Friday, December 12, 2014

INTERVIEW: Arrica Rose

Photo by Brooke Nipar

It takes a lot to write a catchy song that isn't simple aural dross, and Arrica Rose has been diligently and quietly crafting exquisite pop for well over a decade.  In a just world, her most recent album "Wavefunction" would be nestled among the Taylor Swifts and Sam Smiths on the Billboard charts - it's that damn good!  The LA-based songstress reached out via email for a brief confab about "Wavefunction" and her songwriting.  Enjoy!

Your new album with the …’s, “WAVEFUNCTION”, is a really quite moving and a step away in some respects from some of the more downtempo feel of your previous work. Your vocals, in particular, seem more buoyant. What precipitated this change?

Thank you! The collection of songs I had was pretty diverse when we set out to make Wavefunction. A lot of change was happening for me at the time. I began splitting my time between northern and southern CA. and I think being invigorated by a new environment lead me to writing more uptempos than usual. In terms of the vocals, my producer Daniel Garcia always encourages pushing yourself even farther for each new release. For Wavefunction, I did focus on the vocal melodies being even more dynamic than some of my previous work.

One of the very interesting things about the record is the way in which it’s sequenced.  You really seem to have given some thought to the way the tracks are laid out, instead of just being a collection of tracks.  In particular, the track “Oh the Day, Then the Night” appears twice, closing out both “sides” of the album.  Was this intentional? 

We did put a lot of time and effort into Wavefunction being something to experience as a whole and not just as individual tracks and the sequencing was a big part of that. “Oh the Day, Then the Night” is very much about perspective and ties into the concept of the record so its placement was definitely important to us.

It’s obvious that you put a lot of craft into your work.  What is your songwriting process like?

I keep journals of words and phrases that jump out at me me. It might be something I read, something someone says, or something I misheard. I’m always most intrigued by creative play on words as a starting point and I like to try to use words or phrases in ways that aren’t the most obvious choice if I can. I then play around with chords and melody on guitar, sometimes piano. Once something sticks I usually search through the journals I keep of lyrics ideas. Sometimes the lyric and melodic idea will come together though and other times a song will start with an idea Daniel Garcia will have. I guess I try to be flexible in terms of the process but there is often a pattern in terms of how I go about things.

A lot of the songs on the new album have a very heavy LA “dream pop” vibe to them…what are some of your musical touchstones, those things that you heard and loved and go back to? 

 I have so many influences and really do appreciate a wide variety of music. A few of my influences I always tend to go back to are The Velvet Underground, Dusty Springfield, Elliott Smith, Mazzy Star, David Bowie, Television. I’ll stop there so the list doesn’t get too long!

I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you?

You’re right. It’s difficult to choose songs as favorites but I guess I’d have to say for Wavefunction the first thing that comes to mind as a track that’s special to me is “Oh the Day (Then the Night)” and well as its alternate version “(Oh the Day) Then the Night”. I really enjoyed taking one song idea and doing two drastically different versions of it.

What’s on tap for you next?

We are currently working on making a corresponding video for every song on Wavefunction. We’re hoping to have a visual interpretation for each track finished up early next year. Also, we’re starting the writing process for a new record and hoping to do some more touring in the Spring.

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