Extra Arms - 10.09.11

Interviewed by
Extra Arms - 10.09.11How did Extra Arms become a band and for how long have you been playing together?

About three or four years. It’s been a while. It all started because we were all looking for people to play music with. We had all been in different bands for a while and we just started hanging out more. That solidified us.

Has it gone by quickly for you?

Yeah, completely. It’s weird thinking about the first songs we wrote together and then going forward. With the songs we’re writing now, it feels like a completely different world. We can still play the first songs just as well as the new songs.

Did any of the first songs make it onto In Parallel?

No. They’re all new. I think we really wanted to do it that way. We had done EPs that we were giving out to friends and I think we wanted to do something focused more on what we’re doing right now and what’s going on right now. That was a big part of it.

How does it feel to be releasing your debut album?

A little surreal and a little overwhelming. I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like. We’ve never felt this before. It’s really excited and we’re very excited to get it out there. We’ve spent more than a year on it. We did everything on our own from the production to the recording. We did pretty much everything except mixing by ourselves. We’re really excited to just let it go and find out what people think about it.

Why did you decide to handle the engineering yourselves?

We’ve gone to studios and done a lot of work in that way before. It just always seems really, really rushed. We were trying to figure out how to do it in the most relaxed way possible. I think we were able to do it. I’ve been researching and studying recording and engineering, just enough to know how to record a good set of drums. We did all of that at my parents’ house over two weekends and it was just the most relaxing thing. We watched a lot of TV in between recordings. We would record a song or a song and a half and then take a break and have a snack and watch “The Mighty Boosh.” We watched the entire series over the two weekends. It was very relaxing. It was so great not feeling rushed. I think with the studios, there’s a lot of money involved, but at the end of the day it’s about trying to get the feel right.

Is there a different sense of pride after hearing a record you engineered mostly by yourselves?

For this first album, yes. We all spent so much time on this. That’s also one of the reasons why the album took so long. If we were in a studio there would’ve been a deadline to get it done or to get certain parts of it done. With doing it ourselves, we were able to be a lot more relaxed.

I didn’t have anything on my mind except the recording of this album. When it was done it was really weird. I had nothing to do. (Laughs)

Do you think you’ll record your next album the same way?

Partly maybe. I mean, I don’t think we’ll do anything for another year. But I think we could record pretty fast. I’m not sure, it really depends on what the songs are and we’re already writing new songs now. I really don’t know what that will look like. I’m pretty sure we all don’t want to spend an entire year running all over the place and trying to capture it that way. We’d all like to live kind of normal lives.

You played a show at The Knitting Factory and you offered fans a live stream of the show. How did that go?

It was really cool. We had a lot of comments from people, from California especially, who clearly couldn’t make it. They said it was really good. It’s cool because since this is our first album, we’re a pretty young band and we can’t really get all over the place yet. It was really cool. The camera panning is really weird. It’s kind of just left and right and left and right and then sometimes a wide shot. There was a game I used to play where you would have to hide from security cameras and it felt like I was always losing throughout the entire show.

Are there any plans to do it again?

Yeah, we’d love to. It’s really cool. It’s part of what the internet can offer. We had some shows that some our friends filmed that we’re going to start streaming as well. They sound pretty good so we want to get those out. We’re not really a studio band which is probably why it took so long to make the record. We really like playing live and I think a lot of our energy comes out in the live show. It’s great that people can actually see that.

In regards to not feeling like you’re a studio band, how did that make recording challenging?

Playing live is about capturing the energy and that one moment and it happens so instantaneously. For me, maybe for all of us, I feel kind of out of body when we play and then it’s over and I have no idea how it happened. We rehearse stuff, but once we actually play it feels like I’m not even there. It’s automatic and it feels great.

Recording an album is trying to make one moment forever. There were a lot of options. There are a lot of things you can play around with to get the feel of it. We have some extra sounds that we put in there and things that we can’t do live on stage right now. But on the record you get the same point.

Once the album comes out are there any plans to go on tour?

For right now we only have local shows planned. I think we’re going to play around the region at least. We haven’t toured before. We went to Toronto in June which was the longest trip we’ve ever taken as a band. It went fine but we’re not used to it. I’d love to play up and down the east coast.

Speaking of Toronto, you played North By Northeast. Do you think you’ll make it to South By Southwest?

I’d love to. It’s a bit far in the future right now, but I’d love to. I think we’re playing CMJ next month and those kinds of things. They’re a lot of fun. You just play a quick set. You get in and get out. You just kind of see what people think and it sounds like a lot of fun.
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