A Chat with Arrays (29.11.20)

The brainchild of alternative rock singer-songwriter JP Carroll, Arrays has a powerful, dynamic and infectious sound. We speak with the man himself about his new album Light Years, music videos and allergies.

OSR: What is the backstory to your new album Light Years?

Arrays: How far back do you want to go? 😄 I’ve been making music for 15 years in various bands, my most notable project prior to Arrays would be Armed In Advance. I’ve always had an insatiable desire to create music coupled with that a pretty fierce curiosity for how recording music works. Arrays provides the perfect avenue to explore both of these passions for me!

OSR: What do you believe are the pros and cons of being a completely DIY artist?

Arrays: The pros are mainly around the creative direction. You don’t have to ask for permission, a song can be as long as short as you want. You write the riffs, you call the shots!

The flip side to this is there isn’t necessarily anyone to bounce ideas off of or get input from. It still costs a lot of money to release and market music as a solo artist, so being in a band helps lift the financial burden! Also, the witty practice room banter is pretty one dimensional in a solo project. 😄

OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording ‘Home’?

Arrays: Huge, huge challenges recording. My recording set up has been constantly evolving for nearly 20 years. I started out as a 17-year-old on a digital 4 track recorder. I’ve upgraded significantly since then of course, but trying to work out of untreated rooms in various houses with mid-range recording equipment and still try and touch professional recording standards is a huge challenge.

As for writing, I’ve not really had any shortage of song ideas. The challenge is finding the time to record the ideas and represent them as best as you can. Good recordings take time, good instrument parts take crafting, and rarely is the first take the best one!

OSR: If you could change one thing about the album what would it be?

Arrays: Boy, is that a loaded question. 😄 I think there’s plenty I’d like to change if I had the opportunity to – record it all in a professional studio for one! Realistically, that wasn’t the journey for this project. I accept LIGHT YEARS for what it is – a waypoint on my journey toward the sound I hear in my head for this music I’m creating. I’m looking forward to applying all that I’ve learned in the creation of this project, to the next one.

OSR: What can you tell us about the music video for the single ‘Home’?

Arrays: ‘Home’ was a track that I wrote after my first experience in public during COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand. From all that I’ve read, global pandemics are an inevitability if you stretch the time scale out long enough, but all of the precautions to prevent the spread of the virus were immediately reminiscent of disaster movies. I was properly freaked out. The music video is basically me jamming on the instruments along with a creepy plague doctor in a white

OSR: What was recording the video like?

Arrays: Super difficult! I play all the instruments in this “band”, so that means learning all the parts and giving it 110 percent for a number of takes in a row. I was absolutely spent at the end of it, but really happy with how it came out! Hats off to my talented friend Francis Wheeler for pulling the video together.

OSR: What do you hope people take from Light Years?

Arrays: I hope that people enjoy the music first and foremost. This is still a relatively unheralded project, so hopefully, it brings a bit of growth to Arrays. I also hope it gives some artists, stuck in a “bedroom musician” mentality that are after something more from their music career, the permission to go out there and do something weird that nobody else is doing. Look completely uncool, play in a band with yourself, record your own music. There’s a fictional tale being told that music has to be recorded and released a certain way, when in actual fact we’ve never had more opportunity to break the mould. Musicians are really here to create the best art they can and connect with an audience for it. Don’t believe that the only way to do that is with commercial radio or curated playlists. Just do what you can, do what’s next! Have fun.

OSR: Are you allergic to anything?

Arrays: Right-wing political agendas, mean people, Covid.

OSR: How long does it take you to fall asleep?

Arrays: The first time? Usually straight away. If I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s another story.

OSR: Do you have any favourite reviews of your work?

Arrays: Well, I did love the review for ‘No Way Out’ by The Other Side Reviews. Thank you!

OSR: What is your greatest musical achievement to date?

Arrays: I got to open for POD in my former band, Armed In Advance. We were already essentially broken up at that stage, but it was still a really great show and I’m proud I got the opportunity to share the stage with some nu-metal and 00’s rock legends!

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

Arrays: Support independent music, there’s some incredible stuff being released that isn’t ‘approved’ by the gatekeepers of the industry every day. Seek out great independent radio stations like KAOS FM, the Generator FM, and Bayrock FM here in NZ. They’re all streaming globally. Stay safe and have fun, whatever you’re doing!

Thanks to JP Carroll for speaking with us. For more from Arrays check out his official website, Facebook and Spotify.

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