The surviving members of New York trio Ivy are taking a look back this year at one of their most beloved albums, “Apartment Life,” which is celebrating a 25th anniversary. The group was one of two ’90s-era indie acts to feature the late Emmy- and Grammy-winning musician Adam Schlesinger, who in addition to being a key member of both Ivy and Fountains of Wayne wrote music for the 1996 Tom Hanks vehicle “That Thing You Do!” and “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” among others.

On March 3, Bar/None Records will drop a reissue of the set, with two previously unreleased tracks, and Variety can exclusively reveal that the band will also release a Record Store Day exclusive of the demo versions of “Apartment Life” (in the same sequence as the final studio record) on Saturday, April 22; the “Apartment Life” demos will also be available on streaming services from July 21 onwards. We share one of the demo version songs (“I’ve Got A Feeling”) below, and talk with the surviving members of Ivy, Andy Chase and Dominique Durand, about the record, how they got their masters back, and the song from the album that Schlesinger — who passed away in 2020 from coronavirus complications — said was his favorite.

Ivy has been on several different labels the last few decades, both majors (Sony, Atlantic) and indies (Nettwerk, Seed). Now, you are on a new label again, Bar/None Records, how did you end up there?

Andy Chase: Our lawyer called us a couple of months after Adam passed away and told us [most of] our catalog has reverted to us. In light of Adam, we decided that what would be the best, and in the spirit of how we started, if we track down our original A&R guy, the one who first discovered us, signed us, and fought for us, Mark Lipsitz. If it wasn’t for him, we would not have had a career. We were like, the timing sucks, Adam just passed away, but we want to find a place to put our music out again. And then Mark [who now works at New Jersey-based Bar/None Records] said, “If you want to put it out on Bar/None, I’d be honored.” So, this is like sort of coming back full circle: We’re coming back to the guy who signed us when we were in our early twenties. The first thing he wanted to do, is to release some of this stuff on vinyl, which had never been done before.

It’s relatively rare for most indie acts from the 1990s to be able to get masters back so soon, especially from a major label deal. How did you manage that?

Chase: It’s a real testament to the management company that we were signed to at the time, Q-Prime [which has helmed Metallica for nearly 40 years, and had long stints with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Def Leppard, Screaming Trees and others]. When we got dropped from Atlantic, we signed to Sony, and Sony’s contingency was ‘ok, we’ll release your new album, but we want control of your entire back catalog.’ And then we were dropped by Sony six months later. Somehow, our managers got our catalog back. So, then we gave some of it to labels like Nettwerk, and then right around the time Adam passed, all these contracts came up, and so we owned our whole catalog yet again and had to figure out what to do. We were then trying to figure out if we should just re-issue it on my label or what. These were the discussions we were having when Adam passed away.

Dominique Durand: Not everything is in Bar/None’s hands — Nettwerk still owns “All Hours,” our last record. We were signed to them for the past 15 or so years; our contract was ending with them right around when Adam died. They were like, ‘What do you want to do? We want to sign you again,’ but we were so sad and mourning Adam. So, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to go back to our roots in the early 1990s when [Lipsitz] took a chance on us and signed us. I felt like we needed to find him again, and as it turns out he was working at Bar/None Records, and that was perfect. I’m very happy how this all worked out.

You are re-releasing “Apartment Life” next month with two new bonus tracks, but you will also be releasing a vinyl-only version of the album that consists just of the demo versions of “Apartment Life”?

Durand: Yes. We wanted to re-release “Apartment Life” on vinyl, which had never been done before, and we also wanted to release the demo versions on vinyl in the same order [a pressing of 2500 albums on clear wax is how Bar/None will release it in April]. Andy and I had to go through all these archives to try and find the demo versions. The technology was very different back then than it is today — we were looking back through reel-to-reel tapes.

Chase: When we signed with Bar/None, they told us Spotify won’t really get on board with promoting the “Apartment Life” re-issue if there is no “new” music. So, we thought, ok, what if we went back and found all the demos. We never intended to have people hear these, but 25 years later, we don’t really give a shit. The people who care are gonna love them.

How did “Apartment Life” come together?

Chase: We recorded it in 1996 and 1997 at our friend Pete Nashel’s place. He had these things called DA-88 tapes, so we’d record on those and take them Adam’s and my recording studio, which we had just opened at that time, and then transferring those to two-inch analog tape. The demo versions of the songs from “Apartment Life” are quite striking….some of them sound very different from how they ended up on the finished album, while others seem similar to the final that was released in 1997.

What was it like hearing them again?

Chase: I love the idea that people can have a peek into our methodology. For the most part, you can hear that we were on the right track with the demos. But Dominique is the ultimate purveyor of good taste, so it didn’t matter how excited Adam and I might be about a particular song, if it didn’t meet her high standards, it wasn’t gonna pass muster. So between the three filters that we were, it was hard for a song to get released if it was a piece of crap.

“I’ve Got A Feeling” is one of the demo version songs that sounds pretty similar to the finished track from the album. How did it come together?

Chase: I wrote this in five minutes, sitting on the floor of my brother Bennett’s bedroom, back in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where we grew up. I was trying to write something for the Bernardo Bertolucci movie “Stealing Beauty” —it didn’t get chosen — and was obsessed at that time with “Wonderwall” by Oasis. For a while I could only hear the “Wonderwall” chords in this demo and was worried it sounded too close, but Adam and Dominique loved it and didn’t think I had ripped Oasis off too badly. This is definitely the happiest and most mainstream song I ever wrote for Ivy, and one of the hardest for Dominique to sing. You can hear on this demo the beginning of her love-hate relationship with this song.

The album really seems to capture the late ‘90s New York indie pop scene. What do you think about that time now?

Durand: It was an incredible time in New York. There were so many bands doing their own thing — every night we were out and supporting our friends and their bands in clubs in the East Village. I never ever really listen to our old records, hearing “Apartment Life” and the demo versions for this project, my first memory was remembering the spirit of that time — it was just so incredibly high spirited, there was an amazing vibe between the three of us. Later, when we were making other records, we still had that, but there was much more pressure or tension and trying to be “better.” We didn’t have that feeling when we made “Apartment Life.” It was much more spontaneous, it was more ‘real’ somehow.

Chase: Adam really hadn’t experienced the explosion in his career yet, which happened with “That Thing You Do” and Fountains of Wayne and “Stacy’s Mom.” So we were still spoiled at that time; we didn’t have to deal with stuff we had to deal with later. None of those big things for Adam had happened yet. We were still traveling and touring in a little mini-van. We were like little puppy dogs having fun. There was a sense of real innocence. That innocence was harder to capture after “Apartment Life” because as we got older, there was more pressure, and Adam is more successful and he wanted to write the ‘perfect’ pop song to get on the radio. We didn’t care about any of that during “Apartment Life.” We just wrote simply songs that we loved writing and recording. There was never any thoughts of will this be good for radio, or the press. We didn’t care about that. And I think you can hear that, I hear the innocence even today listening back to the record all these years later.

What was Adam’s favorite song from the album?

Chase: Adam’s favorite song from “Apartment Life” was definitely “Never Do That Again”. He thought it was one of the best, most sensitive pop songs he had ever written about urban life, love and regret. Dominique and I still didn’t like the song. But we each had one card we could use to throw down during the making of a record. Adam threw his card down on this song…which meant Dominique and I (following what the three of us had always agreed to about the one card we could use) reluctantly had to allow the song on the album. Until his death Adam remained proud of this song, it always sounded great live and, honestly, Dominique and I both came to really love it too.

Would you ever consider playing live again even though Adam is no longer with us?

Chase: We get asked that a lot. The answer is complicated. Our instinct is to say no, he would not be happy knowing we were playing live without him. But our friends and family have also made sound arguments to the contrary. So, Dominique and I don’t have an answer yet.