American blues band, Moreland & Arbuckle are headed to The Stag & Hunter Hotel on 22 February. We caught up with them via email ahead of the show…
NL: Lots of artists I’ve spoken to over the last 12 – 18 months have listed Punk as one of their biggest influences, yet the music they make isn’t your classic punk sound. I know a lot of electronic artists who define what they do as punk, because of the DIY approach. How has the punk influence played out in your band, and do you think we need to look at changing the definition of punk?
M&A: We all dig old school punk rock and that influence definitely contributes to our hard-driving, simplistic musical approach and our energy on stage.
I’ve heard the argument that punk has always really been more an ethos or attitude than a musical style. Maybe that’s the way to look at it? It certainly accounts for how that scene has influenced people in ways that have nothing to do with musical style.
NL: Something special happens when the voices in your band combine. Is that something you’ve worked on, or is it just what happened when you sang together?
M&A: Thanks! It just depends on the song. We’ve incorporated harmonies into our music a lot more on the last couple of records. We have put in a fair amount of time working on harmonies for certain songs, especially the handful of tunes where all three of us sing, but on some other tunes it just sort of happens without much effort. Our drummer, Kendall Newby does most of the harmony singing, and he generally does a very good job of dropping into a part that works, which has been a great asset since he joined the band.
NL: Promised Land Or Bust – Everyone says their latest album is their best work to date, and while many think it’s a cliche, I think it makes sense. But there’s a big leap for you guys here. What was the game plan heading into the recording and did it turn out the way it was planned?
M&A: We wanted to make a record wherein we would continue to do new things and grow musically, but also reconnect with some parts of our sound that had been neglected on the previous couple of records. We definitely feel like we accomplished that. There are songs like “Take Me With You”, “Mount Comfort”, and “When the Lights Are Burning Low” that we believe represent a step forward in our songwriting and are also things we haven’t necessarily done before stylistically. On the other hand, we have songs like “Woman Down in Arkansas” and “King Bee” that are just good, old school blues shuffles and the kind of songs that have been the bedrock of our sound since the beginning.
NL: Tell us about Alligator Records and how they’ve help develop you guys.
M&A: Alligator is an outstanding company. They have been the most consistently successful blues record label in the world for 45 years now. Working with them has been great. They legitimately care about all their artists and work very hard hard to support and promote them. Working with them has definitely helped push our career forward.
NL: It’s the standard question, but for anyone who’s not seen you guys live before, what should they expect when they turn up?
M&A: Hard-driving, rocking tunes and an energetic show. We love we what do and we always try to have a good time doing it, so hopefully that energy will transfer to the crowd.
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Moreland & Arbuckle play The Stag & Hunter Hotel on 22 February.