A small-time band driven by an ethos of creativity and community; Arizona are uniting honest lyrics with punchy indie-pop.
Hailing from New Jersey, Arizona was initially formed as a group of friends beginning to feel the frustration of ‘creative angst’. Drawing their name from guitarist Nate Esquite’s hat, their title became a reminder that there is more to music than a label. ‘The name at that time was really just “hey, we want to make music and it’s not gonna matter what it’s called,’ vocalist Zachary Charles told us. ‘It was kind of a joke then but it’s part of our ethos now where we don’t take ourselves too seriously and we just kinda do what we want, do what we love.’
Following the success of the band’s debut, GALLERY, the boys are on the brink of releasing their sophomore piece. In the spirit of their upcoming record, we ask what they’ve learned from their first album. ‘The main thing we learned was that if you’re not remaining true to yourself and having fun it’s easy to get lost.’ Keeping with their grounded perspective, we asked Arizona if self-expression was the driving force behind their new music. ‘The driving force is really friendship. We’ve had to find ourselves [while] trying to fight [getting] caught up in the machine of the industry,’ Zach admits. ‘In a way, it’s almost helped us rediscover the friendship that drove us to do this in the first place. It helped us find our identities, brought us back to that magic of being together as friends, as the family that we are.’
Whilst working on their latest record, the band have been touring and, we have to say, we’re pretty sure they achieved hashtag touring goals. All joking aside, Arizona were truly victorious when they announced they would be supporting Panic! at the Disco. As huge fans of the alternative rockers, Arizona couldn’t seem to stress enough how ‘life-changing’ their experience was. Having opened sets in sold out areas, we ask the trio if that experience set a new goal for them. ‘At the core of who we are, we love making stuff and we love the ability to be able to do it for a living. My father always told me that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,’ Zach explained. Highlighting that they want to bring ‘a certain level of excellence’ to the table, Zach also outlines how playing big festivals and arenas are a benefit, but it’s all ‘a by-product of us being able to live out something we never thought would happen.’ Set aside your awards and applause, Arizona seek only to ‘grow as a family’.
Arizona’s commitment to themselves is a theme woven throughout their music, but ‘Find Someone’ embodies it best. We ask if they can explain what their lead single means to them. ‘It’s about having fun, and not giving too much meaning to any one thing and that’s something that people would tell you about your own life,’ they tell us, ‘You’re not supposed to give too much meaning to the individual pieces, it’s more about the entire experience. As long as it feels honest, as long as it feels right, that’s what the album should feel like.’ The quality of honesty is something that seems to separate the band from the saturated pop-scape. Arizona’s authenticity is refreshing and their music is pleasing, but it often seems to stray into territory that pulls on the styles of LANY and Walk The Moon. With their attractive layered electro-pop and 80s synths, Arizona are by no means stylistic pioneers, but neither are they a band that churns out throwaway dance pop. Arizona are in the game to offer shameless self-reflective pop that just sounds good. After all, it’s nice to have music without an agenda. Sometimes all you need is an aesthetically driven record with some catchy lyrics.
With our interview drawing to a close, we try our luck one last time in getting some exclusive album details. To no surprise, we’re only told ‘there will be music!’. After a little playful curiosity, Zach does admit the band will be angling towards a decorative 80s aesthetic – ‘we want it to capture more of the ethos of how reckless some of the hits from the 80s were’, but he also highlights how the band are also striving to ‘emulate’ and grow into having that same sort of boldness.’ It sounds like Arizona will be continuing their unapologetic style and we’re looking forward to it.