“That’s basically how we went from being, like, a school band, to being kind of professional,” vocalist and guitarist Mario Clement said.
This is the Arrival’s debut, “A Million Kicks,” was released on Feb. 10 on Dienje. The 10-song album had been nine months in the making, and, when reflecting upon the ways the band has changed over the years, the members agreed that although they couldn’t have expected what they ended up recording, they’re entirely happy with it.
“We wanted to make a record that we like, and if nobody else likes it then fine. But we like it, so we can perform the songs with our heart and soul, and if the radio won’t [play] songs, if the press [doesn’t] like it, fuck it,” bassist Martin Brugger said with a laugh. “It’s not that we don’t care at all about other people liking our songs. It’s just that it’s not the main aim for us.”
More specifically, the band (which also consists of guitarist Timo Kuroschinski and drummer Piet Gerhardinger) tried not to be overwhelmed by various influences, and especially resisted the idea of strictly emulating other artists they like. As a result, the ideas they collected and created on the computer were a fusion of the pop-rock music the band started out playing, combined with a beat-infused sensibility.
“It turned out to be pretty much like a hip-hop-ish album,” Clement said, pointing to the mixture of different styles.
As for the songwriting, This is the Arrival always writes the melodies first and the words second. In fact, the members admitted to making up fake lyrics in the early stages, in order to have words accompanying lyric-less songs, something they said no one even seemed to notice.
But as they continued, they focused on penning the words in English, something many German bands do based on the tradition of English-speaking music they have grown up with.
“It just felt natural,” Clement said, referring to singing in English. “[Also,] it gives you a chance to have a greater distance…you can use your voice more like an instrument because it’s not your first language.”
Now that the album is out, the band has been touring in support of it, and also hopes to play festivals during the summer. Of course, the four have only just released their first album, but already there is this lingering feel of uncertainty. This is based on how much has happened in the past few years, and pressure to keep things from dropping off.
“You can’t tell how it’s going to turn out in the end,” Brugger shared, pointing to how the members have sacrificed schooling or careers in lieu of rolling the dice on the music industry game. “It could work, the next record, and if it doesn’t work, what are you going to do?”
Clement agreed, stating that although the members are young (they are all in their early-to-mid 20s), it is a pretty big gamble.
“It’s scary,” he said. “We’re all just putting a lot into this.”
Yet at the same time, the reward is in making music with friends, and realizing that people enjoy it and want to see and hear it – a demand which, fortunately, finances a lifestyle of touring.
“You’re doing something that only a really small circle of people is able to do,” Brugger said.
This is the Arrival plays tonight at Comet Club in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.