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Published on August 8th, 2019 | by Guest Contributor


ARLS Contribute To the Trip-Hop Revival With New Single ‘LUCKY’

A genre that is far more complex than its bite-sized adjective reduction, trip-hop was a byword birthed by bands like Portishead and Massive Attack and is notoriously hip-hop’s evolution to a genre with little rapping and a heap of psychedelics.

Now bringing back all the sultry sounds, synth atmospherics and soul influences that graced the 90s, ARLS have revived the DNA of trip-hop with their latest track ‘LUCKY’. A brand-new duo comprising of Alba Rose and Bravo Bonez, ARLS are the exciting new remedy to what today’s music scene is lacking; we spoke to the duo to find out more.

How would you describe your sound? 

A deliberate celebration of 1990s triphop, acid jazz and electro-pop. With some 70s touches, especially on upcoming tracks.

How did you come up with the band name?

It’s a secret!

Who are you inspired by? 

So difficult to pin these down.

Bravo: I am influenced by many things I hear every day, but here are some longer term influences of mine. Some of these show up in ARLS’ work. Massive Attack, Portishead,  Radiohead, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, David Sylvian, Depeche Mode. Pretty much all post-punk. The Blue Nile and Craig Armstrong. The Verve. Early Quincy Jones/ Rod Temperton era. Beautiful production and arrangements. Barry White. Frank Sinatra. Nat King Cole. From New Zealand I love The Impending Adorations. But there are so many great artists in New Zealand. It just blows me away at the talent level per capital there.

Alba: Many many people. To name a few off the top of my head right now would be Lianne La havas, Zero 7, Moby, Lana Del Ray, Anderson Paak, Charlotte Day Wilson and Florence + the Machine. NZ artists would be Marlon Williams and LEISURE.

What gear do you use? Any favourites?

Bravo: We both use Logic Pro X. Recently invested in a large way into Spitfire Audio and Native Instruments Kontakt samples, and very excited by having these beautiful sounds introduced into my musical toolkit.

Alba: I will always be a big ball point pen and A5 notebook user!

What should new listeners to your music expect from you? How do you see yourself and your image as a music artist? 

Expect to be taken on a musical journey, maybe to another time and place. Just take it as it comes, but be ready for a wild ride.

We like to see ourselves as two musically passionate people, who have come together to bring back to life an era of music we both love, and want to hear/see more of. We want to share a feeling, so see ourselves as people who want to connect others.

We both have solo careers as well. Alba Rose has her own material coming out over the next year or two, and she also collaborates with a range of artists. Bravo has his own solo material being released in 2020 under the name “LearningToDive”

Do you take inspiration from where you live? 

We both have spent most of our lives in New Zealand, and it is a beautiful and stimulating place to live. Wellington, where we both live (Bravo only part of the year) is an extremely creative city with a lively arts scene with much artistic collaboration going on.

Alba: Yes, living in Wellington is extremely inspiring. It’s so motivating to be around a creative community who are always so keen to work together and encourage new ideas and events. Everyone is so independent, and following their own path, it makes pursuing a creative career and getting out of your comfort zone a lot less intimidating.

Bravo: I also find London a very inspiring place to live, especially when one is channeling British movements such as triphop and acid jazz.

Who would you best compare yourself to?

For the track “LUCKY”, it would have to be a combination of Portishead and Lana Del Ray. Otherwise we cover a range of genres so it is difficult to pin us down on that one.

Your story behind the track is an interesting one! Please give us an insight to your songwriting process. 

In essence, Bravo provides the musical infrastructure, the arrangements, and the initial production values, and Alba the lyrics. In terms of the hooks and the vocal melodies, these are shared, as one or the other may slightly dominate creatively on a track. LUCKY came to life in a special way….

The genesis of LUCKY was the use of a voice memo on Alba’s phone.

Alba: “This track was originally bought to life through the use of a voice memo on my phone. I was walking around the house, feeling rather lost and frustrated about a sort of relationship I was in at the time, and just needed to get out what I was feeling in words. As I was cleaning my room, I just kept singing the line “you’re lucky”, which after a while got stuck in my head. Then pulling out the phone to further express this moment, I kept playing around with whatever words came to me, which in the end accumulated to create the bulk of the lyrics for the song.”

Bravo: “Then Alba sent me the memo. I sent it back with a chopped up version of the recording, having used that as a vocal guide to create a fully structured song, adding in all the main musical elements of the instrumentation that you hear today. Stylistically it wasn’t what Alba was expecting, but she grew to like it, and now that voice memo has become what has been described as “a narcotic torch song”. We have even kept some of the original voice memo takes of the lick “you’re lucky”, so some of what you hear on the final track is still from that raw and vulnerable moment in Alba’s house that day!”

What’s your biggest problem that you’ve had to overcome so far in the industry? 

The fact that as an artistic offering, we are so fresh, new and relatively unconnected to the UK music industry (where we are launching the MELD EP from).

If you could collaborate with one act, who would it be? 

Bravo: For me it would be a combination of the Massive Attack guys, Radiohead and Boards of Canada. I think all of them together would make a very interesting album.

Alba: I think I would have to go with FKJ or KAYTRANADA, I love mixing genres/styles together and would love to infuse some vocals on their tracks!

What would be your dream venue to play at?

Alba: I don’t know if it counts as a specific venue, but its definitely a dream to play at Glastonbury Festival

Bravo Bonez – The Budokan in Tokyo. Just because I grew up hearing about it when young. And when I lived in Tokyo for five years, I never actually went there! But I’m with Alba, would love to play some large festivals such as Glastonbury also.

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