First things first — all kudos are due to Dallon Weekes for not only naming his AltRock project I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, but also for resisting the certain pushback from industry types to change it. The shorthand iDKHOW seems a fair compromise for the moniker, which is taken from a line in the 1985 film favorite Back to the Future.
That retro reference and the title of the group’s debut EP — 1981 Extended Play — are about all the context clues you need to figure out where Weekes and Co. are coming from, sonically, with iDKHOW. The group’s music is neon-bright Pop with distinctively ’80s flourishes, but it’s not a purely nostalgic trip. Singer/songwriter Weekes, who grew up in Salt Lake City, played bass in Panic! at the Disco from 2009 to 2017 (he co-wrote hits like “This is Gospel”) and you can hear traces of Panic in places on 1981. The group’s biggest song, the almost oppressively catchy “Choke,” may be the best example of iDKHOW’s crossover style — a little Panic, a lot of ’80s bop, a bit of Glam Rock boogie and theatrics and a BritPop-ish chorus hook for the ages.
The project began as a solo recording outlet for Weekes that he worked on while Panic was touring. After leaving the band, Weekes put his full focus into iDKHOW, at first playing low-key secret shows in L.A. and publicly denying for months that the band even existed. That created some mystique and separation between Weekes and his previous projects. After building up anticipation, iDKHOW teamed up with Fearless Records, home to a slew of Metalcore and Punk Pop acts, including Plain White T’s, Pierce the Veil and August Burns Red.
iDKHOW has a full-length release in the works but won’t be playing anything from it on their current tour. Weekes told Alternative Press that they’re holding back so as not to ruin the surprise when the LP drops, filling out their sets instead with unreleased cuts, songs from Weekes’ early band The Brobecks (whose drummer, Ryan Seaman, also joins Weekes in iDKHOW) and some covers, including a show-stopping version of Beck’s slow-jam “Debra.”
I Don’t Know How But They Found Me plays with Twin XL this Friday, July 26 at Taft Theatre's Ballroom.