There is so much happening in the Guelph music scene lately – it’s fantastic! One of the bands I’m really excited about is Arkham Awaits – a post-hardcore metal group, drawing their influences from bands like Thrice, Alexisonfire, Hopesfall, Tool and Deftones – just to name a few! I got a hold of their “Meridian” EP earlier this year and was blown away. It’s a perfect blend of heaviness and melody, which is not an easy task – a lot of bands get it wrong – but Arkham Awaits gets it soooo right. The guys took some time to do this Q&A for us, where they touch on their past, tell us about their future plans, and we also have a little fun with some of the questions!
1. Can you give us a brief history of how the band came to be?
Arkham Awaits was actually the bastard child of Levin and Paul’s acoustic project. After having a great time writing acoustically, they decided they wanted to expand it into a full-band project, inviting Steve to play drums and Kyle to join as our screamer. After a few months of practicing and writing, Nic was brought in to play bass and was a great fit. Every one of us had so much to offer musically that it developed really quickly!
2. What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Naming the band was actually pretty difficult, since we all had very different perspectives on how we wanted to be represented. After a long brainstorming process we came up with Arkham Awaits. We are all comic book/superhero nerds, so it didn’t take long for the name to stick!
3. Do any members play in other bands?
A few of us actually play in other bands at the moment. Levin, Paul and Nic have quietly been working on an acoustic side-project called “LP & the Grizz” and Nic actually plays at Doogie’s in downtown Guelph with his friend Mark. Most of us were involved in other bands in the past, but it is worth mentioning that Steve once went on a European-tour playing drums for a Polka band!
4. I’ve heard a rumour that the “Meridian” EP (released earlier this year) was originally supposed to be a full-length album. True? Can you tell us what happened?
Ya, we actually had plans to record our first full-length with a studio in Barrie earlier this year. After recording the first few songs last fall, the studio-guy abruptly decided to close down his studio for financial reasons. Needless to say, we were pretty disappointed not to be able to complete the project, but we decided to release the few songs he finished as our “Meridian” EP.
5. Do you have plans for a full-length album, and can you give us any details on that yet?
We absolutely have plans to record a full-length at the some point in the future, though we have decided it would be better to focus on touring and writing for the moment. We all feel that expanding our fan-base will definitely serve us better in the future than jumping right back into the studio.
6. Can you give us a feel for your writing process? How do the songs generally come together?
Our writing process usually stems from Paul coming up with riffs and then bringing them to the band to develop the song-structure. In the beginning Paul and Levin already had a bunch of songs written, which was really cool, since we got to watch them develop and evolve once everyone had an opportunity to give their input.
7. Arkham Awaits is undeniably heavy and technical, but you also combine a lot of melodic vocals and riffs. When the band was first created, was this always the sound you were aiming for, or was it something that developed over time? Is balancing the different sounds ever a challenge?
We never really gave too much thought to create a specific style of music, but mostly just wanted to make music that we would want to listen to. We often write parts and songs with each other’s musical styles in mind, so I think we made it easy for ourselves to balance vastly different sounds in our music.
8. How often does the band practice?
We try to jam 2-3 times a week at our jam space. It’s actually a really incredible place – so many great bands and musicians practice there! Mandroid Echostar jam downstairs next to Islands & Empires and Brave the Apex, and our room is next to Wakeless, who share their room with Jeremy & the Pink Band. It’s really awesome hearing all those incredible musicians practicing so close by, and we’ve become really close friends with all those guys in the process!
9. What’s the strangest thing we would find in your rehearsal space?
Ha ha ha! We should probably have a garage sale with all the junk we’ve collected! The funniest things we have in there right now are probably these giant cardboard cutouts of Darth Vader and R2-D2 that Paul brought in. We also had a fake Christmas tree in there for a while that eventually got set up in the common area. We think it was the Wakeless guys who did that!
10. It was recently announced that Arkham Awaits is now officially working with GAIN Music, can you tell us a bit more about what that means and what the band’s plans are for the future?
We’ve actually been working with GAIN Music for a few years now, and they’ve been great to us! Mostly this new development means that GAIN will be taking over a larger part of our management duties, especially in terms of booking shows. They’ve always booked our hometown shows, but now they’ll be looking to use their contacts outside of Guelph to help us set up shows and start touring. We are incredibly excited to see what’s in store for us, and even have news on the way about a potential short-tour run in August! We’ve got a lot of high hopes for the future, but mostly we just want to get out there and play to new audiences. We have so much fun on stage, we just want to tour and get new people into our music. In the near future, we definitely want to focus on touring out to the East coast and then maybe start looking West and maybe even into the States!
11. Tell us about the best show you’ve played to date.
A few shows come to mind when it comes to the best shows we’ve played. Being asked to play Mandroid Echostar‘s “Unveiling” at E-Bar was pretty incredible. Playing to a sold-out crowd alongside Wakeless, Farewell to Freeway, and, of course, Mandroid Echostar, was unbelievable. The feeling of brotherhood that stemmed from that show really revived Guelph’s music scene! Our last Guelph show, our “Meridian” EP release show was also pretty amazing! We played with The Coyote Way, Sleepless and Sleep When You’re Dead, and the hometown crowd support was unreal! The high-point was definitely watching Kyle being crowd-surfed during our final song by some of the Mandroid guys!!!
12. Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses? You can choose one weapon.
We’re glad you asked this question. We would choose to engage in an epic bloodbath with the five of us facing 100 duck-sized horses, and we would ride into battle atop a battle-hardened horse-sized duck … named Winston. We would soar over the battlefield on our mallard Winston, reigning death upon the poor stupid tiny horses, stomping them with our enormous webbed feet and using furious wing flaps to create a sandstorm so that we could use our air-superiority to deadly effect.