INTERVIEW: Americana singer-songwriter Michael McArthur

Photo by Michael Flores

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

I’ve been so well. 2018 was very special. Willing the same for this year.

Can you talk to us more about your song “We Live & We Die”?

The album begins and ends with songs that tell the same story, but from different perspectives. “We Live & We Die” is a plea to be seen, to be understood, and to understand. It’s a story told from the perspective of someone who’s withering away. You can breathe the same air and still feel invisible.

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

2017 inspired me to write it. It was the most challenging twelve months of any twelve that came before. I was at my breaking point. I could feel the seam slipping. So, I got it down on paper. It helped.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Not initially. To be honest, I assumed “We Live & We Die” would be one of those songs that grows with you over time. The one you open up on a rainy day. I’m beginning to realize though, that it has some immediate power. So maybe. : )

The single comes off your new album Ever Green, Ever Rain – what’s the story behind the title?

In the summer, it rains daily here in Florida, and I do a lot of thinking on my front porch. It’s also very green here. There’s something about that imagery. Rain represents difficult times, and green represents growth and change. The destroying of a thing is the creation of a new thing. You can’t have one without the other. Both are vital, like food and water.

How was the recording and writing process?

I wrote every chance I got. At home, in the car, in the mountains, at the grocery store, in the middle of the night. Ideas were showing themselves so often, I had to make a conscious effort to keep up. I had a lot on my mind, and my mind needed a purge. I wrote 50 songs or so, put them in a 3-ring binder and drove from Florida to California to make the record.

We recorded ‘Ever Green, Ever Rain’ the classic way. Live as a band in four days at United Recording Studios on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. It’s where the Beach Boys made Pet Sounds. Soul runs deep in those walls. I should mention too, that the only overdubs done were background vocals, percussion, and some instrumental layering. Everything else is live. I couldn’t have dreamed a better band. Most of us were meeting for the first time, but by the end of a very fast and intense week, we were family.

What was it like to work with Ryan Freeland and how did that relationship develop?

I reached out to Ryan, because I love his records. He’s made some truly beautiful art, and I wanted to do the same. I sent him a few acoustic demos that I made at home. He wrote back and said he loved them, so we got on the phone. Three or four months later we were together in Los Angeles.

How much did he get to influence the album?

The greatest producers understand that believable art can’t be made in the presence of self doubt. Ryan is a man of few words, but choice words. He knows the balance of welcoming your truest self while quietly demanding more of that. This record wouldn’t be this record without him. He’s a Jedi.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I listen to her laugh. I pay attention to the sound of the wind finding its way through the live oak trees. And despite the fact that I have 100 things on my mind at any given time, I make the conscious effort to put them away so I may be clear and present for those I love. I think a lot. I ask questions. I watch movies. I go for walks. I sit on my front porch. Songs aren’t easy, but they’re simple if you pay attention.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I’ll be touring the country on and off all of this year and next year.

What else is happening next in Michael McArthur’s world?

It’s all happening next.

Watch here

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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