Today, Arms is releasing the much-anticipated EP2. This past week, I got to catch up with frontman Todd Goldstein as he shared about some of his musings and past experiences that have helped to shape what this newest EP eventually became.
After taking some time to study design during your break from music, what kind of connections are you finding between art and music (besides the awesome cover art you designed for the EP)?
That’s actually something I’ve thought about quite a bit in this last year. It’s funny, when I was a teenager I used to paint, sculpt, draw comics, doodle all the time — but I more or less gave it all up by the time I went to college. Once I started studying graphic design, it became clear that the intervening years playing music had given me some real insight into the creative process, about balance and communication and proportions and rhythms. Turning my focus onto a new creative medium was like learning a new language in which I had already grasped the grammatical structures but hadn’t learned any of the words yet. As I’ve learned the “words,” I’m discovering that I’m a pretty similar designer to how I am as a musician: crafty, structured and word-centric, with little bursts of playful improvisation and a little conceptual weirdness here and there. Can you tell I love this shit?
Are you finding any differences in your songwriting now that you are focusing exclusively on Arms as opposed to writing for Harlem Shakes?
Well to be fair I was never writing for Harlem Shakes — Lexy, the lead singer, did the lion’s share of the writing work, and the rest of us collaborated on the arrangements and production. That said, I’ve been in an Arms-only universe since 2009, and it’s been a real shapeshifter of a time since I put the full Arms band together. When we made Summer Skills in 2011, it was all about mood and concept and making something that felt distant and strange, sitting in the guitar-pop genre sort of uneasily and trying to find ways to subtly subvert it. Now I just wanted to write fun songs. Fun to play, fun to sing, fun to record, fun to listen to. It’s funny how these things come full circle — I feel like my “serious” years are behind me, like I’m a little too old to be all brow-furrowing and arty. Now I just want to play awesome guitar and write pop songs. The EP we just put out is just the tip of the iceberg… the full-length we’re working on is going to make EP2 sound like Metal Machine Music.
What was it like inviting others to collaborate with Arms after spending all that time making it a solo endeavor?
It was a breath of fresh air honestly. I needed to have some other cooks in the kitchen to help push the project somewhere new. Finding Tlacael (drums) and Matty (keys/vocals) and playing with them for so long has been a godsend. The process is always changing with us, but none of the Arms music could exist without m’dudes.
Any remixes off the new EP in the pipeline? Perhaps another Passion Pit remix?
We have a couple of very special remixes coming for the EP very soon. I’ve always been serious about my techno, and I can’t name any names, but our remixes this time around come squarely from the experimental and minimal techno world. They’re gonna be bangers.
Can we expect a full-length coming out any time soon?
We’re getting started on it this month, actually. Gonna record a few songs and see how they sound. I’d love to have it in the can by the summer, but given how long it took us to make this last EP, I can’t make any promises in good conscience.
If you dig “Earthquake Weather,” make sure to make your way over to Paper Garden Records or your favorite independent record store to pick it up today!