There is no shortage of dynamic duos that have graced the world with their various talents. Whether in sports, on TV, or in music – pairing up minds has worked for many, including the alt-rock duo Arcadial. Together Benjamin Blake and Jason Wadey bask in not only the glow emanating from their debut EP, ‘Pandorium,’ but their shared love of memes. We talked about all of that and then some in this back and forth.
Kendra: One of you recently came forward and said the first album you ever bought was by James Blunt. I don’t think that’s weird or anything because that guy definitely walked so Ed Sheeran could run, right? Anyways, was that the album that inspired your seven-year-old self to get into music or was it just something to listen to on the way to grade school?
Arcadial: Unfortunately, I have to admit to James Blunt that he did not inspire me to make music. That title can’t go to any artist in particular. What encouraged us to make noise together was the mutual idea that a couple of hours of working on music after work/studies were more fulfilling than the rest of the day put together. Combine that with the fact that I have a tendency to doze off during client meetings, you get to the conclusion that making money for other people isn’t quite my vibe.
Kendra: Probably not Blunt or even Mariah during the holidays, but what did initially connect the two of you? Was it music that inspired a friendship or was it a friendship that grew into a musical based partnership?
Arcadial: We met in an ethics class when we were 16, I (Ben) immediately took a liking to Jason when we were asked, in a very solemn manner, whether we knew what euthanasia was. Jason blurted out “It’s a Megadeth album!” and I couldn’t stop laughing. That moment is still referenced between us quite a bit.
It took a long time for that friendship to develop into a musical partnership though, that can be put down to our different musical tastes at the time. I listened exclusively to soft rock/acoustic artists such as Bright Eyes, Elliott Smith and Death Cab For Cutie; I was a stereotypical whiny teenager filled with self-pity. Jason was a bit more diverse but still leaned heavily towards bands like Metallica and Megadeth, so it was never really considered that we should make music together.
Kendra: I couldn’t help but notice that the two of you aren’t afraid to show love to great memes. So if you had to compare ‘Pandorium’ to an infamous meme, which would it be and why?
Arcadial: The distracted boyfriend meme, where the disgusted girlfriend is “conventional vocals” and the lass he’s checking out is “spontaneous screams.”
Kendra: Memes are definitely something millennials and those in gen z rely on for not only entertainment but for comical stress relief when boomers go and make the world even more difficult to live in. You two know that all too well because your lead single “Twenty Seven Doors Closed” was inspired by the EU Referendum, or rather the whole Brexit ordeal. Have you written anything in recent weeks now that Brexit was back in the news?
Arcadial: We have written a number of things in recent weeks, some about recent events, some happier stuff (though don’t expect Pharrell Williams). I imagine we’ll stay silent on the Brexit front now that we’ve actually left. The feelings of isolation and disconnect from the people that voted for it will remain though, and that will certainly make a reappearance in our songwriting.
Some people say that you should suffer for the art, but we’re not going to dabble with amateur acupuncture for the sake of it.
Kendra: Other than boomers and their missteps, what else inspired your pens when it came to ‘Pandorium?’
Arcadial: So a couple of years ago we both went on a road trip where we ended up in Amsterdam during gay pride. I would say that this was an inspirational turning point for us. I also read somewhere that Kele of Bloc Party didn’t tell his family he was in a band until their second album. That kind of lack of support inspires us too.
Kendra: Once the EP drops, will you be heading out and about touring locally and beyond?
Arcadial: For anyone who enjoys seeing intense experimental music, we will be bringing the pain. People can expect songs from the EP, together with other new and unreleased material. Word of warning though, Ben has had a thing lately of wearing his girlfriend’s nail polish among other extravagant things, which have translated onto live shows. One could pose the question if he’s going through a quarter-life crisis or not; anyway, I would encourage you to check us out live if theatrics; tickle your pickle.