1. Thanks for your time, you teased fans with a new single recently, what was the reaction like?
My favourite artists keep their audience on their toes. Kanye, Bowie, Prince, Beatles…anything they put out was adventurous and unexpected, in many ways. So that’s the model for us. With a song like Relentless – a tune that uses a South African sample – we knew we were throwing a curve ball at our audience. But the reaction’s been incredibly positive. With music it’s often a simple “does it make your ears tingle, or not?” And ears are tingling.
2. You’ve been sitting on the new material for a while now and the album is due on October 19th. Is the single a good representation of the direction of the new material?
Mmmm Yes. Yes, in that the ideas and songs are all very focused. Relentless isn’t a meandering song. You have a sense of what the songs about, what each instrument is doing, and what our aim is. The parts are all very intentional. That’s the ethos of all the material.
3. You say you made the new album during the touring of the last album. Was that a concious decision or did something in particular prompt it?
Yeah – it was very intentional. So much of being in a band is recognizing how to propel yourself. How to make your own momentum. No one else is really going to do that for you. Being able to toggle back and forth between the studio and the road is very energizing to me. If I’m stuck doing too much of one or the other, I can lose that forward momentum.
4. You’ve described the new single as politically-charged. Is there a particular theme running through the album?
People’s Champ is politically charged. It’s very much about Trump and other folks/sociopaths like him. Relentless is an ode to the people around me that offer me love and strength. It’s about my folks, and my friends. It’s about being apart of something bigger than myself.
5. You’ve toured outside of the UK a lot recently, given the political tone of the new single, do you feel we have life any better or worse than other countries you’ve visited?
Ha – I could never speak ill of the mother country! The mind-state of any country is simply the product of their own history, and I think Brits are typically self aware people. Able to recognize what has worked and what doesn’t work. Every country has it’s problems, but if you have decent health care and education system, then you’re in good shape. So in those terms the Brits have it pretty good!
6. Speaking of touring, you’ve got a run of shows booked for the end of the year, what are your plans after that?
We’ll be back in North America for a headline run. Touring can be a limitless endeavour if you want it to be, and it’s a matter of finding the places that are the most fruitful and most worthwhile of your time and investment. We’ve got a bunch of pockets that we enjoy playing. Keeps us busy.
7. There are some quite intimate venues on this tour, is there any particular towns/cities you’re looking forward to playing?
Doesn’t matter the size of the room, as long as it feels alive then we’ll have a good time. Excited about the Leeds show in particular.
8. Curveball question, if you could be any nursery rhyme character who would you pick and why?
Honestly, my memory of nursery rhyme characters is so bad. My memory for most things outside of obscure Beatles facts is so bad. So I couldn’t name you any character besides for Humpty Dumpty, and I don’t think I have much in common with that dude.
9. Frank Turner has been quoted as saying The Arkells were an influence on his current record. How does that feel and can you tell us any interesting stories from your time touring with Frank?
Love Frank. Touring with him and The Sleeping Souls was one of the most fruitful things we’ve ever done. We learned so much every night. His stamina and energy is unlike anything I’ve seen. Story: He opened up our show in Montreal. And then booked an after-party acoustic set at the house of a pal he met that night and played songs until 6am.
10. Thanks for your time, good luck with the album. Looking ahead to 2019, what are your goals for the album and the year?
To build meaningful relationships with the people and towns we play in.
Arkells have just released their video for latest single, Relentless via eOne/Last Gang Records. Premiering on Billboard, Relentless was directed by trusted collaborator Mark Myers (Knocking At The Door, Drake’s Dad). The cinematic video places the band in surreal and dream-like circumstances bringing a new curious dimension to the anthemic lead single. Relentless is the lead single off Arkells’ forthcoming album Rally Cry, set for release on 19th October.