Beautiful Progression: An Interview with Arms Akimbo

One time, Arms Akimbo vocalist/guitarist Peter Schrupp received a $7 paycheck. It was in between tours and involved a 30-minute drive up the Hollywood Hills, 30 minutes of dog walking and no tip. He admits spending the $7 on food, but that paycheck soon turned into much more.

The theme of the EP, Seven Dollar Paycheck, is obvious: juggling the desire to stay creative and young while understanding the need to keep yourself afloat. Schrupp jokes that he balances the two poorly, but the rest of his bandmates – vocalist/guitarist Chris Kalil, vocalist/bassist Colin Boppell and drummer Matt Sutton – and he has committed 100% to this band and everything else just follows.

“It can be stressful and depressing once the rent check is due at the end of the month but the reception and love we’ve received when sharing our music/being open with each other about what we need to stay sane always has kept us afloat,” Schrupp said.

During the process of writing and recording the EP, they had quite a few moments where they learned more about one another and in turn used that to their advantage.

“We learned confidence in our music and we learned how important it is to only put forth the songs you believe in,” Schrupp said. “We also keep learning [about] each other’s talents and strengths and that’s a beautiful progression.”

They did have moments during the creation process that challenged them as well. When they were writing, they had songs that they were second guessing. Once “Cruel Lovers” and “Pitchfork” came around, they felt everything else slowly fall into place. Everything felt really certain after that, but they still had moments of feeling unsure about the completion of a song.

“It is always tough to determine when something’s done and when to stop adding,” Schrupp said. “We often drill a song relentlessly doing slight variations until we’re all on the same page. It can take 10 minutes, it can take a month; but it’s the best way for us to work.”

Arms Akimbo’s latest EP is a narration of living the dream while struggling to make ends meet.  The four-piece from Los Angeles has just scratched the surface of what they’re capable of, but here’s hoping another $7 paycheck is not in their future.