Saturday, January 21, 2012

Driving Force: Carlos Arzate (American Android)

By: Walter Kovacs

American Android is a very powerful hard rock band from Tucson, Arizona. They are a no-frills band that has deep commitments towards social change and self-empowerment.  They have self-released two great albums Silent Partner in 2008 & Reconciliation in 2010.

I just watched them perform at Plush, at a packed show they did with The Life and the Times and The Vases. Not only is their music infectious, I seriously believe that they have one of the best rhythm sections in the southwest, between Oscar Acedo (ex-Gat-Rot) and Matthew Shepard. Their music is very powerful and dynamic. Sort of like if you strapped a Harley-Davidson engine on an Incubus chassis, while driving down Soundgarden Boulevard, listening to Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine. Their lyrical approach is so beautifully harmonized that sometimes it feels as if their songs of protest and resistance are more like ballads then anthems of discontent. 
I asked lead vocalist/guitarist Carlos Arzate to answer a few questions about his music and songwriting.

What would you say gives/gave you inspiration when you are/were writing music?

I feel like inspiration will spasm out of you involuntarily.  It's beyond your control and you essentially become a vessel for the transmission of what becomes the song and message. More generally a broad worldview also plays a role in some of our socio-political themed music. “Make Him Speak” was written about torture (water-boarding specifically) and the music is designed to paint the picture of such a brutal act.  The lyrics are the voices of justification. For example: "get that man off of his feet the doctor says he's good for more, the water's gonna make him speak."  In the end inspiration is unsustainable so making the most of it when she comes is crucial to the life of a project.

Are there any habits/rituals that you and/or your band mates have when writing music?

That information is classified.

What sort of influence does the music and writings of your peers influence what you create?

I am open and encourage the cultivation of art with friends.  The music community in Tucson is definitely a perk of living and creating art here.  I thrive in those opportunities and look at it as part of a greater work. 

How long have you been into music? What are your earliest memories of hearing something that really moved you? Were your parents musicians? What album(s) changed your outlook about what music is/could be?

Music has always been in my heart and I count it as a faithful companion.  It's an emotion in rhythm.  My Pop played a bit of guitar and my Mom takes credit for my passion to sing.  I have always loved to sing but it wasn't until 2000 when I was introduced to Josh Harrison thru a mutual friend that I met Brandon Waits and Eric Welch and formed Innisfail.  I met everyone else from there since I believe everything is connected.  As far as albums go the influences are all over the place.  Appetite For Destruction, Ten, Kid A, Make Yourself, Cowboys From Hell, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Dummy, White Pony, Evil Urges, Grace, Why Should The Fire Die, 10,000 Days, A Mad And Faithful Telling...

Thanks for sharing, Carlos.

No comments:

Post a Comment