Having spent the last few months riding a wave of prestigious live shows, which have included support slots alongside The Lightning Seeds, Fickle Friends and The Academic, Birmingham-based outfit The Arosa now return with their latest effort 'In Chemicals'.
Following on from last year's highly-praised offerings 'Sylvia' and 'Keep In Mind', the band's latest release looks to couple bold and adventurous indie-rock aesthetics with a reinvigorated Britpop-inspired swagger, making for an enormous and thunderous new cut that gives acts like Kodaline and The 1975 a run for their money.
So with their name's back on the agenda, we sat down with the band's vocalist James Storey to find out more about their influences and what has driven their sound all these years.
What were the first instruments you fell in love with?
For myself and Ben it was definitely love at first sight with the guitar, the same with Ben on the drums, but for Joe that’s probably a different story. He plays about 60 different instruments so I couldn’t say! Personally, I definitely have a bit of a soft spot for a piano. I’d have a bit of piano in every song we wrote if the others let me!
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
We listen to such a range of music it’s so hard to pick one particular genre or band. We love the sonics of bands like The Cure and Joy Division because they sound so huge, we definitely have a penchant for those massive reverbs. Recently we’ve been messing with a lot of synths, being inspired by the likes of Tame Impala or those moody early Kasabian records. As for song writing, it could be anything from Bowie to ABBA, or our more recently local bands we love like Peace and JAWS. I think we started the band because we wanted to play live, we played covers before we started writing our own tunes so it’s impossible to say there was a single prominent inspiration for us as a band.
What kind of music did you love as teenagers?
As teenagers we’d listen to all sorts! I used to be into a lot more heavy guitar music to begin with, but I remember getting into Lower Than Atlantis and Don Broco. I think Joe must have got me listening to Brit Pop and 80s indie stuff like The Roses and The Smiths. Ben listened to a lot of early blues as well as 60s and 70s rock (Hendrix, Clapton, Tom Petty, Beach Boys). It’s interesting when someone says that one of your songs reminds them of a band you haven’t listened to for ages, even if you never thought about that artist while writing the song, their influence might still be heard.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
It’s got to be a super chilled playlist because I’m not a morning person at all. So, anything from DMA'S to Post Malone, or even a bit of smooth radio - can’t go far wrong with that! Ben is listening to a lot of chilled rap/lo-fi stuff, Joe takes the opposite approach and listens to a lot of post punk stuff like Fontaines DC.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
I think a lot of our songs really are about certain people in our life. I think that makes it a lot more real. The lyrics for our most recent single ‘In Chemicals’ however, were written over a long period of time because I kept going back to it. I couldn’t quite get them right. It’s crazy really, because once it came all together, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about. In the end I remember being out with a few mates and was introduced to this kid that one of them knew. He started talking about stuff he’d gone through and experienced and I was sat there thinking- mate, I’ve written a song about you. On the other hand, Joe writes lyrics after the music and tries not to focus on writing about one person/thing in particular, trying to get the feeling across, but also leaving it open to interpretation.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
Probably when we toured for the first time. We accidentally ruined a hotel room in Liverpool - we weren’t even trying to be ‘rock n roll’! Somehow, after a post-gig night out, me and Joe returned to the hotel room to find that a very intoxicated Ben (drummer) had managed to flood the hotel room by blocking the shower drain with toilet paper. While we were trying to clean it up Ben (guitarist) appeared unclothed with a life ring he'd stolen from the Albert Docks, which he'd somehow got past the hotel security. It was weird. And that’s excluding most of the embarrassing details. Out of all the gigs we’ve played, that was definitely our finest moment.
If you weren’t musicians, what other path do you think you might have taken?
We would probably all chip in a quarter each and buy our local up the road, The Old Bulls Head, just because it’s a palace.
The Arosa's new single 'In Chemicals' is available to stream and download now, and you can check it out in the player below.