Arrica Rose Interview
Interviewer – Phill Bruce
Interview Date – 30th August 2011
Hailing from LA Arrica Rose has such an amazing vocal range of which her voice is in part soft and soothing. Her music has become a favourite of people in the alternative scene recently being a fan of her myself. I got chance to catch up with Arrica and this is how it went.
Phill – Can you tell us a little bit of a background about yourself and where in this beautiful world you are from?
Arrica – I was born right outside of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. My family is from the east coast (New York) but my folks moved out west for work right before I was born. I played music starting with voice at the age of 8 then piano at 10. By 15 I got an electric guitar for my birthday and learned the instrument playing with 2 dear friends of mine in a punk-rock trio.
Phill – Punk rock is far away from what you do now. Do you still keep elements of the music you started playing in the music you do today?
Arrica – I don’t think anyone would necessarily hear the punk rock influence in my current body of work but all the same I think it affected my style of writing and work ethic. I have a tendency to want to make the less obvious choices musically and lyrically even though it’s in subtle ways and I also love to combine genres - being in a punk band definitely encouraged me to do my own thing. Being involved in the punk scene also gave me a sort of DIY work ethic that’s still a big part of everything I do.
Phill – What was it like growing up in the San Fernando Valley?
Arrica – I have plenty of fond memories of the SFV. There were lots of strip malls and movie theatres though. I had a lot of great friends that escaped the humdrum of suburbia by being in bands so shows were the basic staple of my youth, that or going to the beach late at night and building bonfires.
Phill – What was the name of your early punk-rock trio and what was it like being in the band, do have any fond memories of your time in the trio?
Arrica – The band was called Uxby – it was myself Stefanie Drootin and Kerri Drootin (Kerri is now married to Stef’s brother). We had a great time writing songs, making zines, practicing in our parent’s garages. We basically learned our instruments playing with each other and played a good amount of shows with some band we much admired.
Phill – At what point in your life did you decide to form your band and why?
Arrica – Being in bands as a teenager, music seemed like it would always be more of a hobby for me. I went to film school at USC though and started scoring short films. When I graduated from college I put together The …’s (The Dot Dot Dots) because I knew at that time that although I enjoyed film, music was the thing I couldn’t imagine living without.
Phill – Did you score any films that we may know?
Arrica – I only scored thesis films at USC but I do hope to one day get into scoring features,
Phill – What is it about music that you cannot be without?
Arrica – I was quite shy as a kid in many regards and when thing weren’t going smoothly in my home life or my social life I turned to music (writing songs) as my outlet. For a handful of years it was the only way I really expressed myself. Though I’d like to think I’ve moved on to being a better communicator, there are still certain things I find it easier to say in song and having the opportunity to say those things feels like something I couldn’t live without.
Phill – Who besides yourself is in the band and what background are they from?
Arrica – Marc Thomas (lead guitar) was born and raised in Los Angeles, Steve Giles (bass) is originally from Eugene OR, Ryan Brown (drums) is from Denver CO, Laura Martin (who joins us live on backing vocals) was born in Chadron NE..
I was also very lucky to have the following musicians join us in recording Let Alone Sea: Dan Garcia (our producer who recorded our record at his Radio Hill studio also played lap steel), Tiffany Kowalski Osborn (violin), Harry Kim (trumpet), Arturo Velasco (trombone), Liam Philpot (baritone sax), and James Apollo/Laura Martin/Sarah Brown (additional backing vocals).
Phill – Oh the saxophone is a very sexy instrument, what does the saxophone add to your music?
Arrica – Liam Philpot is dear friend who I’m grateful to have had play sax on the album. I agree it’s quite a sexy instrument and brings this sort of swagger to the tunes that I love.
Phill – How would you sum up your music in three words?
Arrica – Indie Folk Pop
Phill – What are your musical influences?
Arrica – My musical influences are many and span far and wide. A few that initially come to mind: First up was big band – Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. I also fell in love with 40’s era girl groups like the Andrew Sisters. Velvet Underground, David Bowie and Elliot Smith were my next obsessions, followed by Patti Smith and Dusty Springfield. Also, as a teenager I would mail order records from a host of indie labels so there’s a long list of indie/punk bands I adored that inspired me to release my early lo-fi recordings on my own label.
Phill – What is it about bands like the Andrew Sisters that you like?
Arrica – Their harmonies blow me away – how they sing almost every word together in perfect harmony and sound like a single voice. I also love the cheekiness of some of their lyrics and the swing era vibe.
Phill – You have your own label, how and when did you set it up?
Arrica – I set that up as soon as I graduated from college and decided to release my first DIY recordings.
Phill – Are there any notable bands on your label?
Arrica – I’ve just been releasing my Arrica Rose & the …’s albums as well as my solo albums but later this fall Martha Berner and The Significant Others will be releasing their latest record on my label and my up and coming side projects may very well be released on pOprOck records as well.
Phill – Where do you see your band in five years and what are your hopes for the future?
Arrica – I hope to keep doing what we’re doing but expand upon it – keep making music we care about while continuing to grow the audience that hears it and appreciates it. I also have a few side projects that I’m excited to work on as well.
Phill – Where in this world has the best following for your music?
Arrica – Because LA is our home bass that is definitely a place where we have a lot of support. NY is like that as well for us. It’s amazing to me though how do have fans all over the world in countries that I’ve never been too - that’s the beauty of the internet I guess.
Phill – Oh side projects, can you tell us about them please?
Arrica – One project I’ve been working on is a country project. I’m big fan of Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Patsy Cline…the list goes on. I’ve been saying for many moons I want to do a country side project and now it’s starting to take shape. It’s a duo with myself and Mark Lynn called Dear County. Mark and I actually met several years ago when Uxby opened up for his band at the time Uranium 9volt. He now plays in a band called The Devil’s Own and we recently reconnected at show. I mentioned wanting to do a country record so we started writing together. Hoping to do some recording early next year. My producer Dan Garcia and I have also been tossing around the idea of a side project, something a bit more experimental and up-tempo than what we’ve worked on together in the past.
Phill – Is there any place or venue you would like to play at and why?
Arrica – I really hope to be able to tour throughout Europe extensively - I love travelling almost as much as I love music.
Phill – Is there any country in Europe in particular that you would like to tour?
Arrica – Italy and the UK are at the top of my list of places to tour next. We actually have sold a good number of records in Italy and the UK. Also, Italy happens to be where much of my family is from.
Phill – Is there any chance we may hear you here in the UK?
Arrica – Most definitely, actually making some plans to hopefully get to the UK in the not so distant future.
Phill - Without giving too much away is there any instrument or program you wouldn’t be without and why?
Arrica – 2 of my instruments my acoustic guitar (Gibson Dove) and my electric guitar (Gibson ES -135). Those are my only possessions that I’m particularly attached to. They’ve been with me for most of the duration of me playing music and feel like old reliable friends.
Phill – What feeling do you get when you play your trusty guitars?
Arrica – That everything will be ok and if it’s not ok now, one day it will be. I guess you could say my instruments are almost like security blankets to me.
Phill – What was the first instrument you bought yourself?
Arrica – A Gibson Sonex 180 with a bolt on neck
Phill – If you owned a time machine where in history would you go?
Arrica – 1920’s I always wanted to be a flapper, hence the same flapper Halloween costume several years in a row when I was a kid.
Phill – If you could play god for one moment what would you do to the world?
Arrica – End famine, war, and global warming.
Phill – What do you feel is your best quality?
Arrica – Determination. When I set my sights on doing something I’m usually pretty hell bent on making it happen.
Phill – What is the one thing about people that you really hate?
Arrica – Inconsideration. I think it takes just as much energy to be inconsiderate as it does to be considerate.
Phill – If you could be any character in Star Wars or Star Trek who would you be and why?
Arrica – Yoda – he’s a wise man.
Phill – Thank you so much for giving Grave Concerns this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Arrica – I really enjoyed your questions. Thanks much for taking the time to do this!
Thanks so so much Arrica, good luck for the future
Let Alone Sea now available on iTunes
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