The Arcs have a new EP out for Record Store Black Friday (today, Nov. 27) — and a whole lot more on the way.
Dan Auerbach tells Billboard that the group is “almost done with another record. It’s really close.” This will be the follow-up to the group’s September debut, Yours, Dreamily, and Auerbach predicts a further evolution of the Arcs’ sound.
“The Arcs have a particular sound, or we’re trying to,” he says. “It’s starting to, I guess, solidify a little bit, especially the more we play live together. I’m just hearing a new consistency, but it’s still pulling from various types of places; it’s what our record collections sound like, pretty much, so it’s all over the place. There’s loud songs, fast songs but it’s still dreamy and it still sounds like the Arcs. I don’t really know how to describe it.”
Auerbach and company (Leon Michels, Richard Swift, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss) do take a different path on The Arcs vs. The Inventors, Vol. 1, a six-song EP recorded in Los Angeles that’s out on 10-inch vinyl today and digitally on Dec. 11. The set boasts a spare sound and airy production style reminiscent of Mitchell Froom — particularly with the Latin Playboys, whose David Hidalgo (also of Los Lobos) guests along with Dr. John, the Silver Jews’ David Berman and the female vocal group Mariachi Flor de Toloache, who also appear on Yours, Dreamily.
“We were in L.A. We were listening to the Latin Playboys a lot and we were talking about David Hidalgo,” Auerbach recalls. “We decided, ‘Hey, why don’t we reach out to him, see if he’s in town,’ and sure enough he’s in town and it just happened. And then we were playing with Hidalgo and wondered if he’d ever played with Dr. John. He hadn’t, really, so I called up Mac and he just happened to be in L.A. for a couple of days, so we had him come over and the Inventors project was born for us. That’s been kind of the Arcs’ way — being there and willing to accept it when it happens.” And as the EP’s title suggests, Auerbach confirms “there’s some other Inventors stuff happening. It’s never-ending.”
With all this going on, the Arcs head out on their next North American tour on Dec. 1 in Minneapolis, with 13 dates including a two-night stand in Chicago and a hometown show for Auerbach on Dec. 8 in Akron, Ohio. “It really feels like it’s becoming its own audience,” Auerbach says of the Arcs’ following. “There’s definitely some Black Keys (fans), but they’ve been singing along to the Arcs songs — even the ones we haven’t released yet, which kind of freaks me out a little. So I really feel like people are getting it, and it is a different thing. We haven’t relied on my name or the Black Keys’ name; I made a conscious decision to separate it and let (the Arcs) be its own thing and have room to kind of grow on its own.”
That said, Auerbach — who produced Cage The Elephant’s upcoming Tell Me I’m Pretty as well as a couple of other projects he can’t yet announce — adds that Black Keys fans don’t need to worry about the group’s eventual return. “We just finished the Turn Blue Tour not too long ago and we’d pretty much been touring for four years straight, so we’re taking a little break,” he says.