Me and My Arrow to drop bi-weekly singles all summer long
Beginning this Friday and ongoing throughout the summer, the group will be experimenting with a new project. Lead singer and main songwriter, Jacob Grun, came up with the idea to release a single every other week rather than an album.
"I wanted to try something different from the usual norm of releasing a record, printing thousands of CDs, and having a release show seemed played out to me. After brainstorming for a couple of weeks, we decided upon this idea of releasing a new song every two weeks or so," the singer says.
The schedule for releases have been mapped out carefully by the band to coordinate with shows or on-air radio performances starting with "Erazor" on May 18. The first single starts off so blatantly calm, threatening to break into out into something a lot more frantic. It doesn't, but that's exactly how it should be -- a carefully waxing and waning of delicate sounds, organic wobbles, and plush bass pulses.
The reasoning behind doing single releases rather than an actual album, stemmed from the idea that on a record, sometimes songs are either overlooked or favored over others. With this process, each song will be babied and received as its own piece of music. "The songs need to stand on their own as a recording and a composition," Jacob reasoned. "People these days have such a short attention span, so it's a challenge to get someone to sit down and take a chance on an entire record written by someone they haven't heard of. It's much easier to get someone to commit to three minutes as opposed to 45 minutes or an hour."
With such an incestuous music scene, it's difficult not to be associated with other musicians that regularly haunt the same venues. In 2003, Laura Meloy (piano in Me and My Arrow) and Jacob caught recent Minneapolis transplant, Astronautalis' set at The Dinkytowner. Flash forward to 2009 in Dallas where Me and My Arrow share a stage with the high-energy rapper, which led to the band backing Astronautalis and providing a melodic backdrop to his sets. "This past fall, three of us [from Me and My Arrow] backed him up at the 7th Street Entry on Sims' night of the Doomtree blowout. That was probably the highlight for me from all of the shows that we've done together. We have no plans to play together in the near future, but I could see it happening sometime. It's always been really fun for me to play guitar on his songs."
The band has gone through a change in the lineup in the past year, paring down to the current five-piece lineup, which allows each instrument to carry its own voice and not get blurred by everything else going on. In the evolution of sound and members, the group has been able to maintain its sonic orchestral sound. Grun says, "The songs I am writing now have a different style to them. They are more focused and, I believe, more accessible. My approach to writing these songs was no different than from any other time I've written songs, as at the time I didn't know how they would be released. As time passed, it became clear that releasing this group of songs at the same time was not the way to go. Each song is its own entity, with a unique sonic landscape and lyrical story or intention. There are also certain things that become easier or nonexistent due to releasing songs this way.
"When making an album, you really have to buckle down at the end of the process. You have to think about things such as what order the songs will be in, and in turn making sure the album has a cohesive feel and flows well from start to finish. You have to think about how all the songs relate to one another, which ones fit well next to each other. We -- at least for the time being -- get to skip all that, only needing to worry about one thing at a time. For me, this way of doing things is considerably more relaxing and fun. I enjoy getting to put all of my focus on one piece of music. Thinking about how a song fits in to the context of a larger body of work definitely has the potential to be distracting and can take away from a song's potential."
The assumption that writing singles versus a whole album takes pressure off having high expectations is simply that -- an assumption. Jacob shares, "If anything, I feel there is more pressure on the songs, because each release need to stand on its own -- being that all will have an individual release, they won't have a shoulder to stand on. As far as pressure on me or the band, there really isn't any. No one is telling us, 'You better succeed with this idea, or else.' Making music is a fun release; once you start putting pressure on yourself, you start missing the point of why you're doing it."
The singles and their subsequent release dates are as follows:
"Erazor" - 5/18/2012 - Art-A-Whirl
"Dayng" - 5/30/2012 - KFAI on-air performance
"Revolver" reissue - 6/15 - Radio K's "Off the Record"
"Queens" - 6/26 - 7th Street Entry with River City Extension
with more to be announced at the end of June
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