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INTERVIEW: Jocelyn & Chris Arndt

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Busy, but really stoked! We’re crunching to make our upcoming full-length release “Edges” as awesome as possible, and we’re also gearing up to hit the road for shows across the country in week or two. It’s been crazy, but Chris and I couldn’t be more lit-up about how everything is going.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shame”?

Ah, “Shame”. Talk about sass… I let my girl-wrath have free reign on this one. Lyrically, I was really going for this idea of musical revenge; he might have screwed me over, but he forgot that I’m one of those artistic types, and I’m going to make sure everybody who hears this song knows what an absolute jerk he was. And then Chris really took that tone and ran with it. His guitar work here is just the right balance of retro groove and modern edge. The end result is a cheeky, unapologetic rock song we’re both really proud of.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Well, what happens in high school stays in high school… Although honestly, Chris and I aren’t the type to hold grudges in our everyday lives. We save that for our music. Mess with a couple of blues-rockers and you can expect to hear a song down the road that sounds just a little too familiar. Just ask Taylor Swift about that.

Can you tell us more about the upcoming video?

Sure! We’ve actually got a bunch of videos in the works right now… It’s going to be a busy winter. For “Shame”, I’ll tell you that it’s sort of a lyric video with a twist. All the words are there, but it also incorporates live performance with a story line that follows the song. We think it’ll turn out pretty sweet.

The single comes off your new album Edges – what’s the story behind the title?

It took us a long time to name this album. Chris and I went back and forth brainstorming ideas, and nothing seemed quite right. Finally, we were driving to the studio one morning going through lyrics when we stopped on a line from our song Jagged: “My edges are jagged / I’ve got you wrapped around my finger but you’re gonna have to move along.” The word “Edges” kind of stood out to us…I think both of us would say that our music is multi-sided, and with all those facets come lots of different edges, too. Rock, blues, a little pop, a bit of jazz. A pinch of retro styling here, a bit of modern bite there. It just seemed to fit with the whole feel of the album; we’re showing you pieces of us song by song, edge by edge.

How was the recording and writing process?

Edges is a blend of material we wrote years ago with material we developed over the past year while we were traveling and playing a bunch of shows. The difference for us with this album is a greater sense of musical identity. We’re much more confident about who we are as musicians now, and that certainty offered us a much clearer roadmap when it came to a recording approach for these songs. Our producer, David Bourgeois, is a big fan of giving a song time to breathe instead of forcing it through predetermined process, which was perfect for Edges. For example, we actually recorded most of the vocals for the album in a cabin on White Lake in New York’s central Adirondack Mountains. We could take our time, chill by the fire, and find just the right space for each song. No studio pressure, no hard daily timelines, no traffic… Just music. We also recorded a track at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals while we were on tour, which was insane! You can feel the character of that place as soon as you walk through the door. And seeing signed records by people like Etta James and Duane Allman hanging on the walls is chicken soup for the rock n’ roll soul. All and all, Chris and I both feel that taking our time allowed us to create recordings that are organic and true to each song. Edges is clearly a rock album, and we’re really proud of it. We’ve only got one listening rule… Don’t forget to turn it up.

What was it like to work with Danny Louis and how did that relationship develop?

First of all, besides his insane talent, Danny is also one of the kindest musicians we’ve ever met. Plus, he’s a member of Gov’t Mule, a band with some of the most loyal followers in history. We saw that firsthand when we played with them at the Mountain Jam Music Festival earlier this year. The recording connection came through our producer, David. Danny not only ended up playing on six tracks of Edges, but was also super engaged in the process and said some really nice things about all of us and our music. The experience was amazing, and we feel we’ve found a true friend. You can expect further collaboration for sure. (And also, never miss a chance to see Gov’t Mule live. They’ll melt your face off with pure blues-rock goodness, and you’ll love every minute of it.)

How much did he get to influence the album?

Like all of the musicians on the Edges, he was there to lend to songs that were already pretty fully-formed. Chris and I don’t bring a song to the studio until we think it’s ready to be developed at that level. That’s not to say that the musicians we play with don’t have any input, though. The reason we play with people like Danny Louis and G Love (he’s also on the album) is because we know they’ll put their own creative stamp on our music; tones we didn’t know existed, riffs we didn’t know were possible. Our producer’s style is to listen first and ask questions later. That’s the approach that gets us those “Ooh! I love what you did there!” moments, and the music gets better as a result.

What is the main theme and topic of the album?

It’s more of a main feel than a main topic. With Edges, Chris and I want to show the world exactly who we are as musicians and songwriters. This is a blues-rock album, and we’re blues rockers. We’re focused, we’re wide open, and we’re ready to share ourselves with you. Every edge.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yeah! Next up for us is a run of shows out West, anchored by a January 23rd performance for Edge TV at the legendary Viper Room in Hollywood. We’ll be through Colorado, Utah, and Nevada along the way. In March, we’ll also be doing another run of shows through Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. We’re racking up the miles these days!

What else is happening next in Jocelyn and Chris Arndt’s world?

Between Edges and our tour schedule, we’ve got no plans to slow down. In the next few months, we’ll be recording, editing, videotaping, and playing nonstop. Expect lots of new material very soon! You can check us out on Facebook, Instagram @jocelynandchrismusic, Twitter @jocelynandchris, and our website, jocelynandchrismusic.com, to follow our music madness. Thank you for having us, VENTS!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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