Drapeaux Rouges Des Enfants Perdus

A Gallery Of Language, Both Heard And Writ.
To Be Shared.
Long Live Plywood Violins
The Red Flags Of Lost Children

An Exchange Of Words With Josh Arnoudse of You Won’t

Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri have quickly established themselves, in my eyes, as important figures in this next wave of artists currently emerging. They are (obviously) overwhelmingly talented, and, fortunately, seem to possess an awareness of sound and meaning that is completely unique to them.

I employ a vague criteria when curating this gallery; the only prerequisite of consideration is, quite simply, that at least one member of every organization possesses the ability to write. I have always leaned towards such figures, taken comfort in their speech. It is (unfortunately) rare these days for me to find young poets in print, yet I’m lucky enough to find new writers everyday within music. Josh Arnoudse is yet another of this breed.

Thank you, Josh, for answering a few questions, and for answering them with the same fiercely playful wit that I enjoyed so entirely on Skeptic Goodbye. Next time, perhaps, we can speak face to face, as opposed to the clumsy call and response format of e-mail interviews.

[Editor’s Note: This opening seems to imply that Josh is, somehow, more important to this project than Raky. I do not, in any way, believe this to be the case. Raky Sastri is, in one writer’s humble, crude, and poorly phrased opinion, absolutely fucking incredible (and I could still confidently say so if he was only ever the drummer (see video below)). This gallery was formed to showcase notable literary figures within music, and this intro reflects that. But don’t be fooled: You Won’t is very much the project of two men.]

How long have you and Raky been collaborating artistically?
13 years.

What is your song writing process like? What element comes first? Last?
Typically the chord progression comes first, then the melody, then the words.  But once I get going it all gets mixed up and tumbled around like a little kid in a tire rolling down the side of a mountain, ricocheting off the occasional tree or boulder or moose.

Who was involved in the recording process (of Skeptic Goodbye)? How long did the recording process take? 
It was just the two of us.  There was no one else around to so much as fiddle with a volume knob. Raky engineered everything, I did all the vocal parts, and we both played a wide variety of instruments.

Was the album recorded using digital or analog equipment (or both)? Why?  
Both, but primarily digital.  The magic glowing fodder box as my friend Billy used to call it.  We tracked some songs on quarter-inch tape before mixing them in the fodder box, but we maintained no illusion that we were using anything less than utterly contemporary techniques.  I’ve always recorded digitally from my very first demos so I’m accustomed to the cold unforgiving sound of the magic fodder box anyways.

As for the release, do you have any interest in releasing the album on analog forms, such as vinyl or cassette? Why or why not?
We’re looking into vinyl.  It’s pricey but we’ve gotten a lot of requests so we’d like to make it happen.  I don’t think we’re hip enough for cassettes.

What’s next? Any new material forming? Can we look forward to another album?  
Yes you can, but please don’t spend too much time on it.  

Will you continue to tour this album, or do you think you’d like to get back to writing/recording sooner than later?
Both?  We want to stay on the road fairly consistently since we’re a new band and still in the “Hello, what do you do? You’re a plumber?  What on earth is that?” phase of our existence and it’s important to get out there and kiss the indie rock babies and show people what you’re all about.  On the other hand, it would be nice to have some time to devote entirely to the new stuff.  I don’t know, haven’t figured that one out yet. 

Will you continue to write all of the poems?
The poems will only grow more and more devastatingly poetic.

Are you satisfied with the instrumentation or are you two already imagining something else for the next record?
We’re ever-evolving in that respect…we recently added wind chimes- and it’s hard to strike a good rock pose playing wind chimes.

I think that all writers will inevitably inject their prose or poem with bits of their own life, but to varying degrees. Some writers do so consciously, choosing to tell “true” stories; others simply imagine situations and, in retrospect, might see familiar faces. Where do you think you stand as a writer within this spectrum?

I try to write what I know without writing what ONLY I know.  You know?

As the traditional major-label structure that dominated music for the past hundred years continues to crumble, and a truly independent approach is being seen as the better approach by some artists, I have to ask: How you you feel about the increasingly-widespread DIY movement, and where do you think You Won’t should stand? Why?

I suppose we are DIY in most respects.  We recorded our album completely independently and now we’re cramming our gear into a Subaru and sleeping on floors and couches.  We are also fortunate at this point to have some great people helping us get our stuff out there.  I think our music is fundamentally too pop-oriented to thrive in the DIY venue culture.  Those places can be really welcoming and fun to play.  They can also be maddeningly disorganized. Ultimately I think we are better suited to work within the system to subvert it rather than secede and establish our own set of rules.

Despite poetry (sadly) becoming less and less popular with every passing generation, this sentiment (fortunately) has never really made it’s way into music. Do you think that poetry is aided by melody and musical backing? Do you think that songwriters deserve to be praised as poets and, eventually, approached academically in the same way? (In other words, is there any difference between Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan, between Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits?)

I think music often suffers when put into an academic context because so much of its power exists on a very visceral, purely emotional level.  However, it can be really interesting to delve into the history and political context surrounding a given work.  I don’t know what the best approach is here.

As a continuation of the last question, do you see yourself more prominently as a writer, or as a musician?  
I see myself primarily as a performer.

Do you think that art is more powerful to the creator as its being inspired, constructed, and presented, or rather is it more powerful to the audience as its being received, interpreted and, possibly, stirring inspiration within them?
Totally depends on the context.

Bonus Round:

Any artists to recommend?

Bombadil, Lucius, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Pearl & The Beard, Dolfish, The Suitcase Junket, Julia Read

Being that things can exist permanently on the internet, is their any sentiment about art/music that you’d like to notify your future-self of, so that someday you can look back on this and be reminded of what it was like earlier in your career?  

Actually, I would like to ask my future self a question- Hey Future Self, how’s that whole artist thing workin’ out for ya?  Does it just feel like any old job now?  I’m worried about you - I hear that’s what happened to the Ramones.  Do me a favor and stop using pictures of me to attract attention on your holographic life-size online dating profile.

10 Plays

"Three Car Garage" by You Won’t

from Skeptic Goodbye, released on Old Flame Records

Simple put: I really enjoy this single (and the album in its entirety) and I was absolutely sure that I’d featured it months ago. This, I found out, was not the case. So here we are.

I almost subbed the original single for a different track, but ultimately found it too difficult to pick one over the others.

UPDATE: I’ve listened to this album once or twice a day since unearthing it a couple weeks ago. I love it.

I’m still struggling to articulate what makes it so perfect to me. Josh Arnoudse has quickly become one of my favorite “young” (in the sense of career) writers. I have requested an interview.