UTG INTERVIEW: Arc & Stones

a&s

We’re pleased to bring you this exclusive interview with Brooklyn rock quartet, Arc & Stones!

Earlier this year, we reviewed the band’s self-titled EP, an effort that they’re still touring on strongly while preparing new material. Some of those tour dates have been with classic rock band, Kansas, and this is just one topic we touch on in our discussion with members Dan Pellarin (DP), Ben Cramer (BC), Eddy Bayes (EB), and Joey Doino (JD). Read through to get the scoop from Arc & Stones and catch them on tour with Kansas!

Your guys’ name is pretty unique. How did you land on Arc & Stones and is there any specific reason you chose to go with an ampersand as opposed to spelling out “and”?

DP: The name could mean different things to different people. We’ve heard all sorts of interpretations, but to us the meaning of the name signifies a symbol or a metaphor if you will. Arc & Stones represents the energy behind our message that is continually building as we grow, listener by listener, day by day, song by song, on top of certain foundations that keep the movement alive and strong; that foundation being rock & roll.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys originally started out as a duo I believe, now being a four-piece band. How has the addition of two more members affected your routine and process as a band?

BC: We did start out as a duo. Last summer it was just Dan and I writing a bunch. Eddy and Joe came along at the very end of August and we played our first show in September. Adding two more members has been really awesome for the band. Each person brings their own influence and Arc & Stones is really a mutual creative outlet for all four of us.

DP: Me and Ben started writing the EP in the summer of 2012, and yes we recorded it, as the two of us, but we never at any point sought to be a duo. We were always going to form a band no matter what. We’d be nothing without Joe and Ed.

Your debut EP’s been out for a year now. Have you been working on any new material in the meantime?

BC: We’ve definitely been working on a lot of new material. Probably around 15-20 new songs and/or ideas.

DP: We have a bunch more. Going back into the studio real soon to record our next record. Problem is, we’ve been fortunate to write so much stuff we are proud of, that the hard part is getting it down to a select few to record. A wonderful problem!

Any clue as to when we could expect the next release?

BC: We’re just now finalizing plans to go into the studio in mid-September. I’d say people could expect a new release around winter time.

DP: Just in time to get you dancing, as the cold sets in. Keep you nice and toasty.

For those that may not have heard the self-titled EP yet, what can you tell us about it in terms of sound, lyrical themes, and what you had hoped to accomplish when writing and recording it?

BC: I think the self-titled EP serves as a good introduction to Arc & Stones. It delivers a little bit of everything while maintaining a constant sound. We wanted the sound to be dynamic and keep each song interesting.

DP: The EP in my opinion gives the listener a pretty good idea on the avenues we could go as a band. Whether it’s hard-hitting in your face, dirty rock, or a more subtle side of things, like when we break out the acoustic, it shows the young faces of Arc & Stones. Lyrically, it is pretty much the same thing. We try and leave no stone unturned, whether it’s talking about heartbreak, struggles with society, or self-reflection, but still remain intimate with the listener…or at least try.

You currently are set to head out on tour, many dates of which will be with Kansas as they celebrate 40 years, which is quite the honor. How did you guys land this set of dates?

BC: Our manager, Phil Ehart, is the drummer and one of the founding members of Kansas. That’s really how this whole deal of playing with them worked out. It’s been so great for us to get exposure and comfortable on bigger stages. Kansas has been so good to us as well. They still bring it.

There doesn’t seem to be a ton of dates announced for spanning such a long period of time. Will there be more dates revealed or is there a reason there’s so many breaks for you in the tour?

BC: There’s no real reason yet. New dates are getting added all the time. Although a lot of the down time is spent writing and demoing. In the next few months people can expect to see more longer running, consecutive tour dates. Right now we’re really focusing on getting material ready to hit the studio with.

DP: Like Ben said, we may have some down time, but it’s always spent writing, practicing, and simply growing as a band. Just keeping our heads down, always at the grindstone, throwing down something new.

What are you looking forward to the most about this opportunity? I would imagine playing some of these fancy venues will be pretty cool for starters.

BC: Yeah, definitely. It’s been an incredible opportunity for us. We’ve already done a number of shows with them. Kansas and their crew treat us so well, too. And though the crowd isn’t exactly our target audience, every show has been really positive and we’ve seen some great responses. It’s a nice change of pace from small club shows we’re used to.

DP: These past months, the band has been like a father figure to us. They are always telling us stories, talking with us after shows and letting know how we did, and just in general their presence has been awesome. Personally, and I’m certain collectively, it has taught us so much, not just as a band, but as individuals as well.

Lasting 40 years as a band seems a lot less likely these days with so many acts breaking up after only a release or two. Could you see Arc & Stones lasting 4 decades together?

BC: It’s pretty incredible thinking they’ve been a band for 40 years. I think about that all the time. I hope we last 40 years [laughs]. It’s kinda hard to think about that long of a time frame right now. 40 years is an entire career. We’ll sure as hell try.

DP: Band practice feels long enough as it is…40 years? No but seriously, we’re a family now, and a damn close one. So, hell yeah.

JD: I’d love for this band to go 40 years; that’s one hell of an accomplishment.

Where would you say you draw some of your most important influences from that have helped shape the band’s sound and style?

BC: We all listen to a wide array of music, but as far as personal influences regarding the band I’d list bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, etc…

DP: QOTSA, PJ, Led Zep, Sly Stone, and I like a lot of what Reznor does.

JD: As Ben mentioned there’s a range of influence but personally Led Zeppelin, Audioslave, The Roots and The Foo Fighters really influence me.

EB: Mostly Beyonce.

DP: Oh yeah, and her…duh.

Outside of music and A&S, what are some of your guys’ hobbies that you try to keep time for on the side?

BC: Wiffle ball.

JD: I’m a big soccer guy. I follow the English league really closely.

DP: A lot of video games, a lot of The Yankees, a lot of Hockey.

Who are some bands you guys have been listening to a lot lately? Any lesser known acts that we should have on our radar?

BC: I think I’ve had the new Queens of The Stone Age album on constant play over the past week. I can?t really name any one band in particular, but I do love finding new music to listen to.

JD: Audioslave and Nirvana have been playing on my iPod non stop the last few weeks.

DP: Queens of the Stone Age forever, “With Teeth” by Nine Inch Nails, and Eddy recently got me back on the Thin Lizzy train.

What do you guys have planned after this upcoming tour?

BC: We’ll be recording a good amount in September, so our plans are to keep touring as much as possible and get our name out there.

DP: Write. Play. Dance.

What’s the next big goal for A&S that you’re yet to have accomplished?

BC: Go to Europe!

JD: Definitely Europe for me.

DP: I’d like a song to get placed in something like a movie or video game…that pays for our trip to Europe [laughs].

 

Written and conducted by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter

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