Taking their cues from Patrick Swayze, Keanu and Arnie, Arc Archer hold a serious power in their music, and a healthy sense of humour when it comes to talking to poorly researched journalists like yours truly.
Having played together over the past few years with a line-up change here and there, the band have nevertheless refined their psychedelic swagger and bluesy attitude. Measured instrumentals and prominent lyrical vocals dominate the music. There is a real sense of consideration in it, and indulgence holds no sway.
Preparing for their upcoming show at MUM this Friday the guys were gracious enough to indulge our curiosity by answering a few questions.
Music Feeds: So how would you describe yourselves to someone who’d never heard you before?
Arc Archer: It’s like six guys trying to ride in a four-seater car. It’s like some kind of Frankenstein, made from Psychedelic, Folkie and Rock & Roll parts.
MF: It strikes me as if you guys have embraced a fairly broad range of influences in the production: soulful vocals; dark, sort of bluesy sort of grungy guitars; and deep harmonies. Would I be right in assuming the songwriting process is a very involved one?
AA: It can be, songs are usually based upon one person’s direction or idea, then it’s like a ‘Chinese whispers’ effect through the other musicians until a song comes out.
MF: How important are lyrics to the process; do you generally build the song around vocal ideas or do they come later once the music has been written?
AA: Lyrics tend to come after a song is partly drafted. We tend to write theatrically, so once we are moving in one direction we will start ‘story-boarding’ lyrics, so-to-speak. It’s important to have a tight bond between the words and the music.
MF: Now I couldn’t find much info about the band on MySpace; do you prefer to let fans judge you based solely on the music rather than the bio?
AA: Yes, that sounds good. The band is pretty elusive, even for the members in it. We’re kind of spread out in every possible corner of Sydney, so getting together can be an organisational Nightmare sometimes, hence, the things like MySpace and Bios suffer. That’s why this residency’s going to be such a great opportunity for us to stay pinned down in one spot and do our thing.
MF: Now your self-titled EP was out in March 2009; has the sound changed a lot since then? If so, how?
AA: In that year we’ve lost a member and gained a member and played a whole bunch of gigs, so things naturally change. But if anything, it feels like our songs and our writing has gained more of a personality.
MF: The MySpace says you’ve got Arc Archer and The Carnival Of Souls ‘coming soon’; is this a new album, EP, book of nude photography?
AA: It was a concept album based on Point Break and Total Recall.
MF: Assuming it’s a recording of some sort, did you approach it at all differently from the EP? I’d imagine with more experience from over a year of playing you would have some new ideas.
AA: The ‘Carnival of Souls’ was the Tadpole and Arc Archer is the frog. It’s like a forgotten child born out of wedlock. We had to drop a lot of the projects we were doing at the time because of the departure of one of our long-standing guitarists. However, now with the new line-up we’re working towards some kind of a release. Whether it’ll be an EP or an Album yet, we’re not sure.
MF: What else should we be keeping an eye out for?
AA: Collaborating with filmmakers, projects with other musicians, springtime gigs, wild new music and suntans.