.
- The Framing Device of Razzmatazz expands on this: the narration of "Indoctrination" addresses you, the subject, as taking part in their "Temporal Arts" program to observe, decode, and exploit "the secrets of time and space."
- The Unsmile: The ending of the video for "Christmas Drag" ends with Dallon giving the most insincere smile he can muster towards the camera.
- Updated Re-release: The band has re-recorded a few songs Dallon originally recorded as The Brobecks: "Christmas Drag" (released as a single in 2006) and "Clusterhug" (released on the Quiet Title EP in 2012).