Arkells chat Leather Jacket and favorite sandwich!

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Last week, I did a record-breaking okay well close to it seven interviews in one week which is big for this little lady but easily the stand out was mine with the talented men in Hamilton, Ontario’s Arkells! Ever since I grabbed some time with lead singer Max Kerman, I’ve been grooving on their last record pretty hard including my personal favorite “Leather Jacket”!

The guys will be hitting The Sinclair in Cambridge tomorrow with Dreamers and The Karma Killers and I hope you’ll be dancing along in the crowd with me. Max and I talked their current tour, their upcoming record which is already done and even his favorite sandwich. Read our new interview below, and catch these Canadian rock stars before they blow up here in the states!


You’ve been on the road since the tenth on this run, what are the three things you must have with you while on tour? 
On the road! I’d probably say my phone because I listen to a lot of podcasts and all my podcasts are on my phone. So that kind of keeps me sane. I like bringing a pair of basketball shoes and a basketball because I like to shoot hoops whenever I can. That’s pretty important. I guess headphones counts with a phone probably. What would be the third thing? I guess some fresh underwear. That’s pretty much all I need, I’d say!

Always good then how has this run been going for you? This record obviously is doing really well. The songs are really picking upl. How has the tour been going so far for you? 
It’s been going really good. You know it’s funny we toured a lot on this record. It came out just about a year and a half ago. We have a bunch of new material that we’re working out right now and we’re going to be putting out something new this summer. So the tour’s been fun because we’re playing a bunch of places that we didn’t get to go to on this run but we’re also workshopping a bunch of new stuff too which is really exciting. So, yeah it’s been awesome.

Then like you said, it has been a about a year and half since that last record came out. You said you’re working on new things. 
It’s definitely done. The new record is finished. It’s kind of a funny process when you make a record because you rehearse a bunch. You figure out the songs then you record it and then you got to kind of like re-learn how to play everything because a bunch of things physically change in the studio once you actually get to the studio. So right now, we’re sort of re-learning how to play a bunch of the new songs.

And how did you go about the songwriting process for this record? Do you feel it’s something that still changes or have you kind of gotten into a pretty steady rhythm considering the band has been together for so long? 
We definitely tried some new shit this time which I’m really excited about. We didn’t want to demo stuff to death. Since I think one of the things we learned from listening back to old demo’s for our other records is that if you rehearse them too much, sometimes you end up losing some of the magic that you get when you first start to interpret a song. Sometimes when you demo songs too much, you lose some of the importance because you get bored with it. So we didn’t want to demo too much on this record. As soon as we had a collection of songs we were all really stoked about, we just wanted to get right into the studio and start working on them from there. The other thing is we worked with a bunch of different producers this time. There’s somewhat conventional wisdom when it comes to being a rock and roll band that I think it’s pretty boring and conservative. Like you have to set aside a few months and hunker down in the studio with one producer and fight about the songs a lot. We worked with different producers who we worked with in different studios. I think that made it very fresh and exciting. We did it between tours over the fall. I’m just really happy with the way it turned out. I think it’s a pretty kind of eclectic sounding record but it’s all exciting. I don’t think it ever gets stale.

And that’s something you think will come out like end of this summer or early fall? Is that kind of the time line for that record? 
Yeah we’re going to be putting it out late summer. We’ll have a single out early in the spring so you’ll be hearing that at some point soon.

Perfect and then I did ask on Twitter for some questions. Some of them were a little out there but I did pick two .User @whitexsparrows asked what’s your  favorite kind of sandwich? Thought that was kind of interesting. 
Favorite kind of sandwich, that’s interesting. You know what, I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian food so I’m going to try and think of a good vegetarian option. There’s a good sandwich place back home and they have like a focaccia bun but with marinated vegetables. Like eggplant and zucchini and a bunch of stuff. So some sort of vegetarian with some oil based sandwich.

Then user @logansavage, he asked for you what your favorite song is to play currently live? 
Oh, cool. There’s a song called “Never Thought That This Would Happen” which is kind of a groovy song. Like when we wrote it, we were like thinking of playing it at like summer festivals. In the grass, sort of like bopping back and forth. A lot of times when we’re writing music, I like to imagine how the audience will move to it. You know rock and roll is a very rhythmic sport. You want people to kind of move in unison. So yeah that song has just like a cool groove to it.

Then I know you have a lot coming up in the next few months obviously. You just announced playing Lollapalooza and some other festivals as well but kind of what’s coming up in the next few months for Arkells? Is it just going to be like focusing on getting that record out? Playing those one off dates, kind of what’s the plan for 2016? Then I know you have a lot coming up in the next few months obv
Yeah, there’s a lot of prep that goes into it especially when you’re rolling out a new single. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of things you have to check off so right now, we’re like finishing off all the artwork stuff. Like the vinyl jacket sleeves. We still have some music videos. It’s a pretty creative job even aside from the music. Stuff that you have to think about. In the summer, we’re doing Lollapalooza and Firefly down in the states. Then there’s a bunch of Canadian stuff and some European stuff too that will keep us busy as we roll out the new record. It’s a lot but it’s a good job. When you’re in a band, you kind of want to stay busy. You don’t want to be too busy where you want to jump off a bridge but you want to be like just the right amount of busy where you feel like your time is being well-spent. The summer’s shaping up to be just that.

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Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.

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