An Interview With Sibling Rockers JOCELYN AND CHRIS ARNDT!
Posted On 14 Feb 2019
Meet Jocelyn & Chris Arndt!
Having already drawn early comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt, upstate NY siblings-turned-Harvard-grads Jocelyn & Chris Arndt are filled plenty of daring and vitality, which is exactly what they deliver on their latest LP ‘The Fun in the Flight’ (out Feb. 22). The 11-track album draw on a range of inspirations — from Jimmy Page to Pat Benatar to Nina Simone — and is what Jocelyn & Chris call their “love letter to classic rock.” The album is more than just an ode to past: it’s an eclectic blend of nuances anchored with the infectious grooves, soul and raw emotion that counties to set these siblings apart.
Parade calls the duo’s first single “Outta My Head,” “a bluesy, riveting song that thoughtfully uses minimalist backing to showcase mesmerizing vocals laced with an urgency that borders on obsession.”
PopDust says Jocelyn “mixes Janis Joplin and Queen into a surprisingly modern sonic experience,” while another journalist says Chris’ “sound evokes Jimmy Page and Stevie Ray Vaughn, using these legends as a stepping stone to play blues-rock his own way.”
Learn more about Jocelyn and Chris Arndt in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day for you both?
Thanks for your time too! We’re having a really cool day today, so that’s an excellent first question. This morning, we finalized the premiere for our upcoming music video, built out some graphic content for our next radio campaign, mailed out releases for the video segments we’ll be shooting tomorrow and the next day in NYC, signed contracts for some upcoming tour dates, renewed our recording contract, and planned a chili-cooking contest to take place in mid-February with folks at our label and recording studio. (We had a pie-baking contest in November, so I guess this is becoming a thing now?) After I wrap up this interview, we’ve got rehearsals with two different bassists (one plays electric bass and the other upright) for some of our upcoming showcase performances. Then we’ll load our gear into the trailer, head home, throw in a couple loads of laundry, and record a few dozen radio one-liners and IDs for stations that have played us in the past. After that, I think whatever new IPA they’ve got at the local taproom might have my name on it, along with a few YouTube how-tos on cooking chili.
With the new year started, what is one musical goal that you have for your music? How would you say that 2018 treated you overall?
At the risk of sounding like a hedge-fund manager, I think we can sum up our goals pretty simply: growth, growth, and more growth! Every year since we started working with Bridge Road Entertainment, we’ve grown our career. In 2016, we released our first full-length studio album and brought it up the FMQB radio charts. In 2017, we released a second LP and brought a single inside the Billboard Triple-A Top 40. In 2018, we played the mainstage at Mountain Jam music festival alongside Portugal the Man, Jack Johnson, and Alt-J, we began selling out shows in more and more cities across the country, and we recorded our best music yet. We even got Cory Wong of Vulfpeck and Gov’t Mule’s Danny Louis to join us on a few tracks. In 2019, we want more of everything! We want to play more shows to more people, we want more press and publicity opportunities, and we want to bring our radio singles further up the charts than ever before. 2018 was a great year for us, full of awesome stuff and a hell of a lot of fun, but 2019 is going to be our best year yet.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this duo together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?
I actually don’t think either of us ever considered doing music without the other. We’ve only ever done music together, and we definitely both want to keep it that way. A lot of people think it’s crazy that we can be siblings and still stand spending as much time together as we do, but I can’t think of anyone on the planet I’d rather hang around than Jocelyn. She’s my best friend, making music with her is my favorite thing to do, and the fact that we have the opportunity to turn it into a career is a huge honor. Plus, being siblings is actually a huge boost to our songwriting–we know each other well enough to be comfortable expressing artistic ideas, even when they seem silly, and we know that no argument will ever be as important as our relationship as siblings. For me, the most surprising thing about the ride so far is less that it’s Jocelyn I’m doing it with and more that I’m doing it at all. When we were in high school, I never thought a career in music was a possibility. It seemed like such a pipe dream that I actually had to remind myself sometimes that our band wasn’t a “real” job. It’s been 6 years since then, and I’m still half expecting to wake up tomorrow with no clue and a test in Mr. J’s biology class.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves in this band?
We grew up in a tiny town called Fort Plain. It’s about an hour west of Albany, and it’s so small that even though I-90 goes directly through downtown we don’t have an exit. We never really had a ton of direct exposure to original live music, as the closest concert venue was a little over an hour away. What we did have was more support than you could ever imagine. The biggest local band was a group called “Spike and the Boys”, and they really took us under their wing. Whenever our school brought in musical acts for assemblies, the administration would let them know about our music, and they’d often bring us up on stage for a guest performance on a song. The Fort Plain Planning Committee made sure that our high-school band was included in all the town festivals and celebrations. We didn’t have the high-speed, densely populated environment you get in a city, but we had a community that fostered our love for music and performing from a super young age.
How are you feeling about soon to be releasing your album, “The Fun In the Flight”? What was it like putting this collection together? How is it “your love letter to classic rock” exactly?
We’re really excited! Releasing an album is always a really stressy experience–you never know exactly how people are going to react–but we’re pumped as hell for this one. It’s the first album we’ve ever written while not living together at college (Jocelyn had graduated, but I still had one year to go), and that posed some major challenges, but ultimately I think we ended up with our best music yet. We call it our love letter to classic rock because we’re constantly inspired by the artists that came before us, especially those iconic, powerful classic rock artists, and we really wanted to pay homage to our heroes with this record. I think you’ll hear it when you take a listen.
How do you think your first single “Outta My Head” prepares listeners for the rest of the album?
I think it’s a pretty good taste of what’s to come. We always vary the feel from song to song on our albums, so you should know that it’s not going to be an album of 11 “Outta My Head” clones, but it’s definitely a great starting place. You can expect a lot of riffs, a lot of energy, and a lot of fun.
What has been one of your favorite shows ever? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band?
It’s pretty hard to pick, but I think I can narrow it down to two shows. The first would be our first show in Sacramento, CA, at a club called Harlow’s. We had just started pushing our final single from our last album, “Go”, and it was beginning to pick up some radio traction. This is the single that eventually made it into the AAA Top-40 on Billboard, but it was way before that happened, so we weren’t really sure what was happening with it. We’d never played Sacramento, so we weren’t expecting a large group of people, but by the time we went on stage there were almost 100 people in the room on a rainy week night, and they were all singing along to our songs. It was insane. Turns out, one of our most supportive radio stations is based in Sacramento, and they’d built us up an awesome base of fans. My other favorite show would be when we played the Mountain Jam mainstage this past year. That stage has also seen Tom Petty and Robert Plant and the Black Keys and the Allman Brothers and Portugal the Man and so many other great artists, and getting to play there was the most awesome, epic, humbling experience ever. As to what makes a good show for us, honestly, we just love to play. It’s always great to have an energetic audience that actually cares and wants to hear, but if you give us a stage in an empty room we’ll still have the time of our lives. We’re living our dream!
Where can people see you this year? Do you have a 2019 tour scheduled yet?
All over! We’ll be at SXSW, we’ll be headed out to California a few times, and we’ll be in Colorado in August. We’re actually just beginning to announce new tour dates and we’ve got a hell of a schedule planned, so keep an eye out. It’s going to be an amazing year!