An Interview With The Brother-Sister Duo JOCELYN AND CHRIS ARNDT On Their Debut Album, Touring Memories And More!
Posted On 24 Oct 2016
Meet the up-and-coming sibling duo Jocelyn and Chris Arndt! The soulful pair recently released their new album Edges (currently #14 on the US Jam Band Album Charts).
Edges, was released in March to rave reviews, and is currently streaming via Glide Magazine, here: http://goo.gl/uCcWxk.
Since Jocelyn and Chris began, their music has continued to grow and mature into authentic rock; the two truly showcase their ever-lasting talent in their new album, which has also recently been featured on Paste Magazine, Relix, The 405, and Baeble Music.
Jocelyn and Chris Arndt have a lot more to offer than just devastatingly powerful vocals and retro-rock driven guitar; in the past year alone, they have logged in more than 100 performances, including sets at The Sundance Film Festival, Mountain Jam Music Festival, and SXSW 2016. They have been featured on over 100 College Radio Stations, have appeared on TV in New York, Virginia, and Tennessee, and have recorded songs featuring well-known artists such as Danny Louis of Gov’t Mule – all while simultaneously attending college at Harvard University!
Learn more about this duo in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
Thank YOU much for having us! This year has been incredible. Between recording and performing across the country, it’s actually hard to wrap my brain around all of it. We recorded our album “Edges” with our band, and we had some insanely awesome guests on it, too, like G Love and Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule. We played events like SXSW, Red Gorilla, and The Florida Music Festival. We were on the road with Delta Rae and Vertical Horizon, toured 20 states in 22 days, traveled coast to coast twice, and somehow made time to write new material. It’s been nuts! It just keeps getting better.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
No, I don’t think we thought of it that way. Honestly, we just wanted to do things that we thought were fun. It turns out, largely thanks to our parents, music was one of those things. It started as just a regular part of our lives and our household. Our parents always had music on and encouraged us to listen. It’s a little strange, but a lot of my childhood memories are paired with music; I remember the event and the song that was playing when it happened. We didn’t always know we wanted to be professional musicians, but I don’t think either of us could remember a time when music wasn’t a huge part of our lives.
How did you two first decide to come together and form this duo? What’s it like making and creating music with your sibling? What is the silliest thing that you two have argued about?
Jocelyn and I both started taking music lessons in fourth and third grade, respectively. We had a band in elementary school and then again in high school. It was just awesome! As far as continuing into music professionally, that was a (very) happy accident. We were playing a gig with our band at a local fair. It was actually going to be our final show ever, because Jocelyn had been accepted to Harvard University and she had to really focus on her Senior year of high schools
The thing is, our parents have always encouraged us to do everything we do to the best of our abilities. And that’s always included our performances. So even though there were only a dozen people in the audience that night at the fair, we played our hearts out. And as it turns out, among the random fair-goers, our parents,and a few family friends, there was a music manager and producer in the audience. He and his wife had come to the show after hearing a very basic recording we had placed in Youtube. Long story short, here we are.
I will say this to all you musicians and bands out there: always do your best, because you never know who’s listening!
From what I’ve read, it sounds like college radio stations are really loving your music and featuring you all over the place. Why do you think that is?
College radio has been really great to us. I’m not exactly sure why (radio is kind of a giant mystery), but I like to think our music relates to a lot of different people. We’ve got a retro feel that hooks the rockers, but we’ve also got modern, quirky lyrics that I think appeal to a lot of different peeps as well. And knowing that college stations around the country are playing our music is pretty amazing. Although I’ve gotta say, I think some of our greatest gains with Edges have been in commercial radio. We cracked The FMQB AAA Top 200 Albums and Top 200 singles. We also charted at #14 on The Jambands Top 30 Album Chart in The US, and we’ve stayed in that Top 30 for 6 consecutive months. We’re just so excited that people dig our music!
Speaking of college, I’d love to know how you’ve been able to record songs AND attend Harvard at the same time? What’s it been like balancing an active music life with a busy college career?
Jocelyn and I both go to Harvard. It’s really a cool place to be, although believe me, adjusting to the academic requirements here took a little getting used to.
I think we’ve been really lucky on two fronts. First off, Harvard is used to dealing with students who already have careers in the works. Professors definitely don’t make the work “easy” by any means, but they’re understanding, and generally everyone here has been pretty great about adjusting to our musical lives and letting us make up work when we need to. At the same time, our management David and Anna Bourgeois and their team at Bridge Road Entertainment seriously advocate for us. They do everything they can to make things go as smoothly as possible. Much like Harvard, there is absolutely no way that building success in music can be made easy, but they help us use time efficiently and run interference when it comes to things that could distract us. It’s a great situation.
Having said that, it still comes down to just doing a lot of work. Our peers go home on break; we go on tour. Our friends and family enjoy holidays; we’re in the studio (although let’s face it, we’re enjoying ourselves, too). A good friend from school has a birthday party Friday after class, but we’ll be three states away performing. Sure, we miss stuff. But we’re musicians to the core, and it’s all worth it when we can live out our crazy dreams onstage.
Let’s talk about your newest album, “Edges.” Where did the inspiration for it come from? How do you think this collection is different then anything else you’ve released?
Well, this is our first full length. We released an EP a year earlier, and we loved it, but we’re really excited about Edges. Our approach was to make this record an organic, album-listening experience. We wanted the songs to be great by themselves, but we also wanted them to be cohesive and make sense together. We grew up listening to albums start to finish. I think that’s how musicians usually want people to hear their art, and it’s a very different experience than just playing a specific song. We wanted to make an album full of individual pieces of music we loved, but we also wanted to offer a listener the opportunity to get to know us better through that retro front-to-back listening experience. We’re really very proud of how it turned out.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
I think the thing that has surprised us the most is that anything is really possible if you put in the time. Years ago, I think you had to wait and hope. Today, you have a lot more control over your own music career. As our manager always says, the music industry has changed a lot in the past couple decades (some might even say “diminished”), but artists have never had as many opportunities to affect their own success as they do today. Jocelyn and I are using that approach to our advantage. I think our biggest challenge is letting go. When we songwrite, we’re perfectionists, but there comes a point where we have to trust that they’re ready and take them into the studio. That’s not easy!
As for what comes natural to us, that IS easy. We love working together and we love writing and playing music. I hope you’ll hear that in our music and I guarantee you’ll see that when you come to a show.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
This year has been unreal. We’ve gotten to actually perform and record with many people who seriously inspire us. For example, we got to go on the road with the band Delta Rae for a few days over the summer. Besides being kind beyond belief, they’re also some of the most talented musicians we’ve ever played with. You HAVE to see them live. And a few weeks back, we were out with Vertical Horizon. Matt and the whole band were totally unreal, and such great guys. And last December, G Love added harmonica to our song “Hot”. You can hear what he did on Edges… the guy was so into doing exactly the right thing for our song that we were speechless. And then there’s Danny Louis of Gov’t Mule. Danny is on 6 tracks on Edges, and he’s seriously one of the most down-to-earth and talented people we’ve ever met. If we’re talking other inspirations, there’s always Mark Knopfler, Grace Potter, Bonnie Raitt, David Gilmore, and a long list of favorites we grew up listening to. We really take inspiration from anyone we can.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
SLEEP. Bed, couch, floor, car seat, back lawn, you name it… if there’s room to stretch out, we’re in!
We’re also huge winter sports enthusiasts. Jocelyn and I are both former instructors (snowboarding for me and skiing for her). Our Mom and Dad also ski and snowboard. Fortunately, so does our manager, which means you’ll find us on the mountain whenever we’re on tour in Utah or Colorado!
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I remember how much I loved music when I was younger. I’d put on an album and just get this amazing feeling. I remember wondering if I was the only person on earth who felt so excited when I listened to the right song. Music has always just made me so happy. With that in mind, beyond finding some profound experience, I think we’d be truly happy if you simply listen and enjoy it!
Writing and creating music just is what we live for, and the possibility that someone is listening makes it even better!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Yes. there is actually something i need to share. I asked Jocelyn and she agrees completely, so here it is…
THANK YOU! Thank you for listening, for coming to a show, for liking a post, for buying a CD, for shaking my hand, for clapping loudly, for smiling, for believing in us. And thank you to every person who has ever walked up to me after a show and actually thanked me. You are why we do this. Seriously, thank you! (: