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5 Questions With: Jocelyn & Chris Arndt [CMJ Edition]

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Soulful singer-songwriter duo, Jocelyn and Chris Arndt, just recently played the CMJ Music Marathon for the second time as official CMJ artists! We sat down with the sibling duo to chat about their experience at this year’s CMJ, festival preparation, and their upcoming full length! Check out our interview below!

You can also check out our recent session with them, where the duo performed their track “Shame” here!

Since CMJ is filled with tons of incredible acts, were you excited to catch any artists in particular? Did you stumble across any new artists that you are now a fan of?

The whole experience was amazing.  We got into town on Thursday and we had a pretty full day of meetings and prep work for our showcases, plus we did a couple of acoustic performances for different media outlets, so we didn’t get out to see any artists that night.  But Friday we met and got to hear some incredible bands at our showcase at The Delancey.  First off the club is amazing, three floors including an exceptionally sweet rooftop lounge.  Ruby Red Fox out of Boston were killer as were all the other bands that night.  Saturday we played at our publicist Big Picture Media’s showcase at Arlene’s Grocery.  Arlene’s seriously has one of the best sounding rooms in the city.  Malia Grace from Texas was tremendous, just Malia and her piano, that was all it took to get the whole rooms attention.  The Gills out of Nashville Tennessee were straight up high power rock.  They’re exactly the type of band we’d do shows with for sure.  Too many great artists to mention… it was AMAZING!

You’re no stranger to playing festivals, having previously performed at the Sundance Film Festival and Mountain Jam Music Festival. Do you guys prepare differently for festivals versus any other show you would normally play?

Well for large stage festivals like Mountain Jam, we have a crew that helps out getting gear situated and ready.  But for multi-band showcase type events like CMJ it is all about performing as much music as possible in our allotted time slot, making it easy for the house sound person, and promoting promoting, promoting!!  We actually rehearse the specific show we are going to do right down to the talking points.  When we are doing those rehearsals we don’t stop even if there is a mistake or technical problem.  That gives us the best shot at presenting a powerful showcase regardless of anything going wrong.  We’ve also spent a lot of time on the road so we are used to just about anything!

Everyone has a different way of defining how and when they make it, whether it’s a radio single or playing sold-out shows. How do you measure your success?

To begin with, success is being proud of our work. Not compromising, no “B” sides, always making every song everything it can be. Now that we have a recording and development deal, we are able to take our time a bit and really find the best path for each song, plus we get to work with some pretty amazing people!! For us, regardless of income, there is no true success without having pride in what we do.

As far as “traditional success”, the big music industry has taken a very big hit over the past decade.  Decision making is much more conservative, there is less money, and there is not much wiggle room or time for an artist to develop under a traditional label.  Fortunately at the same time, there has never been a time in history where an artist can more directly affect their own success.  We both feel this is a great time to be in the music business and we are committed to and excited by the road ahead of us.  Love and believe in what you do, inspire and be inspired, and success will follow.

Being that you guys are under 21 and there are tons of venues that do have age restrictions, have you ever had any issues with getting into one of your own shows?

shhhhh:)   Ok it’s true… but not for long!  We have absolutely run into venues with super strong age restrictions even for performers.  We are fortunate to have a great Management Team and they have successfully negotiated us onto performances at most of these venues, though it often means a giant letter X written on our hands in permanent marker.

Seriously though, these clubs are someone’s business and the success of that business depends on the club being very careful to protect their beer and liquor license. We have enormous respect for that and would never jeopardize it.  We are there to play music!!

It’s been a while since we’ve seen an album from you. Is there any new music in the works, possibly a new album? If so, what information can you share with us about it?

Yes!!  Our full length Edges is well into production. It will feature 14 original tracks and we are thrilled with it. We’ve recorded extensively at White Lake Music, but this time around we did vocals for one song at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The rest of the vocals were recorded at our producers home in The Adirondacks.

The vibe of being in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in, drinking tea, and not having to watch the clock made for some really inspired takes.  We both love the studio, but getting out of the studio for the vocals was an incredible experience.  We are headed back there in a couple weeks to finish some guitar.. and just maybe a campfire and some marshmallows:)

At the same time we are doing acoustic versions of almost every song on the album as well as alternative versions and a series of club remixes. There is a LOT coming!! Word is we will release Edges officially in mid February followed by extensive touring to support it. Fingers crossed!! We are also shooting several videos for release in conjunction with the album. It’s going to be great!!

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