My name is Andy Reed, and the idea is a simple one: what happens when you combine the drive for higher education with a never-ending Rolodex of band press kits and social media pages? With a cup of coffee and a great deal of patience, I look and listen for the next young somethings out there to give them a moment in color. Shine on you crazy diamonds, and let it be known that this is the moment in time before you were famous.
With the rise of streaming platforms and the lackluster attitudes directed toward radio stations, the environment for independent bands is on the decline. The grunge-funk band Arcadia, composed of three undergrads at the University of New Haven, rings new light to the alt-indie sound with their lyrically-driven progressive style, bridging the gap between the Rolling Stones and Nirvana. Based in West Haven, Connecticut, this power trio produces a sound that resonates with anyone who likes a solid progressive breakdown like that of the White Stripes, or who can groove to a verse pattern similar to that of the Pixies.
The newest demo off their latest self-titled EP, “Do You Love Me,” has the colors of indie rock but waves the freak flag of classic punk music. Punctuated with rhythms that predate their time, Arcadia “doesn’t give a shit about your politics,” and clearly does so with their music.
After a few weeks of coordinating interviews, I was able to catch up with Arcadia to dish about the status of the DIY indie-punk space and what the Northeast music scene really looks like. Punk is still alive and well, it seems.
You’re a self-proclaimed grunge-funk trio from New Haven, CT. To those who don’t know, what is the music scene like over there? Any recent successes?
Arcadia: The New Haven music scene is awesome. There are tons of DIY venues and basement shows, the community is very supportive and always makes the shows a great time. As for successes out of Connecticut, I think it all depends on how you measure success. For us, even though were just starting out, we feel like we already have had more than we could imagine. We have people listening to our music regularly, coming out to our shows for us, and it feels awesome.
You sound something like Nirvana mixed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers with a dash of classic rock like the Rolling Stones, Kansas or REO Speedwagon. Do you agree/disagree? What are your influences?
Tom: Yeah I think that sums us up pretty well! The cool thing of this band is we all come from different areas. I am from Boston, Chris is from New York, and Michaela is from New Jersey, so environmentally we all have different influences. Musically, we also are quite diverse in what we listen to, while having a lot of common ground between us. I draw influences from a wide variety of artists, which I think helps a ton on writing drum parts for our songs, or helping out with the songwriting. Some of my main influences are Filter, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Townes Van Zandt among many others.
Chris: I really respect Kurt Cobain as a lyricist and songwriter, so his influence on me is pretty huge. The Foo Fighters are also a big influence on me with how rocking they are, and the Chili peppers definitely influence me with their funkiness.
Michaela: I draw inspiration from the RHCP bassist Flea and the Black Keys. The fact that the [Black Keys] are only two guys and they are able to create such a big rocking sound inspires me, and since we are only a three piece I take that as an inspiration that we can sound huge as well.
You’re working on releasing a full-length album this year. What does your writing/recording process look like? Any stories from the studio?
Tom: We are super excited to get our full length out there. The writing process typically looks like Chris coming into the room with an idea that he wrote acoustically, and then we jam it out as a band until we reach a sound that we like. For the recording process, we are always determined to get the best product and work efficiently. We were lucky to be able to work with our friend Joey Stanca at Checkmate Creative* for this full length.
Having someone you are good friends with who also is really good at what they do is a great time. It makes for a fun setting because we were able to goof off and have fun, while ultimately all being focused on reaching the same goal. These late night sessions were fueled by many McDonald’s and 7/11 runs, and many shenanigans. Some good stories from the studio would be: On the day we were supposed to start drum tracking, I was playing recreational flag football the night for fun, and some dude decided to take it too seriously and make it a full contact sport. He destroyed the cartilage in my index finger and I was in the ER the whole night, and we had to delay the tracking by a week.
In your opinion, is the university environment conducive for musicians? Why or why not?
Arcadia: Our university (University of New Haven) is definitely great for meeting like-minded people and meeting musicians, due to it being partially a music school. So, yes certainly the right university will definitely be beneficial for networking and meeting people with different backgrounds but similar interests.
If it was up to us we would be writing and rehearsing and touring as much as we could, but obviously we also are here for an education, so we have to devote a lot of our time to classes and work.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?
Tom: The biggest challenge for us, or any band in this current time, is getting our music heard. We live in a great time where its easy to distribute music to streaming platforms, and more music is being put out than ever before. However, that leads to challenges getting music heard because its easy to get lost in a sea of other things being released at the same time. Its all awesome for sure, but definitely adds a challenge.
What happens now that the album is finished? What’s next for you?
Arcadia: We are just focusing hard on getting this album out and promoting it. We have worked really hard on it and want everyone to hear it and hopefully connect to it get something out of it. We also are looking to play way more shows, and especially get out to other parts of the country, and hopefully the world.
If you’d like to catch Arcadia on the road, their tour dates are as follows: