You look one way, almost every teenager is trying to be a Jersey Shore-ite. You look another way, there’s an abundance of plaid and prepped-out polos. Even when you look at music itself, originality seems dead as pop acts with an edgy female voice are still getting squeezed out of the industry. Making a stand is New York’s MY ARCADIA. Tying enchanting melodies with a taste for experimental shredding, the alt rock quintet have perhaps pushed out the best female-voiced release since the summer of 2005. As vocalist Jacqui Sandell noted to us, it’s all due to the group building goals, taking losses and keeping the roots of bands like Boys Night Out in check.
Yes or no: it’s time to stop saying there’s a lack of female-fronted bands.
Yes, I agree. Female fronted bands today really get overlooked. It’s true, we’re definitely outnumbered by men in this industry, however we’re getting so many great opportunities to shine these days with the continuing interest in some female-fronted bands over the last couple of years.
Are female vocalists representing their band and a sense of originality or are they turning into just another pop punk pretty face?
The way the music industry is looking today, when a female vocalist tries to do her own thing she usually get compared to another female vocalist of a completely different genre. The reason being, the way girls are marketed in this business is not only for their musical ability, but for their undeniable stake for individuality.
What became the unanimous goal for the group when you stepped in to take vocals?
When I joined the band originally I was replacing a previous vocalist. They had known of me from hearing my first band, so luckily we had found each other just when things were going sour for them. I brought a completely different sound and vibe hoping we could break away from the cliches of the “female-fronted band.”
Was it a difficult time for the five of you trying to come up with a sound that personified My Arcadia?
From the beginning, the band created a sound and direction that was unique, with each member coming from a completely different musical background like death metal or Top 40 pop. The writing process became a sound of its own.
How big of an influence are artists like Boys Night Out and Thrice?
I’m a huge fan of them but I wouldn’t count them as a personal influence for my vocals. But as a group, we strive for the same true vibe that these artists’ roots have come from. My vocal influences vary from a wide genre of different musicians such as Fiona Apple, Anthony Green and Terminal. Although they are a big influence in my life, the lyrics that were driven from what I had felt at the time changed because of other artists setting the tone for me.
It’s interesting to hear Boys Night Out is an influence, as they’re kind of forgotten about and there are definitely hints of Trainwreck on your EP.
This is really something that the band was influenced by musically before I joined. I can’t say that Boys Night Out has made a big impact on the way I write, but Trainwreck has had a great influence on the way the group writes. A lot of the others hold that record very dear to them for personal reasons so naturally, it really comes out in our music.
Why did you choose the title City By The Sea for your first release?
I’m very close to my heritage, which is Swedish and it’s always had a great involvement in my life. When coming up with a name for this EP, I wanted to relate it to Lulea, a city surrounded by the sea that has had a personal impact during the process of writing lyrics for this release. My purpose was to portray physically and mentally the roots of where I came from through tragic love stories to just growing up in a big city. Basically, it helped me expose what has made me who I am.
What else did you hope to accomplish with your first release?
With our first album, we were not only trying to catch the attention of labels but we were trying to establish who we are as a band. We wanted to write an album that we would always look back to as it would help us appreciate everything we have done thus far.
Do you think it’s wrong to set goals when you’re just starting out?
No not at all. I think this business is all about setting goals because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
Placing and overcoming challenges does help you get to the utopia you constantly strive for, right?
Well, duh (laughs). You have to appreciate what you’ve accomplished so far but never rely on what you have done, that way you can focus on where you want to be. Learning to build goals and take losses is just a part of life. As for me, I’ve never taken this for granted and been able to pick my self up again and again so I can only look forward to what’s coming next.
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