Last month we introduced LA band Arms Akimbo, waxing lyrical about their haunting track “Michigan“. We caught up with Chris and Peter from the bandfor some tough questions:
Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?
Peter: 9:38. I fell asleep oddly early last night and was able to gracefully wake up without an alarm. Great day.
Chris: 8:30. 20 minutes later than I have to be up to get to work on time. Bad day.
CM: Describe your sound to the uninitiated?
C: The happiest that sad music can sound. Or the saddest that happy music can sound… take your pick.
CM: What have been the highlights of your year (musically) so far.
P: our single release show last week, playing The Roxy, releasing our 3 singles, “Michigan” breaking 300k plays on Spotify, meeting new friends and fans from shows
CM: How do you kill time on the road when on the road? hobbies/games?
P: I like 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon. We also freestyle rap with each other and Colin has hilarious impressions. Matt won’t do impressions, even when we bully him.
CM: What have been your favourite venues to play? Any Venues you hated?
P: The Roxy was killer. I love The Wayfarer and The Hi Hat as well. The tough stages are the ones with bad stage monitor mixes. We don’t mind small stages (even though I’ve rocked Chris in the skull because we were too close before).
CM: you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?
P: I can’t write too much unless I’m home. Sometimes I come up with stuff to record on voice memo but it doesn’t usually come out right afterwards.
C: I seem to end up writing my best work at the most inopportune times. I’ve written songs in hotel parking lots, in a Panera Bread, on the freeway in traffic — it always ends with a flustered scramble to get something down on my phone as quickly as possible.
CM: Is there a song you are simply sick of playing live?
P: some of the old stuff gets hard to play. We just gotta remind ourselves that the VAST majority of the world has yet to hear it. Luckily most of our more popular songs are still a blast for us to play.
CM: What is the songwriting process like for you?
P: Usually one of 2 ways. Sometimes whoever wrote it has the song fully fleshed out in their head. That’s the easy way. The more fun process when someone has a cool part or idea, they bring it to the rest of the band, and we jam it out a couple times, see if we can work out different sections altogether, and then we all take it home and do some homework. I usually need to write lyrics by myself and I’ll bring it back to the band. I usually have a phonetic idea about it from voice memos recorded from practice. You can usually tell which songs these are when the lead guitar part sounds almost “sprinkled” over the song.
CM: Do your songs go through many revisions and demos before recordings?
C: It definitely depends on the song. We’ve had songs that were completely done before the rest of the band even touched them, and we’ve written songs from the ground up with each other. Every track goes through revisions and grows with time, its just the depth of the revision that can vary.
CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?
P: Melody babyyyyyy! The melody gives us the flow and feel and the lyrics give it meaning. Usually I don’t even know the meaning of lyrics I write until well after we’ve had the song in our arsenal for a while.
CM: What is your favourite track of yours?
P: we have an unreleased song right now called “This Town“. That song is a real blast for me. The beautiful thing about this band for me is how many songs are chiefly written by Chris. It means I get to be an audience member from the stage (and I can feel a little less guilty about liking us that way). I love everything he writes, so that means
CM: If you could record any cover in the world what would it be?
P: “Lovefool” – The Cardigans
C: “Sunday Candy” – Chance the Rapper. I think we’d crush it.
CM: What are your views on auto tune?
P: go for it! We’ve come so far with it that it can be used correctively or artistically with people like Justin Vernon. I’m all about it…in fact, change my answer to the last question from “Lovefool” to “Here (in Your Arms)” by Hellogoodbye
C: It always disappoints me to hear artists looking down on autotune. It gives people without technical ability to sing a new medium to express themselves and it gives people with a good voice a tool to work with creatively. Get with the times people!!! If you’re really so against it then you should leave your guitar pedals at home too.
CM: Any other artists/bands from your local scene we really should know about?
P: So many! Royaljag, EXES, Super Whatevr, ROSA, King Shelter, Family Hahas. I genuinely am a huge fan of a lot of our friends. Actually, the best way to keep up with all the bands we play with is to follow our “Frenz” playlist on Spotify.
CM: What is the most flattering thing you’ve read about yourselves?
P: not sure about reads, but after we opened for Walk the Moon, their singer Nick told me he was shocked by our age and that we were still in college (at the time). That was a cool one.
CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?
P: First compact disc was given to me as a gift from my uncle – The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Are You Experienced?”
C: The first CD I can remember owning was “The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek” by Relient K.
CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
C: Every song off the Pinegrove album. So damn catchy.
CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?
P: It was actually a standup comedy show. We all saw Ron Funches, Kyle Kinane and Kumail Nanjiani at The Roxy together.
CM: If you had to bring on artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down ,which artists would it be and why??
C: That’s pretty dark… but let’s bring back Jimi and get rid of Ted Nugent. Actually, even if you can’t bring back Jimi, let’s still try and get rid of Ted Nugent.
The single “Miscommunication” is out now