Artist Interview: Joshua Howell of The Arrival Note

Posted: by The Editor

Although Tampa’s The Arrival Note have existed for less than two years, it’s already been rewarding to watch how they’ve grown into their sound. Their self-titled debut, released in January of last year, leaned into tense, melancholic emo, reminiscent of Texas Is the Reason or Christie Front Drive at their most dynamic. September’s Vol. 2 saw them getting a little crunchier, drawing in more of the post-hardcore influence that defined early ‘90s emo: the space between notes got shorter, the guitars were more likely to be bathed in distortion, Joshua Howell’s voice was more likely to creep into a shout. With their most recent release, a three-way split with Atlanta emotive hardcore troupe Painful Choice and indie rock newcomers Sugar Coat, the four-piece takes the natural next step, turning in their two heaviest, biggest songs yet. There aren’t a lot of bands in emo doing what The Arrival Note is doing, and the band’s grasp of sudden dynamic shifts is nearly unrivaled among their contemporaries, and Howell’s gruff, raspy voice lends the band a rough edge few can match. We sat down with Howell to discuss their writing process, the addition of new members, and where they’ll take their sound on the full-length they’ve been working on.

The band began as a two-piece. How did D’angelo and Bayly join the band? 
Bayly and I play in another band together, and I knew that he liked emo stuff, so having him in the band was an easy transition. D’angelo I knew from going to shows. One day, I saw a video of him playing drums on his Instagram and I liked how hard he hit so I asked him to be in the band.
How has adding members affecting your writing process?
For the first time ever, The Arrival Note feels like a full band and that’s a really good feeling. We wrote the split songs in two practices and we are seven songs into writing a new LP so they have helped tremendously.
I know you’re in a few hardcore bands in addition to The Arrival Note. How did you find emo, and how do you see The Arrival Note in relation to your heavier bands? 
Honestly a lot of my favorite hardcore bands are on Revelation Records, and that’s how i found bands like Elliott, Texas Is the Reason, Farside, that stuff. While those bands aren’t hardcore bands, they somehow connected with me regardless. And I had been a fan of Further Seems Forever since I was a teenager from my Christian rock days, so I’ve always been close to it even in my younger years. I just didn’t know that stuff was under the umbrella of emo until later. I don’t think hardcore and emo are that far off from each other, especially now with bands like Fiddlehead and Militarie Gun playing with hardcore bands, the worlds are more conjoined now than they ever have been.
Press materials for all your releases all use ‘90s emo bands for your sound. How do you pay homage to those groups while still sounding fresh? Where do you think the line is there?
There aren’t a lot of current bands doing emo that I personally care for, so since I’m constantly listening to the older stuff, I think that is why it sounds closer to that. However we recently have been trying to put more effort into our production and I think that it’s naturally giving us a more current sound than prior releases. I think that as long as you aren’t stealing riffs, then an older sound can be recreated.
You recently put out a split with Painful Choice and Sugar Coat. How did that come to be?
We share members with Sugar Coat and recently we all went on tour together with Painful Choice. While we were out there we discussed a split and then we decided all three of us could do it together because we all wanted to put out new material. I’ve never done a split before with anybody, so I wasn’t sure how it would come together but it all worked out nicely.
The two songs you contributed to that split are more aggressive than anything you put out on either of your first two EPs. Is that a direction you’re planning on exploring in the future, or do the songs just turn out the way they turn out?
When we started writing after Vol. 2 we knew we were ready to get a little heavier and everything just came together in our first writing session. The sound we cultivated on the split is definitely a good screenshot of what we will be pursuing moving forward.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys are writing a full-length at the moment. What sorts of things—music, life, books, whatever—have influenced the writing of the LP?
As far as musical influences go, we’ll be drawing from the same things, but we are just putting more thought into song structure. Lyrically I want to paint a picture of life and all of its ups and downs: love and loss, emotion and disassociation, family and friends. I want these songs to be honest to who we are as people and I hope that shines through.
What can fans expect from The Arrival Note for the rest of the year?
We are writing an LP and we are going to give it everything we got so be on the lookout for that. We also are touring for a week in late July, and tour dates and locations are on our Instagram.


Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.