INTERVIEW WITH ARKIVE ON SONDER EP:
“We all belong to the same race, the same creed and have the same intrinsic human value”
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to present to its readers an exclusive interview our editor-in-chief Alessandra had with ARKIVE outfit from Melbourne, Australia, belonging to progressive metalcore soundscape.
We are now getting a chance to get to know the band in depth after having reviewed their SONDER EP out last November 1st, 2017. Our track by track review is available at: www.sickandsound.it/arkive-sonder-ep-un-oscuro-abisso-sonoro-trapassato-da-sottili-raggi-di-luce
- We would love to know you a little bit deeper. What can you tell us about the influences, genres and bands that impacted you as individual musicians and your career as a band?
We each have our own influences, but we definitely come together on a lot of sounds. TesseracT are a cornerstone for each of us, that’s for sure. We have a lot of time for Djent bands like Monuments, Modern Day Babylon and in the past bands like Volumes. Anup Sastry is our homeboy also, anything he touches we are into. Mitch and Court also listen to a lot of indie and folk records. We all bang hip hop stuff when we hang out together as well. Its pretty hard to pinpoint where we all sit with influences, but I think that makes us able to write more fluidly and we don’t get boxed in as often. We are really open minded when it comes to musical tastes.
- SONDER is your EP out last November 2017. How has the songwriting process changed since your band was brought together in 2014 and what new elements added up or changed into your sound?
Our self titled EP was a collection of songs that the band had put together out of another band “ilikehunting”. When Court joined the band he had a few weeks to learn the music before recording. I think it is fair to say that since that time we have grown a lot in how we write, and especially when considering writing parts for vocals. Mitch has a good range and we wanted to be able to express that across a range of sounds, while still keeping it heavy with Court and I think that has driven a lot of the way the music gets created. We have also had more time to flesh out ideas since then and a have had a lot of great people work with us to define our sound.
- What’s your point of view on metalcore and what’s the perfect formula you have found to emerge in such a packed soundscape?
Metalcore is such a weird word. I think there are so many new genres, especially in Australia, which combine a lot of sounds that were “in a box” like Metalcore. I don’t think we have the perfect formula for Metalcore, or any other form of heavy music. What we do want to do is put something together that borrows from “Metalcore” and “djent” etc and gives the listener an honest sonic experience.
- While reviewing SONDER EP, I have come across an incredible variety of features blending into your sonorities that seem to break out of the typical metalcore frame. Heaviness is switching flawlessly to melodic, absorbing darkness and diluting harmony and ambience. Tell us more about this brilliant balance you have found.
We haven’t ever really tried to be anything. We have members in the band that write songs, but in the studio we let things happen. It’s taken time for us to shape the sound that we wanted; and that means having really good gear on our side and top notch producers and recording artists to work with. It also means that we are able to explore our individual strengths and contribute them to the band. Our drummer Tom is really in touch with his craft and makes sure our sound punches, and Mitch and Court are self taught vocalists that want to present a collective sound. I think being in touch with each other is key to a dynamic sound.
- I have grown interest in your sci-fi artwork. Let’s discuss its inspiration and meaning.
Our good friend Will King from Windwaker worked with us on the artwork and design for our EP. We had a lot of ideas about how the art was going to work out for the EP. The picture in the Artwork is actually from some photos that Will had shot about a week before we hit him up of a friend of his. The Theme we were looking for was something dark and silhouetted but also having focused points of light. For us this was an internalization of the themes of the music in the EP. That’s a really dense and banal statement, but the images that Will had given to us just spoke to us collectively.
- I would love to know more about socalled Jimmy Carter’s speech Crisis Of Confidence del 1979 enclosed in One opening track and the inspiration leading to the choice of combining the lyrics with this political quotation and philosophical meaning.
This is a question that comes up for us a lot lately. The speech in its essence is a statement on how humanist values can become jaded by capitalism. The theme that we have running through the EP is that we all belong to the same race, the same creed and have the same intrinsic human value. We believe that putting stock in people is more important that putting stock in things. We have a strong association with messages like the Crisis of Confidence speech because it stands the test of time. Today just as in 1979, the world is turning to possessions and wealth as a measure of success and virtue over the value of family, community and connection. I just wanted to add that we left the line about schools and the news media in the opening monologue because we believe that schools are being turned into factories for the overqualified and the news media is being perverted by corporations. We don’t agree with the sentiment that you should in any way trust the news you see on TV.
- Acquiescence tracks hosts the featuring of Marcel Gadacz, frontman for Australian post-hardcore outfit Dream On, Dreamer. How was the experience shared by working with him?
Marcel is a good friend of our recording artist so we were lucky to be able to make the contact quite easily. Marcel heard the track and was really keen to jump on board. Dream on Dreamer have been big influences in our music and especially with our songwriter and guitarist Sam. It was really something special to have him work with us and we are really happy to have had the opportunity. Marcel is a great guy and has become a friend to our band. A pleasure to work with.
- Track Eclipse is a very heavy pieces of SONDER EP. Let’s discuss the inspiration of the track and how it’s been put together.
This is one of the older songs on the EP and one of the first to be written. The song went by many different names over the course of its life. This song got heavier as we modified it and played around with some different groove and riff ideas, especially in the breakdowns. It’s really fun to play live. One of the funny things about this song is that the lyrics are actually some of the most uplifting we have on the EP. The hook in this song is “every eye witnessing beauty” and to us that’s a statement about how amazing we find the natural world to be. There is no reason for miracles when you’re able to step out your front door.
- Track Luminous is a very emotional track where heaviness is largely merged with catchiness. What was the songrwriting process behind the song and what’s the mindset fo chosing the song for a video release?
Luminous wasn’t always going to be the song that we were going to shoot a video for. It was going to be Acquiescence and we decided to go with Luminous last minute as it had better content for a video story and was longer in duration, meaning we had more time to put a story down in video format. The songwriting process behind this song was to make sure that we captured sounds that were going to be rising and building, but with a steady groove that laid a foundation for presenting vocals that could sit as far forward in the mix as possible. Sam spent a lot of time with our producer on guitar tone; making sure the grooves would pop and that the sound wasn’t overcomplicated so that when mixing it could be extremely polished, while staying human.
- Any challenging aspect fronted while working on SONDER EP? Any enjoyable too?
I think that the biggest and maybe only issue we faced is that we wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfect. We are quick to critique each other and I think that’s incredibly important in ensuring that what we put we all enjoy. So each new part would need collective approval before we would move forward, making it very hard at times.
As for what is good? The whole reason that we do this is because we enjoy each others’ company, this would be impossible if we didn’t. So having an excuse to hang out in the studio or at Mitch’s house writing lyrics and drinking wine always meant a great time.
- Give us a sneak peek into your forthcoming shows and projects ahead. Are you guys flying over to Europe?
What’s next for us is just to keep it up. To make some more music together and share it with as many ears as will listen. Europe is the dream, to cross the world to perform is something that we would all love, so hopefully!
Thank you for your time and we wish all the best luck with your amazing record. We are enthusiastic for more music to be dropped by Arkive, will follow you up and support you into Europe!
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