Atlas Arrows may hail from Binghamton, N.Y., but some of their best shows – and best friends – are in Scranton.
Guitarist and keyboardist Jeremy Kinney’s first serious band was Where’s Ulysses, but after two members moved away, the remaining bandmates formed Atlas Arrows, an indie “guitar rock” group that shared some of his main musical influences, including Phoenix, The Strokes, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and Minus the Bear.
“Atlas Arrows is more of a depiction of our collective writing style. Where the change occurred is in the primary songwriting,” Kinney told The Weekender, comparing the two bands.
“We decided we kind of wanted to be a pop band that was very guitar-oriented but also had a lot of complexity within the parts. Building upon that is sort of where we set the vision for the band to be and tried to proceed in that sort of vein.”
The quartet, which is now comprised of guitarist/vocalist Tyler Woodcook, bassist/keyboardist Paul Matthews, and drummer Phil McHenry, has been quite productive since then, releasing their debut album, “Armoire,” in August of 2012, a remix EP last January, and a new EP called “Grainy Days” yesterday. The first record took nine months of work, but the four songs on their latest independent release were produced in just four straight days of writing and recording.
“It created a more raw and just spur of the moment sound as opposed to something we kind of took so long to polish and make perfect. The new record isn’t sloppy in any sense of the word – it’s just more of our gut reaction as to what we thought the songs should be. Our first instinct was what we went with, and then we just recorded it,” Kinney explained, an attitude that fits their energetic live performances.
“We like to play really loud and we’re really aggressive live, and our stage presence is a lot different than what you might guess by listening to our record. Our music is sort of laid back and very chill on the record, but live we’re full of energy and it’s a lot bigger,” he continued.
“People are, at first, taken aback; it’s not quite what they were expecting, but we usually have a pretty favorable crowd response afterward.”
Where’s Ulysses played one of their first shows at The Vintage in Scranton, an EP release concert for Silhouette Lies. They ended up befriending the band, along with other local acts like Eye On Attraction, Days In Transit, We Were Templars, and A Social State over the years, so it was natural for Atlas Arrows to choose The Vintage as one of three locations to hold their own EP release show, the others back in New York.
“We’ve played in Scranton probably just as much as we’ve played anywhere else, so we really like to consider it a second home to us,” the 21-year-old noted.
The Saturday, March 22 show with Bad Dreams, Days In Transit, and We Were Templars will feature special edition merchandise and an extended set list, playing songs they don’t usually play and even incorporating elements from the remix record into the some of the tunes, but for the tight-knit young musicians, it’s really all about getting together with friends to celebrate their shared love of music.
“We’re obviously trying to build a fan base, but for the show, we’d rather just celebrate with our friends… and focus on more of that,” Kinney emphasized. “We really enjoy shows more when our friends are on them, so we figured, ‘Let’s set some up with everybody we know.’
“We take a lot of pride in the work we create, but it’s also a lot of joy for us. We have a really, really good time making it. We have a really good time playing and traveling, and most of all, our band is more about our group of friends. The four of us are best friends as opposed to a band, so we just hope that our enjoyment and enthusiasm for the music kind of translates to other people and they can get some of the same level of enjoyment and enthusiasm that we get out of it for themselves.”