ON TRACK: Arcane Roots in the Total MK hot seat

Alternative rock-mob Arcane Roots released their second album, Melancholia Roots last year, and they will be carving a tasty set using that as their basis when they arrive at The Craufurd Arms this Saturday night.

Ahead of their visit, bassist Adam Burton talked music with Total MK...


The song that first awakened your musical senses

I suppose the band that first inspired me to become a musician and take up an instrument, was Rage Against The Machine. In particular the song ‘Wake Up’. I remember when I first heard the song, thinking that when the first riff kicks in, it was the coolest thing ever. It also helped that it was at the end of the Matrix.


Physical or digital - how do you take your music?

Personally, I buy all my music digitally. I think that it’s the same for the rest of the band too, although Andrew does buy the occasional vinyl if it is a special album or the vinyl package itself is particularly interesting.


The first time you thought 'Music - this is the job for me'

The first time I thought I wouldn’t mind playing music for a living was after the first Arcane Roots gig I played. It was at the Boileroom in Guildford, I had to learn the set in the space of two days, which wasn’t easy to say the least. But the gig was so much fun that I thought this is a good way to make a living.


Your best on stage memory...

I think the best memory I have is walking out in front of 80k people at the Stadio Olympico in Rome when we supported Muse. Just for the sheer feeling of playing in front of that many people. Admittedly, most wouldn’t have had a clue of who we were but just the thrill of playing in front of so many people was amazing.


And the worst gig you've ever done

I can’t name any particular gig that’s been the worst, but there have been plenty of times that we have come off of stage and wished we could have that one back. It’s usually technical difficulties that makes us have a bad time. Especially due to the fact we have our own lighting set up, we have a lot of equipment that can go wrong.

Crowds are always lovely, so we can never complain about the reception receive be it in front of 10 people or 1000.


What made you take up the bass?

Unfortunately there is no romantic story behind why I started playing the bass. It was just a random ‘I want to new a hobby’ thing.


Which one song by another artist do you wish you had written

I would have to say Kiss From A Rose by Seal. It’s just an epic song. Enough said!


And one - by yourself - which holds special significance

There are many songs I could list here but I think ‘Curtains’ is a particularly meaningful one. It was the first song we wrote for ‘Melancholia Hymns’.

It was really the first step we took in expanding our side and horizons so was it was a big learning curve in terms of song writing. It was also the first song we wrote with Jack as a full member of the band, so has significant meaning in that respect too.


Are there any current influences you look to

There are lots of influences to our music. We try to be open to everything we can. Musically, we take inspiration from acts ranging from Meshuggah to Bjork. On our latest record we incorporated a lot of electronic elements so bands like Three Trapped Tigers and Nine Inch Nails were a good reference on how to blend electronica with heavier rock music.

But then we are also fans of melody so people like James Blake also were influential on our sound. But often, influence can come from outside music, from a mood or an image or a piece of art.


If you could step into the shoes of another musician, living or dead, who would it be and what would you do? 

I would have to take the place of Jimi Hendrix, for a few reasons. The 60’s seemed like such an important time for music, with so many new experiences and sounds coming to the fore. Jimi was obviously an incredible musician so being in his shoes and getting to perform at the legendary shows that he did would be amazing.

And the main thing I would do is not overdose on drugs so that the world could enjoy his music for more than the short years that it did.


And any genre of music that you simply can't stand?

I don’t think there is. As mentioned I try to be open to everything. I can appreciate anything from the cringiest pop tune, to the heaviest metal song, to the hardest drum and bass tune.


Finally, plug your show in Milton Keynes - what can we expect?

We are always trying to one up ourselves in everything we do and this includes our live show. We put a lot of work into our last headline tour, with lighting and production as well as a carefully planned set musically. So this time round we want to make it even more special, to make it a show, not just a band playing some songs. To make the evening something people will remember.


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