Q & A with Blues Arcadia

Combining the legendary soul of the Stax and Motown era with the burning heat and power of the Chicago and Memphis blues, Blues Arcadia deliver an uninhibited old-fashioned soul stomp revival.

Blues Arcadia’s eponymous debut EP brings a new attitude to the table. Beautifully captured by Mike ‘Beachy’ Wild at The Barn Studios in rural Queensland, this is a blues record with a broad palette of colours and textures from jazz to Detroit soul. The creative drive behind the recording was always focused on pushing boundaries, and recording live to tape meant absolute commitment to every moment of the performances of the songs.

The band are performing as part of this year's Caloundra Music Festival, appearing on the Saturday, October 1st, and we caught up with Harvey, guitarist of Blues Arcadia for a bit...

Hey Harvey, Blues Arcadia must be pretty pumped to play Caloundra Music Festival this year. Having spoken to (vocalist) Alan earlier, he had mentioned he had played it solo before, but this is the first time the band has done this festival…

Yes we are very excited to play at Caloundra Music Festival the one thing good about this particular festival it's very eclectic with a wide range of music styles so for a blues/soul band like ourselves it gives us a great opportunity to play to people who wouldn't normally be exposed to our style of music

Your evolution, from the successful songwriting partnership between yourself and Alan in The Bella Reunion, through to the current formation of Blues Arcadia, has been revered by our industry. What is it about this combination that you think resonates so well?

Well thanks very much ! I think we've got (and I think this goes for the whole band) a real respect musically and personally for each other which goes a long way in co writing songs. There has to be a lot of give and take within the song writing process in the sense of arrangements ect. Also we're on the same page as in our musical goals and how we want the songwriting to develop

We've just started the journey there's more to come. 

Listening to Alan’s vocals, the man could of easily slotted in with popular 90s alt rock sounds… yet you’ve both been drawn to this blues/soul style. Looking back, what drew you to this genre, and where would you like to see it go next?

I think Alan can sing whatever genre he likes it just happens that he's teamed up with blues/soul type band.I think he has a real natural feel for the blues/soul genre and that's where the song writing is heading. For me personally I've been listening to this type of music since the age of 14 and what drew me into it is the raw intensity and emotion of it it's like here it is no bells or whistles just pure raw emotion and it pulls the listener in almost as if you're in the room with them ! As far as where it's going next you can incorporate a great melting pot of styles and genres within a blues/soul banner and try and make you're own sound or style its endless when you start exploring the possibilities within it. 

You recorded the EP live to tape, which can be seen as ‘brave’ in a musical sense. Personally I see it as a means of capturing that moment, regardless of any beautiful errors that may appear. What was the decision to use this method?

Well the main decision to record live was capture the sound of band warts and all ! There is some great interplay between the five of us which you can't capture if you track separately and we were lucky enough to have a recording studio that gave us the opportunity to do it. We have a lot of faith in our abilities as a band to deliver the goods live so recording live was an obvious step it was like let's see if we can pull this off ? And we did ! 

‘Operator Please’ is very Motown in its sound. What was the influence behind this wicked track?

Operator please is great example of the melting pot of styles you can use.

So it started off as a Texas RnB type thing and developed over time into what you hear now the arrangement screamed horns so added them. It's a process of adding and taking away parts until we're all standing around smiling and thinking this sounds really cool. 

Dream scenario - you own a Blues Bar for one night, and have to put the most kick-arse line-up of 4 artists on in that night (dead or alive).  Who do you choose, and why?

Well this a tough one ! I think I would book Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, The Fabulous Thunderbirds (with Jimmie Vaughan and Keith Ferguson ), Freddie King and Howlin'Wolf and the reason why is because I was born too late and missed these guys but the list could go on and on as you can imagine. 

Thanks Harvey! Have a blast at Caloundra Music Festival on the Saturday!