One of the most vastly underrated singer / songwriters on the Los Angeles music scene today, Arrica Rose adds the compelling Wavefunction to her already prolific collection of sonic artistry. Along with her bands The …’s (dot-dot-dot’s), Arrica Rose explores the concept of being two places at once with both upbeat and down-tempo songs that should really set the listener’s imagination in flight. Part of the dream pop movement and yet verging well being any preconceived notions of a stated genre, Arrica Rose and The …’s displayed their artistry for the Wavefunction record release show at The Silverlake Lounge. Prior to the performance, we caught up with Arrica Rose and conducted our interview in the chilly parking lot right next to the venue. Read on as we catch a Wavefunction on Sunset Blvd with Arrica Rose…
How does the Wavefunction compare to the previous albums?
There is definitely more up tempo songs on this record. A lot of my other records fall into the down tempo or the mid tempo range with usually the occasional up tempo thrown in there. And I found myself writing a lot more of the up tempos. But I also had all of the down tempos as well and I thought how am I going to make a record out of all this. And it was actually my producer Dan Garcia that said, “Well why don’t we make it work with all of it”. And that’s where the whole concept of wave function came where half of it was going to be up tempo the other half down tempo so, a music for different occasions kind of thing.
Is there a story behind the title?
The story behind the title definitely has something to do with science, physics. I was actually reading about the many worlds interpretation, quantum mechanics reading you know an article like “Physics for Dummies” because you know half of it goes over my head but, I still am so fascinated by science and physics. I was reading an article about that and I was thinking about these two very different groups of songs I was putting together and then I had this sort of vision of it being almost two different sides of a person. You know that whole idea of you being both of those people simultaneously in different worlds. And that’s where I came up with the title “Wavefunction“. I ran it by a few people. I thought maybe, aw naw it’s too scientific. But also the whole idea of it being the function of a wave, the way a wave rolls in rolls out, continues on. I like the different interpretations that one could potentially get out of that title.
Select two songs from Wavefunction and what inspired the lyrics.
One of them, the first song that came to mind is a song called “Where You’ve Been“. It’s one of the more down tempo songs. And actually I heard an NPR segment about the photographer Mike Brody and he basically hopped trains for several years and took pictures of teen runaways. And he made a book of these photos, and they are also I think in several art galleries. And I heard him speaking about this adventure he went on and I looked up his photography and the images were so incredibly compelling that I couldn’t get them out of my head. And those images that were just lodged in my brain inspired “Where You’ve Been“.
Another one that comes to mind is “California on Repeat“. I split my time between being here in Los Angeles and also being up in the Bay area. I’m always going back and forth between the two cities. And there is something I really embrace and enjoy about it and something that’s a little bit challenging about it. And I started thinking “Wow I really am getting to know this state“. And it’s the state of California and also it’s the state of travel and constantly being in flux and so that’s what inspired that song.
What made you decide to do the cover of “In Dreams”?
I like the idea of trying to do one cover on each of my records. But it always has to be one that it hits me and it feels like the right cover to do. And I’m a huge David Lynch fan as well as a huge Roy Orbison fan. And I was brainstorming song ideas and I will always ask people. And it was actually my mom that said “Oh why don’t you do a Roy Orbison song“. My immediate reaction was “No, No I can’t do a Roy Orbison song“. And then I just looked up his discography and then all of a sudden saw “In Dreams” and thought of my David Lynch fascination and obviously Roy Orbison is an amazing artist, I’ve always loved him. And it just somehow made sense to try it out. You never know how something like that’s going to go, but we ended up being happy with it, so we put it on the album.
I can’t think of that song without thinking of Blue Velvet [laughs].
Exactly. I’m such a fan of his work as well as Roy Orbison so I figured, why not? We actually did a music video that’s a little bit inspired by both David Lynch and Roy Orbison.
You are well known for your covers. The Bee Gees, The Buggles. Have they heard your covers?
It’s funny. I often wonder about that. There’s a part of me that thinks probably, because when they start gaining a little bit of traction, you wonder if they’ve seen them. I do not know for certain, but I’m very curious as to whether that’s the case or not. Honestly, that’s the one I think – The Bee Gees, the interpretation that I did of “Tragedy,”if you listen to early Bee Gees, it sounds more along the lines of what I ended up recording “Tragedy” as. But, I do wonder if The Buggles would just think oh my god! What has she done to our song? Or, if they would think, what I thought, which was – wow this song is so tragic, I want to do a tragic rendition of it. I wonder if they would get that, or if they thought I killed their song.
What do you think about the local Los Angeles music scene? How do you fit in to everything?
I think it’s very diverse and dense and there’s so much – I think that’s a great thing, to have a city that has so much music life. On the other hand, it can be challenging when you look at “Tonight in LA,” and you see that there’s about 100 different band at about 100 different places playing. For us, I think we’ve always been one of those bands that don’t exactly fit into one particular scene because we’ve been a part of things like Hotel Cafe, which at some point was a little more singer/songwriter driven. But then we’ve also have been a part of the indie rock community. We kind of have one foot in each land and all I can say about that is for better [laughs] or worse, or better AND worse – I think we have a diverse range of people that potentially are interested in our music because it’s not quite anything. Sometimes I feel like, oh god! Should we really fit somewhere neatly? I’m not good at fitting somewhere neatly. I keep on keepin on as things are.
If you could open up for any band or artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one. [laughs] From the past? So it can be an impossible answer. I think I might go with The Beatles. It seems like a very obvious choice, but one of the things I do appreciate about them and speaking of tying into your last question, is their diversity and how they did this bubblegum pop thing. They did the rock and roll thing and I very much admire that. And there would be a lot of people at the show!
You have a few Christmas songs, and you just released a new one: “What The Devil.” Tell me about about that, and what the devil is it about?
It was actually one of those things, I was brainstorming ideas for writing a Christmas song with my producer Dan Garcia. He said something off the cuff, something like – “yeah, I wonder what the devil does on Christmas?” [laughs] I thought, that’s the song we need to write! We have plenty of songs that are, just happy traditional Christmas tunes and I think that a lot of people struggle through the holidays for so many different reasons. I think that the best way to work your way through struggle is to have a sense of humor about it all. That’s really what the song is about. It’s about – there’s a lot of positive things around the holiday time. There’s also a lot of greed and materialism, consumerism, the underbelly of humanity. So maybe, I’d say “What The Devil” maybe asks more questions than it provides answers for, and it’s meant to just make people smile, potentially in a time where things can get a little challenging.
Any chance of a Christmas EP one day?
At this point, we almost have a tradition of one song a year so I think if we do this for another two years, we’d have a 5-6 song EP so maybe. That might be in our future.
What’s up next for you after this show?
Right now, we’re actually in the process of trying to do some sort of visual representation of every song on Wavefunction. It sounds like quite an undertaking, but we’ve already released two of them. Another one of them is going to be premiered tonight, Magnet Magazine does a premiere – they’re going to premiere a third one. We’ve got two others that have been shot but need to be edited, so that leaves us six more to go. But we thought it would be a really great way to give the album a visual life. Not all of the videos are going to be epic in proportion, but we wanted it to have some sort of visual representation for every song on the album. We’ll be working on that. We’ve already started writing some songs, I’m working on some songs with Dan and we’re thinking about the next record, of course. I’m hoping to do some touring in the spring.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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