INTERVIEW: A R I Z O N A chats new record & summer touring!
Something I was really into when I was starting fresh with this new blog (well, now we’re about a year and a half in), was finding the new talent. Finding the new bands at the beginning of their journeys and one of those bands are the talented trio in A R I Z O N A who are about to drop their debut record, “Gallery”, May 19th. The band are finishing out a tour with COIN before they go out for festival season, tour with Andrew McMahon and much more.
We grabbed the guys for a chat just an hour before they took a stage in their former stomping grounds of Boston to talk the beginnings of A R I Z O N A, their new record and plans for the rest of 2017!
Obviously you guys have a lot going on right now! The album is about to come out, you’ve been releasing so much of the music. How long has this record been in the making? Was it something where you wrote fresh for this record, how did you approach the writing for this record?
David: It’s a mix, really. It’s funny, because A R I Z O N A was something that, it feels like it was something a long time in the making but it was also something we stumbled on, a lot of it is fresh. And a lot of it is digging from sort of the pile of records that we had and we had kind of forgot about. Then revisited and were like oh, that would be sick! So yeah it’s kind of a mix.
Nate: There’s tracks on the album that we wrote back in like 2014, 2013. And there’s stuff that we wrote in January of this year, like right before we submitted.
And I wanted to ask you, you guys met in Boston. Formed the band while you were in Boston, when did the idea of A R I Z O N A kind of get started? You talked about how you wrote some of the songs this January, some of them 2013 so obviously this has been a long time in the making.
Zach: Dave and I actually wrote together in New Jersey. Nate met Dave in Boston and subsequently me in Boston. Then we spent a lot of time there then we all just sort of traveled together and separately all over the place. Then at some point, Nate and I were in LA. We were working as producers and songwriters. Nate and I made the beginning of some sort of idea of a song kind of by accident. Just because we got so burnt out being producers that we just decided to have some fun for a quick second. Kind of sent it to Dave to be like “Hey this is cool, right?” He was like, “Cool who’s it for?” I was like it’s not really for anybody, it’s just us.
David: This was all over Facetime, actually. I was here in Boston.
Zach: Yeah and during that Face Time call where we had a little listening session to this jam, it was “Let Me Touch Your Fire” actually, we obviously came across the idea of saying well we should do more stuff like this and we’ll do a band project. We all are burnt out with what we’re doing, why not? It was a last sort of resort thing to get back into the roots of all this, let’s start a band. We laughed because it was kind of a joke. Like oh yeah this is a band and then obviously the next thing we laughed at was what we would even call the band like if we did it. Then over Face Time, Dave pointed at Nate who was wearing a hat that happened to say the word ARIZONA on it. So Dave was like dude, call it A R I Z O N A. I don’t think it’s really going to be about the name. It’s a cool word, we can make it look cool and it’s going to be something mysterious and weird and it will be fun to just have a funny story like this. And we didn’t think anyone was ever going to care about it so we thought it was going to be our funny story and here we are now. But it’s just a bunch of friends joking around. I think that’s how the whole thing started and that’s kind of who we are now too. Just a bunch of friends having fun.
I’m sure people expect this huge grand story of how the state means so much to you and this big meaning.
Zach: It’s a little Column A, a little Column B. In some sense, it does mean a lot to us because we’ve been able to find some degree of what we would like to call success as far as doing what we love goes. We’ve been able to find success doing what we love just by being ourselves. Which is a bunch of friends that joke around a lot. So many people stumble into things that make them successful but they aren’t necessarily happy about what they have to follow because it’s what gave them their shot. For us, our shot was us being the most natural that we could have been. So there’s meaning there for sure!
Then obviously, you are experiencing this success. You’re out all summer on tour, you’re out with COIN now, I think the biggest song on Spotify is at like 50 million plays and you haven’t even released the first record. What was the moment where you thought, wow this could actually be something. You talk about how you were just kind of joking around and you’ve known each other for so long, maybe that first wow moment. Like hey, this could actually be something?
Zach: We probably all have separate moments.
Nate: For me, one of the big moments was actually getting out on tour because like having all these numbers on Spotify, it’s cool and you see all these numbers but you don’t know what these numbers actually mean. Are they actually fans, are people really listening, do people really care? Then you get on the road and you hit these cities that you’ve never been to and you’re put into rooms full of people all singing your songs back to you and that to me was kind of like the moment where I was like this is actually for real.
Zach: For me, I think to be totally transparent about the whole thing, it was when I was a really young producer and I was traveling and leaving school and doing all these things to break my back as a kid to get ahead of the curve and make it as something I wanted to do in the world. Because there wasn’t really many other options for me and and I really loved music so I did that. When I was a producer, being behind the glass, a lot of people don’t take you very seriously, you’re kind of expendable. That doesn’t always really change because of the politics and the way people are especially in certain industries. It’s a person by person thing but when certain people that never really took me seriously when I was passionate about something kind of flipped around and came to me being like oh these records are dope, congrats to you and the guys. Being like I always knew you had it. For me, it wasn’t sort of like a ha ha, I gotcha kind of thing, it was like wow if this can take someone that doesn’t really believe much in anyone ever and they turned around on me and are like hey this is actually really good, I mean those are the toughest people to connect to. So if those people can come back and say hey I really enjoy this music, it means what I’ve done is out of my hands at this point and it’s something bigger then me.
And you kind of talked about how you were all producers and this is the first time where you’re the ones on stage and performing. Maybe from your producing pasts, maybe something coming into this band that you took from your career as a producer when it came to A R I Z O N A and maybe something you left behind, if there is something?
Zach: I’d say we took discipline for sure. Work ethic.
David: We tried to do it with a bunch of people in the past as producers and some of those projects did well and some didn’t. And we got to learn those lessons before we were the ones doing it. So having the foresight I think is better then having the hindsight.
Zach: For sure! You take away the discipline of being the producer. Someone who is locked in a room for sixteen hours a day and just has to grind it out to get it right because someone said it wasn’t right. Then you eventually learn that the only way to get something right is to work at it. If it’s right, it’s right and if it’s not, it’s not. Eventually, you sort of develop an ear for that and an ability to translate other people’s visions. Because that’s what you do as a producer. You take an artists’ vision and translate it or interpret it into a full thing. So when we had our own vision, I think that that’s what helped us do A R I Z O N A. Was the discipline that we had acquired from that lifestyle. We didn’t take this as an opportunity to be like, hey it’s our show now we can do whatever we want! It was, well now we can take that discipline and apply it to something, a project that’s more meaningful to us. So we kept that. I think what we left behind was a sense of taking it all so seriously. We stopped taking ourselves so seriously, we stopped taking other people so seriously because no one deserves to be taken at a full stop. Nothing is the end, nothing is the alpha omega of anything. I think you feel like that as a producer because you really have to make it or break it otherwise no one cares. But like as an artist that’s doing your own stuff, you realize all this is just for fun. People who like it are going to like it and people who aren’t going to like it aren’t going to like it. If you’re successful, you’re successful. If not, at least we’re doing what we love.
And you are very busy right now like I keep saying. You’re doing this tour with COIN, like I keep saying the album is about to drop, you’re going out with Andrew McMahon this summer. Obviously a musical icon so I’m sure that’s something to look forward to. Maybe the focus for 2017? Is it just to stay on the road once the album comes out, kind of what’s the plan?
David: I think that we’re obviously looking forward to festivals as well. It’s a funny thing because for us, we’ve been living on Spotify with just the singles. So to have a body of work out there and for people to get a wider view of who we are, I think is going to be interesting. I’m honestly a little nervous to hear what people have to say about the body of work as an album. “Gallery”. And it’s a funny thing about “Gallery”. Like the album itself, that’s us on display. We have multiple meanings for everything. One of the meanings of “Gallery”, we met in a place that was called Galleria.
Zach: We interned as young producers there.
David: It was kind of a launch pad but also, to say that like each one of these songs is something where we can kind of pin point moments in time for our inspiration and sort of say this is us on display. It’s weird.
Zach: Basically the album is finally done and we’re super excited to get that out and the next step now is to go everywhere and play all over for everybody. That’s what’s happening right now.