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Interview: Arcane Roots (Butserfest Exclusive)

We caught up with Arcane Roots at this year’s Butserfest! Learn more about the band and the essential ‘H’es, here!


Whatever you did this summer, Arcane Roots can probably one up you! As well as countless appearances at festivals all over Europe, the group have been playing shows with huge acts such as Biffy Clyro and Muse! Now back on UK soil with a busy few months ahead, we managed to catch Andrew Groves [lead vocals/guitar], Daryl Atkins [drums] and Adam Burton [bass] to hear them reminisce and reflect, as well as give you PLENTY of reasons as to why you should be listening to them right now!

HTF: So you’ve pretty much just come off stage, how was your set?

Andrew: It was good! I had a few guitar catastrophes. The god of guitar kind of makes it happen every now and then.

Daryl: Just a normal gig really.

A: Yeah that’s it really. Other than that, it was really cool. We live not too far from here, but I’ve never gone this far down the A3, and it’s alright.

D: Sound was great as well

A: The sound was great, everything sounded great. My guitar strap snapped, but that’s what happens. Other than that it was cool; people were singing along, some people we knew, so it was good.

HTF: How’s the summer been treating you?

A: We’re kind of sad to see it go.

D: This is the last show of the summer.

A: We’ve still got a couple of festivals but we did Muse, we did stuff with Biffy and played a load of festivals in Europe, played Reading and it’s been a dream really.

D: It’s felt like our first summer of being a professional band, sort of living and breathing music, travelling around the world with friends, it was an incredible summer – probably our most prolific summer, with the album coming out and then playing Europe. We’ve been really humbled by it. The momentum’s been unreal.

A: We’ve made so many friends too. That sounds like a stupid thing to say but it’s become the nicest bit, we’ve met people we really admire and it turns out they’re lovely. That makes us just respect them more. It sounds like a silly thing but when you’re making music, I always thought even as a kid that everyone just wanted to be really good at what they’re doing and they really like music and sometimes that can not be the case and it can be quite insulting. But the awesome thing is you meet so many bands who are just so dedicated and inspiring and it’s so good. This whole summer has just really energised us to do our own thing and really fed us.

HTF: How did your big shows of the summer compare to appearances at smaller, more independent events such as Butserfest?

A: They’re two very different things. These things can be more nerve wrecking than the bigger shows, I think. When we did the stuff with Muse and the stuff at Reading, you just couldn’t see people and it’s strangely impersonal in that way. Like, you can see the people right at the front and you make a friend for a show who you can see and you see they’re enjoying it and you share that moment with them. But with these shows, you can see everyone and you’ve got to get your stuff on the stage as quickly as possible and if there’s anything wrong there’s not a lot of avenue to fix it so these shows can be really rewarding and really homely. We’re big fans of DIY and we’re very DIY ourselves, even though I hate DIY! But it’s really nice when everything pulls off and I like the personal touches to it.

D: The big shows were a massive learning curve for us, and great to see how a three piece in a similar position to us went from ten-fifteen years ago to playing stadiums in Europe where everyone adores them and loves their music. It was really great to draw similarities from them, what they’ve been doing, how they present themselves, how they articulate their playing and how their song writing has developed. For us, we were watching every night thinking just ‘wow’. We’re big fans of Muse, so to tour with them and to play shows and see them do it first-hand, being in that position on the same stage, it was a massive learning experience. I think playing our own shows and playing UK shows we learn a lot from ourselves, but from the bigger shows we learnt a lot from the other bands and how they do it.

HTF: It sounds incredible! Must be so bizarre coming back after having a taste of it!

D: Yeah, it’s nice in a way though. We got quite good at playing very clinical, open sounding rock shows, you can’t do what we would do in a small show where we’re thrashy and loud and fast. We had to change the way we constructed a set and how we play. Then we came straight off the back of that and did a smaller show at a festival called BBK and the sound was closed down, and it was really tight and punchy. We applied what we did on the big stage and played it there. It’s definitely affected us in a positive way.

A: It definitely feels like all the shows we do after those shows now, especially with our own headline shows coming up in November and October, it’s just trying to put to work what you’ve learned over the summer. Every show now feels like a test and the bar’s been set very high, we’re just hungry for that now. Speaking for the three of us, it’s without a shadow of a doubt confirming that this is what we want to do with our lives and especially with the gracious and kind responses we’ve got from around the world, it seems like that might be a possibility now. It’s really energised us as a band to fill some very big shoes. Fingers crossed

HTF: This year has seen you release your debut album, Blood & Chemistry, and promote it. How’s the response been?

D: It’s been lovely. Both in the press and the public.

A: If you spent on something of your life, and it’s very personal to you and you put your heart and soul into something, then you’re really heartbroken if people are just like “yeah, that’s cool”, that’d be sad really. Luckily everyone’s been like “this is a great album”, or “one of my favourite albums” or “album of the year” or whatever and to have that response from people outside of your bubble, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that so the fact that people speak so highly of it, and our fans have increase hundred-fold, and even to have our heroes come to us and love our album is very surreal. So we’ve put all the work in , we’ve put our heart and soul into it and we hope that’s what comes out of it and the fact it actually does is really heart-warming. Everyone’s been so kind about it.

HTF: What are Arcane Roots’ plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

D: We’re going on tour with Coheed and Cambria, which is pretty amazing really.

A: I haven’t really thought about it.

D: We’ve been so busy doing the festival thing, and that’s the next thing coming up that we really need to start thinking about. It’s quite good because we’ve played with a variety of bands over the last few tours, sort of slight electronic bands, and we’ve played with a folk band – Dry The River, our friends – and we’ve been lucky enough that we can transcend genres; we don’t just play metal shows and we don’t just play folk shows, so the last few tours we’ve done have been really diverse.

A: I want to say we should play metal shows and just folk shows, wouldn’t that be great?

D: We could! But it’s going to be nice to play a heavier tour where we don’t make girls cry. It’s going to be nice to play all our heavier tunes really. They’re amazing technically, they’re an incredible band. They’ve been around for such a long time and it’s a testament to their musicianship and their dedication to what they do so that’s going to be incredible. Then we’ve got our own headline tour after that – it’ll be our first European headline shows which is going to be really exciting. We’ve toured in Europe a few times, but always supporting big American bands and it’s been the kind of forum we like to operate round and in the winter Europe’s always geared towards being really beautiful. We get to do our own headline shows which is awesome. We’ve only ever done one in Rome and that went down really well and we were surprised by the amount of people that show up and the people are really passionate about the music and they’re buying the music. It’s just really different to the UK, so we’re going to do that first and see how it goes, and hopefully it’ll go really well. Then we’re doing a headline show straight off the back of that which we haven’t done for a while. It’ll be nice to take what we’ve learned over the summer and see how we can construct a bigger set in November.

HTF: Sounds like you’ll be busy boys!

A: That’s November, then hopefully there’ll be more supporting tours at the end of year, and…

D: That’s as much as we know for now.

A: Yeah that’s about as much as we can say, but there’s some awesome stuff coming up – hopefully a new single and then eyes on the prize for something else and doing something new again. We’re already kind of scheming about what we want to do next and where we want to go and what would be interesting for us as a band. I know every band ever in the world ever says it but we still feel pretty much like we’re in our infancy and we’ve got a lot more ahead of us. We’re eager and ready to kick the arse of our last album and write a new one. So that’s exciting!

HTF: Exciting indeed! Lastly, why should the readers of Hit The Floor check you out if they haven’t already?

A: Surely that is the reason!

D: Because we kind of give a shit about what we do. Loads of bands give a shit but I think hopefully in the album we’ve written you can hear a lot of honesty and a lot of genuine song writing. The first EP was like a statement of intent and then the album was something that was really considered and we put a lot of thought into crafting it and it wasn’t something we wrote to try and hit a vibe or a mood and it wasn’t trying to pitch to a particular audience but it was the natural result of everything we learned touring the first EP and hopefully when you listen to it, it feels like something really considered and crafted. We worked so hard on it and it took a long time and a few different approaches to doing it, but we worked with amazing people. I feel like if you listen to the album you’ll appreciate all the elements and subtleties we’ve put into it and I think some bands maybe don’t approach it in that way and if that’s something that you’re interested in then give it a listen.

A: Three ‘H’es – honesty, because it’s just what we want to play, it’s just the music we like. When we’re rocking out on stage it’s because I’m genuinely excited to play the songs every day and I can’t wait until the riff comes or whatever. Then for me, it’s very human, it’s not any kind of music. I think it’s very un-human to make music that is a certain kind. It’s like going to one holiday destination. Then just the hard work we put in. I just made that up, the three ‘H’es.

A: I think we could probably milk more out of it.

D: I think we could do five.

A: Alright five ‘H’es… so we’ve done honesty, hard work, human. What else have we got?

A: Horses? Halloumi?

A: Aw, horses and halloumi! Patti Smith’s Horses, that’s a great album. That inspired me to start making music and I saw Patti Smith perform Horses in full as the first gig I saw.

D: Let’s keep going. Mr Health.

A: Mr Health, our tour manager! We’re healthy on tour.

D: Heartbreak

A: Yeah, it’s full of heartbreak, there’s a lot of heartbreak in this album.

A: Hot, we’re always hot.

A: The window in my room doesn’t actually close, so it’s open all year round. It’s rusted.

D: Jalapenos

A: That’s a J!

D: We’re just doing this phonetically.

A: That’s just hot, really.

D: Hardcore.

A: We like hardcore music. Every Time I Die are still the best hardcore band. That’s my new theory. Until we start our cover band – Every Time Tie Die, the surf rock cover band. Haberdashery is the best word in the world. H from Steps, he was questionable at best.

D: Hungry!

A: And I’m hungry right now… Holding… holding up the queue of the other interviewers with our hijinks and our…

D: Happiness

A: Happiness in this hidyllic… I was really appreciating it actually during our set, the hills. There was a couple, who were just having the sickest time walking up the hill hand in hand, and they had a dog, I’d love that. If there were a country pub at the end of it I would be very much into that. Like a Sunday roast, and a little dog bowl outside…

A: It’s gone back to hungry!

A: I am really hungry!

HTF: Well we shan’t keep you any longer, go grab some nachos! Thanks for the chat!

Interviewer: Freya Cochrane

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