Five Favourites: Arc Iris

With their new album Icon of Ego released this month via Ba Da Bing Records, Providence trio Arc Iris, fronted by Jocie Adams (formerly of The Low Anthem) have been busy sharing their brand new sounds far and wide. We caught up with Jocie to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – Five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. John Martyn – Bless the Weather
This record is the Five Leaves Left that never found it’s spotlight in America. The simple musicality on this record is wholly inspiring. The interplay between the bass and guitar is moving. John Martyn’s singing is incredibly human and musical.

Bless the Weather is a perfect record minus one. For some reason the British folk artists had a habit of ruining their perfect records with one electric blues tune. John Martyn did it (with Sugar Lump), Fairport Convention did it, Sandy Denny did it….

2. Yes – Close to the Edge 
A classic that we have shared as a band since day one. Zach and Ray had to learn this record as teenagers when they toured with Jon Anderson, but Zach was a die hard Yes fan well before that moment came about. In addition, Rick Wakeman was Zach’s number one keyboard influence as a kid. It’s hard to talk about this record. You should go listen to it, if you haven’t already. You will either love it, or hate it. It might take 2 or 3 tries to make sense.

3. Joni Mitchell – Blue
This year we re-imagined and released all of Joni Mitchell’s Blue under the name Foggy Lullaby. Learning and re-imagining these songs has had a big influence on the growth of our band. Joni Mitchell’s songwriting taught me a lot about the line between loose and tight when it comes to lyric writing and rhythm in singing. She is a melodic queen. Lastly, Joni’s attitude towards creating art as art rather than art as a part of trending pop culture is inspiring. Of course, she wouldn’t like me saying that because I don’t think she takes well to people trying to summarize her opinions.

4. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing….
Our immediate love for the sonic landscape on this record is paramount to the incorporation of samples into our set. Zach uses samples from my clarinet or his or my voice doing whacky things for both live purposes and the writing process. We have also started doubling drums with sampled drums on a lot of tunes.

5. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
Stevie is another wildly influential artist for all of us. Strangely, his biggest influence on our band is likely his left hand bass playing. Zach learns a lot from his melodic bass choices, groove and tones. This record is undeniably a classic on so many levels. The fluidity and ease that Stevie carries while playing keys and singing and even playing the drums is inspiring for us all as musicians. The songwriting is beautiful. The arrangements are simple and effective. It’s just great.

Thanks to Jocie for sharing her favourites! Follow Arc Iris on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington

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