ArchAnimals are a trio of Texas dudes, born and raised. This should come as no surprise, as their homestate pride is proudly professed through a unique brand of twangy yet fuzzy nostalgic indie rock. Last December these guys took to the road for a tour across the Lone Star State, including stops in their hometowns of Houston and Dallas. When they returned, we spoke with singer-guitarist Dennis Sager about the high points of their journey, as well as the group’s thoughts on touring across their old stomping grounds. For a visual look at the tour, check out the video below the interview featuring the track “Television” off their debut release Waiting for Marriage.
The tour was primarily through your home state of Texas, including a stop in each member’s hometown. What are your thoughts on the state as a touring destination and its effect on the music you play?
This was our second major tour through the state of Texas. There’s this great sense of euphoria when we’re back in our home state: the gas station kolaches and breakfast tacos, easily accessible Shiner Bock. The three of us consciously and independently decided to leave Texas to live in southern Louisiana, so it feels as though we owe it to ourselves and our families to return.
Each of us spent the first eighteen years of our lives there, so where we are from definitely comes out in our playing. Whether it’s through melody or lyrics, part of the story-telling aspect of ArchAnimals comes from the history and folklore we’re taught growing up. This idea that even one person can make a difference and make their lasting mark- from the ragged adventure seeking freedom fighters all the way to the smooth talking wildcatting oilmen.
Texas has a lot of big cities, but each one seems to contain its own unique sub culture. How is this change in environment reflected across your shows?
Crowd-wise Texans can be described as polite in the formal sense, but they will definitely walk out if they are not entertained. We are constantly forced to think on our feet, pushing our playing and instruments to the extreme. If we’re playing in a country bar, we play setlist X. If we’re playing at a dingy hardcore bar, we play setlist Y.
Any one show that stands out as particularly memorable?
We first started playing as a trio at a house party, so the Houston house show was probably my favorite of the tour. Woozy and New Lands were also on the bill (they both killed it) resulting in this awesome and surreal feeling due to the fact that there were a dozen kids from New Orleans playing a party in Houston. We ran vocals out of a Vox AC30 and Casey (vox in New Lands) sounded so raw, making it a particularly memorable New Lands set. Matt’s from Houston, so Christian and I have adopted it as our home-away-from-home. The crowd was full of familiar faces and new friends that feel like old friends by now. Then we went to House of Pies two nights in a row.
What bands did y’all listen to on those long drives?
Why?, Sparklehorse, and At the Drive-In. As for reading: Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee, Hate by Mark Salerno, and Ultramarine by Raymond Carver.