Last Friday after we hosted the Arms Akimbo ‘Miscommunication’ Single Release Party at the WorldArts event space, we sat down to talk with the band about their work and future plans. The four piece band consists of Peter Schrupp (guitar and lead vocal), Christopher Kalil (guitar and vocals), Matt Sutton (bass & vocals) & Colin Boppell (drums & bass), where everybody is hands-on and completely collaborative.
WorldArts: How’d it feel to play your latest single on our WorldArts stage?
Christopher Kalil: It was trippy as hell. It’s always very humbling and cerebral experience as a musician when people know the lyrics, especially when we just put the song out yesterday. That feeling is very special, one of the coolest experiences as a musician.
Peter Schrupp: It was nice having it in our backyard. We’re Culver humans actually.
CK: Yeah, it’s a good chance to get everybody together and celebrate all the work that goes into this stuff. Because so much work happens behind the scenes that you don’t realize what goes into a three and a half minute song. As a listener you don’t really get to experience the hours that goes into those three and a half minutes. For us it’s therapeutic to take all of that pent up energy and just throw a party.
PS: We’ve been playing together long enough to get our bearings, and it was cool to invite our friends on the bill as well. Starbuck we’ve been friends with forever, and I met Royaljag in high school, and ROSA we’re all big fans of. So it’s been cool to collaborate with WorldArts and do something we really wanted to do.
Matt Sutton: Yeah, I think we wanted to host our own thing for awhile. At The Roxy they say you have thirty minutes and they’re gonna set it up. And we really got to take the reigns on this one. Like Peter said, it was cool we got to play a show with our friends for our friends. There’s nothing better than that.
CK: This is a song, more than any of the songs that we put out so far has been a trial and error process. We’ve tried everything with this song until we finally made it happen. I recorded a voice memo in my car when I was road tripping in the middle of Utah, I was in the city called Moab, you probably haven’t heard of it. But I was out there recording a voice memo of an idea, I send it over where to Peter where he writes new lyrics and then Colin will do a new drum beat. We’ve really shopped this song a lot, and it feels really good to have made it here. It felt like climbing a mountain to make it here.
PS: I just now realize that when we first played this song, I was the drummer, Matt was the guitar and Colin was the bass. It’s been through everything, this song. I feel like what people don’t realize is that behind one song, there are at least 10 different “what could have beens” and this one was totally collaborative, and you can hear everyone’s fingerprint. So this one I would say is very “us.”
WA: Yeah, I noticed during one point of the set a few of you switched places, do you do that often during live sets?
Colin Boppell: So, Matt and I, our drum styles are very different and early on we realized we could use it to our advantage and open up a lot more doors that wouldn’t have opened up otherwise, if only myself or only Matthew were on the kit. It’d be limiting in a certain way, there’s certain nuances about our styles that are very different. For instance, with Miscommunication, when sometimes things aren’t clocking we decide to switch and it can bring a different color to the song, and sometimes we like the different color. It’s just nice to have that option of having more creative freedom when it comes to the song writing process.
WA: Maybe for the people who aren’t familiar with you guys, could you give us some background on how the band formed?
PS: We were all attending Loyola Marymount University. Chris was working on his senior thesis and wanted somebody to record, Colin and I had already written a couple of songs together, so Chris pulled us into the studio and began working on the project that I had initially started. Matt was studying abroad in Spain at the time, but we all knew him and asked him if he was down to play bass. It all started as a school project, and we’ve built a community of extremely supportive friends at LMU that has allowed us to keep pursuing this project.
WA: As an emerging band what struggles have you endured and how do you overcome them?
MS: Just speaking from personal experience, and I think that we can all relate to it. We all have day jobs that have very long hours. It’s the wake up at 6 A.M. get ready, go to the office for eight hours, come home, set up a website, try and get a ticketing list, try and set up bank accounts and so many little behind the scenes things that we all have to work on. Whether we all have to go to school full time, or that we’re working full time or some kind of combination of both. People don’t realize that we all have full time jobs and that we’re supporting this project and we’re also doing everything behind the scenes. So it’s just a work-life balance type of struggle. At times it’s really hard, you know, we’ll play a show in San Diego, we’ll go on around 11:30 P.M., and then you have to drive back at 2 A.M. and have to wake up at 6 A.M. and then you do it all over again. It’s the every day struggle, but it’s definitely worth it. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it, I’m much happier sleeping for three hours and having to go to work, rather than sleeping for eight hours and not having this.
CK: At this point in our career, we don’t have the supplemental team to help us get things done most of the time. So any of the visuals, any of the stuff you don’t assume is being a part of being in a band, we take care of ourselves. Hard or struggle isn’t maybe the right word, but it’s definitely taxing and worth it.
WA: What’s next for Arms Akimbo?
CK: Music videos, finish watching West World, finish watching Shameless! If you haven’t seen Shameless, you need to watch it, it’s really funny. But in reality, we’re sitting on an absolute load of amazing music. This is just the beginning, we’re working on a lot of material that we’re waiting to come to fruition.
Stay tuned for new music coming from these guys soon! You can peep our photo album from the night on our Facebook page.