Arthur is also the founder and honcho here at Linescratchers. He sat down to talk with us about the desperation that bore his new album, why anyone should care that he’s Mormon, and how Eastern Orthodox Christianity has influenced his work.
Odes has a unique creation story. Can you describe the contributions from all the people involved and how it came together?
Well, there are a couple creation stories for Odes. The first is that the project was initially created to help me repair my car. Long story short, my wife and I were driving down to Charlotte, NC, with our very small baby, for a grad school interview, when our car broke down in the middle of Tennessee. We were then completely taken advantage of by an unscrupulous tow/mechanic guy and depleted our savings completely. We didn’t know how we were going to pay bills that month. So I decided that maybe I should just get a bunch of my recorded demos into some kind of presentable form on a Bandcamp account and sell them to raise money for our bills. I had been particularly inspired by a collection of ancient Christian hymns called the Odes of Solomon and a few of my songs were strongly influenced by those hymns. However, due to my pathetic need to pay the bills, a bunch of family and friends pre-ordered the album, enough that our immediate need was fulfilled. Since the matter wasn’t urgent anymore, I decided to create an album out of the material that was truly worthy of being called an album. Around 10 months later, Odes was finished.
A few of my musical contacts I’ve made through Linescratchers helped along the way. Ian Fowles (from The Aquabats!) volunteered to play lead guitar on some songs, and he can be heard in “Don’t Wake Me Now” and “Last Song.” Davey Morrison Dillard asked me to write a song to be featured in his upcoming film adaptation of the play WWJD? and that was “Don’t Wake Me Now.” Adam Kaiser of the Neighbors almost played drums but moved out of his city last-minute and couldn’t do it. I got a friend of a friend, Jared Palick, who plays drums in Portland, to play drums on “Last Song.” My sister sang harmonies on “Gabriel,” and my brother sang harmonies on everything and played drums on all the other songs, so it was really a collective effort from a lot of friends.
Lastly, Young Sim has invited me to list my album under his Feel Good Music Coalition label which I happily did. I love that guy and take every opportunity to work with him that I can.