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The Ar-Kaics: "It's a High to Bring Out The New Record After So Long"

Richmond, Virginia's favorite garage rockers The Ar-Kaics are back today with "Dawning," a twisted and turned garage-psych nugget that shows a more darker and less primitive side of the band that fans are used to. The new single is the first from the band's upcoming LP See the World on Fire, out May 3rd on the newly-minted partnership between Feel It Records and the band's own imprint DIG! Records; and Bachelor Records delivering the European edition. Alongside today's premiere, we caught up with vocalist-guitarist Johnny Ward all about the band's triumphant return, how the new album came together on the other side at the Dojo, and plans for playing shows this year.

Photo by Richard Howard

What have you been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Johnny Ward: Been doing some spring cleaning and taking loads to the landfill. Still hunkered in winter's cave at heart. Listening to a compilation of DIY French tunes called Kiosque D'Orphee and reading the Harry Smith biography called Cosmic Scholar. Both of which I highly recommend.

Before we discuss your upcoming new album See The World On Fire, tell me how did you guys all meet and decide to start playing music as The Ar-Kaics?

Kevin and I met in kindergarten and bonded over baseball and oldies music fed down from our parents and a guy who went by Krazy Greg who put on sock-hops in our auditorium that turned us on pretty hard to the action lifestyle and the rock and roll heart's desire.

What has the journey been like so far as a band? What are your thoughts looking back on your past records like 2014's self-titled debut, In This Time, and the singles/unreleased compilation Ar-Kives: Volume One?

It's been a real hoot and we've done much more than I could've imagined at the beginning. Listening back to the earlier records is a fun ride. It's funny how the old stuff sounds new over time.

After three years, what's it like returning with new music this year with See The World on Fire? I read the new album described as a "new chapter." Also what can you tell readers about its recording sessions and how it all came together at the Dojo in Great Falls, VA? 

It's a high to bring out the new record after so long. The recording was split between a few weekends of concentrated effort at the Dojo, which is the forested garage where I'm living. It was luxurious to have my preferred comforts at the ready in between takes. We hired an engineer to come in and do the scientific work so we could zero in on belting out our thing.

Today we have the pleasure of premiering the album's lead cut "Dawning." What can you tell readers about the origins of this song? It's a much tougher and moodier garage nugget. 

From what I remember, it came out of a rhythm hook we liked and built around the tune.  Lyrics are a concept of a new beginning. Maybe the first step on a long trip out of trouble is the most crucial.

Photo by Shane Brown

The album's third track "Stone Love" reminds me a bit of the songwriting of Greg Cartwright and John Felice's. What were the inspirations behind it?

Appreciate the good company! The message is that you don't know what you got until it's gone. Inspired by nostalgia with some nostalgic chord changes to my ears.

Which song from the record means the most to you (and why)?

I'd say "Land of the Blind" from where I'm standing right now. A statement that's reliably relevant with enough elbow room to really go bananas on the mic.

To coincide with the new album, can fans expect a tour around the USA this year? 

We're going to be playing select East Coast engagements for the time being. No plans right now for a full lap around the states but keep your eyes peeled around the bend. Hopefully we will find some more exotic sand in our boots before it's all over.

Asides from the new album out in May, what else is happening with The Ar-Kaics and other projects you're all part of? 

Trying to get everyone's schedules to line up for getting together and practicing our act.   

Will there eventually be an Ar-Kives: Volume two?  

We're working on it! Please help and thanks for listening.

See the World on Fire is out May 3rd on Feel It Records / DIG! Recrords / Bachelor Records.


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