Arrows In Action are a band that only comes along every once in a while. They have grown incredibly successful in a short amount of time. This is undoubtedly because of their impressive amount of hard work, unwavering talent, and steadfast approach to being the best musicians they can be. The trio are completely independent, gaining their dedicated fanbase through genuine connection and earnest self-promotion. They absolutely crush on TikTok and Reels, showcasing their ability to draw people in all over the world.
On Friday (May 26th), Arrows In Action released their highly-anticipated debut full-length album, Built To Last. Over the last few months, the band have teased the release with singles “High”, “Head In The Clouds”, “Checking In” and their collaborative track with Loveless and Magnolia Park, “The Credits”. Each single stood strong on its own, but listening to the album as a whole gives an entirely different experience. This is an album meant to be absorbed as a collective piece of art.
idobi had the pleasure of sitting down with Arrows In Action to discuss Built To Last from start to finish. Read all about the band’s favorite tracks, the writing process, influences and much more. We’ve got all the details right here!
You guys have been at it since around 2017. You’ve released several extremely successful singles in the last few years, along with your very popular EP “Be More.”. What influenced you guys to wait until this point to release a full-length album?
First off, thanks for saying that! We’ve wanted to release a full-length album for a long time now. There were even brief considerations of it back in 2017. However, we felt we needed label backing to pull something like that off, especially in such a single-driven landscape (now more than ever with Tiktok & Reels). Though we’re still independent now, we felt the fanbase we built in the last few years really deserved a bigger project from us. We also felt like, because of them, we finally had the resources and the experience to pull it off!
You teamed up with Loveless and Magnolia Park for your track “The Credits”. It feels like the perfect TikTok band trifecta. What was it like collaborating with them on the song, and how did that come together?
“The Credits” is a track we started almost an entire year before we unearthed it and hit up our friends to hop on. It was around the time The Weekend put out Dawn FM. We were really into that nighttime synthy feel. Something about it screamed Loveless, so we hit him up and were blown away by his parts. Magnolia Park saw some premature Twitter banter about the feature and offered to hop on too, an offer we couldn’t refuse. Josh’s bridge really brought it all home and made an anthem out of it. It was a wonderful experience to have artists we respect so much as creators and as humans work on one of our songs. Especially because the instrumental is pretty far out of our collective wheelhouse! Trading crunchy guitars and crashing drums for pulsating synths and smoother tones.
You seem to be moving away from your pop-punk roots into a more radio-friendly, pop-rock sound. Especially on tracks like “Head In The Clouds” and “Learned My Lesson”. Did you have a different set of influences going into Built To Last as opposed to your previous releases?
Strangely enough, our influences from the pop realm have remained relatively the same (5SOS, Fall Out Boy, The Aces, Tai Verdes), but it was the alt-rock and indie we’ve been listening to that informed a lot of the new directions for us on this album. Sounds from Demi Lovato’s last record, White Reaper, Bad Suns, UPSAHL, and a little Radiohead were all referenced. When it comes down to it, though, we write to the mood of the room and the people we’re with, and those two songs in particular were put together on sunny happy days! And we love to make each song an earworm to the best of our ability.
“Seeing Red” is my favorite track on the record. This feels unlike anything you guys have done before. It’s abrasive in the best way, and the production in the bridge is wild. What was the inspiration behind this song, specifically?
Sonically, “Seeing Red” is the product of us obsessing over Demi Lovato, Queens of The Stone Age, and Bring Me The Horizon on the same day. We started it very, very late one night and were hooked by the intro riff. It was just so much fun to write right out of the gate. Lyrically, it explores frustrations with “networking” and politics of the music industry, but more broadly, it’s about feeling that you don’t belong somewhere and then embracing that feeling. Fun nerdy fact about this one there are two tempo changes: faster in the bridge to convey an anxious excitement and slower at the end for that last sludgy breakdown.
Is there a song you guys are looking forward to playing live the most from the album?
This is really tough, so we’re going to cheat and each pick one:
Matt – I’m excited to see how “Wide Eyes” goes over live. I feel like it’s a great jumping tempo, and there are lots of fun guitar parts that I’m itching to play again.
Jesse – “Head in The Clouds” is going to be such a different live vibe from anything else we’ve done. It has a big crowd participation moment baked into it already, and I’m sure it’ll be super fun for everyone.
Victor – “Seeing Red” because it is a wildly new sound for us, and I’m excited to see how people react live. We get crowd surfers and mosh pits occasionally, but this one feels like the moment for it.
How do you choose which songs will be singles? Do you have a favorite from the songs that were released ahead of the album? Which track is your favorite B-side?
We decided to pick singles that would be both catchy and appealing to our current audience but also a bit surprising to keep people curious. We were really proud of “Head In The Clouds”, “Checking In”, and “High” because we feel like they were all really fresh for us sonically! Our favorite of those has got to be “Checking In.” We wrote it with some very good friends of ours, Spencer Jordan and Dan Swank. It was a cathartic yet easy song to write for everyone. Our favorite B-side is tough, but we’ll say the title track, “Built To Last.” That song is a very intimate realization from Victor that ultimately inspired the theme we wrote throughout the rest of the record.
You guys have an incredibly dedicated fanbase online that definitely translates to your live shows and streams. Can you recall the first moment you felt like things were really connecting on a larger scale between you and your audience?
Though we were super excited by the success of certain songs on Tiktok like “Uncomfy” and “This Time”, it wasn’t until we started touring and meeting people in person that we realized the effect it all had. Opening for Bearings in March of 2022 was when we started to notice the community forming!
What does your writing process typically look like? Was it any different this time, knowing you were aiming toward a full collection of songs?
Many of these songs were started in different ways. Whether it’s writing from the ground up, Victor bringing in the bones of a song and running with it from there, or experimenting with instrumental loops and bringing in friends to write, we like to change things up to keep it fun and fresh! It was different this time in the sense that we were writing to a theme and a plot with the intention of sequencing everything together. It felt almost like storyboarding at times, which made it easier to know what “should” be written next.
What is your favorite part of being in Arrows in Action? Is it the writing, recording, or performing? Do you have a favorite memory from this past year as a whole?
Oftentimes writing and recording are happening at the same time for us, and touring the songs is something we’re thinking about excitedly while creating them, so it all blurs together for us in the best of ways. It’s hard to say! We truly love every part of it, and no aspect can really exist without the other anymore.
One of our favorite moments of the last year was our headlining show in Denver. It was the biggest headliner we had played up to that point, and it was truly a surreal experience. We met so many incredible people that night, and though we’re always crazy busy, it felt like things slowed down enough for us to appreciate them.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’ve got a lot of fun new things planned for this headlining tour! Catch us on the road with our friends Honey Revenge and Finish Ticket 🙂