With only two singles to its name (so far), Kansas City's Guise of Arcadia have managed to create an epic sound, channeling shoegaze and dream pop luminaries such as Ride, Slowdive and Cocteau Twins while adding elements of their own. We are extremely fortunate to share an interview with this new band (comprised of Matt Velazquez, Matt Nance, Matt Ingram and Jacob Chavez) as they plot new music and rapidly accumulate fans.
Please introduce yourselves. Describe your music for new listeners.
Guise of Arcadia is a post-rock band with a touch of indie. We tend to focus on melody more than what’s typically found within the genre. Our music encompasses a wide range of moods - from subtle, chill grooves to dark ambience to driving party beats.
Matt Velazquez: I play guitar, piano, and sing vocals. I currently live in Overland Park, Kansas. During the week I work as a software engineer and am in graduate school at UMKC for my Ph.D. in Computer Science. Growing up in Kansas City, I've always loved music and have played the piano for as long as I can remember.
Matt Nance: I play guitar and dabble in a few other instruments. Bald. Graphic designer. I like playing music that makes me feel like I’m flying through space on a giant polar bear.
Matt Ingram: My name is Matt Ingram and I play the 4 stringed wood thing also known as bass guitar.
Jacob Chavez: My name is Jacob and I play drums.
How did the band come together?
Velazquez, Nance, and Chavez have known each other since elementary school and have always been enthusiastic about music. We’ve played in various bands (although not always together) throughout high school and college. In 2016, with the addition of Matt Ingram on bass, we created Guise of Arcadia.
It's been great to see music's effect on each band members’ lives and the passion that they now bring into the group.
Talk about the two songs Guise of Arcadia have released so far, “Survival Is The Exception” and “Omnism Schism.” What inspired their creation?
"Omnism Schism" derives from the combined concepts of "having respect of various belief systems", or rather "Omnism", and the divisiveness that can occur when one does not have that respect. When writing the lyrics, we focused on the importance of critical thinking when evaluating everything from ideologies to everyday decisions. From a musical standpoint, we wanted to experiment with swiftly changing the song’s mood with a tempo change and shift in tonality. The song begins with a somber tone before transforming into a happier and upbeat vibe as it reaches the end.
The overall theme of "Survival Is The Exception" centers largely around the idea of regret and how to move on from a mistake. The first step being evaluating that mistake's immediate damage, and then determining the best way to recover. In the song's context, this concept's scope is heightened to that of a natural disaster, or a possible post-apocalyptic scenario. As for the music, we wanted to incorporate these transitional stages of regret and hope into the mood of the song itself. While much of the song carries an increasingly solemn tone by way of desperate guitar swells and lonely vocals; this coalesces into an ending that reasserts the feeling of hope as the instruments reach their peak before cascading back down for the final measures.
What did you learn from recording your first singles that you’ll take to future projects?
Matt Velazquez spent a large amount of effort into learning about recording software and equipment, turning his living room into a customized recording studio. Every new attempt is a learning experience, and we’ve continued to become better and better at capturing our music.
What’s ahead for Guise of Arcadia in 2018?
We hope to release more music this year. We are constantly coming up with new ideas and writing new music. We love playing shows and are hoping to play more in the Kansas City area.
Guise of Arcadia's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
1984 by George Orwell
The Expanse (novel series) by James A. Corey
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Kveikur by Sigur Ros
Mothership by Dance Gavin Dance
Long Live by The Chariot
The Alchemy Index Vol. 1-4 by Thrice