The band has played Isaac’s before but it’s the first time being there since 2010. Since the last time the band was at Isaac’s, they released their second album entitled Michigan Left and have seen much success, especially in Canada.
“When you are on the inside, things don’t seem to happen suddenly ever, things just gradually change,” said vocalist, Max Kerman. “I think we’ve gotten better in a lot of ways. The one thing about our band is that we are always trying to improve, which is a good thing because it is our job now.”
Since playing music is their livelihood now and even though the band has accomplished a lot thus far, this process is still something new and they couldn’t be more excited to be doing what they love.
“When Jackson Square came out, we all still had part time jobs, but now that it is our full time job we are always trying to learn from the last show and take in as much new music as possible,” said Kerman. “The fact that this gets to be our job is definitely something that we don’t take for granted and we really try to make the best of it,” he added.
Being able to get paid for something you love is very rare in this world, so the fact that the band continues to be very humble about their success is awesome. Also, some bands might not be that excited to play at a campus bar, but Kerman was very happy about the opportunity because he remembers going to those shows not too long ago.
“We’ve been lucky that we get to do a bunch of these college shows and frosh week shows. Personally I really like it because for me, when I was in first-year I got to see Sam Roberts and then Bedouin Soundclash played another year,” said Kerman.
“Those bands still mean something to me, so the fact that we can maybe do that for somebody else right now, I get an awesome kick out of it. It’s also a great opportunity to play in front of someone who has never seen you play before. The vibe of the campus shows are also pretty awesome,” said Kerman.
Arkells’ latest album Michigan Left was released in 2011 and since then the band has not released any new music except for a single entitled “Ticats are Hummin’” which is now used as the official anthem for the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
This period of latency has not been a bad thing as it has given the band a grace period to develop and master that album as a band, however since it has been roughly two years without new music, fans are eager to hear some fresh songs.
“We’re just getting good at playing Michigan Left songs, in our heads at least” laughed Kerman. “I like for things to sync in and to get a full cycle out of it is a very great privilege.”
In terms of new music, fans of Arkells should be very thrilled, as 2014 will bring a new album.
“We are recording in October, so we’ve been working hard all summer,” said Kerman. “We have accomplished a lot and are very excited. We are playing Western next week and will then drive to Los Angeles and record all of October. The new music will hopefully be done by November or December and we’ll have new music for the New Year.”
For the show itself, Isaac’s was packed and Arkells put on one of the best shows that the campus bar has ever seen. Since the last time they visited Isaac’s, not only did the crowd grow tremendously this time around but their entire music and band has grown into some special.
“For us, we try not to look at the long term with any particular goal. We just try to make good decisions, make good music and be thoughtful at every juncture. And we feel if we can do that then we will be able to look back and be proud of what we have done,” said Kerman.
In their eyes, Arkells do not see themselves as the next Tragically Hip or anything but they will be relevant for a long time. With a new album on the rise and a growing fan base, look for Arkells to be one of Canada’s perennially rock-bands for many years to come.