After 4 song debuts from American Arson we are wrapping up the week with an interview. Read below for info on Evan Baker, the man behind the project, then head over to his store to purchase the album.
First, off thanks for doing the interview! We’re excited for the new EP that you’ve been premiering this week. Let’s start with a standard intro question. What is the significance of the name American Arson?
Thanks for having me! The story behind the name is a bit complex, and it’s something I plan on explaining a bit further over the course of the next year or two. I have another non-musical project that I’m developing alongside the band that will hopefully shed a bit more light on the meaning of the name, so I don’t want to go into too much detail. But at it’s core, the name is simply an expression of my desire to create something capable of lighting a fire in the hearts of those who experience it.
You are releasing the new The Vine & The Branches EP today. How does it feel to finally be able to get these songs out to the world?
Amazing! I’ve had the final product in my hand for a couple of months, which isn’t something I’m used to. It’s usually a situation where the release show is on a Friday, and it’s like Tuesday or Wednesday and I’m nervously pacing back and forth around the front porch waiting for the UPS guy to show up. It’s definitely less stressful to have more time between the completion and the release, but it still feels just as good to finally share the end product.
As is often the case when a band finally gets an album released the songs are fairly old to them. How recent are these songs?
I started creating them immediately after I left Good Luck Varsity back in October of 2013, really just messing around with some ideas I had and thinking about where I wanted to take them. I started paying attention to song structure and trying to map out something a bit more concrete in early January. The lyrics came in spurts over the course of the whole process, but most of them were solidified by mid-March.
Along those lines and looking towards the future, are there more songs written or in the works?
There are definitely more songs in the works, and I’ve had several ideas about what I’d like to do with them. I might finish up one or two of them in the next few months just to round out the live show, but other than that I’m not really in a hurry. I definitely want to make sure “The Vine & The Branches” has a chance to live and breathe a bit before I do anything else.
After all the experiences over the past year were you able to find relief or closure by being able to express yourself through song?
Relief, absolutely. Closure… we’ll see. I’m not sure closure is something that creating or performing music can produce. Relief is more of an instant anesthetic whereas closure is like a prescription that you have to take every day. American Arson has certainly brought me relief in that it has significantly numbed the pain brought on by my exit from Good Luck Varsity. Perhaps it will have a role in bringing me closure as well, but it won’t be the sole contributor.
I learned countless lessons over the course of the 7 years I was involved with Good Luck Varsity, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one or two. But I suppose one really important lesson I learned is that everyone involved needs to be constantly, relentlessly investing in the relationships they have with the other members of the band. Bandmates share a living space, a financial interest, a workload responsibility, and a creative consciousness with one another, and the closer your relationship with your bandmates is, the more successful you will be. But if you let those relationships slip, or allow discord and disunity to have a foothold, it’s a near guarantee that things aren’t going to work out.
On your blog you described what a live show will look like. Have you been able to play any live shows yet? If not, are there any scheduled?
I haven’t played any yet, but the debut show is on the calendar! It’s going to be August 8 in Canton, Michigan at an amazing venue called The Barn. All the details are on the American Arson website, but the best detail of all is that the show is totally free! Also, the debut tour is slowly falling into place, and I should be able to release the dates and venues by the end of July. It’ll be small at first, just the Midwest and a bit of East Coast, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to hit some other areas over the course of the next year.
What does the next year look like for American Arson?
I’ll definitely be doing my best to keep things fresh and interesting in any way I can. I think too many bands get it in their head that there is a specific, cut-and-dried way to connect with their fans, but the relentless pursuit of Facebook likes and perpetual contests to see which band can play the local stage at Warped Tour this summer… let’s just say it can all get a bit stale and repetitive after awhile. I don’t want to follow someone else’s blueprint for how a band should operate, so I’m going to try some new ideas out. I’ll be touring a bit, but when I can’t tour, I’ll make sure things are still progressing. I have a couple more video ideas that I’d like to get to, plus the other American-Arson-related-but-not-necessarily-musical-project I mentioned above!
Do you have any interest in taking this band full-time? Perhaps signing with a label if you find a good fit?
I guess that isn’t really for me to decide. Whatever path is laid out in front of me, I just want to walk that path as diligently and excellently as I possibly can. So I guess we’ll see!
Anything you’d like to leave our readers with?
My gratitude. Seriously, there are people who have been following this project since it was announced in October and many of them started showering me with their support and encouragement months before a song was ever released. It’s so humbling to watch someone who has been impacted by my music reverse roles and reciprocate by impacting me. It just really reinforces what I said throughout my time in GLV – the stage I stand on might make me a little taller than those in the audience, but it doesn’t make me any better. We’re all in this together, and we all have something we can give.
Thanks go out to Evan for taking the time out to answer these questions! Make sure to check out the tracks on the EP in the following posts if you haven’t already.