Ivan and Alyosha revealed

Chief vocalist, lyricist and acoustic guitarist Tim Wilson talks truths about the public’s misconceptions about the band.

by Shannon Ryan

What: Ivan and Alyosha

When: 7 p.m., Monday

Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $10 in advance; $12 at the door

Age: 18+


The name Ivan and Alyosha sounds eponymous until you realize the band is a quartet. The indie-pop-laced-with-rock group of Tim Wilson on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Ryan Carbary and Tim Kim on electric guitars and Pete Wilson on bass is a musical project with roots in Seattle — not a city in Russia, as the band’s moniker may suggest.

The name came into being as a careless suggestion from Eli Thomson, a friend of the foursome and the producer of the band’s first EP. Ivan and Alyosha are fundamental characters in a 19th century novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. “The Brothers Karamazov” is noted for its philosophical explorations of God, free will and morality, which are occasional themes in the band’s songs.

It’d be logical to assume the band formed with the intent to highlight some of the specific themes of the novel; however, Tim Wilson informs us that the members weren’t familiar with the novel before Thomson’s suggestion of its characters for the band name. After reading the book, the four men noted eerie parallels between their music and the themes of Dostoyevsky’s novel, with one specific part taking the reins for influencing the band’s music.

“The part that has really influenced us is called ‘The Grand Inquisitor,’”**** Wilson said. “Ivan and Alyosha have some very interesting philosophical discussions, and that’s definitely part of our story for sure.”

After a series of EPs, the band’s contemplative lyrics and tethered rock-pop instrumentals came together in Ivan and Alyosha’s first full-length album “All the Times We Had,” which is the central part of their current tour. The album dropped in February, released by Dualtone Music Group. The band’s attraction for philosophical posings wields ardent lyrics, which is an ostensible part of this first full-length.

Hinting at those deeper concepts is common in the band’s lyrics. The subject of God and referencing him in a number of tracks has led to the band being considered a form of Christian rock, though Wilson denies that the foursome only has ties to the Christian scene. The bandmate says fans, critics and others create musical categories as part of the business to make the music easier to digest, though Ivan and Alyosha does not intend to stick to one group of listeners, regardless of their beliefs.

“At the end of the day, rock ‘n’ roll came from the church,” Wilson said, “and that’s certainly where we are coming from as well. That’s not something we’re going to hide from, but I don’t think we need to limit our audience by claiming that’s only who we are for. People should like our music regardless of what we adhere to personally.”