I recently sat down and did an interview with the lovely Jocelyn Arndt! Check out the interview below, where we talk about songwriting, working with her brother, and her new EP, 'Strangers In Fairyland"!
What is one of your earliest recollections with playing music?
I started piano lessons in fourth grade, and originally it was the classical progression. The first rock song that I ever actually learned to play was “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. There was a local talent show, and my brother Chris played the guitar. He had learned the solo, and he was really proud of it so I was like, “okay I’ll learn the piano part!” So we kind of put together a band, and that was really our first big performance together.
We got a drummer, and he was awesome. That’s actually the first time that I ended up singing. We had a singer, but he ended up not being able to do it. So I kind of drew the short straw. (laughs) But it’s sort of all drawn from there.
At the end of October, you released your EP, Strangers in Fairyland. What was the writing and recording process like for you with this release?
It was all pretty much a new experience for both my brother and for me. In high school, we kind of fooled around and recorded our own album. But this was the first time where we went in, and there was a sound engineer that was working with us, and Dave (our producer). This was the first time that it was kind of the real deal, you know? We got in there and it was down to business. I’m so happy with the way that everything turned out. It was great!
In your opinion, how would you say that this EP is different from anything that you’ve worked on before musically?
We had always been writing songs since high school, Chris and I write together. But it was kind of the first time where we got to sit down with the songs and think about how we wanted them to be when it came out for the CD. It was this whole process of originally bringing in the song, making it the best it could be. We were able to add so many things that weren’t ever able to add before. It really got us to open up, creativity-wise.
Were there any songs on the EP that were a little bit more difficult than other to work on?
Hmm. I’d say the last song, “Gaslight”. We were hired to write that one for a documentary, so it was not the normal process of “come up with an idea, and then work on that idea”. It was “here’s what we want, come up with something that fits”. So that was kind of a new thing. It was a challenge because you kind of have to fit the process to the assignment at hand. Also, we were kind of going for that throwback, film noir feel. That was a cool thing for us to try and fit a song to an image. We usually just go from an idea and let it build itself from there. I’d say that one was pretty challenging.
You write songs with your brother, Chris. What is the process like in terms of writing with another sibling?
It’s probably different. I’ve had very limited experience writing with anyone else, but I think we make a pretty good team. It’s a pretty personal experience. We grew up together (laughs). I think it makes the music better. I think we bring out the best in each other, because we know each other’s potential. And it’s great because we can be so frank with each other, especially when we were in high school. We were living in the same house, so we could just go into the living room and jam it out, and it’d be a break from homework. I think it’s nice. It gets a little personal sometimes, I mean there’s always that “I can’t believe you ate the last slice of pizza!” or whatever. (laughs) But in the long run, I think it works pretty well, and the music shows that.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I would just want anyone listening to it to come away with the idea that we really care about the music. We really care about making it the best that we can make it. We really let the songs dictate what they’re going to be, and we’re not looking to fit a particular mold or anything. We really, really want to be creative. I would say, really, if people could see a little bit of that, and just know that we really care, that we want to make our music the best it can be, and make music that people want to listen to.
What does music mean to you?
Wow. Everything. It’s everything. It’s a break, it’s a creative outlet, it’s a form of expression. It’s what I do when I’m angry, ticked off, sad, or happy, or anything. I think Chris would say the same. It’s also a way to hang out with my brother and have fun and rock out. It’s a huge part of my life. It IS my life.
Anything else you’d like to let fans know?
So we keep our Facebook page pretty up to date on everything. If you want to keep track of me and Chris and our band, just go on Facebook and search ‘Jocelyn Arndt’. The band page that pops up is me. We post everyday and we’ll get you set on your gigs and new music. But yeah! We’re working on new music, pushing this EP, and we’re gonna play a cool tour during our winter break in January, so we’ll be all over the place down south and out west.
Jocelyn Arndt's newest EP, "Strangers In Fairyland", is available now!
This has been another Shameless Promotion.