INTERVIEW: A R I Z O N A
A R I Z O N A have an indie pop sound that you’ll likely hearing on your radio in the near future. Having just released their debut album, “Gallery”, the band are on the road with a summer full of festivals ahead. We recently had the chance to chat with the guys from A R I Z O N A about the new album, their musical inspirations, and where we can find them this summer. Thanks to Sam Ostrowski at Warner Music Group for coordinating the interview:
B&E: How did the name A R I Z O N A form? I read something that it formed through Nate’s hat? What’s the background story on that?
A: Zach and I (Nate), were living in LA at the time working as producers and songwriters on the other end of the glass and we were really starting to feel burnt out from that. So we started writing music just for ourselves, when we looped David in -who had been a long time friend and collaborator of ours, we began to toy with the idea of taking ourselves a little more seriously and starting a band. We all laughed at the idea at first because we never thought anyone would care about what we were doing. We started talking about names when David looked at the both of us and said “the name is never gonna matter, let’s just write good and honest music that we love! The name is all secondary to that.” I (Nate) just so happened to be wearing a hat that said Arizona, so Dave pointed at my hat and said “Call it… Arizona. The name is never gonna matter.” We laughed some more and wasn’t sure if he was serious but David being the mad scientist that he is, took a quick second to mock up the logo and showed it to us all spaced out A R I Z O N A. We thought it looked cool and the rest is history.
B&E: So you guys met in college, in Boston? How did you guys make your way from college boys to A R I Z O N A?
A: It was a long road filled with sleepless nights and not much reward. What kept us going, working as music producers, or songwriters, or in multimedia, was the bond that we had to each other. When you want to give up, but your best friends wake up ready to fight, it certainly helps you keep grinding. We hit a wall with those lives, and decided we still had fight left in us; thus became the weird idea of being our own artists. I don’t think we saw it coming this far, but even now that it has, the concept remains the exact same as it did 5 years ago in Boston, or New Jersey, or LA, or England, or anywhere we’ve been.
B&E: I saw that you guys collaborated with Julia Michaels on your single ‘Electric Touch’. How did that come about? Were you guys previously friends?
A: We were very obviously fans of her work. It just so happens that the feeling was apparently
mutual! She found us, we met in LA, had a great listening party to some unreleased stuff, and just had a follow up session in NY. I wish I could go into great detail about how everything came together, but I honestly think that the beauty of our time together was how natural it all was. We didn’t have to try to connect in that room, we just did.
B&E: And why choose ‘Electric Touch’ as the second single?
A: That’s an interesting question. I think some might imagine a board meeting happening, talking about which song is going to be best received and which song will make the most sense… Truth is, we’ve always chosen what to release based on how we feel about the music. The beauty of being signed to and partnered with the people we are, is that they’re all the exact same way as well. We’ll all just talk about what we’re vibing, and whatever we all like, we decide to give to the world next. It’s a good way for people to know where we are in that moment.
B&E: I also read that you guys chose to channel the legendary Michael Jackson in some of your songs. Is he one of your biggest inspirations? Who are some of your other inspirations when it comes to music?
A: David here – We would be remiss to say that Michael Jackson isn’t one of our biggest inspirations!
He’s absolutely legendary. Our inspirations are so vast and obscure – and it’s funny how our music manifests itself because we don’t necessarily sit down to say that we will be emulating one thing or another – rather we just set out to put down what is on our hearts. Nate for instance, cites many hardcore bands as great influences. Zach loves many 80s acts such as Kenny Loggins and Billy Ocean. I love a lot of left field stuff like Hiatus Kaiyote and Sylvan Esso. I’m not sure if you can attribute our sound to a particular artist, but if you picked apart the songs, you’d notice a cornucopia of influences.
B&E: Who do you admire or look up to most in the music industry today?
A: Jack Antonoff is definitely a huge inspiration to all of us! Not just because he’s a killer songwriter, performer, and person but he’s also from New Jersey! He’s making our home state proud and we can only hope to do the same.
B&E: I see that you guys are on a bunch of lineups this summer. You guys ready for festival season? Which festival are you most excited to play? Or have played?
A: We just played Bottlerock in Napa Valley and Hangout in Gulf Shores these past two weekends and have Governors Ball, Firefly, and Lollapalooza approaching! As kids that grew up attending a lot of these festivals it’s honestly hard to say which we are/were most excited for because we’re just so stoked on having the opportunity to be at any festival! Although, I think Governors Ball had a special place in our hearts since it’s the only NYC festival we’re playing this year.
B&E: If you each had to describe the new album in 3 words, what would they be?
Nate: Punk. Rock. Party.
Zach: Lots. Of. Coffee.
David: It’s. Been. Considered.
B&E: What are the future plans for A R I Z O N A ?
A: Lots of touring in support of our debut album “Gallery.” We’re wrapping up the last leg of a tour with COIN this month, next month we’ll be joining Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness on his Zombies Summer Tour, then in September we’ll be heading out on our very own and very first headlining tour!