|Origin||Kingston Upon Thames, England|
|Labels||Easy Life Records, Play It Again Sam. Publisher: Sony/ATV|
Arcane Roots are a three-piece alternative rock band from Kingston Upon Thames, England. Founded by guitarist and vocalist Andrew Groves and former drummer Daryl Atkins. They have released two albums (Blood & Chemistry (2013) and Melancholia Hymns (2017)) and four extended plays (Brave The Sea (2008), Arcane Roots (2009), Left Fire (2011) and Heaven and Earth (2015)).
Andrew Groves and Daryl Atkins met at Reigate College in Surrey, while studying music technology. The pair were in numerous function/studio bands together until realising their similar opinions and approaches to music, which lead to them forming the band in 2006 with bassist Frank Tiramani. The band immediately set about recording a home studio demo of five songs ("Factions", "Spark", "What You Call It", "What Becomes You" and "Peaches") and began to gig around South-East London giving the CD's away for free. This culminated in a support slot with the French-Canadian band Malajube at the 100 Club in London in September 2007. The band also added a demo of new song "Becoming Of Age" to the CD for the Malajube date. Groves, though satisfied with being guitarist and songwriter, took up the dual role of guitarist and singer as they struggled to find a singer.
In late 2007, the band demoed three new songs ("Casualties", "An Easy Smile" and "Humanism is a Condition") plus reworkings of "What Becomes You" and "Becoming of Age" from the previous home demo, to be included on a new five-track EP titled Brave the Sea. Brave the Sea was produced and recorded by Chris Coulter, who was then working at Stakeout Studios in Richmond, which the band chose as it was where Reuben had recorded Racecar is Racecar Backwards. Brave the Sea took over a year to record due to costs and Frank's travelling commitments which saw him away for six months, during this time Andrew and Daryl recorded home demos of new songs "Avalane" and "Long & Low", which were briefly available to hear on the Arcane Roots Myspace. Brave the Sea was released digitally by the band in August 2008.
During Frank's time away from the band, Andrew and Daryl had set about writing material for a new EP which was unexpectedly started when the final Brave the Sea recording session with Chris Coulter finished early than previously thought. In the coming months, three new songs were recorded; "Nylon", "Rouen" and "Long & Low". Financial problems within the band caused the recording to be cut short and only "Nylon" and "Rouen" were completed and mixed. "An Easy Smile" was also taken from Brave the Sea and added to the EP. The self-titled EP was given away at shows, and was available to download from the band's Myspace. It received positive reviews from small press and secured management. in December that year, the band announced that Adam Burton would be replacing Frank.
In spring 2009, after Adam Burton joined the band to replace the previous bassist, the band began working on a mini-album with Brave the Sea producer Chris Coulter. This was self-released in April 2010 as Left Fire. The mini-album was originally released as digital only, as was subsequently re-released in February 2011 through Bandcamp, while a small number of self-released CDs were available to buy at live shows. However, in June 2012 the first mass-produced physical copies (CD) of the remastered Left Fire EP were rolled out (on label PIAS Recordings), which included two additional acoustic session tracks ("You Are" and "Rouen", both of which featuring Emily Denton), and a "full", extended version of former interlude track "Habibty". The album received mainly positive reviews from both press and online review sites.Left Fires singles included "In This Town of Such Weather" (digital only, June 2011), and "You Are" (digital/7" vinyl, December 2011), with the new, extended "Habibty" as its B-side.
Arcane Roots completed work on their first full-length debut album Blood & Chemistry in January 2013. Their first full album Blood & Chemistry, was released on 6 May 2013 on both CD and double vinyl format and streamed prior to release. Groves had stated that they were excited for the release of the debut due to its significance, he said "No one really cares until you have a first album out, it kind of validates you as a serious, professional band". This was supported by a United Kingdom headline tour which started on 30 April 2013, with The JCQ, as well as a number of appearances on the festival circuit. Slow for the album was released as a single 20 May. Furthermore, during June 2013, the band supported English rock group Muse on the European leg of The 2nd Law World Tour, playing dates in Italy and Switzerland. The band also gained support slots on various dates of Biffy Clyro's European tour in December 2013. March and April 2014 saw the band head out on tour again in Europe and the UK, before playing a few more one-off support slots and festival appearances that summer. The made their debut at Download Festival, and supported The Used at an intimate London show. The two tours with Muse and Biffy Clyro had been a big aspiration of the band, however after playing them realised that the large venues didn't fit their ambitions and felt more comfortable in smaller, intimate tours.
On 29 June 2015 the band announced that Atkins would no longer be touring. For the rest of the band's live shows in 2015 he was replaced by Jack Wrench, from Brighton-based band In Dynamics. Wrench was later confirmed as Arcane Roots' official new drummer on 20 March 2016. In 2015 the band signed to Easy Life Records, a subsidiary label of Sony Music.
In July 2015 the band returned to Stakeout Studios, where they recorded Left Fire, to record music for their new extended play Heaven & Earth. The band had created 250 songs for the recording stage and selected only five.Heaven & Earth was released on 16 October 2015 through Easy Life Records.
On 27 February 2016, Arcane Roots supported Enter Shikari on one date of their 2016 'Mindsweeper' tour at The Alexandra Palace in London. The band had decreased their tour schedule significantly in 2016, for the writing of their second album. Groves had stated during the writing stated that the new album is "even more left field" than their previous work.
Prior to the release of their second album the band promoted it by releasing three music videos: 'Curtains' on 1 February 2017, 'Matter' on 22 May and 'Off The Floor' on 18 July 2017. prior to the release of the album the band performed at a few European festivals- including Reading and Leeds Festival, Moscow's Dobrofest and Switzerland's Bern Gurten festival- and supported Evanescence in London on two shows.
On 15 September 2017 the bands second studio album Melancholia Hymns was released through Easy Life Recordings. It was produced by Chris Coulter. the band remained confident in the songs they had written however uncertain of the response to the new music, as Groves described his fear that it would be perceived as "'Arcane Roots Find A Synthesiser" or "Rock Band Finds Drum Machine". In support the band toured across the UK and Mainland Europe, the first over September and October after its release with Good Tiger and Gold Key. Complications arose when members of the band were sick so the London and Wolverhampton shows were re-scheduled to the end of the tour. Additionally, Good Tiger could no longer perform and after eight dates were replaced with Fizzy Blood On 31 October 2017 the band played alongside Architects, Enter Shikari, Marmozets, Neck Deep and PVRIS at Radio 1 Rocks, a one-off gig recorded by BBC Radio 1 at Maida Vale Studios in London, they played a cover of the Muse song New Born in their setlist.
Arcane Roots has been described as a diverse band with a sound that ranges through different genres. Features of their sound include jagged guitar riffs coupled with sombre passages. Genres such as alternative rock,post-hardcore,progressive rock,math rock,indie rock and progressive metal. Their use of complex rhythmic structures and irregular beats has been accredited to their math rock influence. Covering the bands sound on their earlier extended plays, their sound has been noted as fusing progressive metal with "big, bombastic pop hooks".Rock Sound described their sound as fusing "At The Drive-In's skewed punk assault, a dash of Tubelord's high-pitched pop sensibility, a sprinkling of Glassjaw and some 10-fingered riffing that wouldn't be out of place on a Meet Me In St. Louis album" however noted that "when Arcane Roots are in full flight they're brilliantly uncategorisable". When their debut album Blood & Chemistry was released critics were quick to compare their sound to that of Biffy Clyro.
The musical style of their second album Melancholia Hymns is seen as a distinct from their previous work, as it shifts away from their post-hardcore influences. Eleanor Goodman, when writing for Prog Magazine describe it as "electronically tinged, melodic rock record that shuns the shouty bombast of their debut, 2013's Blood & Chemistry, as well as their four EPs". During the song-writing process the band change their own conventions to create a new sound. Groves learned piano for this record and combined influences from various electronica, jazz and classical pianists such as James Blake, Aphex twin, Keith Jarrett, Nola Frahm, Bill Lawrence and Bill Evans.Electronica was attractive to Groves because of its use of "use of unconventional rhythms and accents".
The lyrics of the non-album single Over and Over was written by Groves about getting married, from a hypothetical perspective. The writing of this helped Groves to develop a more transparent approach to lyrics writing.Melancholia Hymns became a shift away from their personal experiences towards relatable themes and topics. Particularly Indigo, which comments on the life and death of British neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks.Off The Floor is theme is political and talks about the importance of voting.
|Arcane Roots discography|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2013||Blood & Chemistry||--||7|
|"--" denotes a title that did not chart.|
|2008||Brave The Sea
|2015||Heaven & Earth
|2011||"You Are"||Left Fire|
|2012||"In This Town of Such Weather"|
|2013||"Slow"||Blood & Chemistry|
|2014||"Over & Over"||Non-album single|
|2015||"If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves"||Heaven & Earth|