If you have not fallen in love with Jocelyn and Chris Arndt then get ready! This next half of their interview is filled with humor and charming anecdotes that only make you marvel at how such talent can also humble. They are incredibly down-to-earth for being Heavenly gifted.
Diandra: What is the best advice your parents have given you for life and/or music?
Chris: Our parents have given us a lot of great advice, but there’s definitely one saying which has always stood out to me. Mom and dad used to tell us all the time: “You can do anything you want in life, but you have to do your best.” I think it’s only dawned on me in the past year or two how special that is. I don’t know how many kids I’ve met whose parents wanted them to become doctors or lawyers or join the family business or anything like that. Our parents were down for literally anything we wanted to do. A lot of people ask us how our parents feel about us focusing so much on music in lieu of Harvard, expecting us to sort of roll our eyes and say something like “Oh yeah, we don’t talk about that at home,” but honestly, they love it! As long as we’re giving it everything we’ve got, our parents will support us. I think that’s a really great way to live life—do what you love to do, and do it as well as you possibly can. It seems to be working out really well so far!
Diandra: You love some big-voiced, fantastic performers like Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, and Janis Joplin. What about their performance styles most inspires you? If you could do a collaboration with one of them, who would it be and what would the song be about?
Chris: Ahhhh I don’t know… That’s such a tough choice. All of them? Although if we have to pick one, I think Janis would be the perfect choice. She led such an inspiring existence, and we lost her way too soon. I think she had a lot left to say when she died. So if we were to write a song with her, we’d let her take the lead on the source material for it. Although generally, I think it would probably end up being a powerful, self-confident girl-rocker anthem. That kind of electric energy is what makes us worship Janis, and other big-voiced performers like her – these kinds of voices really make you feel what they’re singing about. They don’t just hit the notes… They MEAN it. That’s exactly the kind of energy we want to project with our music, so seeing and hearing performers who succeed at it is unbelievably inspiring.
Diandra: I know Jocelyn is an English Major; which two novels you would love to write a soundtrack to, and why? Name two poets that influence your song writing and why?
Jocelyn: Oh my goodness. SO many books would be so fun to write music for. If I had to pick two right now, though, I’d probably go with “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson. These two works probably couldn’t be more dissimilar, but they’re both great for very different reasons. “Pride and Prejudice” has always been one of my favorite stories (cue all the pent-up emotions of a hopeless romantic songwriter chick), but I had to reread it for a class recently and I was amazed by how sharp and clever Austen’s writing is. She’s just so COOL, and writing music inspired by this classic would be really rewarding. The other book, “Fear and Loathing,” would be crazy to write music for because of how trippy and hectic it is. All those descriptions of drug trips would make for some awesome blues jams. I started reading this one when we were in New York last weekend for a show at Rockwood Music Hall, and I haven’t quite finished it yet, but I feel like it would definitely inspire a cool soundtrack from us. As far as poets go, my taste in poetry may be a little quirkier than some of my English-major peers. Not that I don’t love a good Wordsworth or Keats poem, but honestly, I prefer Shel Silverstein. That dude was a genius. He and Dr. Seuss are my two favorites. They both had such a unique way of describing the world around them, a voice that was both distinctive and also profoundly relatable. That’s something I try to work into my own lyric-writing for sure.
Diandra: I know Chris is a Computer Science Major; what about this major has influenced your mental/technical look at music? If music was a computer, which brand would it be and why?
Chris: I LOVE this question. I get to combine my love of music with my total geekiness. I’ve always attacked problems in a very analytical way. I love to write and be creative, but there’s something really satisfying and beautiful about studying subjects like math and computer science. I think I bring that sort of mental framework to songwriting, and definitely to crafting guitar solos. If we’re trying to figure out what to do with a certain song, my approach is usually to analyze what we’ve done so far and where we need to go, and map out a bunch of possible routes to get there, and then just sort of try them and fiddle with them until we find something that works really well. When I’m writing a guitar solo, it’s even more like that. I come up with a motif I really like, and I think about how I can evolve it and build on it throughout the course of the solo and the rest of the song. That process draws such a great parallel with math! First, somebody thought of whole numbers. Then, they came up with the basic rules of arithmetic: adding, multiplying, and eventually dividing, so on and so forth. Then different kinds of numbers and algebra, and from there geometry and calculus and all sorts of crazy stuff. I feel like that progression is such a great analogy for writing a song or melody, at least in the way I go about it. If music were a computer, I think it’d be a Raspberry Pi—accessible to everyone, super versatile, great for teaching, even more powerful in groups, and limited only by the user’s creativity and ability. Plus, that answer lets me skate on the mac-vs-pc wars. No matter what brand someone’s laptop is, everyone loves Raspberry Pis (another parallel with music!).
Diandra: Name one sweet and one annoying thing your sibling does to you or rather you do to the other?
Chris: Well, I definitely never do anything annoying to Jocelyn, because I’m a perfect sibling and child and have no faults in any way whatsoever at all. When we were in high school, mom and dad used to task me with waking Jocelyn up if they felt she was sleeping in too late. I was always super nice about it. I’ve definitely never woken her up by jumping on her bed and playing saxophone after putting a sock filled with catnip on her face and letting the cat loose in her room. But Jocelyn can be really super annoying sometimes. When we were little, there was an entire year where she always said it was my turn to take out the trash, so I had to do it every time. Literally a whole year. She didn’t take out the trash once during that year. But sometimes, if I’m sitting on the couch watching Netflix, she brings me plates of food without my prompting, which is about the sweetest single thing anyone could do for me. So, while she might suck at taking out the trash, all-in-all I think she’s a pretty dope sibling.
And on that note: YAY!!!!!!!!!! Hurray for great siblings and rising rockers!!! Honestly, if you hear their music, which I have left above, you will fall for their folk-rock resonance. They are not kidding when they said Janis Joplin influences them. Jocelyn and Chris Arndt are making music that makes people. In essence. when you think of a moment, as Chris mentioned, there is usually a song attached to it, and these two want to be the soundtrack to your life. For More Information On Jocelyn and Christ Arndt Click Here.