THEIR new single, Enough, is out in the world…
so I have been speaking with Arliston about the song’s background and what we can expect from their upcoming E.P. - I discover when the band got together and how a windowless, noisy apartment was (and still is) a particular source of ‘inspiration’ for them.
I ask how the band spend time away from music and which new artists we need to get behind; if there are gigs coming up anytime soon; which artists the guys took to heart at a young age – I discover how important London is to their music and whether it drives their ambitions.
Hi, Arliston. How are you? How has your week been?
Good, thanks! Hectic, but good. We have quite a low stimulation threshold having been cooped up in our basement for the last year or so; so, all of this attention is quite bewildering.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are a three-piece band - myself (Jack), Jordi and George - making Alternative/Ambient Indie music, inspired by the likes of Bon Iver, James Blake; Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Matt Corby and the National. We’ve been working together to build a collection of songs that we love and we’ll be sprinkling them throughout your 2018 so stay tuned!
Enough is your latest single. What is the tale behind the song? Did it come together easily?
Enough came together after Chris (Engineer & Co-Producer) had arranged some vocal samples in this wonderful looping, repeating; snake-eating-its-own-tail kind of way. As soon as I heard it, I got fairly excited and put a vocal on it as quickly as I could. That first take actually ended up being the one we used for the final track. I guess sometimes you can’t recreate the excitement of that first ‘eureka!’ moment.
You have an E.P. coming up. Can you tell me about the themes and ideas that inspired the music?
I usually (ok, fine: always) lean towards more melancholic music and lyrics. That’s been my centre of gravity for as long as I can remember writing music. But, lately, I’ve started to inject small moments of optimism into the lyrics which has had the unexpected effect of making them sadder. There’s something wallowing and self-indulgent about unrelenting melancholia and, actually, if you introduce even tiny crack of optimism it can heighten the tragedy of it; I guess it just makes it seem real. Not just a mawkish cartoon of a bleak horizon.
I believe the band started life in a windowless apartment in early-2017! Do you miss those heady and romantic days? Was the traffic noise a bit of a bugger?!
Haha. Yes, it was! I mean, we’re still working there so I should really say is. But, the important thing is we’re not living there any more. I think that was the key ingredient in our insanity back then - and I don’t mean ‘insanity’ in a good way: more in the ‘nothing means anything anymore and I feel like eating my own trousers’ sort of a way. I wouldn’t trade those formative years for anything, though, no matter how many pairs of trousers we went through.
Do you remember the moment the band came together and clicked? What was it about each other that meant you were going to play music?
I first met George back in early-2017 and, initially, he came in to help set up the live side of things. I remember thinking he was perfect for the project: he could play virtually every instrument to a very high level and instantly appreciated what we/the project was trying to do. Further down the line, we had a bit of a hiatus and our original drummer left the band. At this point, I was really expecting George to leave too as things were frankly stagnating at the time.
But, actually, he was the one who kept me going and despite a second drummer leaving we pushed forward and finally found Jordi, who is a phenomenal drummer, and everything just locked into place after that!
Is London a constant influence for you? Is it hard to exist and flourish as a band?
London is great. It all at once smothers and energises you. It’s the best place to be if you’re having a good day but can be a little destructive on the bad days. But, of course, for gigging and collaboration opportunities there’s nowhere like it.
Which artists did you all aspire to be at a young age? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
I loved people like Bob Dylan, Suzanne Vega; Joan Armatrading and Damien Rice when I was younger and was even super-hard-line about hating the electric guitar - for what I thought (very wrongly) at the time was unattractive, meaningless music. But, eventually, I realised that with the help of guitar pedals you could create enormous sonic worlds that forcefully took you somewhere unexpected every time you plugged the thing in. Jordi comes from a Metal background. At first, we thought this might be a problem, but it meant he approaches things from a very different angle and so has actually been invaluable in the songwriting process.
George comes from an acoustic guitar background, too, but also is a classically trained pianist; so can apply a level of theory to the music that has allowed us to reach places we wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
I’m glad you asked! We’re actually playing a show later tonight to celebrate the single release at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden. After that, we’re finishing off with a bang at Zigfrid von Underbelly at Camden on the 11th July. That’ll be the big one!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We’d like to get our first E.P. out; have a good-sized tour and just keep writing and doing what we’re doing!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I’d say wayy back in time would be the fondest memories I have; living down in the basement and spending long days and nights there with Chris Blakey, Toby Horton; Jordi, George; Jazzi and everyone who has been involved in the project up until this point.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Bon Iver, probably. They are ridiculously good live.
Hmm; the rider would entail mountains of tabasco sauce. We have a little bit of a problem with it. There’s a collection of empty bottles lining the writing room wall and, so far, it has taken twenty-four bottles to get to where we are. I’d say (we’d list) least a small bath of it on the rider.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Just keep going. What you’re doing now may not always inspire you but, as long as you’re doing something, anything, creative then you will grow and progress as an artist. If you can keep doing it the world will have to give in at some point.
IN THIS PHOTO: Jazzi Bobbi
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We try and see friends whenever we’re out of the studio - I think that’s probably psychologically recommended too. George does watercolours in his spare time and actually was the one that painted the beautiful watercolour artwork for Enough. Jordi is currently doing a Pro Tools course (hardly a break from music) but we’re looking forward to him having ‘mad skills’ when he finishes. Also; huge fans of Always Sunny in Philadelphia - very excited for the next season.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
George: O Mer - Now I’m Alive
Jordi: alt-J – Tessellate
Jack: Phoria – Evolve