SCROLL

blog

Flatten The Curve Music Class

Hey gang,
Hope everyone is hanging in there and being good to themselves.
Every day I’ve been trying my best to be mindful of the things that make me feel deeply good, and identify the stressors that are hard on my system. And then I do my best to find productive remedies.

One of the things that has kept my spirits up is our daily hang on Instagram Live, for Arkells’ Flatten The Curve Music Class. If you’ve yet to catch it, every day at 1 PM EST the @arkellmusic IG Live features a song lesson of the day, Q+A’s, interactive lessons, special guests and more. We encourage anyone tuning in to bring an instrument of any stripe and your best self to this online hang; while staying home and practicing social distance. Thanks for sharing your company, your stories, and the music. It’s all a gift. 

In this collective moment, there are two central questions I’ve been trying to focus on. #1  – How do we show love and support for all the people who need it most? Namely, the front line workers, and our neighbours who are in tough right now. And #2 – How do we upkeep our own sense of well being? What are the things during the day that offer some focus and sense of purpose?  If not only for ourselves, but to be sharp and purposeful to best help with item #1.

So here’s a nugget of an idea that can help both questions: We heard Food Banks Canada needs money right now. We saw that RBC has made a substantial donation to Food Banks Canada as part of their current commitment to COVID-19 community response efforts. We know that music has a healing power and brings people together. So let’s combines these ideas.

Let’s continue to stay home and meet online for our FTC Music Class each day. Arkells want to see your best song covers, originals, dance routines, blazing solos: it’s all on the board. Share them – let’s see what you got, and Arkells will re-share their favourite submissions. 

For every creative submission you share with the hashtag #FTCMusicClass, RBC will donate $100 to Food Banks Canada, up to $25,000. Arkells want to see your best song covers, originals, dance routines, blazing solos: it’s all on the board. Just tag us and throw up #FTCMusicClass so we can find it and check out what you got! Arkells will re-share their favourite submissions. Let’s raise $25,000 this week, for people that need it, while staying inside.

*WEEK 2 UPDATE* We’ve reached our goal and we’re going for $50,000 total for Food Banks Canada.

We make music together, and help flatten the curve by staying inside and being creative together. Thank you for your support of Food Banks Canada  an organization helping to provide for some of our neighbours who need it most. 

Years In The Making

2020 – we made it.

We’ve been busy boys, poking around the corners, being delighted by new experiences, and then putting those ideas in to songs.

I know some of y’all have been bummed out by the of state affairs on planet earth and I get it (I get down too). But a wise dude once told me: “if you’re ever feeling lost, come back to the work, and you’ll always have a path.”

In a funny way, that’s what our new song is about.

It’s called Years In The Making. We hope it lifts you up.

The song was born from the idea – or, the desire – to give value to every past experience. Seize the moments and grow from them. Even the tough ones… because it’s those hard times that give you the flavour and the grit that make you who you are today.

If you keep at it, and you surround yourself with good people, good things will come your way. Even my beloved Toronto Raptors won a championship. Or you got into that program you applied for. Or you completed 10 pushups. Whatever your goal is, you gotta keep pushing.

Learning to rely on these muscles has been years the making – the muscles that are the desire to keep pushing and asking the right questions.

All the hard work leads to the good stuff. And there ain’t no time like the present to shoot your shot.

So giddy up! Arkells are back. Years In The Making. 2020. Let’s go.

XO
Max, Nick, Mike, Tim, Anthony

LFG 2020

Arkellian babies,

How are we doing? Hope 2020’s been good to you so far.
We’ve been in good spirits.

Tony’s been doing yoga, and trying to not get so mad at the news. He keeps muttering to himself “mindfulness is the way.” We’re happy for him.

Nick continues his monk-ly lifestyle. It’s very annoying to the rest of us heathens: he wants for nothing, doesn’t spend a dime on frivolous stuff and is always volunteering.
Tim’s still getting over the Bills losing in the playoffs, and we keep telling him there’s always next year.

Mike’s spending a lot of time at home with his kitty. He’s truly a “cat guy.”
Manager Ash and I have been riding Mike to finish some important Arkells design work that we’ll discuss with you later.

I know it feels quiet over here in Arkells world, but trust every time you tweet “Um, when are you coming to the UK?” Or “What are your summer summer plans” we see it, and we’re grinning, and we’re planning fun things.

For now, the only thing we ask of you is: be nice to strangers, and subscribe to your local paper. And then we can wear matching tee’s. And who doesn’t love to twin with me?

Be good!

Max

Summer is HERE

Photo Cred: Nathan Nash

 

Hey gang,
 
That third weekend in June has become a pretty special time of year for our camp, and this year did not disappoint. We’re still buzzing from the show last weekend at Budweiser Stage. In case you missed it, Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse joined us on stage for a tune. We also did a full set of our favourite classic soul songs. And the weather was perfect.
 
I’ve ran into a bunch of people who were up on the lawns for the show, and all the reports indicate that it was a full rager up there. Love to hear that.
 
We’ve also announced a slew of awesome new shows for the rest of 2019. They include headline shows in Canada this fall (ARENAS!) summer festival dates and headline shows in Europe and the US, and a few other things we can’t tell you about yet! Keep checking the tour page.
 
Last thing: we have the best job in the world, and it’s because *you* seem to care. So thanks for sharing these moments with us.
 
Xo
Max, Nick, Mike, Tim, Anthony
 
 
 
 

RAPS CHAMPS

 
I’ve been a Raptors fan since the inaugural 1995 season. As a 9 year old, I have memories of checking the Toronto Star Sports Section every morning, flipping to the Rookie Leader Board to see how Damon Stoudamire was faring against Jerry Stackhouse. I wrote Vince Carter a letter to attend my 12th birthday party. My first email address was vince_kerman@hotmail.com (now defunct). In grade 7, I phoned up the Air Canada Centre and asked to interview GM Glen Grunwald for a school project (I think the assignment was vaguely “people in your community you look up to”?). Surprisingly, they put me right through to his office and I ended up getting a tour of the practice facility. 
 
At 7 or 8 years old, my dad put up a hoop in our small backyard in downtown Toronto and I practiced out there for hours on end. I played on my (very mediocre) elementary and high school hoops team, some rec league squads at Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre, and then intramural at McMaster University. 
 
Looking back, basketball was one of the ways I connected and interacted with people from all over the city. I didn’t think of any of this at the time, but the court was and is one of the most diverse places in the city. I was a minority in a sea of Chinese, Italian, Ethiopian, Caribbean kids.  
 
Watching this Raps championship run has been one of the most memorable and fun things in my life. Mike and I got to attend a handful of home games and I’ve never felt more lucky. Of course I love Kyle and Kawhi, and all the players and staff that made this all possible, but what I loved the most was seeing the city come together and come alive. It’s the best. Truly. 
 
Basketball aside, here are things I love, and that I think actually are important:
  • People congregating in public parks and squares with a grin on their face.
  • People joyously walking in the streets.
  • Interacting with people you don’t always get a chance to.
  • Moments that remind us that we have something in common, and how nice that feeling can be.
In 2019 it’s easy to get silo’d in your own little community and tethered to your screen, so I thank the Raptors for the reminding us of how good it feels to be apart of something bigger than ourselves, and how sharing the streets is good for the soul. 
 
Max
 
 
 

Junos and Rally Cry Summer Night

Cred: Rob Loud

For the past few summers, we put on our thinking caps to throw the best party of the summer. This year at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, we will be hosting A RALLY CRY SUMMER NIGHT on Saturday June 22.

We’ll be performing all our fave Arkells jams, and a super rare SOUL REVUE to cap off the night. What’s a Soul Revue? Every once in a while when we feel like we really need to boogie, we’ll dig in to our fave Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, The Temptations tunes. Hell we might even get a Beyonce tune. These songs offer so much love and joy, and in the spirit of community and DANCING, now is the time to play ‘em.

Kicking off the night will be Judah & the Lion, and Bonjay – both acts we truly admire. 

The pre-sale starts TMRW at 10am with the password: DANCEPARTY. You can get tickets HERE.

If you want to party on the lawns, we have a deal on ticket packs for groups of 4. We’re offering a limited batch of 4 tix for $99 with code ARKELLSROADTRIP. Get ’em while you can! General on-sale starts Friday @ 10am.

In OTHER NEWS! 

We performed HAND ME DOWNS at the JUNO Awards and picked up Group Of The Year and Rock Album Of The Year. RALLY CRY producer Eric Ratz also won Producer Of The Year for his work on our tunes. 

So much thanks to everyone who messaged us words of encouragement and congrats. We share these trophies with YOU.

See you soon!

Arkells 

Rally Cry Tour Update

Photo: Rob Loud/Bob Delight

Greetings from the road. The Rally Cry tour has been underway for about six weeks now, winding through Canada and the US. The tour has been long on great times and short on bad ones. From go-karting in Cincy, playing on a train in Calgary, watching the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, or not having to wear a winter jacket in Atlanta, we’ve had lots of great experiences in addition to playing every night.

It’s never always sunshine and lollipops – our bus lost heat traveling in between Calgary and Saskatoon. Overnight. In February. When it was -40. Tim almost turned into popsicle. Luckily we got the big guy dethawed by showtime. Thanks to our all-star crew in keeping the show running smoothly despite temperatures so cold they aren’t good for anyone except long underwear salespeople.

This tour has been a special one for us. We’ve had a great time experimenting with new production, stage bits and musical arrangements. We get a lot of joy out of building a memorable live show and it’s a lot of fun to see these ideas come to life in front of an audience. Thanks to everyone who’s come out to a show so far.

This week we head back to the Midwest USA – Chicago and Detroit, before making a pit stop in London, Ontario for the Junos. We’ll be recording a fresh session with our friends at Audio Tree in Chicago, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that as well.

Next on the docket are some fun summer announcements and the western US leg of the Rally Cry tour. If you live in California, Arizona, Colorado and Portland, we’re coming for ya soon. If you have a song request hit us up on the Rally Cry hotline.

 

Nick

2018 Favorite Things: Nick

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Nick’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Song – Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty

The song itself is an airy folk-pop ballad and the lyrics are a funny and ironic story of a musician’s erratic behaviour at a hotel. Given how long we’ve been making rock and folk music, it feels fresh to me when musicians don’t take themselves or their genres overly seriously. But unlike a lot of people with funny/clever lyrics, I think Father John Misty does a great job of doing this while also being able to say something interesting at the same time – whether its about society at large (like on Pure Comedy) or about himself on Mr. Tillman.

Book – House on Ninth Street – Larry Towell

This isn’t a new book, but with the migration crisis that’s happening at the US/Mexican border I thought it would be relevant to include a book that could provide background on some of the Central American political issues that often don’t get discussed as widely as they should. House on Ninth Street is a book by Canadian photojournalist Larry Towell that tells the story of missing persons Guatemala during the 1980s and the government’s role in the events.

Albums of the Year

There were so many albums I enjoyed this year it was too hard to pick just one. But I am gonna say rap won the year. Some of my favourites:

Vince Staples – FM!
Kid Cudi and Kanye – Kids See Ghosts
Pusha T – Daytona
J. Cole – KOD
Sheck Wes – Mudboy

Sports Story – Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani’s major league debut is one of the most under appreciated stories in all of sports this year. At 23-years-old and with no major league experience, he did something no one has done in 100 years…and was really good at both. And he did it all with a torn ligament in his pitching arm. It’s like if Sidney Crosby played goalie in the NHL too. If he’s able to build on his rookie season, I think we could be talking about one of the best athletes and baseball players of all-time in a few years.

Movie – Annihilation

The movie is about a group of military personnel that are tasked with exploring an unidentified natural phenomenon called “the shimmer”. The Shimmer is causing people to disappear and is gradually getting bigger and bigger. I usually don’t love sci-fi or horror movies but Annihilation piqued my interest because of how it deals with bigger human themes and personal relationships. It was directed by the same man (Alex Garland) who directed Ex Machina and stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.

2018 Favorite Things: Tim

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Tim “Big Horn”‘ Oxford’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Favorite Piece of Tech – Google Home Max

I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this unit. Not only does the speaker sound great, on a whim I can ask to hear any song when linked to Apple Music or Spotify, as well as a million other things. I ask it to send me directions to my phone, use it as a timer, weather forecast, etc. Truly surprised how much I use, as well as enjoy this thing.

Favorite Drum Accessory – Tackle Stick Bag

The fine folks at Tackle have been known for making some amazing products by hand. I acquired their stick bag this year and loved it so much I bought another right away. Not only is it amazing to look at, it’s made by drummers for drummers. Time and time again I’m impressed by the practicality of it even though I was initially drawn by it’s aesthetics. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Favorite Podcast – The Rich Roll Podcast

I’ve been a fan of Rich’s for a long time but delved in extra deep this year to his podcast. There are so many hours of incredible content. Mostly a long form conversational format, the guests jump from Joe Rogan to your everyday man who has overcome a personal obstacle to betterment. Truly inspiring conversations of self betterment, living your best, most authentic self life, to incredibly inspirational, real life stories. Check it out! Rich is amazing.

Favorite (non music related) day on tour – Phoenix Az

I had the pleasure, thanks to a good friend, Ian Leggat, and new friend, Dave Kelly, to play a very private golf course in Phoenix Arizona called “Whisper Rock.” As a lifetime golfers I can honestly say, this was a once in a lifetime golf experience. The conditions are untouchable, at least in anything I’ve encountered, and the service was like no other to date. If you should ever find an opportunity and have even a mild interest in golf, you would be crazy to pass this up. Google the place if you don’t believe me!

 

2018 Favorite Things: Mike

Photo: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Mike’s 2018 faves:

Song:  Robyn “Missin U”

It’s too hard to pick an album of the year (but if you twisted my arm it’d probably be the Arctic Monkey’s Tranquility Base Hotel) but I can say the song that hit me the hardest this year would be ‘Missin U’.  There’s something about the urgency in her voice, the crystalline synths, and her longing message for human connection that really sets a perfect mood. 

New Discovery:  Bob Dylan – Infidels 

Max showed me the song ‘Man of Peace’ off this record earlier this year, and since then I’ve dove head first into this record.  Produced by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, along side reggae legends Sly and Robbie on drums and bass and Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones on guitar, this record has some real heavy hitters playing on it.  I also think that Dylan’s lyrics here are some of his best – as packed with wit and wisdom as any of his work.  Aside from ‘Man of Peace’, I’m also loving the tracks ‘Jokerman’ and ‘Neighbourhood Bully’.

Book:  Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

This novel tells the story of a hedge fund manager on the run through America with nothing but a greyhound ticket and a suitcase full of vintage watches.  Woven into this ‘On the Road’-esque story line is a cutting analysis of the absurdity of the ultra wealthy, with a dark wit that’s legitimately laugh out loud funny. I read this while on tour and loved the way this book has a sense of constant motion with amazing little details about life on the road.

Movie:  First Man

I’ve loved the history of space travel since I was a kid, so this movie is right up my alley. It’s able to reflect the sober reality and humanity of Neil Armstrong and his family, while also capturing the intensity inside the Apollo spacecraft in a way that felt so vividly real. Amazing cinematography, especially during the dead silent *spoiler alert* moon landing scene. 

Radio Show:  Time Crisis

Hosted by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Jake Longstreth and resident number cruncher (and fellow Canadian) Seinfeld2000, this zany Apple Music radio show has become one of my favourite podcasts/internet radio shows.  These guys have way too much fun deep diving on topics such as the tasteful palette of the 70’s, corporate food history, the Jokerman font, cold brew coffee and much much more.  Each episode ends with a the crisis crew’s hot takes on the top 5 songs of today and the top five songs from some point in music history.