It was all fun and laughter as I caught up the lads of ArpLine for a brief but entertaining chat after recent show at Pianos. Even with a stressful load out (they were the last band of the evening and the late night DJ-set party crowd had already started arriving, blocking the stage exit), the guys were in an upbeat mood and ever full of witty jokes. The Brooklyn-based quintet’s debut album, Travel Book, is an electronics-driven fusion of styles from various decades, from T. Rex-style bass lines and vocals that recall Bauhaus’s Peter Murphy to the synth-driven melodies of Ladytron and Hot Chip. Though the official release is slated for the fall (it was self-released as a download), ArpLine has already managed a few sold-out shows supporting the likes of Oh No Ono, Bear in Heaven, Milagres and, soon, School of Seven Bells, as well as a headline date or two.

ArpLine is Sam Tyndall (lead vocals, programming, guitar), Nathan (Nate) Lithgow (bass), Adam De Rosa (guitar), Oliver Edsforth (synthesizers), and Michael Chap Resnick (drums).

So where are all of you from originally, and how did the band come together?
Sam: No one is from New York City. Adam and Oliver are from New York State, Michael and Nate are from Los Angeles, and I’m from Atlanta, here since 2004.

Oliver: The four of us, everyone except Sam, met at NYU (Sam went to Bennington College in Vermont). We were all studying different facets of music and became buddies. Basically after graduation we started a new project and got Sam on board to do vocals, and he eventually became the songwriter. That’s the quality paperback version of it.

Michael: The Reader’s Digest version!

Do you all share the same influences?
Sam: We’re definitely all on the same page now, for sure. I think if you spend a lot of time in the car or van, listening to one or two iPods, it all starts to blur together.

Michael: We like all sorts of music, and it comes together somewhere that is our band.

Nate: It becomes a meeting of the minds.

On your album, Travel Book, I hear a number of influences. Some of the vocals remind me of Peter Murphy and a little bit of T. Rex. And “Weekend In The Colonies” reminds me of Danielle Dax, specifically her cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Sam: Sweet! I love Bauhaus. I was trying to do, like, a 1980s female pop-star voice on that song.

Michael: And someone took that as Rush!

Sam: For the record, it’s heartbreaking to me to read that “vocals sound like Styx, vocals sound like Rush,” because those are some of my least favorite vocalists.

Oliver [joking]: They’re just saying that because we used to cover “Come Sail Away.”

Sam: No, no, we would never do that!

Michael: But he’ll take the Beatles.

Nate: Although we did cover Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

Sam: That was a goofy cover we did at Nate’s wedding – it wasn’t an ArpLine show!

Oliver: We covered “I Want to Break Free.” (That wasn’t a joke – as The Kiss Off, they did actually cover the Queen song. The video is on YouTube.)

The Kiss Off songs seem to have more of a post punk edge. Did the change in the style coincide with the band’s name change?
Sam: The style we’re doing now is closer to my personal influences. With The Kiss Off, we were still getting to know each other musically, and the post-punk is what we all had in common, like a common language. But the more time we spent together, the more we started listening to the Kraut rock stuff and Wire and Bowie.

When will Travel Book be out officially?
Sam: We’re not really sure yet, it kind of depends on what pieces fall into place.

Do you have a label yet?
Sam: We’re working on it, so hopefully soon.

Oliver: Can we just go with a maybe, and pretend this is Facebook with a “like” button?

Michael: Can we just pretend this is a MySpace page and say we’re on a major?

Are you planning more touring after the release?
Sam: I hope so. We love being on the road, it’s great.

I saw you guys open the Oh No Ono and Bear In Heaven show back in January.
Sam: That was one of our favorite bills to play. It was a really nice vibe that night.

Oliver: It makes you, like, forget you’re in New York, a place with no scene, where bands can still hang out with each other.

Do you prefer playing live or jamming in the studio?
Sam: We don’t do a lot of jamming in the studio, it’s more like a lot of problem solving.

Nate: A lot of trouble shooting, and a lot of hand holding. [laughs]

Sam: I have to say that my favorite thing is recording, but I’m starting to enjoy playing live more than I used to.

How long did it take to write and record the album?
Sam: We kind of write and record often at the same time, and we were doing it for the better part of last year. We also hadn’t really tried to do something on that scale by ourselves before, so we definitely made a lot of mistakes. But we learned a lot, and it was awesome, but it did take quite a while.

Where did you shoot the video for “Fold Up Like A Piece of Paper?”
Sam: Near Adam’s parents’ house upstate in Irvington, New York. Our friends Gregg (Conde) and Bryan (Parker) from think/feel did it. They’re awesome dudes, really smart, talented guys. I was really happy with how that turned out. I think a good video makes the song better; I would prefer to watch the video rather than just listening to the song.

How many official music videos have you done?
Michael: Two. We did one ages ago in our rehearsal space for the song “Amplify,” and it was based off the recording we did for an EP called Grace, released under the band name The Kiss Off. We re-recorded it in a different arrangement for the ArpLine record.

I also saw the video for “Stranger in the Strangest Land.” How did you become involved with the Two Blue Wolves project for Alzheimer’s awareness?
Sam: That was a collaboration with my friend Wythe Marschall, from the hip-hop band Heavy Jamal. I had really wanted to work with Wythe — he’s a really great writer and also into the rapping, and I’d wanted to try something new. We were encouraged by this guy named Sparrow Hall, who was working on a big project that involved getting people together and assembling a record that he could sell the raise money for Alzheimers.

So your next show will be  opening for School of Seven Bells?
Sam: Yeah, June 10 at Mercury Lounge. That’s a pretty big show for us, probably the biggest band we’ve played with until now, other than Bear In Heaven and The Stills.

–Teresa Sampson, Photo by Teresa Sampson

  1. [...] were recently featured in the music journal Sentimentalist, where they talked about some of the bands’ influences, the new album, and Sam’s [...]

  2. Great interview. We just did a piece on The Silver Thread pointing to it.


  3. [...] Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ song “Home” has been given the ArpLine treatment. Where the original is upbeat and sort of folksy, ArpLine’s remix is a darker, [...]

  4. [...] ArpLine kicked off a string of performances in New York last week, starting with support slot for Efterklang at Santos Party House on Friday, 10/1. Their next show will be a CMJ day party showcase for NYCTaper on 10/21. [...]