I recently caught up with lead singer and guitarist Cody Page and drummer Eddie Core of the indie rock band Armada to discuss their new release, Paper Ghosts. This three piece outfit weaves terrific storytelling into a lush musical landscape creating a sound all their own. Here’s what the guys had to say about the new disc, their writing process and more!
Now that your new disc Paper Ghosts is complete, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Cody: We could not be more over the moon about getting this thing into people’s hands. You always have things you’d like to re-tweak, but if you went down the rabbit hole with every ghost of an edit you’d like to make, you’d never finish. That’s a hard thing to accept when you’re picky like us, but it’s the right thing to do.
Eddie: What we ended up with is extremely close to what we heard in our heads from the outset. That’s fulfilling, especially considering the budget we were on.
What is your writing process like?
Cody: I bring in the outline of a song: lyric, melody, general mood. Then we dissect it as a band, rearranging parts and getting everybody’s fingerprints in there. Some songs just kind of write themselves. Others put up more of a fight. While we were in the studio recording Paper Ghosts, we took a fighter song apart in the 11th hour and completely flipped it around. That 45 minutes of spontaneous work beat months of sweating over the tune in our rehearsal space.
Check out the song: “Callanwolde”
When you write do you ever think about the live performance?
Eddie: Definitely. Some bands try out new material on new audiences and do heavy tweaking based on the reactions they get. We don’t quite go that far, but we’re certainly thinking about how a song will translate live.
Cody: What we’re more prone to doing is tinkering with our recorded stuff to sound a little different at the show. It’s no fun seeing a band that’s so flawlessly dedicated to the record live that you might as well have sat at home listening on your headphones.
Is it hard translating your songs to a live performance?
Cody: Not really. We owe a lot of that to Mike Borden, our producer, because he helped us remember not to layer things into the record that wouldn’t be possible to play live. Sometimes you’ll throw an auxiliary piece of percussion in there that probably won’t make the live set, but those moments are pretty rare for us.
Who are the biggest influences on your playing?
Cody: We always say that this is what would happen if Spoon, Wilco and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club threw a pool party with Queens of the Stone Age sound tracking the water ballet. That’s what we end up sounding like, but what got us there is absolutely all over the place: Bowie, Tom Waits, Nine Inch Nails, Elvis Costello, Secret Machines, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.
Give us some insight into the record and the meaning behind its title?
Eddie: State secret!
What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of Paper Ghosts?
Cody: We like to think we have something to say and we don’t bullshit our way around saying it. That goes for the words for sure, but bleeds over into the musical side of things, too. We grew up in love with off-kilter rock music with a certain sadness about it that’s more raw than it is hopeless. People can expect songs that appeal to that sensibility. They can also expect hammerhead sharks on the cover.
Times are tough these days. Do you have a job when you are not touring?
Cody: This is maybe the best time in history to be an independent musician. You have more control over the business that affects you. That said, most people are allowed that control because they aren’t being paid by anyone to make music. It’s good and bad in that way and we definitely fill in the gaps with day jobs. We work in tech, music, and food, respectively.
What’s next for Armada?
Cody: We just finished up a breakneck few months that culminated in a new music video for “Callanwolde” and a CD release party for Paper Ghosts that truly blew the doors off all of our expectations. We feel springy and focused on getting back to our live show regimen. Next up is Harvelle’s over in Santa Monica with a band called Satellite. That’s on October 5th. Beyond that, we have a few more video-related surprises coming down the pike and hopefully some good news about festivals.
Check out the album ‘Paper Ghosts’