Arkham are a post hardcore band from Chicago, IL.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Arkham? How long has the band been around?
Charlie and I had been playing in bands together on and off since we were 14. Around
the time Arkham started I was playing bass in a Ska band called Write What You Know, Charlie played guitar in an indie rock band called Sneaky Houdini and then we started Arkham as kind of a side thing to both of them. Later down the line Matt and Andrew joined and they had been playing in a band that we had toured with called The Calm Before (now Ghost of a Dead Hummingbird). We started the band in late 2011, but it changed pretty drastically in 2013 with some member and direction changes.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Growing up I was big into Batman comics and HP Lovecraft stories, which is where the
name comes from. I ran it by Charlie, and it stuck. We probably should have changed it when the band underwent a lot of changes, but we liked it so much we just kept it.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and
do you think these topics will change over time?
I write the lyrics and then the rest of the band comes together to write the music. The
main theme at the center of our music is politics, more specifically ideas of self and resistance in the political sphere, and the nice thing about writing about politics is you never really run out of material. Down the line I may write from a more personal view, or I may start trying to tell other people’s stories, but I always want politics to be at the center of what we’re doing.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I think one of the things I enjoy most about this band is that everyone brings their own
significantly different inspirations to the table. I take a lot of inspiration from bands like Black
Flag, The Germs, Against Me, Strike Anywhere, Propagandhi, Verse, Anti-Flag, The Flatliners and A Wilhelm Scream. I also take a lot from the bands that introduced me to alternative music like My Chemical Romance, Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Thursday. As far as bands going today in our scene, I’m consistently impressed by bands like Stick To Your Guns and letlive. and how they combine accessible, catchy hardcore and punk with a nuanced socially and politically conscious message.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Seeing Gallows at Warped Tour 09 was big for me. I was 16 and felt really lost with everything and just remember being struck by how aggressive and confrontational they were. 09 warped was at the height of the crunkcore/crabcore/neon stuff and Gallows were this loud punk band, sort of the antithesis to everything around them. They weren’t pretty boys, or catchy, Frank wasn’t a great singer or screamer, they didn’t really belong, but they were there, in people’s faces, screaming about what they thought was wrong in the world, and putting on the best show of the tour. I remember that really resonating with me, the idea of being an outsider but aggressively asserting your existence. After that I was like “yeah, I need to be doing that” Arkham actually formed directly after I dragged Charlie to an A Wilhelm Scream show when we were in high school. That kind of sold Charlie on the idea of doing an aggressive punk band, and I ran it past Charlie on the train ride home, so I guess you could say AWS had a hand in directly starting the band.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
I blew out my voice 3 shows into the first tour we did, so I always do some vocal warmups
beforehand. If we’re on tour and the weather is nice, sometimes I’ll go for a run before our set. I get pretty antsy and anxious before a set, so I just kinda pace and zone out, listen to Bound 2.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
For me, I think it’s just been slowly watching people get what we’re doing. To from playing empty shows, being a kind of dismissed band to playing full rooms, having kids connecting with what we’re doing through diving, singing along or just kind words. It’s been nice to see something that has always meant a lot to me start meaning something to other people. We’ll still play empty shows from time to time, but the definite highlight has been watching what we do catch on.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I think touring with Kanye would be really cool.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I really like doing an interview for a site named after my favorite ETID song