It’s hard to pin down the music of Falcon Arrow. Composed of only bassist Matt Reints and drummer Dav Kemp, the two create inventive, multi-layered instrumental rock that is as engaging as it is musically complex.
The band recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary. Their new album, Occurrens, is the first release on the new SolSta label. They’ll be playing the release show this Saturday, Record Store Day, at SolSta.
In an exclusive interview with Music in Minnesota, Matt and Dav talked about their new album, their record collections, the bands that inspire them, and more.
MiM: You’ve been a part of the Twin Cities music scene for 10 years and released a handful of albums and EPs. What makes Occurrens special/different from them?
Dav Kemp: It’s our first album with a collaborator, the awesome guitarist Dave Erb (from Sicbay and The Yoleus). It also has a song that has three parts, album opener “Phrases.” Part one is “Kryspoly,” part two is “der Vogel,” part three is “xfbp.” We’ve never done that before, though you could argue that the two “Amateur” songs (“Amateur Outlaws” and Amateur Law Enforcement”) are a two-part song. Which is part of the reason we re-recorded them and included them back-to-back on this record. Previously, “Amateur Outlaws” was only on a split 7” which is out-of-print and sold out. And, obviously, they weren’t ever back-to-back, they were treated as independent songs.
Matt Reints: It was great working with Dave Erb. That material is about a third of the album, so that is very different. The material on Side A, the Phrases Trilogy and Planemo X, are some of the first songs that we wrote with a new looping pedal, the Boomerang III, which allows for three loops simultaneously. Combining that with the DL4 looping pedal gave me a lot more options while writing. Some of the material on Cities of Gold had some elements of that, but these songs felt like the first to fully utilize it. The bass parts and the looping have continually gotten more complex over time and this was just another step forward with that.
MiM: Occurrens is the first release on SolSta Records. Tell us about this new endeavor and how you teamed up with them.
DK: Phil, the owner of Solsta records and Solid State Vinyl (now also called SolSta Records), has been a fan of our music for a while, and had also talked about starting a label for a while.
MR: Our relationship with Phil and Hannah started when Solid State opened and I asked about playing a show there. We played in the store a couple of times and with Solid State for Open Streets on Minnehaha Ave. for a couple years. We developed a friendship just from going to buy records at the store, talking about music, and dropping off our older records to sell at Solid State. Originally, we were planning to release Occurrens as cassette and digital only because of a lack of funds for a record order, but Phil wanted to start a label and he wanted the new material to be available on vinyl. We had shared the material as we were recording and mixing it and everything just came together with the launch of SolSta Records and Occurrens being the first release on it. I’m so happy it did, because the records look and sound great and it wouldn’t exist without SolSta Records.
MiM: You’ll be playing the LP release on Record Store Day. Are you guys vinyl collectors? Do you get into RSD or have any RSD memories/favorite releases?
DK: I own a good amount of records. But I buy records to listen to, not collect. As far as favorite records, I have a hard time answering that. Is it my favorite because of the music on it? If so, I have my favorite record on vinyl, CD, and digital download, which is FM’s Black Noise. But my favorite record for the things a record can offer –large format pictures, extensive text, cool layout, etc. – is Yes’ Yessongs.
The records I listen to most are the most recently acquired records. Which are currently Self Evident’s Lost inside the Machinery, David Sylvian’s Dead Bees on a Cake (double LP release), and MOOG’s The Electric Eclectic of Dick Hyman. Dave Erb gave me that last one.
MR: I do collect and listen to records. We played Record Store Day two years ago at Solid State with Drug Budget and that was a fun show. I have a decent collection of some of the limited edition Melvins records by AmRep from over the years. All of them are records I picked up at live shows, mostly at Grumpy’s Downtown. A lot of my most treasured records were the first ones I bought at shows when I was young, like Trepan Nation, Vida Blue, and Ambition Mission, and then some really cool minimalism albums by Philip Glass (I have a copy of Glass Works that Philip Glass signed for me at a show), Terry Riley, Moondog, and Steve Reich.
MiM: What music have you been listening to a lot lately?
DK: Elbow, Vangelis, and an electronic musician from Melbourne, Australia who goes by the name “e” (real name: Ehsan Gelsi)
MR: I’ve been listening to a label called Astral Spirits a lot lately. They just released a new album by Dustin Laurenzi called Snaketime: The Music of Moondog, which are jazz takes of Moondog music. Moondog is one of my favorite composers so this album really hits a couple interests of mine [Moondog is also a favorite of Music in Minnesota’s Erik Ritland, who put together this interview, so be sure to check him out!]. Also on Astral Spirits, I’ve liked Hearts & Minds and their album Electroradiance. The bass clarinet work of Jason Stein is amazing.
I’m a big Big Business fan, so I’m patiently waiting for their new album The Beast You Are. I really liked their Tour EP 4 which came out late last year.
MiM: What current local bands do you really love?
DK: The Great Went, Graveyard Club
MR: I love Self-Evident’s new album, Lost Inside the Machinery. Also, The Great Went and Portrait of a Drowned Man (from Duluth) are favorites. Lately, I’ve really been into Catbath’s Glitterbox.
MiM: Fill in the blank: “If you really love ______, then you’ll love Falcon Arrow.”
MR: I’m at a loss for this, because a lot of people come to our music from different starting points. But my favorite description is from Tim Kraus who described us as “mathematically composed chaos.”