Managing to reign in the manic concept-packed pop of Mike Cantino’s Orange Jam, find Chris Cantino (Saudade) making straight forward guitar-driven music again, & be the first complete representation of the long-standing musical twin-hood of the two brothers, Archers‘ frantic garage pop has a good fucking time, & barely stops to take a breath.
Bristling with unabashed youthful exuberance for kicking the shit out of pop & making it sound good, its nice to know someones’ still excited.
Celebrating the freedom of classic Popeye cartoonery,
Archers tediously produced video keeps it real.
SB: You & Mike have both been primary song-writers in the past, tell me a little bit about how songs come about for Archers.
CC: It’s been changing since we started. Typically, Mike has specific ideas about what he wants and he generally encourages us to do our own thing within certain parameters. I like to start with a couple of ideas and develop the themes live as a band. It helps me get the big-picture, especially rhythmically. And a lot of my lyrics come from ad-libbing at practice. But Mike comes in already hearing everything in his head. He has a great knack for dynamic arrangements. But yeah, things are changing. Now, my ideas are more formed coming into it and Mike has become more collaborative. Me writing for Archers is a new thing.. it didn’t use to be that I contributed songs, but when we brought Anthony on board that opened us up to do a lot of stuff we couldn’t before. It’s gonna be cool to see how the new stuff turns out.
SB: This is a huge departure from your other project Suadade, do you see Archers as another song-writing outlet, or what you’ve been hoping to end up playing primarily?
CC: I’m not really sure of the answer to that. Right now, I am definitely putting more energy towards Archers, but I’m not done with Saudade. I think our new stuff is going to be a lot different from the last record, even though we really hit a sound that worked for us there. We are definitely in transition. I spent most of 2008 and 2009 focused on Saudade and making those records happen. Lookouts’ Journal is probably the best thing I have ever done, but I’m still putting more and more energy towards Archers. It’s been hard to balance. My first priority nowadays is family, anyway. (SB note: Chris celebrated the birth of a son with his partner Jaime last year)
SB: I know Micheal Griffith (Height of 63) has joined the band, how has that influenced the chemistry of song-writing between you and your brother?
CC:Yeah! We are really excited about that. Griff is fucking awesome. You know, he hasn’t been playing with us very long. He actually just played his first show with us. We tried to get him to join a couple of times earlier but it didn’t stick. And then we wanted him to track on the new stuff, even though we weren’t sure about it because we see Archers as more of a guitar-led band. Then he tracked this absolutely brilliant shit for us in like half an hour and we were blown away. He got pretty stoked about it too and then we basically demanded that he start practicing with us. I don’t know how he is going to change things. Our harmonies sound better and he can trade with Mike or play a third guitar. I would really like to see him bring some songs to the table, but that hasn’t happened yet.
SB:You have a very energetic live sound on your EP. Do you solidify a song playing it live together, or is the recording the primary part of the song-writing process?
CC:Definitely playing it together. There’s a new song called “Tough” that I really want to record but Mike won’t let us because it’s not “fucking perfect” enough. I’m eager to do that song now but I agree that we just need to be patient and take our time to own every last bit. When the songs for the EP were ready, it just kinda clicked and we knew. We definitely want things to keep sounding raw and enthusiastic, but we are all really precise and detail-oriented, and I think the EP shows that. I probably spent 100 hours mixing the EP, but most of the tracks were first takes, so the final product is really a mix of both.
SB: What is the official line-up of Archers?
CC: Mike Cantino and the I Am Band, the ghost of god, me, Brian Yoder, Anthony Frey, and Griff.
SB: You’ve seemed to have embedded yourself in the PDX lo-fi scene, whats your inside view of whats going on down there?
CC: I don’t know, actually…we haven’t really been accepted by that scene yet, though we’re acquainted with some of those people like Scott at Exiled (the best record store I’ve ever known), Meth Teeth, and Burning Yellows/ZachsBooks. I don’t know if they know who Archers are yet. I want to play in that scene because I really like the records coming out of it, but we don’t fit in it completely. If we filtered all of our vocals and mastered our record on a cassette deck we might be in already but we’re not going to do that, or at least we don’t expect to. The Portland music scene in general is pretty inbred. Like, it’s easy if the cool kids invite you. Bands tend to get a lot of attention only once they’re given the stamp of approval. I think it’s pretty natural for that to trend but only to a certain degree. You know, people like to play with their friends regardless of how great their music is.
SB:Whats a live show like for you guys?
CC:We get pretty psyched…that is definitely our element. We rehearse a lot but when we play live we don’t even use a setlist. It’s funny, I somehow always get drymouth. Every time before I start playing I tell myself to be a little more tame but at some point the energy just takes over. Being in a band and watching a band are such different phenomena, I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Every venue is different, but there are certain things that stay intact regardless of time and space.
SB:Will you be releasing a physical recording of the EP? If so what format.
CC:Yeah! Looks like it’ll be out on 7″ soon. We nearly have our shit together. The plan is to do another 7″ after this and then we’ll be talking about a proper full length. Stuff will be here in time for summer. Until then, we hope people burn the EP as much as possible. The fucking vinyl will be rad!