ARCHIE is a Canberra based ‘surf-pop- band, consisting of Grant Simpson (lead vocals and guitar) Olivia Faletoese (bass), Alexander ‘Xandy’ Wanjura (drums), and Geromy Houghton (guitar and synth). The four met while studying music at uni and decided to start playing together thanks to their shared sunny outlooks and love for fun live music. Taking influences from The Jungle Giants, Ball Park Music, and Holy Holy, ARCHIE has played alongside some huge names include Benee, Neko Pink, and Surf Trash. I met with the four cheery friends to chat about the inspiration for their name, creative process, and new single ‘Running To.’
How did your band name come about? Am I right in saying Archie is someone’s dog?
Xandy: Archie is my dog. He’s a German Shorthaired Pointer and he’s a big sweetheart. When we were thinking of naming the band we just chose ‘Archie’ because it captures our energy and our vibe. He’s just the happiest little dude and we wanted to play with those emotions with our music.
In terms of creative process, how do you all collaborate to bring a song together?
Grant: The beautiful part about everyone being so good on their instruments is that we can just worry about the things that we do. I worry about what I do and I know that Liv has the fattest baselines ready and Xandy’s drumbeat is going to be killer.
“All of our pieces come together to fall into the same puzzle.”
How long does a song that typically take?
Geromy: ‘Running To’ was developed over a whole year. It’s taken us ages to finally get it to a place where we can say “Yeah, this is this is great”. On the other hand, we wrote this other song in a couple of days while jamming down the coast. We played a chord progression and turned it into a fully formed song which we played at ‘The Well’ recently. I don’t think there is any real pattern, it just happens.
Olivia: It’s always a struggle to know if a song still need to be worked on or if you should leave it alone.
You tell such amazing, expressive, detailed stories in your songs. What does your writing process look like?
Grant: I sort of write differently with each song depending on what I’m writing about. Sometimes I create a whole bunch of different versions with different lyrics and stories told in the same sort of instrumental song. I know when it’s right and when it fits. Lyrics that are about more important things take more time. I do really value sitting down and I actively pushing myself to write, but I do get a lot of lyrics and a lot of melody ideas when I’m doing day-to-day things.
What kind of things do you tend to write about?
Grant: I hope that in our time together we’ll be able to have a song for people in all moments of their life. ‘Hook Line and Sinker’ for example is a classic traditional breakup song but it’s got such a fun vibe to it. Whilst you might have started the song and in a bad mood, you’re left feeling inspired and happy and in a really good mood. It’s crazy to me that we can affect people’s moods and help them get through tough times through music.
As a band you all have this incredible fun, bouncy energy when you perform live. Where do you get so much energy from?
Olivia: We just enjoy it so much, we enjoy playing. We vibe off each other.
Grant: It’s really fun out there and seeing everyone’s smiling faces and hearing people sing your songs back to you. It’s such a fun experience and we miss it a lot.
You have supported some huge artists like Surf Trash, Neko Pink, and Benee – how was it to work with those guys?
Xandy: We’ve had such an awesome relationship with all of the bands we’ve worked with. We enjoy it so much and we love chatting to them about the Canberra music scene. We try to pick their brains about for any insights that we can get about the career that we’re trying to build for ourselves. Every band that we’ve ever played with has been incredible. Canberra is such a beautiful place to grow and prosper.
Who are some other Canberra artist you would love to collaborate with?
Geromy: We really admire Kirklandd who just released a song. He’s incredible and he does awesome stuff for the Canberra music scene. Also Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, Genesis Owusu, and Citizen Kay. There are so many and we’re so blessed to be in such an incredible scene.
How did you guys go during lock down? How did that affect your process?
Xandy: Jeremy and I spend a lot of time in zoom chat rooms together recording individual parts. I had a drum recording setup at my house and Jeremy had his home studio too. The two of us were just grinding out these new tunes. We came out of such a big run of shows, playing twice a week and all of a sudden it was nothing and we were thinking we have so much positive energy to record and write with.
Can you tell me a little bit about your new single “Running To”?
Grant: ‘Running To’ features the wonderful John Mackey, a good friend of ours who is incredible on saxophone. He is the sweetest man and to know that he’s invested in our band is a good sign that we’re heading in the right direction because he’s definitely a very important person on our musical journey.
The song is about wanting someone and knowing it’s not going to work out, but you do it anyway because that’s how much they mean to you. You still give it a chance and make the most of that special time that you have with someone in a relationship.
“It’s that push and pull in a tricky situation”.
Listen to ‘Running To’ on all major music streaming services now.