Interview: Arms Akimbo Discuss “Devil” and the LA Scene

Posted: by The Editor

In February, Arms Akimbo dropped their newest EP, The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party, an infectiously-catchy yet mature 6-track masterpiece. However, the indie rock outfit has much more up their sleeve. With the release of their latest track, “Devil”, fans are beginning to ask what’s in store for the future. We took some time to talk to vocalist and guitarist, Christopher Kalil, about what inspired the song, the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles, and minivans with flame decals.

Make sure to listen to the track while you read along. 

What was the inspiration behind “Devil”?

I think it was a reaction to seeing the way that social media seems to creep its way out of your phone and into everyday life. That idea was really starting to get to me and the most frustrating part is that I’m just as much a part of the problem as anyone else. I realized that the only honest way to really take a jab at social media obsession was to take a jab at myself for participating in it… and maybe to stop taking it so seriously.

How do you think the music scene differs in Los Angeles vs. the rest of CA? What about the rest of the country?

The main thing that sets the LA scene apart from the rest of the country is how saturated it is with talent. You can hit any venue on any night of the week and run into an amazing artist.  

Do you find it harder to find steady footing as a band in LA with so much going on?

Certain aspects are definitely harder — to succeed you need to find a way to stand out and really hone in on what makes your music unique. On the other hand, the fact that there are so many shows and events at any given time means a new band can always find a way to get their foot in the door.

What is your favorite part of living in Southern CA/least favorite part?

Its honestly hard to narrow down a single favorite part because we really do love living here. We recently moved to the East Side after a few years on the West Side and it feels like we’re discovering something completely new out here every single day. Not to be cliché but I hate driving, so traffic is by far the worst thing about LA. Also, Santa Monica bars. Maybe I shouldn’t say that…

Would you consider yourself part of a specific community in the scene there/in general?

Considering we’ve lived all over Los Angeles at this point, we’ve had the opportunity to get involved with a ton of different musical communities. It’s one of the most rewarding things about being a band in LA and we’ve been able to meet a ton of great people along the way. We’ve got a huge network of friends and artists out here and we are constantly inspired by our peers.  We just want more good art from good people!

You’ve played with bigger acts like Walk The Moon. How does that experience differ than doing small tours with artists like Derek Ted? Which do you prefer?

They definitely have a way different vibe but big shows and intimate shows are both amazing. I find that I am more present during intimate shows and D.I.Y. sets because you are connecting with every person in the room and it feels very personal. Big venue or festival style shows are a lot more surreal and you get lost in the moment.Also since you mentioned it, huge shoutout to our amazingly talented friend Derek Ted, he’s an awesome tour buddy and fantastic musician.

How does it feel to be touring in a minivan but being titled an artist to watch by Billboard?

The minivan is a lot more luxurious than you might think — we’ve got a trailer hitch, a DVD player, a ton of cup holders. What more could you want? I’ve also been fighting to get some flame decals down the sides but that debate is ongoing.It’s definitely an honor to be recognized by press outlets like Billboard this early in our musical career. We all grew up reading Billboard and found a ton of our favorite artists on there so it was a very cool and humbling experience to get featured by them.

You just released an EP in February, do you plan on releasing more sometime soon?

We have a ton of new music we are working on and we are super excited to share it soon.  Gotta keep it secretive so I don’t get in trouble though!

Any other plans for the future?

We’ve got a headlining show at Teragram Ballroom (one of our favorite venues in LA) on July 13th that we’re very excited for.  As for the rest of the year, we want to play for as many new cities as we possibly can.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dear readers: Be good people, make good art, maybe take a second to not be on your phone sometimes, and try not to be negative if you can! There’s no problem that can’t be solved by getting a minivan with your friends, potentially slapping some sick flame decals on the side, and taking it around the country!

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Emily Kitchin | @deathnap4cutie

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