This weeks Shine A Light Sunday features Artio one of the most exciting synth-pop acts in the UK right now. Hailing from Leeds, they've already played the iconic venues Brudenell Social Club and and the O2 Academy in other projects.
Artio are Hol Brazill, Ieuan Jones and Rob Arkle and have been described as having a sound that leads you through rich sonic textures and haunting vocals. Its a pretty accurate description truth be told. If you love music that moves the soul, has an overwhelming sense of passion, that fills every fibre of your being with a heartfelt encouragement that things are going to work out for the best, then please for the love of all good music get these guys in your ears.
I've had their last EP Stand Alone and Do Your Dance on repeat for a few weeks now. They are literally one of my favourite discoveries of 2020 and when I reached out the band to ask them a few questions Hol was kind enough to have a chat with me.
Dreaminisfree: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
Hol: I would describe our sound as alternative pop - maybe with a bit of Baby Paris in there, a bit of Bring Me the Horizon (post 2015). Edgy pop.
Your latest EP Stand Alone and Do Your Dance, your second one this year is stunning! Did you guys write and record it all in 2020?
We'd written three tracks of Stand Alone and Do Your Dance in February, we'd written those songs before our second EP Backbone came out in March. Then we wrote the other two tracks from March to about May. It then got mastered and mixed and we sent it off at the end of August. We did it all in lockdown.
What’s the creative process? Do you all write together from scratch or bring certain elements to the band and then work on the final product together?
It's normally me and Euan come up with a concept, whether it's an idea, lyrics or a melody we come up with the skeleton of a song. We send it to Rob who puts his guitar parts through it and gives us any notes he has. I write my lyrics over the top and then I send them to Euan. We then write all the harmonies, any organic song parts get added in and the song is basically done. All five songs from the EP were done that way.
Obviously we’ve seen an announcement of an extension of lockdown restrictions. Do you think this will give you guys time to write more material?
I think that they may give us time to write more material, but we've already wrote our fourth EP, after we finished the third one. I don't know if we will do any more writing as we've been writing all year. So I think we might take a chill pill, I don't think we need to force anything at the minute.
2020 hasn’t all been bad. You’ve released two EP’s and single 'All Things End' (love this tune by the way) made it onto the iTunes US Top 100 Playlist on Spotify! You guys must be so proud of all you’ve achieved despite lockdown.
We're very proud of what we've managed to achieve despite lockdown. When it all kicked off, we had our last show which was the second to last show in Leeds on the 13th. On the 14th our tour got pulled. We put a checklist in our shared drive of the stuff we had to do: write new EP; create loads of content; set up a Twitch. We didn't want to risk becoming irrelevant, especially after all the progress we'd made. So we did as much as we could and we are very proud of how it's all turned out.
How have you been keeping your spirits up, during lock down?
I'm not gonna lie, if you listen to the full EP things haven't been all great. I do have mental health issues that stop me from being able to keep my spirits up. Now we can have the social bubbles, I can see Rob and Euan and I've been cooking a lot. I love sweet potatoes! Playing a lot of games, me and Euan have played through Detroit three times! We've been doing a lot of stuff that makes us feel happy.
The loss of live music has had a massive impact on so many of us – what do you miss most about playing live?
I miss EVERYTHING about playing live! I miss vibing off the crowd, you can feel what they're feeling and their singing and shouting. I miss their clapping. A lot of the songs I write come from a place of feeling very alone, politics, depression anxiety, self harm. When you're in a room with people who have come down to see you, and they're singing to you, what you wrote when you were in a lonely place and you're all having a great time and you're getting sweaty there's nothing that beats it. I am really, really missing it all. But the interaction with the crowd is what I miss most of all.
Where are you looking forward to playing most when we do get back to live music?
This whole EP was designed to be played live. We now have a live drummer as well so its all designed to be played live now. The song I'm looking forward to playing live most is the one that I can tell you is 'Basement Dance' - there's a few songs we've written for the next EP, but I can't tell you those yet! We're going on tour next year. I'm really excited to play. We're going to playing Leeds, London, Glasgow, Newcastle. We can't wait to play live again.
Finally do any of you have any hidden talents?
I can make the noise of Perry the Platypus (does it and it's like he was in the room with me) - Rob can do a lot of really good impressions of a lot of people. Euan is good at everything, he's like a jack of all trades. He can get his foot up to his head!
They're offering fans the chance to own a crowdfunded limited edition coloured vinyl pressing of the EP via qrates - If you like this band I wouldn't hang around. I can't wait to get my copy.
Summing this band up in one word - Impassioned!
For fans of Pale Waves, The Ninth Wave, Walt Disco, Pale Waves, CHVRCHES, Dream Wife, Rews, Evanessence.
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