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These Arms Are Snakes

Interview von: arne mit Brian, am: 05.10.2006 ]

These Arms Are Snakes legen mit “Easter” ein Zweitwerk vor, dass in seiner musikalischen Kompromisslosigkeit den tollen Vorgänger “Oxeneers Or The Lion…" um Längen übertrifft. Die Jade Tree-Band gibt sich unangepasst, fordernd und unberechenbar, gleichfalls aber auch ungemein zwingend und hoch intensiv. Post-Core kann so schön sein, wenn er sowohl auf einem gehobenen Anspruch als auch nötiger Substanz und Verspieltheit basiert…


Musicscan: Please state your name and what you do in the band at first and tell us, what These Arms Are Snakes has currently been up to?

These Arms Are Snakes: my name is brian. i play bass. we've been spending the summer at home working our shitty day jobs and gearing up for touring all fall.

Musicscan: How does your band feel about the viability of having post-hardcore become the 'new' thing in music? What makes These Arms Are Snakes stand out from your artistic point of view?

These Arms Are Snakes: i'm not sure i even know what post-hardcore is. is that a sound? or is that when hardcore bands decide to stop playing hardcore? either way, i don't really have a take on it either way. i don't really pay much attention to any particular "scene". i like music that i think is interesting and well-crafted. the act of categorizing bands and putting them in genres tends to burden innovative bands by attaching shitty bands to their reputation, and it allows third rate imitators to achieve a level of popularity they don't deserve.

Musicscan: It seems that your sound is continually changing, while other bands are stagnant. "Easter" just seems to prove that. Is it just me, or is there any truth to this?

These Arms Are Snakes: i hope so. we're still figuring out how to be a band. and as a result, we're still figuring out how to write songs. i like that mystery. it's more fun to write music when you don't know where it comes from or how to do it properly.

Musicscan: Was it different writing this album, now that you are more skilled with your instruments and have been toured a lot?

These Arms Are Snakes: not really. once we learn something we move on to something else. once i started understanding the bass, i tried to add some keyboards to the mix. now i'm playing guitar, bass, and keyboards in the band. i also played a little accordion on the record. it's good to always push oneself. we tend to push ourselves a little past our actual abilities. keeps it interesting...

Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressiong on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound?

These Arms Are Snakes: there isn't a tangible line there. there are bands like ween or beck that sound different on every record, and that's part of their identity. i think bands should always evolve, and they should always play whatever they feel like. if a band wants to start making pop records, or dance records, or metal records, they should do it. but only if it's because they're actually passionate about it.

Musicscan: What do you feel you accomplished after finishing your work on "Easter"? Do you feel that the record is a pretty good representation of These Arms Are Snakes s sounding as of right now?

These Arms Are Snakes: we spent 6 weeks on the record. our drummer chris recorded it. that's a long time to work on a record without having any inside input. when we finished it, i really couldn't tell if i loved it or hated it. i kept listening to it to try and figure it out. i was listening to it multiple times a day for weeks. i finally decided that if i could listen to it that much and not get sick of it, it must be pretty decent.

Musicscan: And do you feel that These Arms Are Snakes has found its "own" sound, or is it still evolving? Your debut was way differenet to the songs being featured on "Easter" ­ that's why i am asking...

These Arms Are Snakes: we're still figuring things out. we've never gone into the writing process with a specific vision of what we want to sound like. if anything, we tend to find our sound by negating other styles. we don't want to be a pop band, we don't want to be a mosh band, we don't want to use power-chords, we don't want to use mesa boogie dual rectifiers, we don't want to have china cymbals, we don't want screamy vocals with melodic breakdowns. we eventually whittle away our options and whatever we have left is our music.

Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their album should sound like after the recording it. Listening to the new material right now. Would you say that this was a successful mission or would you even say that the band was able to surprise itself? If this is the case ­ in how far?

These Arms Are Snakes: i think every song has multiple identities. a live song will always be different than it's live counterpart, or at least it always will be in this band. so while i can evaluate our music during the writing process based on how i'm hearing the live version of it, i don't feel like i'll really know what the recorded version sounds like until the song is done. there isn't really a vision involved. during the writing process i hear the song as a bass line with a bunch of instruments playing off of it. in the recorded version, i hear the bass as merely one piece in the puzzle.

Musicscan: Is it a challenge to you to continually write and record new songs and records?

These Arms Are Snakes: yep. but we're all big music nerds. we're always looking for new stuff to get excited about, and it's very rare that we listen to anything that sounds even remotely similar to our band. we're always listening to stuff and wondering "how do you write something like that...". that keeps it interesting, and keeps us motivated.

Musicscan: What did you guys do differently on "Easter" that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing? It s kind of a more diverse and experimental release compared to your first two releases...

These Arms Are Snakes: we went into the studio with the idea that we would allow the songs to evolve a little bit. we've been way more prepared in the past, and i think it made the recording process more about documenting a bunch of songs instead of crafting a full record. i really wanted oxeneers to be a record that one would sit down and listen to from beginning to end. it didn't really turn out that way for me. i feel like we're a lot closer to achieving that this time around.

Musicscan: Were all songs for "Easter" already written and ready for recording when entering the studio or did you rearrange or improvise some parts? As it's very experimental and progressive for some parts I have to ask this.

These Arms Are Snakes: we had the bulk of it written, but we also wanted to craft some segways and interludes to tie some of the songs together. those were not written. there was also some material that we pieced together in the studio.

Musicscan: When you strip These Arms Are Snakes down to its core, what would you say is the message of your band?

These Arms Are Snakes: there isn't a message. it's just a big question mark.

Musicscan: Would you agree to say These Arms Are Snakes is still an underrated band in Europe? Any plans to change this situation maybe with some longer support tour on the new record? How much attention you put on Europe in general?

These Arms Are Snakes: we do really well in some areas and miserably in others. of course, i'd love to do well everywhere, but i just try to appreciate any of the positive feedback we get. we hope to make it to europe early next year. we'll see what happens.