Arms and Sleepers are a down-tempo electronic band from Cambridge, MA. Their sound is dreamlike, drenched in haunting tones that loom like a streetlights glow above a barren avenue. The beats are programmed but feel as if they have detached from the technology that birthed them and created a circadian-like pulse. For their live performances Arms and Sleepers incorporate a live drummer and video projections to broaden the scope of their show experience. Their new album Black Paris 86 is the perfect soundtrack to a snowy winter night and, as we all know, there is no shortage of those in this city.
Q&A w/ Mizra Ramic bassist/keyboardist
Q: Your music has been described as “nature plugged into a wall socket” and “a vast electronic atmosphere for the mind’s eye”. The songs have a dream-like quality creating an almost physical world around them that envelopes the listener. What was the impetus for the musical direction you’ve taken as a band?
A: Well thank you for those kind words! We have always really been inspired by film scores and movies in general, so I think a lot of that had really influenced us greatly when we started focusing on this project. We’ve wanted to create an audio/visual experience for a long time, so when we started this band, we really set out to do just that. With this idea in mind (visuals/images), I think the music naturally has developed in a certain cinematic way, or at least we hope it has!
A: Touring Europe with Lymbyc Systym was a lot of fun–we really got along well with those guys, which made the whole experience that much better. Plus they’re a great band, so it was a pleasure hearing their music every night. Overall playing shows in Europe tends to be very different than in the US, only because venues/clubs are often funded by the government, so the whole operation runs smoother even for the smaller and more independent bands like us. So for example a warm dinner, breakfast, clean place to sleep, and generally well-attended shows are all “normal” and “expected” things–unlike here, unfortunately.
Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?
A: Most flattering: not sure–maybe Air or Portishead? Most sickening: I read a post on some message board saying “hey arms and sleepers, Jesu called and he wants his sound back.” That made no sense to me at all.
Q: Starting with the release of your first album in 2006 you’ve shown a great attention to detail when it comes to packaging your music. What led to your decision to do handmade packaged limited releases?
A: Nice packaging I think really makes the overall release that much more interesting and memorable. Obviously it starts with the music first and foremost, but having nice packaging is crucial. The hand-made stuff is a really nice gesture toward the people that listen to your music the most. It’s a way of having a piece of art directly from the artist to the fan without anything in between but the postal service. Plus it’s fun to put everything together yourself–there’s no bullshit involved and when you’re done, you can sell it, and when you run out of copies, you can make more. Very simple.
Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?
to Arms and Sleepers