With the release of a new EP, Arson Daily finds their sound

Photo+Courtesy+Kendall+Atwater

Photo Courtesy Kendall Atwater

Kelsey Hamm

The 2015 winners of APPS Battle of the Bands released their new EP on January 12th on the stage where they accepted the title of champion.

In a period of flux in the Boone music scene, mostly due to band members graduating between semesters, the group is re-establishing its presence with old favorites and plenty of new material for a crowd in need of fresh hits. The band is gaining reputability in a town with over 15 popular music acts. For Arson Daily, this means a focus on “finding a sound” with their music, a process lead vocalist Zach Dunham acknowledges as difficult.

Their new material will be played at the concert and will hold the same sense of alternative rockability and blues-funk as their previous music, inspired by bands like Cage the Elephant. Chronology and early beginnings are important to each of the band members for this EP.

“Right now we’re sticking to the original songs we’ve written and we’re just kind of staying with the early songs we have,” Dunham said. “We have more ideas and newer music, but the EP is as if we’re going chronologically from when we started. It’s foundational.”

Arson Daily is set apart not only by their energetic persona but also by their level of practice and cohesiveness, particularly each member’s unique ability to channel their individual inspirations. Bassist Quincy Platt hones the style of bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, adding to his own unique dexterity.

“The arrangement of our music is very intentional but sometimes our songs just kind of happen, and I think a lot of our professionalism as a group is mainly because of our arrangement style,” lead guitarist and senior music industry studies major Charles “Chip” Cannon said. The arrangement is exemplified in one of McLean’s favorite lyrics, a single line where Dunham sings “captain of the snakes.”

“It lacks a bit of context and whenever [Dunham] says it, the music just cuts right there,” McLean said. Each musical cut is specific in Arson Daily’s process.

The smoothness of their transition into EP recording existed partially because of Dunham’s ability to lay down rhythm and vocals, Cannon said, and because his voice is important for cues.

The completed EP can also be credited to Cannon and producer Westin Gillis.

Platt and percussionist Adam McLean recognize Gillis as particularly important to the EP’s studio conception and comfort level of the band during the recording process.

“[Gillis] would say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to record this one thing,’ and then he would record it,” Platt said. “We just did our thing, and those are some of the best takes where we didn’t have to worry about someone listening.”

Gillis assisted McLean in developing his style as a percussionist, he said. McLean was a novice drummer during the band’s conception in 2014, and was encouraged to learn both by his membership and by his friends who purchased a drum set during his freshman year. Cannon said McLean has the rhythm a percussionist needs.

As for Arson Daily’s past success, Dunham recalls dropping everything during practice sessions and preparing for Battle of the Bands strictly with the set list for the show. The band arrived to the competition ready and possibly lucky, Cannon noted.

“Just from the start, I don’t think any of us had played in a band before besides two people playing in a jam, but it was pretty noticeable right off the bat,” Dunham said. “It was pretty clear that we could just play together, that something just worked.”

For a band that “just works,” where does Arson Daily fit in the Boone music scene? Cannon recognizes the difficulty for new music acts in a place so dense with talent. Being one in a crowd can have obvious downsides, he said.

“Boone has a very interesting music scene that’s happened, you can’t really just pop out of nowhere and be like, ‘We’re a band, love us,’” Cannon said. “Every band that we’ve worked with we’ve developed a good relationship with so far.”

Arson Daily has played mostly with the Remarks and band members from the Romantic Egotists. Battle of the Bands runner up Way Das will precede the band for the EP release party.

Arson Daily has time to continually carve out their niche in the Boone music scene. Even with a few members graduating this year, all four artists are “signed on” for another year in Boone.

“We are definitely playing with the option of recording a full length album and trying to do as much as we can,” Dunham said. “The year will hopefully include building an album and a management team and getting signed, because if we don’t do it within the year then we might lose a lot of motivation to continue because we’ll have lives to carry on.”

The EP release party will start at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12 at Legends. Tickets are $4 in advance for students and $6 for public and at the door. The event is BYOB.

While the band will not charge for their EP, they do accept donations.

By: Kelsey Hamm, A&E Reporter