Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Arriver Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

We're getting ready to release our third full-length LP Emeritus.  Meanwhile we're preparing all-new material for a show that will include nothing from it, to include art installations, power-electronic noise, extended repetition of cycling heavy riffs, improvisation, and lots of smoke.  We are constantly creating.

2.Recently you have released a new ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

It's an LP and it comes out in early December.  We've experimented sonically quite a lot on this one.  As before, we favor cleaner more natural guitar and drum sounds than most metal bands use...the sound of a guitars plugged into amps, of drums in a room, no triggers, no bullshit.  There's a sameness to all those over-processed sounds, and we want nothing to do with it.  Dan S got a baritone guitar and I got a 12-string, and the sounds of those instruments and our process of becoming familiar with what they can do has had a major influence on the sound.  We like to contrast brutality and heaviness with ear candy.  We've set aside the grindcore sections we've had in the past, though I'm sure they'll be back...we've introduced some more textural, psychedelic elements that give us space to stretch out, and as a result the songs are longer and more spacious.  Some of the structures are quite linear, beginning in one place and ending up somewhere else entirely. 

3.This is your first release in 4 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?

Living creative lives.  Building families.  Being engaged with the world around us.  That's who we are.  We have zero interest in living a write-record-release-tour- repeat cycle.  We've all done that before in other bands, and it sucks.  It made me hate music.  Arriver is the antidote to all that, for all of us.  We play music for ourselves, because we are driven to play music.  These guys are my musical family.  We see each other every week, regardless of what else we have going on.  We share in each others triumphs and tragedies.  We've buried a brother together.  Our children play together.  We create and debate and deliberate and refine and we are in no hurry about any of it because hurries are externalities and Arriver exists 100% on Arriver's own terms.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Our trademark is long-form multi-song musical narratives; records as books.  Emeritus is about the Chernobyl event and looks at it from human, non-human and post-human perspectives.  It's something we all remember from childhood and it's far more of a world-historical inflection point than most people realize. The events in our songs really happened, and the characters that inhabit them really existed.  We take plenty of liberties but remain grounded in reality because we want our music to reveal truths about humanity and nature that we can't get at with escapist fantasy.  At the core it all, on this record and the others, is a fundamental belief in the strength of the human spirit and its ability to struggle to the last living cell and transcend calamity.  Hope amid hopelessness.   Maybe if we lived in bars and scowled a lot and blacked out every night we'd be satisfied writing songs about demons and disembowelment and the inevitability of fate.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Arriver'?

The name Arriver was coined by Jason Molina as the name of an imaginary band.  We made it a real one.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We deliver the goods.  We drill our shit as tight as we possibly can so that we can hold our heads high regardless of who we're playing with.  We bombard the audience with riffs and unexpected changes and unusual textures and we blend it all together in a unified whole that is uniquely our own.  We don't pretend to be anyone other than exactly who we are.  The shows we enjoy the most are the ones we play with kindred spirits: not necessarily bands that sound anything like us, but bands who are true to their own idiosyncrasies and weirdnesses, in defiance of paths of least resistance which might make them more scene-popular or easier to take.  We've had some great shows with psych experimentalists like Oneida and Man Forever.  Some of our favorite Chicago metal underground contemporaries to share a stage with have been The Swan King, Arbogast, Beak, Electric Hawk, Den, Anatomy of Habit...there are a ton of amazing, truly original bands in this scene and they don't tend to be the ones that get fawned over.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Shows, yes, plenty; not least of which will be our record release show at the Hideout November 19th.  We play regularly in Chicago and nearby.  Touring...if that means piling into the van and driving off to play six weeks of DIY shows for gas money in dives in Shitfuckingsburg, PA and sleep in some kid's pile of dirty laundry, then fuck no.  We've paid those dues already and anyway among four members of Arriver we now have a total of seven children.  It just isn't compatible with the lives we've chosen to live.  We'll go where we can and we'll pursue opportunities that seem like good ones.  We may go to Europe; we all enjoy that quite a lot.

8.The ep was released on 'Scioto Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Scioto is a small label run by a friend of ours attached to a pressing plant in Columbus.  For all intents and purposes, we are putting this record out ourselves.  That way we don't owe anyone anything, who isn't in the band.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?

I know 8 Germans, 5 English, 4 Irish, 3 Spaniards, 2 French, 2 Dutch and a Belgian who think we absolutely rule.  And somehow we have a fan in Ghana.  Beyond that, we'll have to see.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We're putting a lot of thought into our sound and the interplay between our instruments.  We have no idea where that where that will lead.  One thing that has been a constant for Arriver is that we are always playing at the outer edge of our capabilities and setting up conceptual challenges for ourselves.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

We're all over the place.  Metallically speaking, we all love Gorguts, we all love Carcass, we all love Napalm Death, we all love Meshuggah.  Obituary is a very important band for Arriver, especially “The End Complete" and "Cause of Death".  We all revere Black Sabbath and Led Zep.  We all have the entire canon of Classic Rock memorized down to the last detail.  Rob and I are obsessive fans of a Finnish band called Circle who are kind of a bizarre proto-metal/kraut-rock hybrid.  That, and also Loop who were on the heavier end of the original wave of shoegaze, have what I think is a noticeable imprint on the new record.  Dan S. discovered a Senegalese band called Tal National who are absolutely bewildering.  We dig Tuareg Bluesmen Tinariwen. We haven't really cared much about what the Melvins have done since the mid 90's but their early records loom large over everything we do.  I think you can hear The Jesus Lizard in Rob's bass.  We like a lot of krautrock...Amon Duul II's "Yeti" is incredibly heavy.  Dan and I like ethnic/folky stuff, especially Steeleye Span and are impressed by Heron Oblivion.  Sumac’s new LP is fantastic. We’ve collectively gone down the Yes rabbit hole this year...their episodic, long form things like Close To The Edge are a strong influence on our new material.    Joe and I grew up on Rush and Rush programmed our musical minds.  Dan S. was skeptical but is coming around.  Rob hates Rush eternally.  Aside from that we're quite open-minded about music.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

I'm a printmaker and visual artist; I run Crosshair Silkscreen.  Dan Sullivan owns Navillus Woodworks, a custom fabrication and design-build company.  He also runs a unique arts space called The Franklin out of his back yard, with his wife who is an acclaimed conceptual artist.  Rob and Joe are tech pros and I have no idea what they actually do because my brain flatlines when they start talking about it.  Rob, Dan, and I all read, a lot.  Joe doesn't have time to read because he is busy writing technical manuals about computer programming.  We enjoy the outdoors.  As often as possible, we like to go sweat in a 200-degree sauna and beat each others' bare asses with birch boughs.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?


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