Arcadia Grey
by Interviews

Earlier this month Chicago-based emo punk band Arcadia Grey released their stellar second album Casually Crashing. The band’s growth is on full display as they kick out ten tracks full of killer riffs, infectious hooks, and moshable moments. Their lyrics confront grief, identity, self-love, mental health, regret, and living with roommates with introspective lyrics that oscillate between heart-rending and humuorous. Casually Crashing is out now via Smartpunk Records. Arcadia Grey will be touring the US (including a stop at Pug Fest in Michigan) and Ontario starting in June and will be playing FEST in Florida in October.

Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with guitarist and vocalist Cora Kunda and bassist and vocalist Nat Breeden to talk about the new album, why owl pellets are the perfect analogy for songwriting, the power of the Prince Daddy and the Hyena hoodie, being a good roommate, creating bits, and so much more. Read the interview below!

This interview between Em Moore, Cora Kunda, and Nat Breeden took place on May 29, 2024 over Zoom. This transcription documents their conversation and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Casually Crashing is your first release with Smartpunk Records. How did you decide who to sign with? What has working with them been like?

Cora: Signing with them has been a really pleasant experience. Our friends in this band called Niiice were working with them when we were looking around for labels to help us with this second record. We got a glowing review from them and then we reached out to Matt who seemed really interested in the project. As far as all the people we talked to about the record, they genuinely seemed the most excited about working with us. It was a really nice fit.

Nat: Yeah, they were the most DIY label that also had resources to support us in the endeavors we were trying as well. It was a good mix of, “We’re lackadaisical but we also have money that we can throw at your release. We have a team and experience and we can help you in a lot of ways”. [laughs] They’re also a merch company so it’s been really helpful with stuff like that as well. Smartpunk is very cool!

You recorded this album at Headroom Studios with Kyle Pulley and this is the most amount of time you’ve had to record. You recorded your debut album Konami Code in four days. How did having more time impact the recording process?

Cora: For me, it was about as hectic as our previous recording situation. Not that we were under a lot of pressure but we were trying to do a lot more on this project than we were on the last one. It was a lot more ambitious than our last project. It was definitely refreshing working with Kyle because Kyle’s got a lot of experience recording bands. Both in a musical production sense and in an interpersonal sense Kyle really helped guide us through the recording process a lot more. Most of the engineers that we’ve worked with have been pretty hands-off in that regard. It definitely taught us a lot of things and helped us make a better product overall.

Nat: Kyle had a much bigger producer role on the record than we’ve had in the past so it was super helpful and like Cora was saying, it was pretty hectic. For our first record we had four days to record and for this one, I think we had eleven but it still felt like we didn’t have enough time to do everything. [laughs] We ended up tracking vocals outside of the studio because Cora lost her voice the last few days. But it was a fun time, it was a blast! A lot of jokes, we got to meet some cool people, and we played with kittens.

Were there any inside jokes that came out of the recording process?

Nat: We see Kyle every time we go to Philly so we’ll bring some up. There were a few. We have a lot of characters in the band - there’s too much to explain here but we’ll bring those up in the studio that Kyle reminds me of sometimes.

Cora: “Get Pranked” came out of our session there.

Nat: “Get Pranked” did come out of that! We released an April Fool’s track last year. That was the culmination of us having a really cool breakdown in “Dwight 512” that we didn’t know what to put over so Kyle was like, “Maybe we could just throw some lyrics in there” and I was like, “I could try something!” I free-associate sing. I’ll get a melody in my head and just start singing lyrics so I was like, “Yeah, I’m sure I can write a thing improv-ed in the studio”. That did not happen and that’s how “Get Pranked” came out. It was just me screaming, “Fuck” and bashing my imaginary mother in a song. [laughs] We were cracking up. It wasn’t good so we cut it out of “Dwight 512” but we thought it was funny enough to release as a prank song to hold people over for the year it would take for the record to come out. Fully improvised lyrics and one take. [laughs]

Getting all the Arcadia Grey lore.

Nat: Yeah!

Cora: There’s a lot of Arcadia Grey lore, don’t worry.

Nat: We have so much to share.

Cora: We have this bound book that’s made of human flesh and bones, it’s really complicated.

Nat: Where’d you get the flesh?? I don’t remember this, when did you do this Cora? [laughs]

Cora: Well, Nat there’s about a foot-by-foot patch on your back that you can’t reach. That’s why there’s a scar there, just in case you were curious.

Nat: OH that makes a lot of sense. [laughs] That’s fine.

You mentioned that you were able to write a song all together in the studio for the first time. Which song was it? What was that process like?

Nat: It was “Dwight 512”. We had “Dwight 512” and we had this really cool breakdown but our producer was like, “This is boring and doesn’t make sense”. He was pretty vocal about it.

Cora: I feel like we went into the studio pretty comfortably prepared with “Dwight 512”. We had the first and second verses and the chorus down. We wanted to transition from the first chorus into a breakdown section but we didn’t know how to get out of the breakdown section and get into the second verse. Kyle had a pretty different vision of what the song was like. It took all three of us individually a couple of days to process how we were going to shift the song and how it would shift the tonality of the song overall. I think ultimately it’s for the better. It certainly sounds a lot more cohesively like a track now instead of a bunch of cool sections that happen to be in the same song.

Nat: Yeah, pretty much the second half of that song was written in the studio which was cool. I’ve always wanted to do that. Now that we’ve done it, I don’t think I’ll do it again. [laughs] But it was fun!

Why wouldn’t you do it again?

Nat: We did it, it’s just a thing you check off the bucket list, and I love how “Dwight 512” came out. I like coming in prepared and I like having the songs ready and knowing what they are. With Konami Code we didn’t do the demo process for that record like we did for Casually Crashing. We recorded those songs and then they got mixed and mastered and by the end of recording I was like, “Oh, there’s so much we could’ve changed and done differently”. With Casually Crashing we wanted to know what we were recording and not have to change much. But it was fun. I liked it, and it was cool. Now we have a story to share with people. [laughs]

How would you describe your songwriting process overall?

Cora: Since Nat and I both approach songwriting drastically differently, it’s always an odd process. The general summary is one of the two of us will bring a main idea to the group and then we will work through it typically in person. We’ll go section by section and build out what we have, or whatever the person who brought something has, instrumentally with the full band and we’ll see if we can connect all those ideas together. Over the last couple years, I’ve gotten a little bit better at demoing out full songs. Most of the tracks that I sing primarily on Casually Crashing were full band demos that I designed over quarantine. When I brought them to the group we just shifted some instrumentation around and added parts that people thought were cool. Then for songs where Nat is primarily singing, typically Nat and I will build the song together.

Nat: Cora has a better picture and more skills to write and record everything. Then for me, I’ll have a shell and I’ll record it on my phone - just me on my acoustic guitar. If I think it’s good enough and if we have time then I’ll bring it to band practice and Cora and I will work on it together or we’ll work on it as a group. It takes a while to get one of those songs done. [laughs] But they’re fun.

Cora: It’s always funny because Nat will be like, “I have this weird idea and I don’t really know what to do with it” and then they’ll play the coolest thing anyone’s ever heard. Then they’ll be like, “I don’t think it’s that good! It’s going back in the voice memos” and we’re like, “Nooo!”

Nat: The problem is I’ll write the riff and I’ll play it for like three weeks and then I’ll just kinda forget about it. They’re all on this phone. [holds up their phone] So don’t let anything happen to this. But by the time it gets to the writing process, I’m bored of it and it’s someone else’s problem. [laughs]

Cora: I’m someone else.

Nat: I do need to send you some demos.

Cora: Maybe you don’t need to send me the demos, maybe I just need to take the phone.

Nat: Oh yeah, take it. Cora just puts her demos online and apparently, some people know about that SoundCloud account. After the record came out somebody commented, “So good to finally hear this in full form and not on SoundCloud”. I don’t know who it was so that means they found it somehow.

Cora: That’s the whole point of making things like that public. It’s a fun little curio for Arcadia Grey fans to stumble upon.

Which song off the album has changed the most?

Cora: Ooh, that’s a good question! Since “Dwight” changed structure, I think we could easily say that but I think either “Pdaddy Hoddie” or “Jet Set Greydio” - that one changed a lot from the original demo. I did rough instrumentation of everything and that was probably the second song that I ended up demoing for the record. As far as instruments go, the bass and drums changed the most from the original demos. For the better in almost every case but it definitely does sound like quite a different song.

Nat: If we’re talking about songs that changed a lot before we went into the studio, “Pdaddy Hoodie”. The demo form is a little different. We added two extra lines at the beginning.

It’s neat to see how everything evolves and gets to be what it is.

Nat: It was right before we toured with glass beach but I didn’t know that all the demos for their first record were released. You were able to listen to their entire songwriting process. I think most of the songs had five different forms before they got to the record which I think is really insane and tedious. I feel like Arcadia Grey - and correct me if I’m wrong, Cora - goes through maybe two versions of the song before we’re like, “Oh, that’s good enough”.

Cora: I think in both cases of our own personal writing processes we’ll get an idea out and then we’ll be like, “Alright, that’s cool!” We’ll get the dopamine from the idea and then we’ll be like, “Ok, time to move on!” We’ll both look back and be like, “We could improve it, we should improve it” and then we’ll go on and do the next thing.

Nat: I think we’re getting better at that as songwriters. I’m such a “it-has-to-be-perfect-the-first-time” person and I’m not very good at just barfing out ideas and reorganizing that barf into art. [laughs]

That’s a good way to phrase it.

Nat: Yeah, sorting through my barf for the good stuff. This is so gross, I’m sorry. [laughs] It’s like an owl pellet! You ever open up an owl pellet?

Cora: It’s exactly like an owl pellet, Nat. I do agree that our band is exactly like an owl pellet, you’re right. [laughs]

Nat: [laughs] No, with songwriting! It’s like, “Hmmm what ideas can I make out of this?”

I think that’s the best way anyone’s ever described songwriting - like an owl pellet. It makes sense! It's made up of all your influences and thoughts and stuff.

Nat: You just have to dig through it and build something out of the remains.

Cora: It loses me on the implication that you have to dig through all the owl pellets because I’ve dissected one personally in my lifetime, Nat. I don’t know how many you’ve gone through.

Nat: I would go to summer camps where we did that. At least a couple of times.

Cora: Just as a pastime or..?

Nat: Well there’s nature science camps so there were things like, “It’s scat week! We’re gonna learn about poop and barf from animals!” That was a fun one.

Cora: Sounds fun.

Nat: You’re getting the lore here. Owl pellets. Didn’t think I’d be talking about that today.

Your song “Kevin Pickles and the Great Pool Noodle Excursion” talks about frustration with roommates and really showcases the band’s sense of humour. How did the idea to incorporate skits into the song come about?

Nat: I think it was a day 1 thing, at least for me. I was like, “It would be so funny to have some skits here”. We’ve always wanted to do that. When we were recording our first stuff we were always putting sketches in but it didn’t make it into Konami Code. I remember Cora and I recording some track in the library/media center a while ago and we had a bit where Cora was yelling at me about crashing the car. It’s somewhere in our Google Drive. Skits and ideas like that have always been around. For this record, I wanted to put a few in there and we did.

Cora: We grew up listening to a lot of Blink-182 and bands like that who just liked to goof around and stuff. We thought it’d be really fun to be able to mix this genre of emo/alternative with the jovial joking-around fun that a lot of those bands have. We had a lot of skits that we were workshopping for this record that, I think for the betterment of the record, Kyle was like, “Please don’t do that”. [laughs] So we didn’t. The tiger did not make the record unfortunately, that’s a recurring character. We can’t leak too much about the skits because they’re gonna get recycled.

Nat: I just really like the idea of playing with audio and comedy. We didn’t get to do this on this record, maybe on the next one we will, but we were going to have a series of sketches between songs. Life got in the way. One of the ideas was that there’s a tiger attack in the middle of the sketch and all you hear are the sounds of the tiger and us scuffling. And it’d be completely random, it would just come out of nowhere. I thought that’d be so fun to do in the middle of the album like, “What the fuck am I listening to?? Did Arcadia Grey just die from a tiger attack?” [laughs]

Then the rest is just you’re resurrected somehow like, “Oh yeah, we’re back”.

Nat: I won’t leak, maybe it’ll happen on the next one and we close the album with that. The last track plays then it’s us chatting like, “What the fuck?” [laughs]

Did I even hear a tiger? Was that real?

Cora: You can actually pet the real tiger from the Arcadia Grey album at the merch table tonight.

That’d be perfect!

Cora: [laughs] Purrrfect.

Nat: This is sparking so many ideas for LP3 right now.

Do you have any tips for being a good roommate?

Nat: That whole song is not about communicating your issues and being really passive but also finally communicating your issues and nobody being responsive to your thoughts. I would say communicate but it doesn’t seem to work. We had a chart and that didn’t seem to work either. I don’t know if there’s a good way to talk to your roommates. [laughs]

Cora: I’ve lived in a few situations where I’ve had roommates and the biggest thing and the biggest hurdle for me was understanding that other people have vastly different systems and expectations for the way that they operate. Being a good roommate is being able to compromise on your systems and the way that you operate to a comfortable medium between your group. There’s some things that some people value more than others and at some points, it’s important to compromise on them. At other points, you need to be able to respect what other people find important because you have the understanding that they will also respect what you find really important to come to a harmonious living situation. It’s not always going to be equal all the time and that’s ok.

Nat: Yeah, that's good! It’s like that one song from four years ago, [singing] “Why don’t you just meet me in the middle? Can’t you just wash your fucking dishes?”

On “Made 4 Love” you talk about dealing with negative self-talk and struggling to embrace self-love. What has helped you prioritize self-care?

Cora: For me, it’s remembering to respect yourself the same way you respect other people. I’ve always struggled with personal self-image and personal self-worth but I don’t feel like I’ve struggled in that same vein when I’m participating in that for other people. It’s a lot easier for you to put someone else on a pedestal than it is for you to put yourself on it. Journaling and meditation always help. I have a tendency to self-isolate so just actively making a point to spend time with and interact with my friends and my loved ones is the thing that helps the most even if it doesn’t always feel like it. A community can help. It’s very easy to feel alienated when you’re in a situation where you’re not surrounded by people who think similarly or believe similarly or believe in you. Self-love is definitely very important and reminding yourself of that every day helps.

What’s helped you find your community?

Cora: Personally, the DIY scene was really integral to meeting and interacting with all of my friends and loved ones, especially coming out of a situation growing up where I didn’t have a lot of personal support. It was very refreshing because for a long time, I didn’t believe that people thought the same way as I did. It was nice to encounter people with unabashed, genuine support.

On “Pdaddy Hoodie” you talk about the comforting power that the Prince Daddy and the Hyena sweater has and you also have references to their album Cosmic Thrill Seekers in the lyrics. What makes the hoodie so comforting?

Cora: Prince Daddy and the Hyena is one of my favourite artists and my favourite record by them is Cosmic Thrill Seekers. Not only did it help me a lot through the period between 2019-2022 but it’s just a really interesting album in a narrative growth sense and personal self-betterment sense. I find it very inspirational. At least for a couple years, I listened to the album pretty religiously. In turn this 3XL Pdaddy hoodie ended up turning into my depression hoodie so I would wear it whenever I was feeling bad. It was kinda like a kid’s blankie for me so now whenever I wear it I’m like, “I’ve overcome all these other things so I can overcome whatever this thing is too”. The merchandise as an icon has taken on some form of a symbol and seeing it in the surrounding emo scene has been cool. I was like, “It’d be really interesting to write a song about this and I have a personal connection to it so I think it’d be cute”.

Nat: People love it! Do you think we can get a lot of people to wear Pdaddy hoodies on this tour?

Cora: I’m sure if we ask really nicely.

Nat: Hell yeah, we’ll make it our own.

Cora: It is in June and July so let’s maybe not have fans jumping around in a hoodie.

Nat: That’s not gonna stop them.

Cora: I’m worried that their brains and temperature will stop them but to each their own.

Nat: Like Cora was saying, Prince Daddy and the Hyena are a pretty fundamental band. At least at the time, they were very much a black sheep of the emo scene and then the hoodie became kind of a symbol of what you listen to and your appreciation for the band. They were also a band that Cora and I really bonded over and was a huge influence on the record, especially on this song, but overall too.

Which Cosmic Thrill Seekers reference in the lyrics are you proudest of?

Cora: That was the one I wrote the most, verse-wise, in the studio so I was trying to smush in as many as I could. I had a whole list of lines and things I wanted to reference from Thrill Seekers. I was really trying to shoehorn in the “I can’t leave my own bed” line referencing the “race car bed” line from “Wacky Misadventures of the Passenger”. That was probably my favourite one, I think.

Nat: You shared this demo with me in probably 2022, I don’t remember exactly when you shared it with me but I remember being like, “This song’s fucking awesome!!” Something that I really like doing with our music is our sketches and those little fourth-wall-breaking moments. Cora tells the listener to breathe in and breathe out during the song and the inhales and exhales are in there. I remember that really sticking with me. When we were in the mixing process Kyle would cut out the exhales, if I remember correctly, and we’d be like, “Put those back in!! It’s all important!”

Cora: The “breathe in / breathe out” thing was added pretty late in the development of the song. We were having a discussion in the van after we played a show a little bit after we released the Trilogy EP, and we were like, “Wow, we’re playing a lot of high-tempo songs!” We were headlining at the time so we were playing between ten and twelve songs and the crowd would get physically tired after about five or six songs because people like moving around. But if you’re moving around for forty minutes consecutively, it’s pretty exhausting. These kids are in flat-footed Vans, they’re not wearing Nike running shoes. We were like, “We need to have a song where people can breathe and take a break”. So I was like, “Oh, this one will work!

Nat: A lot of records will have your heaters back-to-back and then you’ll have like your breather song to slow down. I feel like for this record, every song is high energy but has its moments where you can take a breath if you’re listening for it instead of having only those one or two songs you can take a breath on. Almost all the songs have a moment where we slow down which I really appreciate doing. I think it’s interesting.

It lets everyone on stage have that moment too.

Nat: Yeah! Usually, Cora doesn’t get a breather because it’s usually her moment. She has to carry those sections. [laughs] I get a breather which is nice.

Cora: I’m never going to get a breather and that’s fine. That’s why I have my inhaler for after the gig.

Along with Prince Daddy and the Hyena, you also pay tribute to Origami Angel on your song “Origami Crane”.

Nat: We dropped our first record, Konami Code in summer 2019 and they dropped their debut record in fall 2019 and we were like, “WOAH”. That was a band we had been listening to since Quiet Hours and we were kind of coming up with them. When we listened to the Holy Split and Gen 3 and all that stuff we were like, “This is a cool band” and then they put Somewhere City out and we were like, “Oh, this is how you write music!” The difference between us and Origami Angel is that Origami Angel are a positive emo band. A lot of their songs have very positive messages about loving yourself and your friends, especially on “Find Your Throne”. We always felt like the opposite of that. [laughs] “Origami Crane” is one of those things that feels like a response to Somewhere City. I feel like it is a sad version of an Origami Angel song. I feel like it’s the negative foil of “Find Your Throne” or “Skeleton Key”. [laughs] Are you feeling too happy? Did you find your throne? Well, we took it away from you. “Origami Crane” is a good one. That’s my favourite song on the record.

What makes it your favourite?

Nat: I keep bringing up Konami Code because I feel like Casually Crashing is a response to it and shows our evolution as a band. Cooper and I were still learning our instruments during that process. On “Origami Crane” I play a crazy bassline that’s walking up and down the whole song. As a bass player, I’m not sure if it’s super listenable in the mix but live it’s really fun to play. It’s a fun song and it shows off the skills that we all have. The lyrics that Cora wrote for it are just so heartbreaking and relatable. In the studio when we were writing it, Kyle was like, “What if we cut out the first verse?” and I was like, “But the first lyric of the song is what hooks me in - 'Watch my plants die from the comfort of my bedsheets'”. I think we’ve all had that moment where we’re too absorbed in our own self and issues that we can’t even take care of the plants in our rooms. How are we supposed to take care of our friendships and build those? In order to keep friendships and make friends you need to put effort into it like you water your plants and stuff. Like a give and you shall receive kind of thing.

Feed the roots and the roots will feed you.

Nat: Yeah! If you feed the owls, you will get pellets. [laughs]

Your video for “everything is miserable and i’m brooding alone in my dark dark room” is made up of tour footage. What’s your favourite tour memory?

Nat: There’s so many! We made that music video while we were on tour with glass beach. That video is the first half of the tour because I had to send the footage over to our editor who edited it while we were on tour. We got that back about halfway through the tour. Because I only had half of the glass beach footage, I had a lot of photos from our tour we did with this band from the UK called The Losing Score that I used. They flew over here last October to go to FEST and we did a tour together. We had never met them before. We had only talked to them once on Discord and everything else was through Twitter messages and that was it. We had agreed to drive them the entire tour. Before they got to America and into Chicago we were all nervous like, “What if this fucking sucks? We’ve never met this band before! What if this is terrible and we have to live with these Brits for two weeks?” The second they got in the car it was like magic. We became best friends almost instantly. That entire tour was just like synergy, just positive energy that entire time. it was the most fun I’ve had on tour. Shoutout The Losing Score! What a fun band. I have this digicam that I carry everywhere and I took photos that entire tour.

Nothing wrong happened on the entire tour which was unbelievable, we’ve had really bad luck. Nothing bad had really happened to us on tour until we got to our last day before we got to FEST. We were playing Tampa Bay. I was inside watching the show and I got a text that said, “Nat, come out here!” They had locked the van keys in the car. Previously I had locked the keys in the car in Chicago and had to pay $400 out of pocket to get someone to remove the keys because it was still running. So we had learned to always have the keys on us but the other band had not. Jack from The Losing Score had locked the keys in the van and I was like, “Oh my god, guys”. We were brainstorming and I’m like, “There’s no way to open the van. I’ve tried this already. We’re not going to get it open, we’re going to have to call someone”. They were adamant that they could get it out. The van windows pop outward about two inches and the lock is right there so they figured you could slide something under and pull the window open. They were trying to do that and I was like, “Just don’t pull too hard or it will shatter. Just wait until Cora gets back with the equipment to open the van”. I went back inside and I got a text like, “Nat, you’re gonna be mad at us”. I came out and they had shattered the fucking window. [laughs] I was just laughing because when I came out they were just sweeping up shattered glass. But we got the keys! They thought I was going to be mad but I was like, “I’m not mad but we don’t have a window now”.

We were also on tour with this band called Padfoot so I went inside to tell them what happened and they were like, “We had AAA! It works for everyone. You could have just asked us and we could’ve gotten your car open!” It was a fun moment out of a tour that had nothing bad happen the entire time. That was fourteen shows in fourteen days with no breaks. The worst thing that happened was a window broke. [laughs]

They’re your good luck charms, they need to be on every tour.

Nat: Yeah! I mean the glass beach tour went pretty well and they weren’t here. [laughs]

Will the cover of “Blister in the Sun” that closes out that video ever be fully released?

Nat: [laughs] If I can find it! There’s so much footage that I didn't put in the video because it’s only three minutes long but I recorded most of that tour. Joey Tobin, who was on that tour, has so much footage on VHS that I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day. I’m hoping to collaborate and make a tour doc for that tour. It was Fleece Kawasaki who was playing that song. They were really cool.

You’re touring the US and Ontario which will kick off with your album release show in June and you’ll also be playing Pug Fest in Michigan and FEST in Florida later this year. What are you looking forward to the most about these shows?

Nat: We did that glass beach tour and that was the longest tour we ever did, it was about six weeks long. I’ve been home for I think a total of a month and I feel like I’m not ready to go back on tour.

We’re touring with our friends in Summerbruise, who we’ve been playing with since day 1. They’re the band that brought us into the scene and helped us grow and taught us how to be a band. I’m really excited to finally get to do a tour with them since we’ve been talking about it for probably five years now. We also get to play with Stay Inside who we’ve been huge fans of for a long time so I’m really stoked to play with them. I’m really stoked to get back on the road and do more of a DIY tour again. At the end of the glass beach tour, we did two DIY shows on the way home and it was such a nice reminder of how fun those shows can be. I’m really excited to play some sweaty basements. We’ve only done a few shows in the summer, we’ve never done a tour like this before. I’m really excited to play some hot, sweaty summer shows and have a blast.

Lots of water.

Nat: Yeah, lots of water. We’ll have a car with A/C. I don’t mind the heat too much, I hate the cold. It’ll be fun.

How would you describe the emo scene in Chicago?

Nat: It’s so different from Indiana. We started in Indianapolis and it was a blast. It was small and new people would come in and old people would leave. It was growing but it wasn’t as big as Chicago. Chicago feels so vast. I don’t go to a lot of shows here because I’m pretty busy so I’m not super involved but Cora does. It feels very big. Instead of one group of emo bands in Indianapolis, there’s a hundred. It’s hard to navigate the shows and the people and the scene. But we’ve had a warm welcome here which is nice, compared to a lot of new bands who have to fight their way into a clique. We have street cred, I guess, so it was easy to get a seat at the table. A good way to describe it is it’s very Chicago, very cold shoulder. [laughs] It can be a bit hard to break in but it’s cool! It’s very big and there’s a lot of bands.

You just have to break the ice and then you’re good.

Nat: I also feel like it’s harder to stand out in a bigger city. In Indianapolis, you could be the band there for a few years but I feel like in Chicago it’s an ever-rotating cast of characters. There’s so much variety, there’s so many bands, people are moving in and out, and venues are changing. Indianapolis has had its venues for a while but in Chicago, people will get a house and open a house venue for the summer they live there. The venues are more competitive to get your opening slots. In Indianapolis, there’s a few venues and a few bands so you’re always rotating out bands and there’d be some bands that would get the opener slots more than others because they had the better connections. But in Chicago, there’s so many venues and so many bands touring in and out so it’s a little harder to get those slots.

The big thing for Arcadia Grey is that we tour a lot so we try to play shows when we can get them in Chicago. But most of the time when people are asking us to play shows and open for them or to go to shows and play local shows, we’re on tour. We don’t get to play a lot of local Chicago shows. We try to go to shows when we can and support the scene that way but it’s hard for us to support the scene as a performing band in Chicago outside of the dates we play on tour. We’re at that size where we’re more of a national touring band than a local band.

Do you have a favourite place to play on tour or a place you always look forward to playing?

Nat: I have to shoutout Roboto Project in Pittsburgh. It’s like our home away from home. It’s such a fun venue to play. It reminds me a lot of the Hoosier Dome which we grew up in as a band in Indianapolis. Then there’s Healer, also in Indianapolis. I’m sure if you ask any band about that one everyone’s going to be like, “It’s the coolest venue in the world!” because it is! It’s like fifty art installations in a trippy, mushroomy landscape. It’s hard to describe. [laughs] It’s very cool. We play a lot of clubs and a lot of DIY community venues but on the glass beach tour, we got to play a lot of big theatres. We got to play Thalia Hall which is my favourite theatre. That’s in Chicago. Coolest venue ever! They gave us free socks. The best green room on the entire tour. That was fun.

What makes it such a good green room?

Nat: Most greenrooms at bigger theatres have showers and bathrooms and here the showers were separate. The laundry room was connected to the green room and there was a kitchen. It was big and it felt like an apartment. Ours had a divider between our room and glass beach’s which we were able to open up. When we opened it I was like, “This is bigger than my apartment! What the hell? And fancier! What the fuck?” [laughs] It was very cool.

What does the future hold for Arcadia Grey?

Nat: I think we hinted at it a little bit but we’re working on new music. We have more tours in the future that we’re booking right now in the fall down to FEST. We’re playing Pug Fest later in June. We’re gonna keep touring until it’s not fun anymore and keep writing music until we feel like the project has done what it needs to do. It feels like we’re just starting to get where we wanna be and make what we wanna make. That’s the future for Arcadia Grey. Also more bits! I think there’s going to be a lot more bits in the future.

I’d be concerned if there wasn’t.

Nat: If we become a serious band you have to put us down.

Jun 15Beat KitchenChicago, ILLP release show w/Harrison Gordon, TRSH, Summerbruise
Jun 16Roboto ProjectPittsburgh, PAw/Summerbruise
Jun 18AlchemyProvidence, RIw/Summerbruise, Mallcops, Little Low
Jun 19TBDBoston, MAw/Summerbruise
Jun 20Cafe NineNew Haven, CTw/Summerbruise, Mighty Tortuga, Arms Like Roses
Jun 21Main Drag MusicBrooklyn, NYw/Stay Inside, Summerbruise, The Big Easy
Jun 22RLC CourtyardPhiladelphia, PAw/Stay Inside, Summerbruise, Latchkey Kids
Jun 23CatgutWashington, DCStay Inside, Summerbruise, Pinky Lemon
Jun 27TBDOttawa, ONw/Summerbruise, Stay Inside
Jun 28Expo VintageToronto, ONw/Stay Inside, Sun Junkies, Treehouse of Horror
Jun 30Pug FestFerndale, MIw/Stay Inside
Jul 10Hoosier DomeIndianapolis, INw/Calicuzns
Oct 25FESTGainesville, FL