Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interview: Chris "Arch" Archibald of Illinois

The next president of this great country is going to be the junior senator from Illinois. Therefore, we think it's only appropriate that we bring you an interview with Chris Archibald of the Pennsylvania-based band Illinois. Set to release their next album The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe by chapters (Chapter One was released today), Archibald answered a few emails to further explain the idea behind the album and how he celebrated the recent Phillies' World Series title.

NQL: First off, did you guys get any royalties from that Sufjan Stevens’ album? I feel like you should have.

Chris Archibald: Hahahaha not at all! We did have people coming up to us saying congrats we read about you in Entertainment Weekly, or we saw you on Leno and really enjoyed yer stuff. He definitely helped our record sales.

NQL: Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about these digital shorts called Kid Catastrophe that will debut once a month.

CA: It’s a romantic comedy that drifts between fantasy and reality and my day to day insanity. You’ll see my obsession with opposite sex and the idea of love.....starring a goldfish.

NQL: You guys are doing an album and releasing these shorts. How do the two relate to one another?

CA: There’s some sad songs, some happy, some angry. It’s up and down and a perfect soundtrack to my life.

NQL: I’ve listened to the Chapter 1 so far and I really enjoy the songs (especially “Irish Whiskey”), but I’m not sure I’m picking up the theme yet. Can you point me in the right direction? Or do I need to give a few chapters before it all comes together?

CA: That was just the beginning of the day, me waking up, next month the story starts to develop. And thank you very much!

NQL: What compelled you guys to release this album by chapters? And when you collectively decide to do something like that, does it inevitably involve having to convince your label that it’s a good idea or that it will work? How receptive was +1 to the idea?

CA: I handed +1 a 114 song CD, and said I don’t care which ones you use or which order they will be in, but I believe there is a record on this disc. or perhaps 4 records...They listened to it and tried to put the LP together, but we all found ourselves being like, "What about this song? Er...this one!" There were so many songs that I felt helped round out our sound and helped tell our story that we couldn’t throw them aside. +1 came up with the chapter idea and we kinda pieced it together collectively. The video idea seemed like a no brainer because the randomness of the songs would be better recepted if people saw the hermit freak that wrote them. I don’t know who I am, Monday I’ll wear an Adidas track suit then Tuesday I’m out in tight jeans and snakeskin boots. Im a lil bit country, Im a lil bit old school rap-hop.

NQL: I saw you guys last year at the Metro when you were touring with Menomena. Like you guys, they are pretty creative and fun to watch on stage. Is it pretty important for you guys to tour with other bands with similar energy?

CA: No, not necessarily. We have been friends with them for awhile. We had played together in Philly four years ago and always kept in touch. It don’t matter to us who we play with, we just love doing it and we’ve been blessed to have had such great tours with great bands like Menomena, the Kooks and the Hold steady.

NQL: I told anyone who would listen to pick up last year’s EP What the Hell Do I Know? (I really love that “Screendoor” song.) I noticed the temperament of a lot of the songs seem to be a bit more up-tempo in a live setting. Do you view being on stage as an opportunity to experiment with some of your songs?

CA: Absolutely, for us, we like the live show to be upbeat. Unless there was a demand for the ballad-y songs we prefer to blow peoples’ heads off. Nowadays I think it’s more about the songs than the gimmicky rowdiness banjo punk rock show. So kind of a change of heart. I like the slower songs.. personally.

NQL: As I am typing these questions, the Phillies are three outs away from a World Series and barring some unfortunate jinx, by the time you read this they will have already won. That’s pretty exciting stuff for a couple of guys from Bucks County. How did you all celebrate? Better yet, how do you think Frank Stallone celebrated? I have my money on him nervously pacing around his living room in his underwear during the final outs and then cranking up “Far From Over” at maximum volume when the Phillies closed it out.

CA: We had a ritual here at my house with my roommates. When they won we ran thru Hatboro. it was pandemonium. there were riot police marching in our lil town. People drinking in the streets. Everyone was high-fiving. It was great! Everyone I know is still recovering from that week. Life kinda stopped, jobs were excused, school was out. Streets were closed. Pants weren’t worn. I love Philly!!

NQL: You all will be hitting the road very soon in support of Kid Catastrophe. Any cities or venues that you’re particularly looking forward to?

CA: All of them. The first few months were just sticking to DC, NY, Boston, Philly. Doing residencies at clubs we’ve played before. We’re excited to see the growth..(heh) of this project in these cities. We can’t wait for it to extend out west.


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