By his estimation, Arkells guitarist Mike DeAngelis figures that over the course of 2012, he and his bandmates spent approximately nine months on tour around the world. In addition to having performed throughout Canada, the group also toured the United States with fellow Canadian Lights and had the opportunity to tour Germany with Billy Talent.
In the last year alone, in support of their 2011 record Michigan Left, Arkells have played Metro Moncton on two prior occasions, once around this time last year on their own and then again in summer when the group played in support of Nickleback at Magnetic Hill.
So should anyone necessarily be surprised that Arkells are coming back to Moncton? Arkells will be performing at Casino New Brunswick in support of The Tragically Hip’s sold-out show Friday night.
Despite the lack of home-time over the past 12 months, having the opportunity to tour with a Canadian musical institution like The Hip is something that was simply too good for Arkells to even consider passing up.
“We have had the opportunity to play with the Hip a few times prior to this tour,” DeAngelis tells the Times & Transcript from a tour stop in Western Canada.
DeAngelis says that seeing The Hip let alone having the chance to perform in support of them has taught his own band many valuable lessons.
“If anyone has seen The Hip play a festival type of show in the summer time, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say the crowd instantly feels as though you are part of a community. They go on stage night after night and give everything they’ve got to those watching them. I believe their mentality is a testament to why they have been so successful for such a long time in Canada.”
DeAngelis says that while the group has made some headway in terms of broadening their fan base in the United States, he acknowledges much work lies ahead of them still. Not that they aren’t up for the challenge, of course.
“We have poked our heads into America a couple of times now,” he says. “We did a tour with The Maine in the United States that was great as we were playing to great crowds every night. We just recently went back and played a few other shows in the east and were pleasantly surprised at the turn outs. It’s a huge territory though, with a lot of markets. All we can hope for is to earn our fans in the States the same way that we did in Canada: through touring.”
With so much road work under their belts, one has to wonder what kind of effect it is having on the group writing new music. DeAngelis says the group has a decent selection of new music written, some of which the group is, appropriately enough, fine tuning during sound checks every night. DeAngelis is optimistic that the group will be able to cut a new album this year although the release date remains up in the air.
“Stylistically, I feel we are starting to come into our own in terms of refining our sound,” he says. “The new songs have elements of both of our first two records. The next record will be an honest representation of the energy and the current headspace of the band. I’m looking forward to getting it completed.”
Article published in the February 1, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript