Here at Article, we’re majorly inspired by things sporting classic American style, yet refined with a modern take. One of the best musical examples I can think of is Arkells. If you read an album review of theirs, chances are you’ll find comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, and really, compared to most of the lo-fi and electronic-inspired indie albums coming out now, the description fits.
The bands’ hometown of Hamilton, ON is a blue-collar city in the vein of Pittsburgh or Cleveland – which explains the hard-working sound they produce. No gimmicks, not too many effects, just earnest rock and roll. Their latest album “High Noon,” sees them expanding just a bit in a more progressive direction – but not at the expense of feeling like an Arkells album. The riffs, hooks, and anthem moments are still there in force.
Arkells visits Southgate House in Newport Saturday, October 11, and their live show is really one you don’t want to miss.
Our conversation with lead man Max Kerman covers his love for the game of basketball, exploring new cities, and the bands’ style.
Your sound is always compared to classics like Bruce Springsteen, but High Noon has a more progressive stance. Who are some other artists that inspired your more progressive sound?
We love a ton of different music, and it all influences the way we write and record. Kanye, The Hold Steady, Haim, Tv on The Radio all made impressions on this new record.
Many of your songs carry a vivid storyline. How much of that is inspired by real-life events?
Some of the material is very autobiographical. Other songs have various stories stitched together to make a new, original narrative. I mostly get inspired by my friends, loved ones, and the occasional newspaper article.
I get the impression Arkells is most popular in Canada, but where is your second-largest following?
The Germans seem to like us alright. We have a great time touring in general, but places like Berlin and Hamburg stick out lately.
I’ve always held Arkells up as a very stylish band. Where do you find inspiration on the way you guys dress?
Our guitar player Mike has always been a stylish guy, and we generally like to get his seal of approval. I like when people can pull off an eccentric, original look, but yet timeless at the same time.
Do you get out to see the boutiques, restaurants, sights, bars, etc in the cities you visit? Or are you pretty much dialed in to the shows and off to the next stop?
Yeah, that’s the best part about touring. If you’re lucky the club is in a cool neighbourhood, but sometimes you gotta venture out to find the best spots. Every city has at least one redeeming block that should feel like you’re discovering a gem.
As a men’s store and blog, we’d love to get your feedback on manhood. What makes a man? And why does it feel like all of our best examples are from the past?
Hey! I know some modern dad’s that are doing a pretty good job at the moment. Being a man means being a compassionate listener, supportive, and kind.
What about your dad? How has he helped shape you?
My dad’s a sweet fella. Very gentle guy. Very proud of his family and where he comes from.
I know you’re a big basketball fan. What do you make of Lebron’s move back to Cleveland?
I cried as I read The Letter. I think it’s amazing. I have a soft spot for everyone in the rust belt because Hamilton, ON is very much part of that culture and history. Cleveland has amazing sports culture but has had shit luck. It’s about time that city had something to celebrate.
Where did your love for the game come from?
When I was a kid, athletes were my super heroes. I’d write Vince Carter and invite him to my birthday party. I played all through school, and today team sports are the best stress relief I know of.
What should we expect from the show coming up Oct. 11 at the Southgate House in Newport?
New material from High Noon!