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Interview: Arlie on rock stars, spirituality and Soundcloud rap myths

With the amount of traction that Arlie has gained in the alternative music scene, I expected them to be gaudy and polished – a stark contrast to the endearingly goofy three-person trio I had sitting in front of me. Nathaniel, Carson and Adam don’t take themselves too seriously and neither does Arlie. It was a true pleasure to experience their high-energy set and understand that the passion they have for their work exists independent of acclaim.

I’m going to jump right into it! Your band seems to draw a great deal of inspiration from cinema…as you told WNUR you met making a movie and derived your name from that same film. Are there any other movies or pieces of art that have stuck with you or aided your creative process?
Nathaniel: So many things! Where do you begin? The entire history of expression. And then you get to the point where there’s too much of it so you have to draw inspiration from what you’re surrounding yourself with every day. At this point I’m just as likely to draw inspiration from a conversation with you right now as I am from a movie, but the most recent movies that I’ve gotten excited about are the Phantom Thread. That is my life, in a way. I [also] thought The Shape of Water was cool.

On Twitter you’ve said that you hope to put out an ambition album, can you tell me more about that?
Nathaniel: For me anything that’s exciting is going to be hard to pull off but I know that I will pull it off. I feel like I’ve gone through a personal transformation [and] I’m continuing to go through one. It’s trying to sum all of that up in one album, which is pretty ambitious.

You’ve also said that you’ve taken inspiration from books rooted in spirituality like The Power of Now. Has this change in thinking effected your work? Tell me about your journey.
Nathaniel: Everyone is on their own journey and I would never want to impose my journey on other people but I’ve found that at the place I’m at in my life I think [Eckhart Tolle] is one of the most brilliant people on the planet. Reading his stuff has helped me to start understanding the world in a different way. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is stuck. For me it was going down a path that started with religion, because of my parents, and it got to philosophy and other things. It led to Eckhart Tolle. I think he’s got it figured out.

Speaking of inspiration your press release talked a lot about Soundcloud rappers…
Nathaniel, Carson and Adam: Oh no!
Carson: We said something about being excited about the possibility of anybody being able to make music with a computer. It kind of got filtered a certain way. Now people keep saying that we’re big fans of Soundcloud rap. There’s some Soundcloud rap that we like but it is far from the dominant or only music that we listen to. We need to kill that.

Alright. We’re killing it right now. Arlie loves Soundcloud rap is dead. That being said you do have bedroom pop production styles, can you tell me about that?
Nathaniel: Everybody can make music on a laptop now so I think that the people on Soundcloud who have risen to the top are the ones that have realized that you don’t need a ton of hit gear or fancy engineers to make a hit record. You just have to trust your instincts and follow emotion. I came from the background where I didn’t have any money to spend on studios so I just tried to figure it out myself. I tried to make all the sounds the best that I could on my computer.

Now that we’re signed to a record label sometimes we have money to spend on studios. Sometimes it’s useful and sometimes it doesn’t make it better. We’re navigating that process as we go and figuring out how to make the best music.

There are a lot of space allusions in your work. Can you tell me about how those developed and where they came from?
Carson: Who doesn’t love space!
Adam: It’s like the futurism of the 60s or so. I think we got some of our space backgrounds from sci-fi books for the “Didya Think” music video.

I noticed that you made the NME 100 list. Now that you’ve been labelled ‘rising stars’ what Rockstar traits will you indulge and which do you want to completely destroy.
Nathaniel: Destroy them all and make sure that you drink a lot of water, sleep well and eat your vegetables.
Carson: Use your phone less!
Adam: We’ve got lots of advice.

You can listen to Wait, Arlie’s debut EP, here.

Emily Muller
Emily Muller is a photographer and writer based in Chicago (USA) and Edinburgh (UK). You can see more of her work at emilymuller.myportfolio.com.

Interview: Arlie on rock stars, spirituality and Soundcloud rap myths

With the amount of traction that Arlie has gained in the alternative music scene, I expected them to be gaudy and polished – a stark contrast to the endearingly goofy three-person trio I had sitting in front of me. Nathaniel, Carson and Adam don’t take themselves too seriously and neither does Arlie. It was a true pleasure to experience their high-energy set and understand that the passion they have for their work exists independent of acclaim.

I’m going to jump right into it! Your band seems to draw a great deal of inspiration from cinema…as you told WNUR you met making a movie and derived your name from that same film. Are there any other movies or pieces of art that have stuck with you or aided your creative process?
Nathaniel: So many things! Where do you begin? The entire history of expression. And then you get to the point where there’s too much of it so you have to draw inspiration from what you’re surrounding yourself with every day. At this point I’m just as likely to draw inspiration from a conversation with you right now as I am from a movie, but the most recent movies that I’ve gotten excited about are the Phantom Thread. That is my life, in a way. I [also] thought The Shape of Water was cool.

On Twitter you’ve said that you hope to put out an ambition album, can you tell me more about that?
Nathaniel: For me anything that’s exciting is going to be hard to pull off but I know that I will pull it off. I feel like I’ve gone through a personal transformation [and] I’m continuing to go through one. It’s trying to sum all of that up in one album, which is pretty ambitious.

You’ve also said that you’ve taken inspiration from books rooted in spirituality like The Power of Now. Has this change in thinking effected your work? Tell me about your journey.
Nathaniel: Everyone is on their own journey and I would never want to impose my journey on other people but I’ve found that at the place I’m at in my life I think [Eckhart Tolle] is one of the most brilliant people on the planet. Reading his stuff has helped me to start understanding the world in a different way. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is stuck. For me it was going down a path that started with religion, because of my parents, and it got to philosophy and other things. It led to Eckhart Tolle. I think he’s got it figured out.

Speaking of inspiration your press release talked a lot about Soundcloud rappers…
Nathaniel, Carson and Adam: Oh no!
Carson: We said something about being excited about the possibility of anybody being able to make music with a computer. It kind of got filtered a certain way. Now people keep saying that we’re big fans of Soundcloud rap. There’s some Soundcloud rap that we like but it is far from the dominant or only music that we listen to. We need to kill that.

Alright. We’re killing it right now. Arlie loves Soundcloud rap is dead. That being said you do have bedroom pop production styles, can you tell me about that?
Nathaniel: Everybody can make music on a laptop now so I think that the people on Soundcloud who have risen to the top are the ones that have realized that you don’t need a ton of hit gear or fancy engineers to make a hit record. You just have to trust your instincts and follow emotion. I came from the background where I didn’t have any money to spend on studios so I just tried to figure it out myself. I tried to make all the sounds the best that I could on my computer.

Now that we’re signed to a record label sometimes we have money to spend on studios. Sometimes it’s useful and sometimes it doesn’t make it better. We’re navigating that process as we go and figuring out how to make the best music.

There are a lot of space allusions in your work. Can you tell me about how those developed and where they came from?
Carson: Who doesn’t love space!
Adam: It’s like the futurism of the 60s or so. I think we got some of our space backgrounds from sci-fi books for the “Didya Think” music video.

I noticed that you made the NME 100 list. Now that you’ve been labelled ‘rising stars’ what Rockstar traits will you indulge and which do you want to completely destroy.
Nathaniel: Destroy them all and make sure that you drink a lot of water, sleep well and eat your vegetables.
Carson: Use your phone less!
Adam: We’ve got lots of advice.

You can listen to Wait, Arlie’s debut EP, here.

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