Fans are ‘Fighting for Ithaca’

Band's single Last Chance gains radio airplay with a little help from fans. Maple Ridge's Phil Maloney is the drummer for FFI.

(From left) Fighting for Ithaca : Tommy Phoenix (bass); Pat Le Breton (no longer a member); Curtis Steeksma (vocals); Jonny Steeksma (guitar); and Phil Maloney (drums). Pat has been replaced by Adamm Mounstevens (guitar).

(From left) Fighting for Ithaca : Tommy Phoenix (bass); Pat Le Breton (no longer a member); Curtis Steeksma (vocals); Jonny Steeksma (guitar); and Phil Maloney (drums). Pat has been replaced by Adamm Mounstevens (guitar).

If you follow the band Fighting for Ithaca on Twitter, you’ll get a real glimpse of the relationship it has with its fans.

The band engages in lively conversation with them, but doesn’t hesitate to harass them when they in turn need something.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for our fans,” says Phil ‘Philthy’ Maloney, a Maple Ridge resident. “But we also reward them for what they do.”

The drummer for the powerpop-hardcore-punk quintet notes there’s an entire wall in the band’s rehearsal space dedicate to gifts, cards and plush toys received from fans.

We keep it all, he says.

To date, Fighting For Ithaca boasts 3,273 Facebook Likes and some 14,000 Twitter followers.

Lately, Fighting for Ithaca has turned to the social media site to push its single Last Chance, which was released by 604 Records on June 24.

The fans, who were instrumental in getting Fighting for Ithaca signed to 604 Records, once again delivered.

Last Chance is now on rotation on the Vancouver radio station Sonic Nation and beat Justin Beiber with 96 per cent of the vote when pitted against him during a daily request segment called the Sonic Spin Off.

“We didn’t expect that,” says Maloney, adding that the band won the Spin-Off five days in the row, for a place in the “Sonic Spin Off Hall of Fame.”

Ithaca frontman and Coquitlam resident Curtis Steeksma explains that Last Chance is about being young and carefree, hanging out with friends, taking risks and exploring what’s out there. He likens the song to the band’s history, which has had its ups and downs over the past year with different players, sounds and demographics.

For example, in 2009, when Fighting For Ithaca placed in the Top 20 for the Seeds contest with The Fox 99.3 radio station, the music was heavier, Steeksma said.

“We’ve definitely had some growing pains,” he reflected. “But, I think, right now we have a real solid line-up and we’re excited about the future.”

As for the band’s unusual name, it’s rooted in the past, a reference to the home of Odysseus whose delayed return to the Greek Island following the sack of Troy is part of the Odyssey narrative.

Steeksma thought up the name, convincing his bandmates that it would represent a call to action “to get home or to get back where you belong and, for us, that’s on the stage. That’s what we love to do. It’s a natural high.”

Since it signed to 604 Records last November, it has released a popular Christmas single titled Partying With Santa, which debuted at Number 19 on iTunes.

In March, Adamm Mounstevens joined the band to place Pat Le Breton and, in May, they shot a video for the single Last Chance, which was filmed by Ben Knechtel, the guy behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me May video.

The video is set to air sometime this summer. The EP they’ve recorded will be released later this year, perhaps after a second single.

As for why the fans are so ready to battle for Fighting for Ithaca, Steeksma and Maloney believe  it’s because of their music.

“I really think we’ve created a good product,” says Steeksma.

“If we put out good music, we’re rewarded for that.”