Canadian quintet Arkells have travelled half a sphere to share their contagious Indie Rock n Roll vibes with UK fans. Supporting Augustines on their UK tour in December, the boys have definitely left their fans satisfied and without a doubt have widened their fans base. It was a pleasure speaking to Max Kerman (frontman) after their outstanding performance at Roundhouse, London with an additional singing of One Direction (sorry, no recording available!) but keep reading….
Were there any particular expectations when coming to tour the UK?
We didn’t really have any expectations. We knew the tour is going to be good – we were asked to do it. This show [at Roundhouse] was already almost sold out! We knew Augustines audience. We haven’t been here much, so the opportunity to play for bunch of people who have never heard of us before was very exciting. We also heard of the Roundhouse and how beautiful/amazing it is. But, our music from Augustines is different…
You have toured with some completely ‘different’ bands such as Billy Talent, Anti-Flag, The Maine, Lydia and your music is different to Augustines!
Our sound is sort of in between. We are not a punk band, we are not traditional throwback sixties band, and we are not a pop band. But, we enjoy all those kinds of music. In a way, it is kind of annoying- it will be easier for people if we can be categorised. We are just a Rock n Roll band and for this reason we can play with different kind of bands! But the reason why Augustines appeal to us was after I saw their show in Brooklyn, and you can say it was spiritually similar – feel good sing along music. They definitely enjoy the same music that we enjoy. So, it is different but there are definitely some similarities!
What aspect of being a musician your music / career excites you the most?
There are two parts. Writing is very exciting but the hardest! It is very hard to write something that you are really proud of and then the next step is hoping that people like it! [laughs] And the second part – performance – is really fun. That is the reward that you are getting for writing something.
What was a defining moment that made you to pursue a career in music?
Well, they started paying me, I guess! [laughs] But on the more serious note, I love music and I think I will be playing music and listen to it regardless whether I have a full time job or not. But the difference is that we are lucky enough to get to do it full time. There are a lot of really talented people who don’t get to do it full time, because they just haven’t had the same amount of luck as we had. But we had some good luck on our side that allowed us to make it our own little business/ full time job.
What colour describes your band?
RED! Taylor Swift ‘Red’ [laughs].
In what aspects does HIGH NOON differ from previous releases?
I think it is a nice combination of our first two records. Jackson Square was pretty rock, Michigan Left was more of the indie pop record. This is more of the professional sound. We take from a lot of different inspirations, so there is a lot of eighties dance rock, seventies glam rock, modern pop production. But in core, we are Rock n Roll band. It is a nice mix of our favourite things!
What is your favorite track off the new album and why?
‘Never Thought This Would Happen’ or ‘Leather Jacket’.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
It is always hard! [laughs] It hits you at different times. There are some writers that are just really good at writing every day – they just sit down and write! I am little more sporadic. Some day I am getting pretty lucky and some days I am not feeling of doing it at all!
Where are you the happiest- on stage or in the studio?
Stage for sure! I HATE the studio! I just want the record to be finished. I love writing the songs – I can hear it in my head how I want it to sound, but actually doing that is difficult!
Looking back at your career, what would you have done differently?
I would have said yes to more things. Earlier, the band was a bit precious about opportunities. So now I think, just doing things for the fun of it is usually a good idea. Not overanalyzing and just going for it! Yeah!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Taylor Swift back-up band! [laughs] I hope the band is playing our own shows all around the world. In the end, we are lucky that we get to play for our own audience and I hope we keep on connecting with people everywhere.
What would you change about music industry?
We are not trying to get rich; we just want to have a good job that we like. And right now we’ve got that! Personally, for me it is hard to complain about it. I think my hope for music, also general hope, is that there is some money in the world and it is being shared in an equal way. If we license a song to a commercial, or we play a festival – we get paid for that. Those corporations own so much money anyway. As a musician, I just hope that people who want to use our music or who want to consume the music treat us decently. But this is no different to anything! Just be generous and kind!
What are the biggest obstacles for bands?
It is getting better, but the reality is that there is enormous amount of good bands but so little opportunity available! [uses hands to comment on it] Because the reality is that people have their favourite few shows , favourite few bands and it is hard for a band to get a spot in there! Every band just wants a little spot that can get in that little area where they can establish themselves. Just getting their foot in the door is challenging.
Jesus! Okey two: There is an American television show called Friday Night Lights, which is about High School American Football. Connie Britton – she is a beautiful woman!
Eugenie Bouchard – Canadian tennis player!
Snog/Mary/Avoid – Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj
Snog – Rihanna
Marry – Beyonce
Kill [American version] –Nicky Minaj
Poor Nicky Minaj though!
One Direction or Justin Bieber?
One Direction for sure! Even though Bieber is Canadian, he needs a little bit rehabilitation! [starts singing ‘Steal My Girl’ by 1D] That’s a great song!
Who is the funniest in the band?
It depends on the day. Mike is the most wickedly funny – he is really funny when he wants to be! Nick is pretty funny too – silly.
What’s the most ‘rock star’ thing that you’ve ever done?
I am definitely not a rock star! If we are on tour and we are playing a lot of shows, I need to be cautious about talking after shows where there is loud music in the bars! Because, that’s what kills you! So some people probably think that I am a princess, as I can’t talk after the shows… you know, I should just wear a sign. So we were playing Manchester on Monday night, and we just came from Canada where we played three nights in a row. So, after the show I went to this Chinese restaurant by myself and I was sitting next to father and his son. They were these Scottish drunk guys that just wanted to talk to me. It was brutal! And the whole point of me going there was to not talk to anybody and the guy was asking me all these questions… Then he offered me a drink – and that is the worst for your voice! [tries to speak with a Scottish accent]. So I ended up having a drink with these guys…
If you had to give up music – what would you do to be creative?
I love radio podcast. I love it as much as music; so, I would probably try to do something in that world!
More on Arkells:
Stream their latest release High Noon:
[spotify id=”spotify:album:5y8rSW7cqRVgiHatsklXr0″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
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