Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Arms Akimbo is the Spotify’s newest indie rock must-hear, especially with the release of their most recent EP, “Seven Dollar Paycheck.” The band; consisting of Chris Kalil (vocals/guitar), Peter Schrupp (vocals/guitar), Matt Sutton (drums) and Colin Boppell (vocals/bass); wrote the EP about balancing art and life as well as the willingness to accept when the line is blurred.
Ariel Zedric: When and where was the idea for Arms Akimbo born?
Peter Schrupp: College. Colin was playing drums, and he and I were writing together. Matt was Chris’s drummer. We smashed the projects together, and it’s been good stuff ever since.
If you could go back and change something about your music career, would you? If so, what would it be?
There’s maybe a few minor things like shows we could’ve skipped or whatever, but in reality, our journey had to be this way. We’ve had long spells where things aren’t working or we’re trying to sort through issues, but every time, it’s forged a better band on the other side.
But we should’ve never entered a battle of the bands…
What’s the significance behind the band name ‘Arms Akimbo?’
[Arms Akimbo’s] a freakazoid villain with hands stuck to his hips…it’s not very significant but it’s a fun reference for any Bruce Timm fans out there!
You’ve just released an EP, “Seven Dollar Paycheck.” What’s the main message you want fans to take away?
It’s ok to be broke and to follow your dreams. It’s ok to do it in your 20s. It’s ok to do it in your 30s. It’s ok to love and struggle and it’s a hell of a lot easier when you rely on the people who care about you.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the track “Cruel Lovers” specifically. How does it contribute and relay the message to your fans?
“Cruel Lovers” is a fun song, but the content explores a sad realization that you can love someone while having a tough time relating. It’s the most “relationship-focused” song on the record, but the feeling is essentially the same – how do I cope with desire and disagreement at the same time?
Walk me through your music creating process. About how long does it take? Does each member have different roles, or do you collaborate on everything?
We’re slow creators at times. Usually, a song spurs from either Chris or myself writing the majority of it and then bringing it to the rest of the guys. We each have pretty defined roles. It’s primary writers, and then everyone writes their own parts. If Chris sings lead I play lead guitar and vice versa. Colin and Matt lock in really well since they both play bass and drums. Colin has an excellent ear for creating and determining harmonies. Matt has a great sense of groove and usually dictates the swing of a song. And by the end, we all shape it very actively in the studio together.
I think we’re finally at a point where it would be fun to work out a new writing process that’s more collaborative in the early stages…we’ll see how the next record pans out!
Talk about your time on tour! What was the most enjoyable aspect?
We love touring. The best moment is converting a new fan in a city you’ve never been too. We love the reaction where someone has lower expectations so we can grossly defy them.
When can fans expect you to hit the road again?
We’re going to be out in July opening for The Mowgli’s on a bunch of dates in the Midwest and South – check our socials & website for dates.
Have you encountered any major setbacks or obstacles in the music industry thus far? If so, how have you overcome them?
I spoke to it a bit earlier but we’ve had to reshape our sound a couple of times because we evolve as people. It’s always a scary thing cause we don’t know how fans will react to a change. We’ve only been pleasantly surprised.
Navigating LA is always a scary process because there is such a gamut of talent and success and it can be difficult to stir the pot in such a big machine of a city. Somehow we feel we’ve been making a mark and we are truly astounded and grateful for that.
Are you working on any other exciting, forthcoming projects that you want people to know about?
The same ole story for an indie band. We’re back to writing for the next release. We just started, and it’s a tough balance between writing and playing the old stuff for new crowds, but we’re excited. We’re thinking about booking a couple of weekends away just to isolate ourselves and do nothing but play music.
What’s your best piece of advice for young aspiring artists?
Find other people who have the same sensibilities as you. They don’t need the greatest musical ability in the world. But you need friends who can listen with you. Explore, become students of music, and you can develop your taste and your skills together from there. You need creative trust.
Featured Image courtesy of Arms Akimbo