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Full Speed Ahead To The Rally

Hamilton, all aboard! After the two years of endless hiccups and stops and starts, it’s time we treated ourselves to a big night out. The Rally is ON: June 25th, 2022, and we can’t wait to see you there.

If you bought tickets for the show that was slated in 2020, the same ticket will work as you come through the gates this year. Thank you for holding on to it for so long. It’s literally been years in the making.

If you’re just finding us now, good news: due to overwhelming demand, we’ve worked hard to make the show bigger than ever. We’ve just *ADDED* more floor tickets and opened up additional cheap seats up in the bleachers. Call your friends, this Rally is even bigger than the last.

Our 2018 show at Tim Hortons Field – the inaugural Rally – exceeded our expectations in every way so we knew we had to do it again.

From hand picking the lineup to collaborating with so many different local artists, small biz owners, charitable initiatives and local institutions like the HSR, the Hamilton bike share program, Hamilton Flea, and the Ticats – it was a joy to show off some of the best that Hamilton has to offer.

To our neighbours: if you’re walking, cycling or taking the bus – thank you for helping us host this thing and bringing all the good vibes.

To everyone making the trip to Hamilton: welcome to town! Whether you’re road tripping, or taking the Go Bus or flying in from overseas – we’ve got a good feeling this will be our best one yet.

If the last couple years have taught us something, it’s that we can’t take anything for granted. Nothing replaces *real life* memories. No amount of screen time at home can beat the joy of singing songs, surrounded by friends and new friends.

See you there. This will be the biggest show that’s ever hit Hamilton and we’re so proud we get to do this with you.

Xo Arkells

Blink Twice, There’s Gunna Be A Reckoning

As we stayed busy making music during the last two years, we always knew we were going to come out of the pandemic with two distinct records. The title of Blink Once was born from the song Reckoning, and the lyric “blink twice, there’s gonna be a reckoning.” If you listen to the outro track of Blink Once – Last Night I Heard Em’ Sing – we hint that there’s more coming. Kind of like a post-credits scene in a movie. Reckoning is the beginning of what’s next.

If we’re being honest, Reckoning is an “eat the rich” song. The song is about privileged people who bury their heads in the sand. It’s also about the admiration for those who lead by example, and want justice for people beyond their own kin.

We wanted the song to be big and cinematic. Something that felt like walking through the streets at nighttime. We were inspired by everything from Justice to Run The Jewels. At this point in our career as musicians, we only wanna go where inspo takes us.

We’re back on the road for our first shows of 2022 in a couple weeks. Get ready to sing this one loud.

Xo
Arkells

108TH GREY CUP – THANK YOU!

You know when you go to the theatre and the cast comes out at the end of the night and they start thanking everyone who was working behind the scenes to make the show happen? They’re usually all teary eyed, and begin motioning to the orchestra pit, the director, and the lighting person while mouthing “bravo!” and “thank you!” It’s usually quite an emotional affair. If you’ve never been a part of a production, you might think the cast is faking this celebration.

After The Grey Cup this weekend… we get it. The halftime show was truly like nothing we’ve ever done before, yet it was also the combination of all of the friendships and creative partnerships we’ve formed and learned from over the years. Mike, Nick, Anthony, Tim and I are very grateful for everyone we got to collaborate with.

We had a little under a month to put together the show. And we worked on it every day to get every detail right. We started with the setlist as the foundation of everything and then built it up from there. K.Flay signed up immediately for the occasion and The Lumineers confirmed shortly after. We wanted a level of musical collaboration you haven’t seen at past halftime shows. Both acts couldn’t have been more gracious, collaborative, and inspiring.

We’ve done so much with The Northern Soul Horns and Arkettes that we’ve developed a shorthand with each other. As a unit, the goal is to bring as much emotion, musicality, charisma, and joy as you have. The big soul band that we are feels unstoppable. They were up for the occasion in every possible way.

We also brought a choreographer – a first for us! Omega Mighty (the sister of Haviah – our tour mate) guided all of the group movement for the set. None of us are accomplished dancers, but we all committed to moving together. If you’ve seen David Byrne and The Taking Heads you know that you don’t need to be Beyoncé to dance. You just have to care.

We also worked with Alex and Marie Nadon – the team that heads up InFrame design. They helped shape our goals and turn any obstacles (example: no fans on the field) into visually stunning moments (“let’s build a grandstand *behind* the stage and get the fans in the frame!”).

Our stylist Caitlin made us all look fabulous. Our photographer Nathan and videographer Korey captured all the key moments. Our touring crew Jordan, Ryan, Ryan, and Chris made sure all the instruments were working right. Eric has the job (among other things) of herding a bunch of cats (us) and he does it with a smile.

The folks at the CFL, TSN, PRP and Tim Hortons Field were accommodating in every way. From the announce video, to the promo, to the set itself, they were supportive and allowed us to lead on all fronts.

Tony, Mad, Jeffrey and the crew at Universal Music have been working on “Arkells + Grey Cup halftime show” for a few years. You can imagine there’s a fair amount of politicking when it comes to choosing the entertainment, and the stars aligned this year. We wanted to make em’ proud.

Our manager Chris connected the dots with The Lumineers and first introduced the idea of having them up. Sarah took care of all the pesky details. And of course Ash had eyes on literally all of it. She was in communication with literally every single person I’ve mentioned here. This doesn’t happen without her hall-of-fame level of attention to detail.

So this is us, at curtain call, standing at the front of the stage, all teary eyed, thanking everyone who poured their heart and soul into making the halftime show what it was. You can re-watch it here. We’re super proud of it. Hope you enjoyed every detail. 

Thank you! 

108th Grey Gup Hometown Halftime Show

At long last, we’re thrilled to announce we’re playing Canada’s largest annual sporting & television event – THE GREY CUP – headlining halftime in our hometown this December 12th. The point of our band has always been to bring people together. Canadians from coast-to-coast will descend on Hamilton for this event, and millions across the country will be taking it in from home. After the challenges of the past 20 months, we’re honoured to be the band that gets music and sports fans back to singing and dancing.

Given our history with this city, venue and fanbase, this announcement may not come as a total surprise, but we’re working long and hard on how to make this special. We’re exceptionally proud to be the first homegrown act to headline their city’s Grey Cup halftime time show and we’re already working hard at the drawing board. Rehearsals started this week, and it feels amazing to be together and sinking our teeth into something entirely new.

We’ll catch you at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on Sunday, December 12. The broadcast will air nationwide on TSN, starting at 6 PM EST. A limited number of tickets are available at ticketmaster.ca/GreyCup. If you’re lucky enough to be in the stands, consider it a pep-rally to The Rally. We’re back baby.

xo Arkells

2022 TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED

You’ve been waiting patiently for the return of live music. We’ve been dreaming big about playing for you. FINALLY! The best live show in town is coming for you.

Blink Once released last week and is still sparkly and new. We didn’t want to release our record until we knew we could hit the road and sing these songs together. We snuck in a few shows this summer and it was an amazing feeling. Our live show is a craft we’ve developed over the years from touring. The way each show builds on the last is how we evolve and grow. YOU are the reason we tour. The chance to sing and dance and share a moment together is something we will never take for granted.

Blink Once tour dates have been announced in Canada, USA, UK and Germany and are listed HERE. If you don’t see your city listed, may we suggest a vacation? Rest assured, we will stay busy. This is only the beginning, and more dates will come.

In addition to singing your hearts out with your pals, we want to make sure our fans feel safe at the shows. Based on the consistent findings from our healthcare community, we proudly support the vaccine and accompanying regulations to keep our most vulnerable safe. As a courtesy to all guests, full vaccination is required to enter the shows. We want to move forward together, and take care of each other. 

Can’t wait to make new memories with you,
Xo Arkells

Blink Once is Here

We like working. We like working because the day we started writing and recording songs, the high of listening back to a demo and feeling like it had potential to *be something* is the best possible feeling. We keep chasing that. 

But for Blink Once, we very deliberately tried to change our process.  We started working on it as soon as Rally Cry came out, and the initial demos felt too familiar. The songs had little mystery, and to get excited about a song you need it to feel kind of foreign. We knew we needed a new path. 

So we found inspiration in new cities and new voices in the room. Songwriting and production came from unexpected places. There was more collaboration within the band than ever. But also more independence. Everyone in the band has their own home DIY studio, and lots of nuggets came from the guys tinkering for hours on their own. 

We left LA in February 2020 and had about 80% of the record done. We figured we’d come back and finish it in the spring and it’d be out by the fall. But of course it wasn’t meant to be. When the pandy hit, we put it aside, made Campfire Chords at home, and committed to releasing the record only when we knew we could play it live. There are big old songs that need YOU singing along.

Blink Once is about resilience. It’s about grieving with loss and fall outs and finding your way back. The making of the album began before the pandemic, but the material seems to hit harder after everything we’ve been through over the past 18 months. These songs are about finding comfort in your family, community and music. 

We snuck in a few shows this summer, and it was everything we needed to remember what it’s like – but better. Rest assured, we’ll be coming through your town soon.

Last but not least, special love to the memory of Barbara Tatham and Roy Veerman and their families. You hear Barbara’s voice in the interlude after Strong, and Roy’s sons Mike and Greg reflecting on their dad in the interlude before Arm In Arm. We are the product of our community, and those folks shape who we are.

Xo

Arkells 

FIRST SHOWS BACK

Our triumphant return to live music – aka our first shows back onstage, after 16 months, will be August 13th, 14th and 15th for three back-to-back, once-in-a-return-from-pandemic history making nights at Toronto’s Iconic Budweiser Stage

It’s been a long haul, but we kept telling ourselves to be patient – when shows come back, we’re going to do it big, and we’re going to do it right. And that time is now. These shows are billed as ARKELLS LONG WEEKEND because it’ll feel like a celebration that we’ve yearned to have together. There’s no better place for it.

Tickets go on-sale Friday July 16th at 10 AM.

These will operating as reduced capacity shows in accordance with provincial regulations – so hop to it!

More dates are coming. We will start practicing now – see you in 4 weeks!

Xo

Max, Tim, Mike, Anthony, Nick

BLINK ONCE IS COMING

in the grocery store.

Now more than ever, it seems our lives can change in the blink of an eye. We began working on this album before the world changed and this title felt right given where we’ve collectively landed. Everyday you wake up and you think you know a lot of stuff, then it turns out – you don’t.

Blink Once was started in LA and completed in Toronto. Who knew that when we started rolling it out with “Years In The Making” in 2020, we were literally kicking off a global multi-year come back to reality. These songs have LEGS. It’s truly exciting to officially launch the Blink Once era. The gang’s all here: “You Can Get It” is STILL your fave pump up jam of the summer (#ForzaBroughtMeHere), and we are so proud to lend “All Roads” to the #TogetherAgain campaign.

It wouldn’t feel right to announce Blink Once without a song that’s sure to put you in the mood for a proper Arkells live show. This is why “One Thing I Know” is here to get the party started. This song is about not being ashamed of who you are and where you come from. The best version of yourself lets your colours show – to feel free, weird and unburdened by all the things out of our control.

Get vaccinated. We’re real close. See you at a show. They are coming.

Xo

Max, Tim, Mike, Anthony, Nick

Arkells + K.Flay = “You Can Get It”

“You Can Get It” announces itself from the first note and asks a very simple question: “Tell me what you want?” The sentiment, much like its sound is both fearless and steadfast. We want you to think big after feeling this song for the first time.

We recorded YCGI with our friend K.Flay in LA prior to 2020’s lockdown. Since then, the song has taken on a new sense of relevance and urgency we couldn’t have predicted prior to being stuck inside for the last year. It feels like the sun is finally coming out, and the song is about being free to chase down every dream and desire.

When we started writing this song, the world felt dark. We were looking for answers. You look to people who give you energy. You look for little moments that can lead you on a new path. Collaborating with K.Flay gave us that jolt. She turned the song on its head and drove it home. Our band is always evolving and growing, and she’s now in the family.

While we were setting up the track, K.Flay shared a pointed quote about the tune: “This song is about finding your momentum, the potential energy that’s inside of you. The future doesn’t just feel unknowable – it feels impossible. We wanted this song to feel like possibility. Like the world is opening up. Like you are powerful.”

We hope this song gives you that jolt that you’re longing for these days.

LFG YCGI.

xo

Max, Anthony, Mike, Tim, Nick

Added “A Little More” to Campfire Chords

If this song was a movie, there’d be a disclaimer at the beginning that reads “The following is based on a true story.” Our latest release A Little More comes as a *new* edition to Campfire Chords. The tune was written with a nod to our piano man Tony – an undisputed wizard on the keys. He’s been playing since he was a small child and we promise we have adorable photos to prove it. When Tony was a young kid, his musician-dad sold a bunch of his own gear in order to buy an upright piano for Tony to learn to play. This story of love, dedication and sacrifice felt befitting of a song itself – we hope you feel it too.

Sonically, this stripped back project felt like a reflection of the year we’ve been living in. In the winter of 2020 we taught online music classes; coming together with fans all over the world. Come spring we took that intel into each of our home studios and recorded the Campfire Chords album while apart. In the summer we got to share the album with you and the band got to be together again to play these renditions for the first time. As we head back indoors for the winter, we come full circle on the project with a new BOOK so you have all the tools to play at home. The Campfire Chords project was a new journey for us, and we’re pleased to report that it’s still expanding, with the addition of the Campfire Chords guitar chord book as a companion piece to the album. We made sure to include even more of our catalogue, with 33 songs that we expect you all to learn IN FULL in the coming months. We’ve been known to bring a fan or two on stage to play along with us, now everyone has equal warning and time to prep. Can’t wait.

XO
Max, Mike, Tim, Nick & Tony