Arrows just keeps rolling with punchesPublished 5:45pm Saturday, March 8, 2014
With a well-received sophomore record behind them and another on the horizon, Arrows At Dawn once again finds itself pushing its own boundaries while striving to to do their own thing.
As much as that sentence would imply a steady cruise, it has been far from it as lead singer/guitarist Tim Andrews battled throat nodules and the very real and scary idea of never singing in music again.
But as they’ve always done, the band rolled with the punches and are not dedicated to presenting what Andrews considers to be AAD’s most mature album to date.
The dark clouds and the silver lining
Andrews something was wrong early in 2013, or rather suspected it when he spit up a little bit of blood following one of the band’s shows.
“I kind of suspected something was wrong last March,” he said. “But I chalked it up to being a hypochondriac, because I think everything is bad. I talked to our producer and told him there was a little bit of blood that came out of a show. He said, ‘Get to a doctor and see what’s going on.’ It wasn’t the best news obviously.”
After confirming what the problem was, the course of action was simple and immediate.
“He said, ‘You need to shut your mouth,’” Andrews said.
Simple, but for a singer, it’s not wanted and in practice certainly not easy. When the doctor told him to keep his mouth shut, that meant no singing and no talking. Even after he started showing signs of getting better and the doctor gave him the okay to talk, singing was still off the table and that was just part of a long list of do’s and don’ts.
“Our last show was in July and I didn’t start singing again until January,” Andrews said. It’s still a process.”
Andrews styles himself as a man who needs to play music, so giving up wasn’t an option he entertained. He followed orders and then began seeing a specialist, which was not an easy thing on it’s own.
“It wasn’t really from scratch but almost,” Andrews said as he described the process of learning to sing again. “I started seeing a speech pathologist, once every week and tried to correct old habits.”
Andrews is very upfront on how the entire experience affected him.
“It was tough,” he said. “It scared the hell out of me. From day one this has been my baby. I was one of the original members of the group. To work so hard to have it almost taken away that fast — I was terrified.”
Though he was sidelined from singing and the band too in a sort of temporary hiatus, it didn’t put a stop to anything. Not by a long shot.
“We’ve done a lot of stuff in the off time,” Andrews said. “It didn’t mean I couldn’t play guitar, couldn’t write.”
A storm of writing and a new face
When Andrews said the band wrote, he really infers it was more a storm of writing.
“We just started writing,” Andrews said. We had songs coming out everywhere.”
Even they haven’t gotten into the meat of the recording, Andrews and the band has a very good idea where things are going and already it’s enough to impress on them.
“This record is tenfold better,” Andrews said. “It’s incredible. I’ve never been so proud as I am of these songs. They’ve got a lot of depth and it wasn’t just me writing everything for the second album.”
It’s a strong indication that the band is growing better as a band. In a time when bands often see one band member or another being singled out by the public and media, AAD is moving forward together.
That effort is showing and they’ve proven they are a band willing to stick together despite a change of drummers and even that was drama free.
Mark Puder is taking over the sticks for Adam Szczepaniak who had the chance to pursue some opportunities that opened up during the hiatus. The parting from AAD was amicable.
“Adam is a good drummer and he had a couple opportunities come up and at the time we were on indefinite hiatus,” Andrews said. “At the time I didn’t know I would be able to sing full time. We didn’t know that.”
Andrews said that Puder has moved in easily behind the kit.
“He’s a fantastic drummer,” Andrews said. “He’s really committed and it’s a good fit for us.”
A new song and an old style
AAD is coming off what they see as a very successful second album.
“No Place to Hide,” was released mid-July of last year and early indications was that it received a very good first reaction.
“We only printed a couple hundred physical copies out and we ran out of those at our CD release show,” Andrews said who also said that digital downloads have been doing well.
“This is a better record [than the first] and it sells itself,” he said.
While this third album, as of yet unnamed,’ is in the very early stages it’s generating excitement among the band and Andrews hopes this will be a jumping off point for something even bigger.
The songs have taken on a different tone, a deeper tone.
“It’s definitely a new direction as far as Arrows is concerned,” Andrews aid. “We’re still pissed off and singing about it, but it’s just not about that any more. There’s a lot more depth to these songs.”