Sibling duo Jocelyn & Chris Arndt are closing in on the release of their new album, Edges, out February 26th, and in anticipation of the upcoming release, they also recently premiered their new single, "Shame." Having logged over 100 performances in 2015, including stops at The Sundance Film Festival and Mountain Jam Music Festival, Jocelyn & Chris ended the year on a high note, and 2016 is sure to be even better!
Catch the duo in Denver on January 16th, and listen to their single, "Shame" below!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves for any readers who may not be familiar?
Sure! We're Jocelyn and Chris Arndt, a brother-sister blues-rock duo from New York. We write all of our music together. (I'd say we're a pretty good sibling team, even when Chris steals the last slice of breakfast pizza). I'd describe our sound as classic bluesy rock with a retro twist and a modern edge. We love puppies, Tarentino movies, the fries left at the bottom of the fast-food bag, and, most importantly, rock n' roll. You'll hear that on our upcoming full-length, Edges, which is set to be released in February.
When did your love of music first turn into something that you wanted to pursue seriously? Was it just a natural decision to begin creating music as a duo?
Chris and I have always played music together - growing up in a family that loved music, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. We started music lessons in elementary school, me on piano and Chris on guitar, and I don't think there was ever a doubt that we would be jamming out together before too long. I mean, we were both practicing in the same living room, and it sounds cheesy, but he's my best friend. Is there anything better to do with your best friend than start a rock band? As for pursuing music professionally, it had never really occurred to us that something like that was even possible until we met producer David Bourgeois who ultimately became our manager. We'd been a garage band all throughout high school, playing at graduation parties, family fun days, anywhere they'd let us. We were actually set up at the beer tent at the local county fair when David walked up to us and gave us his card. I remember going home that night, turning to Chris, and thinking, "What if this could be our life? How insane would that be?" Almost four years later, and we're going for it.
You had an incredibly busy 2015 and even more planned for this year, but what was the highlight of the past year?
That's a tough one... It's been an amazing year. I'd say a standout was when we played the Mountain Jam music festival in June. Gov't Mule, Robert Plant, Grace Potter, The Black Keys... They were all there! Being able to be part of something that epic was really inspiring, and seeing a bunch of our musical idols playing live was priceless. Danny Louis, the organ player for Gov't Mule, actually ended up lending his Hammond skills to six tracks on our upcoming album, so we've seen a lot of him since the festival. There have been lots of other amazing moments too, though - 2015 was good to us. One of my personal favorites was opening for the Gin Blossoms in Pittsburgh. I've loved their music since I was little, so sharing the stage with them had me fangirling hardcore.
You're also getting ready to drop your new album, Edges, on February 26th - what changes or areas of growth can listeners expect to hear on this album?
On our first EP, we were still figuring out who were were musically - our approach was to take each song and make it the best it could be individually. This time around, we've centered in on that blues-rock sound; our goal with a Edges was to make a cohesive album, and I think we've definitely accomplished that. Expect the same songwriting and retro feel, but this time, you'll be hearing a focused, defined full-length work.
Was there anything that you set out to accomplish or wanted to experiment with on Edges?
Besides making a really cohesive, complete group of songs, Chris and I also wanted to make sure that Edges absolutely rocked. When people hear this album, I want them to know exactly who we are musically. Our music is what we're here to do, and that's what we want people to hear when they listen. Throughout the entire recording process, we kept that classic rock spirit in mind. That's also why we chose to record with people like Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule and G Love, who's also on the album; these guys put real soul into what they do. They get it.
You also recently released "Shame" from the album - can you tell us a little bit about the track?
Hehe. "Shame". Lyrically, this is me at my sassiest. I'm totally out for revenge, and there's nothing that guy can do to escape the fact that I've got his royal jerkness immortalized in song form. You mess with the songwriter, you get the song. Chris took that initial feel and really ran with it as he laid down some great guitar work and an amazing lead. The whole thing seeps hooky, unapologetic musical vengeance.
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from Edges or your music in general?
I want people who hear Edges to come away from it having felt something. That's why we write and perform music in the first place - we feel something that makes us pick up that pen or strum that chord, and we want to share it with as many people as possible. I want you to hear whatever you'd like in our music... As long as you feel something, I'll consider Edges a success. And don't be afraid to rock out, either. Grooving is highly encouraged.
I know you're both currently in college as well. Is it ever hard to balance between the two?
I won't lie, it gets a little tricky sometimes. Luckily we love both, so it's completely worth the work. We maintain a full performance schedule hitting more than 100 shows last year, so most of the time that involves getting out of class and hopping straight on a bus or a plane to head to a string of gigs. It's crazy, but it's totally worth it. And honestly, school makes both of us appreciate how important music is to us.
What goals do you have for 2016?
First and foremost, we're going to push the hell out of Edges. Chris and I are so excited for the world to hear this music, and we're going to do our best to make sure that it does. We're also working on several videos, and we're gearing up to head out west on tour next week! We've got plans to stop in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Our anchor show for this run is a headline performance at The Viper Room in LA. That's on January 23rd, in association with Edge TV... And it's going to be awesome. Overall, we're going to work as hard as we can. This year is going to be even better than the last, you can bet on that.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for having us! And thank you to all of you reading this. (: if you'd like to keep up with us, you can check us out on Facebook, Instagram @jocelynandchrismusic, Twitter @jocelynandchris, and our website, jocelynandchrismusic.com. See you soon!
Catch Jocelyn & Chris Arndt in Denver at Larimer Lounge on Saturday, 1/16