A R I Z O N A (the band, not the state) has nine million monthly listeners on Spotify, and yes, you read that right. On the eve of the release of their debut LP ‘Gallery,’ we covered everything from the making of the band, their first headlining tour, and loving fellow trio Haim from afar.
A R I Z O N A consists of the grossly talented Zach, Nate and David, who hail from New Jersey but named themselves after a different state, perhaps wisely, depending on who you ask and what side of the river they live on. Their album Gallery entered the world on May 19, and when you give it a listen, you’ll find that you’ve probably heard some of it already. As long as you’re a breathing human with a Spotify account, that is. “We set out to make an EP, and it was like, “Oh, there are a lot of songs. Let’s make an album!” Dave says. Thank God they did, because anything less than the 12 tracks that Gallery features would be downright upsetting.
As you listen, consider fulfilling Nate’s wish that fans will make the record their own. “We’d like it if people had their own reasons for listening and own stories to put to it,” he tells us. “That’s the best part of this — that’s the medium of connection. The art is just to say, ‘Here’s this. Take it,’ and if it touches you in any particular way, that’s enough for us.” Consider us touched. Listen below, then take a look through our, er, gallery, for pics from their shoot at the HollywoodLife.com offices.
How’s the tour with COIN going?
Dave: Tour has been amazing. COIN is so kind. It’s been dope.
Do you meet fans?
Zach: We try to hang out after the show and meet as many people as we can.
Do fans bring you presents?
Nate: They bring me Pop-Tarts. It’s quite awesome.
How do you put together a setlist?
Zach: We want to make sure the energy flows. Nate puts together setlists very well.
Nate: I went to a ton of shows growing up, as many as I could, so I developed this feel of what people want to see in a show. I try to curate our setlist like that — open big, and take them through the motions of the songs. End strong.
So Nate is the most qualified.
Dave: I think if Nate wasn’t in our band, he’s be a playlist curator at Spotify.
Now, you’ve just announced your first headlining tour. What can we expect from that?
Dave: Lots of mosh pits.
Zach: Punk rock.
Dave: We’ve been learning this whole time. We’re new to the live thing, and we’re going to do some cool visuals. I come from that field, so we have some tricks that we’re getting ready to put up our sleeves. Then pull them out of our sleeves.
Zach: We want the set to be a seamless experience for people, and have moments where we connect with them. We want it to be interactive, but at the same time, a bit of an experience where you can see and feel the ins and outs of the set, and at the end when it goes off and it’s quiet, you want to be able to feel, “Ah, that was crazy.” We want to create that experience.
Let’s go back to the live show being new for you. What surprised you about getting on stage?
Zach: I was the least experienced, walking into this whole thing. I’d never been on a stage. At first, it was difficult to look like you’re totally free and having a crazy time onstage and translating that energy outside of what you’re actually feeling, which is either nerves, or tired, or staring at a room of people who don’t know you. There’s a human element and sometimes it’s tough to remember it’s your job and responsibility to go up there and make sure you’re connecting well with people. You want to give someone a really good impression of who you are musically. That was difficult to translate at first. But you learn to love it, and the people aren’t strange anymore.
Why name the record Gallery?
Dave: Gallery has two parts — it’s us on display, all of these songs, we have moments for. The second part is more of an inside joke. Zach and I met in a building called the Galleria, in the town we grew up in, and it fits.
Will there be any videos?
Zach: Yes! 100%. And Dave has a huge hand in the production. We do all of our own visuals.
Dave: I went to school for television and worked in post-production for a while. Having that background allows us to talk on an easier plane with people we work with to get these videos out there. We give more of our vision to it, and collaborate better.
Do you remember when you noticed A R I Z O N A’s streaming success?
Dave: There was a moment for me where it really clicked. I was having a rough morning, trying to get out of bed and do work with these guys, and I was like, Z, tough day, man. He just came over and we had coffee on my porch–
Zach: –I remember this day.
Dave: –And he held my shoulder, was like, “Look, man. There are like 8 million people a month waiting to hear what you have.” And I went, “Whoa.” It validates what you do as a creative, but at the same time, you’re like, “It’s pressure!”
Zach: You go on the road and meet them, and put the faces to the numbers. We hear about how we touch their lives, and those people do the same for us. When we log in to Spotify and look at the numbers, it’s like you’re walking down a street that looks totally dark and empty in front of you, but then you turn around and there’s 8 million people behind you. It helps you not feel so alone. It’s a two-way street.
Would you want to collaborate with someone?
All: Jack Antonoff.
Zach: We’re going to meet him — we’ll be at the same show in Camden, NJ. He’s a Jersey boy, too. We want to collaborate with people from Jersey.
What about a celebrity crush?
Dave: We love Haim in a very romantic way. It’s unrequited right now.
Nate: Este liked our tweet that one time.
Zach: She didn’t follow us.
Nate [lamenting tone]: Esteeeee!
How did the band’s title come about?
Zach: It all starts with Dave. He’s the worst. We were producers and songwriters for all of our lives, never a band, would have laughed at being a band. One day we were about to hit rock bottom, and we pumped the air brakes for a second and made a jam late one night. That song was “Let Me Touch Your Fire,” the first A R I Z O N A song ever, and what ended up happening was a conversation of, let’s do our own project.
Then Dave came in…
The question was, what would we name it? Nate and I were on FaceTime from L.A. with Dave and Dave was wearing a hat that said “Arizona” on it. Dave pointed to me, 3,000 miles across the country, nothing can stop this guy, he pointed at Nate and said, “Why don’t we call it ‘Arizona?’” We laughed because we weren’t sure if Dave was serious. Then it turned to, it’s not going to matter what we call it, because no one’s listening! No one will care about this.
Why stylize the name like that?
Zach: Dave said, “Just put spaces between it. I can make anything look hipster.”
The logo looks like hipster alphabet soup. I love it.
Zach: But we liked the spirit. It came from our hearts.
I want you to open for Phoenix. That’s not a question.
Nate: We make that joke…
Zach: We’ve broken that joke promise. We told ourselves that we’d never play a show in Arizona, and if we ever did play there, it would have to be in Scottsdale or Flagstaff, with Phoenix. Phoenix and Arizona in Flagstaff.
Finally, if someone hasn’t heard you before, what song should they listen to first?
Zach: “People Crying Every Night.”
Nate: “Cross My Mind.” That’s what started it all.