Hey Reddit. We're a band from Hamilton, Ontario, and we're in the middle of touring our latest LP High Noon. The record was produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, m83, The Kooks) and Eric Ratz (Metric, Billy Talent, Sarah Harmer).

Feel free to ask us about anything about the band and this funny, odd, wonderful thing we get to call our job. Any nook and cranny about the songs, gear, shows, job you're curious about, ask away!

If you have a question for any of us in particular just address us personally here (Nick, Mike, Tim, Anthony, Max). Max will answer the general questions.

It's a very unpredictable line of work, but we are very lucky to have this job.

We just wrapped up our Canadian tour and are kicking off our US/Europe spring dates next week. We'll also be playing festivals this summer back in Canada.

EDIT: Thanks so much!! This was super fun. See you this spring!

Some proof


Some links:





Comments: 1146 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

Pandabombed354 karma

Okay you knew it was going to be asked: Who the fuck uses a pay phone? Also, thanks for also being from Hamilton.

ArkellsMusic397 karma

Ha, a person who uses a payphone in 2015 is having a tough day. The song is about a person having a hard time.

GrahamWrightTPC319 karma

do any of you guys want to go to the basketball game tonight?

ArkellsMusic159 karma

you got TICKETS?!?!?

rigaa136 karma

You guys are known for playing really awesome Frosh week shows around Canadian universities. Which school have you had the most fun playing and what was it about the school that made it so awesome?

ArkellsMusic173 karma

Bishops was the drunkest by far. Not us, them. Great little town.

Cddd2390 karma

What do you get when you go to Burrito Boyz???

ArkellsMusic62 karma

small shrimp - hot

ArkellsMusic60 karma

Half chicken half sweet potato, everything on it, extra spicy.

idr681 karma

What was going through your head when the power cut out at Supercrawl? Is this something you're used to dealing with by now, or were you freaking out on the inside?

p.s. I'd just like to give a big thanks to Tim for the work you do for the Taggart n Torrens podcast, it's much appreciated!

ArkellsMusic93 karma

Honestly, the cabling from the front of house to the power generator cut out. I dont think supercrawl predicted as many people and the pressure from all the bodies caused the outage. We were freaking out on stage, but the rule is when shit goes wrong: keep on grinning and pray to god.

ArkellsMusic37 karma

Thanks for the kind words bahd! Been a pleasure to work with those two amazing individuals.

ArkellsMusic22 karma

We've never had the power cut out like that, but it definitely wasn't the biggest surprise in the world - we've played enough shows that we are used to technical malfunctions. We're most concerned with you guys having a good time!

EmilySirrs658 karma

At the Peterborough show on March 4th i asked you to play Abigail. You guys tweeted back at me after and said i could come by the bus, but I had already left for home so you said you owed me, so my question is, now what can we do about that? Ps you guys are awesome

ArkellsMusic223 karma

We love to accommodate as many requests as we can, but it can get pretty crazy and with three albums we just aren't able to play every song we'd like to. If you send your mailing info we will send you a signed vinyl.

whattimeisitmrwolf49 karma

Hey guys! I just moved to Hamilton and have fallen in love with the city. I'd love to know (as passionate Hamiltonians), what are some of your favourite things about the city people might not know?

P.S. Can we hang out sometime?

ArkellsMusic92 karma

The best part about Hamilton is that it's a real city. It's not designed like the suburbs. You can walk to things. It's affordable. Lots of young people doing things, creating...new businesses, ideas.

-TomTookALook49 karma

So who really is Lonnie?

Also Nick, do you think next year you'll make it into the playoffs for the Arkells hockey pool? Or were you trying to tank for Connor McJesus?

ArkellsMusic62 karma

Lonnie is my partner Lauren.

tacodangercouch18 karma

possibly related: then who is Laura? (On Paper)

ArkellsMusic105 karma

laura kinda rhymes with "ignore her"

kylethewild42 karma

Can you tell us when you'll be performing at Osheaga?

ArkellsMusic49 karma

Sometime during the weekend :) Sorry we don't have the schedule yet.

myfisher29 karma

Best Willy Dog topping combo?

ArkellsMusic36 karma

Don't over think it - ketchup and mustard

Emilyxx2228 karma

What's is your song "Coffee" inspired by/about?

ArkellsMusic83 karma

Um....sort of about a person who starts spewing hate in the name of religion. If God is great and guiding you, why is he telling you to do/say awful shit: "Do you hear him, do you feel him, do you see him when you're dreaming? Did he hit you, or hold you, or cut you off when you're speaking?"

kirstiehenderson27 karma

Hi guys - my fiance and I are huge fans. Have seen you live a few times and happened to be in Amsterdam for your show there in 2013. I know you get this a lot but it is is a serious question: can you and do you play at weddings and stag and does and HOW do we arrange it? Thanks guys and keep doing what your doing. Making Canada proud.

ArkellsMusic37 karma

haha email [email protected] - he books us and knows our calendar better than us.

zachfulkerson24 karma

Where's the best pizza joint you've been to on tour? Also, will you play at Igor's birthday party?

ArkellsMusic64 karma

I have a soft spot for Megabite pizza in Vancouver. Their Hawaiian in particular is awesome. It's also a place we discovered on our first ever Canadian tour, so I think there's some sentimental attachment as well. -Mike

ticats8823 karma

I just want to start by saying you guys are my favouite band and are a huge inspirarion! What was it like winning the juno in your home town, and another question what advice would you give to someone who wants to start up a small band?

ArkellsMusic27 karma

Keep playing and don't get discouraged - you never know what opportunity will turn into something bigger

Bettycoop9918 karma

What made you name your song Leather Jacket rather than Payphone?

ArkellsMusic138 karma

haha, that song had been kicking around for a while as "payphone" but then fucking maroon 5 came with a song with that name.

beardum17 karma

I have 2 3 4 questions:

  1. In Deadlines, which Europeans are you talking about?

  2. Max, do you ever get mistaken for Adrian Grenier? And if you do, do you use those powers for good or for evil?

  3. How would you say your writing/inspiration changed between Jackson Square and High Noon (feel free to include Michigan Left too!)

  4. Is Michigan Left a reference to a Michigan Left? I always assumed it was a reference to some highway sign somewhere where you turned left to get to Michigan until I discovered that intersection was a thing.

ArkellsMusic41 karma

  1. Europeans: the ones that live a more relaxing life. The ones that leave time for their passions. I saying "fucking europeans" jokingly. They have it figured it out.
  2. I'll take it!
  3. We just like more types of music than we used to. Our musical palette has grown. Like, you know how kids are picky eaters, and then one day you realize "I love caramelized onions!"...The difference between JS to HN is "Turns out I love Phil Collins!"
  4. yes it. Its sorta a shitty metaphor for going the wrong way before you figure out the right way.

jewishforeskin16 karma

Is Dan Griffin ever going to return to arkells or is anthony a permanent member now? You guys are very inspirational thanks for making music!

ArkellsMusic23 karma

sadly, dan's a lawyer now. anthony is full time and we're super lucky we found him.

ArkellsMusic20 karma

Anthony is a permanent member. Dan is a lawyer and we wish him the best in everything he does.

AskMeIfImAHuman15 karma

Hey guys, huge fan from the Ottawa valley.

What's your favourite NHL teams? Who are you guys pulling for in the playoffs?

ArkellsMusic56 karma

Tim will be rooting for the Habs. My brother went to school in Ottawa so I have a soft spot for the Sens. Who doesn't love Erik Karlsson?

cschon15 karma

Have you guys ever been star-struck or nervous to meet someone?

ArkellsMusic87 karma

Bry Webb from the Constantines and Joel Plaskett are ones that stick out to me. Both are such huge influences for us and super talented songwriters and players, and really kind people too. Also meeting Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones (!!!) when we opened for Them Crooked Vultures was pretty surreal. Dave was walking around the backstage yelling 'Fresh pots!" and jamming Zeppelin with JPJ during soundcheck... Crazy.

ArkellsMusic24 karma

We had the opportunity to open for Them Crooked Vultures a few years back. I can honestly say that meeting John Paul Jones made my palms a little sweaty (As would meeting anyone who was in Zeppelin). Then there's Josh and Dave. As a drummer, however cliche it sounds, I've admired and learnt a ton from listening to Daves drumming over most of my life. Thanks for the question!

ArkellsMusic12 karma

We got to play with Stephen Lewis. That was pretty cool for me and I was a little nervous then.

Nathanstamand14 karma

Hey guys - loved your covers of Peter Gabriel and Marvin Gaye (or was it The Temptations?) at the Saskatoon show in February. How do you decide which songs you're going to cover in your encores? (PS: Go Riders)

ArkellsMusic18 karma

Covers are tricky. Because if the cover is too obscure you might as well play your own song. but you don't want to cover the same song that the dude at Rusty McFarlan's is playing at the Pub down the street. it's about finding that sweet spot...the right song that is gonna start the party but not typical.

kirkofdoom13 karma

Hi guys. Very important question for you all.

Who would win in a fight between a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco?

ArkellsMusic92 karma

I think we've all eaten enough tacos to know that they fall apart sooner than you would like them to.

em_hutton13 karma

I'm from Hamilton and happen to be in Brighton, UK visiting my brother when you are there too. How can I buy you a beer while I'm there if I'm not going to the festival?

ArkellsMusic32 karma

Just come to the festival. And tweet at us for the beer.

ArkellsMusic27 karma

Please and thank you!

absentbutcher12 karma

Why "Arkells" and not "The Arkells"? Does it bother you when people add the "the" or am I just looking way too in to the semantics? Also, what are your predictions for Stanley Cup and NBA Championship this year? Love you.

ArkellsMusic27 karma

Too many "the" bands. Arkells just reads better Warriors for hoops.

radapex9 karma

Hey guys. Huge fan, saw you live for the first time at Harvest last fall and was blown away. Have a couple questions:

  1. When will you be coming back to NB?
  2. What is the favourite place you've played, and why is it Fredericton?
  3. Who wins the Stanley Cup this year?

ArkellsMusic11 karma

Soon, I hope. We LOVE the maritimes. Not sure when next.

maxchills9 karma

Snootys vs Quaters/1280 vs Phoenix?

ArkellsMusic14 karma

snooty.phoenix, but i did have a good time a 1280 a couple weeks ago.

MFLudwig9 karma

For Tim: Preferred snare size/construct for recording and or playing live? (Miss those old Gretsch's haha)

For the band: at what point in your career did you start building a team around the band? Was it gradual, bringing things on one at a time (ie manager, booking, press etc)? Or did it all come when signing the label?

Long time fan. You guys can do no wrong! Cheers from Halifax NS.

ArkellsMusic10 karma

We still try to do as much shit as possible for ourselves. No one will care about the project as much as the people IN it. But, we've been lucky to meet some super talented creative people in the business that have championed us. Basically, do as much as you can for yourself until you both a) feel like you've hit a wall AND b) find someone who is talented + wanting to help

ArkellsMusic6 karma

Thanks for your questions. To be honest, I picked up a Ludwig Supraphonic from '63 a couple years back. I always bring many snares for recording sessions (different sizes, wood snares, brass snares, steel snares, etc.) and ever since I have yet to have an engineer or producer pick ANY alternative over this Supra! It's 5.5x6 and it sounds amazing tuned a little lower than I would tune it live. As for the team, it grew gradually throughout the bands progression. Some changes have happened along the way but we can happily say we've worked with some amazing people!

DontForgetAccount8 karma

As a huge Arkells fan and a huge baseball fan I have to ask- "Michigan Left" opens with the lines "Driving to work, I had the radio on, Only to hear Curtis Granderson's gone."

What the heck is this about? Where did Granderson go? Why is he important? Near as I can tell he was on the Yankees when you would have been writing this song.

Thanks, ps I am dying to go to one of your MoTown shows.

ArkellsMusic7 karma

The song is about a town sort of down on its luck, and then hearing MORE bad news (their beloved baseball player is traded, to the yankees no less)....ultimately though it about not being discouraged, and finding inspiration in your neighbours and people who want to make the city great again.

TheYearOfPenny8 karma

Do you recommend Abigail as a wedding song? It's become "our song", even if it's about breaking up...

ArkellsMusic15 karma

Ha, you know what, if it makes you happy. DO IT. And film it so we can see!

DCorNothing6 karma

How cool was it to have some of your songs in CBC's Stanley Cup Playoff pregame montages?

ArkellsMusic13 karma

Very cool. Hockey is such an institution in Canada its an honor to be a part of the broadcasts.

ArkellsMusic9 karma

Amazing! No matter what we will accomplish in the future, nothing will make my dad more proud than those montages!

thodelife6 karma

What was your favourite place on campus to hang out at Mac? Also any news on if you will be playing the burlington Sound of Music festival this year?

ArkellsMusic29 karma

We used to go to a place called Ramshead all the time - it was on Main St across from the hospital. I think it's a Taco Del Mar now haha

DunCanuck6 karma

How was your experience in Victoria BC? Any chance that you will return in the future? Also what advice would you give to someone just starting to learn the drums? Your music is the bee's knees- keep it up!

ArkellsMusic5 karma

Going to be back in the fall as a matter a fact.

cyanydeandhappiness5 karma

Hey! I don't have any questions...just want to say I'm a huge fan! You guys kicked ass in Chatham (ontario) ! Come back soon

ArkellsMusic9 karma

Thanks! Say hi to Fergie Jenkins for us. We are going to be in your neck of the woods (Detroit) next month playing a festival.

MattisBest5 karma

Bryan Adams of Ryan Adams? Also, will you play at my birthday party/stay and doe?

ArkellsMusic12 karma

tie. and yes, definitely.

ClaytonBurgett5 karma

Hey Arkells! I took a selfie with you guys in Calgary when you played there for the Stampede! You guys put on an amazing show!

Can I ask who books most of the gigs when you were first starting out or how that process worked?

ArkellsMusic12 karma

Max here - I booked a lot of the shows...and there were older bands who offered great advice on what promoters to email at the local clubs in southern ontario. if you're cordial, willing to learn, and well researched, people will make time for you. We'll be back in calgary this summer.

marcoferraris5 karma

Tim: how are those YC tubs working out?

Max: where on earth do you get those great jackets? Also when are you guys going to tour with Hollerado, or is having that much fun illegal?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

The YC tubs are awesome! Jordan Gauthier is a young, talented and eager dude. He pours all of his heart and knowledge into each drum. I completely recommend checking them out if you haven't! Thanks for asking!

vangoghoutwithme5 karma

Hey, thanks for doing the AMA guys! I think my biggest question is, what made you guys decide to play "Come to Light" over "Cynical Bastards" at the Junos? They're both great songs, but i was surprised since Cynical Bastards was about hamilton (represent!!)

ArkellsMusic14 karma

It was between come to light and leather jacket actually. the junos wanted come to light, we wanted leather jacket...I think they ultimately made the right call...I think come to light played better on TV than leather jacket would.

worriedandtheworrier5 karma

Hey guys, huge fan here (seen you 5 times -- twice at Mac). Question: which of your songs do you think will remain "stapled" to the setlist for years to come? All the best!

ArkellsMusic7 karma

based on fan reactions: boss, lennon, paper, kiss cam, leather jacket, come to light, 11:11, NTTWH

J-Cee5 karma

Cool to see a band from so close to home. As an aspiring musician/producer what would be some tips you would have on networking and trying to get yourself noticed?

ArkellsMusic10 karma

ask to volunteer your time for free with a more established producer. you'll learn a ton and meet lots of bands. gotta work for free for a while.

TheHollowHeaven5 karma

Could you please elaborate the lyrics/meaning of Book Club? It's by far my favorite song but I have a hard time understanding the actually meaning of it

ArkellsMusic8 karma

It's about cruising around with my childhood friend Matt. He and I would drive around in his mom's car, listening to whatever she had in the cd deck (women in songs). It's called Book Club because Matt buys and reads 2-3 books per WEEK. Then I steal it from him and never return it.

GoodBoyGoneRad4 karma

Your song fake money was put on the normally incredibly awful sound track at my part time job. It was the first time I'd ever heard you and it stood out from the rest of the rubbish that was on there so I had to go and buy your album. I just wanted to say thank you for making my job just a little bit better! Who are your inspirations as a band and any chance we can hang out after your show in London next month?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

Where do you work?!?! that song was inspired by Frank Turner.

Zephusa4 karma

Hey guys! My boyfriend introduced me to your music a couple months ago when he was looking for a high quality version of your song Leather Jacket.

From then, I've been hooked! You guys rock

My question to you guys is: What inspired the song Leather Jacket?

and also, how are you guys doing today? :)

ArkellsMusic14 karma

I keep a list of phrases, lyrical ideas on my phone. I add to it whenever inspiration hits. Leather Jacket is a collection of different ideas to make one narrative. Super inspired by The Hold Steadys front man Craig Finn lyrically. Listen to the song When No Ones Watching By Craig Finn...

The phrases I used from my "phone list" in Leather Jacket were: "The kind of place that has a payphone" "dad's leather jacket" "southern / british accents"

Alfr_d4 karma

Did you guys go to Oakville and Burlington a lot when you were younger?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

I (Nick) have some uncles in Burlington, but for the most part I don't think we spent a lot of time in either.

jguster4 karma

For the song "I'm Not the Sun", how was it inspired? (plz play it more)

ArkellsMusic8 karma

It's about when 20 year olds keep breaking up and getting back together over and over and over again and the misery it causes.

AlexCourt3894 karma

Who would you like to tour with most? Any artists that you like to think are your inspiration/mentor?

ArkellsMusic21 karma


Sam Roberts / Jim Cuddy / Downie.

call-me-whiskers3 karma

Can't wait to see you guys in Detroit!

What's the worst fan/ audience you've had at a show?

ArkellsMusic7 karma

We played in the UK in 2009 and there was a full on brawl in the audience - we have no idea why or how it started but there was literally people bottling each other. Maybe it was over soccer results?

cammhart883 karma

how come the second verse in im not the sun never made it on the record? also you need to play that one more

ArkellsMusic5 karma

Wow! How did you know there was a verse cut?

ArkellsMusic3 karma

The song was too long, so we needed to trim some parts to get to the second half instrumental part.

brentoage3 karma

At the 0:37 mark in Book Club, it sounds like the iMessage sound (when you receive a message) is hidden in the background... confirm/deny? Every time I hear this tune, I swear that I can hear it.

ArkellsMusic4 karma

ha really? never noticed that. lots of weird little sounds on that record. though.

bobleuko3 karma

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your lives, what song would it be?

ArkellsMusic4 karma

max - in my life beatles.

TedVivianMosby3 karma

Hey guys!

Do you have any songs you don't like performing anymore? Also, what is the weirdest fan interaction you've had?

ArkellsMusic6 karma

Playing our material as often as we do, different nights we tend to have different favourite songs to play (and different from member to member) but I will say that the idea of us rehearsing some old songs may not get the blood pumping the same way some songs we are really challenged by may. To play to a crowd that is magnetic and reciprocating the energy, that is what really makes any song exciting for us night after night. When we start a song and you can really feel the crowd going off, that song is the most exciting in that moment whether it be from any of our records and regardless of how many times we've played it. Thanks for your question!

chrissys19853 karma

Oh wow!!! I'm listening to your new album and I wanted to see what was going on on Reddit and saw this! Yay!! Just wanted to say that I LOVE your new album!! Any chance you'll be visiting St. John's this year?! Love to see you guys here!

ArkellsMusic10 karma

I hope so. Tell George Street Festival to pick up their shit and make an offer already.

cashewtornado63 karma

Big fan from Halifax here, 2 questions: Max, I've read that you're a fan of Joel Plaskett, any particular favourite tune/album? And when can we expect to see you back on the East Coast?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

I love all of plaskett's stuff, really. The first one I ever heard was Truthfully Truthfully so that sticks out to me..

sorryivotedforkang163 karma

if you guys weren't in the band, where would you be/what would you all be instead?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

max - i think i'd want to be a reporter, podcast producer.

homelessboner_3 karma

1) whose lonnie? seriously... i think i've tweeted this question 10000 times now. 2) I'm super excited to see you all in 2 weeks in cinci, can I expect any throwbacks (kiss cam in particular)??

ArkellsMusic7 karma

Lauren, max's lady. 2) sweet!!

eeclough3 karma

How hard is setting up U.S. tours? I'm really bummed you guys aren't coming back to Washington DC this time around!

ArkellsMusic11 karma

Sorry we are missing DC this time around! The US is actually easier to tour because the cities are so close together compared to Canada

meeva3 karma

Hey guys, saw you twice already but won't be able to make it to this years European Tour :(

Can you describe what goes on the last 30 minutes before playing a live show?

Also: What's playing on the tour bus cassette deck these days?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

A little bit of warm up playing/singing, tying of shoes, drinking of beers and making sure everyone is present and accounted for.

laurendorphin3 karma

Dillon Panthers or Lions?

ArkellsMusic6 karma

Lions, i think.

Grambo923 karma

Hey guys thanks for doing this.

Two questions for you:

Being a proud, yearly attendant of your Bala, Ont show - Is there another location that you look forward to playing on a yearly basis or a location that you want to play on a yearly basis and why?

Anthony: Still waiting for that sheet music via twitter, bruh!

ArkellsMusic7 karma

We don't necessarily play it on a yearly basis, but really like playing at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.

ArkellsMusic6 karma

We'll be back this summer.

Godzuki173 karma

Do each of the members of a band have individual tastes in music or does it have to be similar so that making music is more..compatible?

ArkellsMusic9 karma

I think we all have different tastes, but there is a venn diagram thing happening where our inspirations align...

cmcavoy2 karma

Where are you most looking forward to performing in Europe? (and can you "bring me back something French"?) XO Christine

PS Also, where do you all plan to put your Junos? Do you have a trophy case going?

ArkellsMusic3 karma

Terry's Chocolate Oranges, Italian food 4-5 times per week, and cities that aren't six hour drives apart.

gin-rummy2 karma

Hey guys. Not sure if you remember but we played a show together in 2008 at the london tap house in Hamilton. I remember it being a pretty dead show and poorly run and then not long after you guys blew up. Maybe i'm getting the year wrong. Anyways love what you guys are doing for our city and our music scene. You guys rule.

Do you think it's harder to find success in a city like Hamilton opposed to Toronto? And do you all still live in Hamilton?

ArkellsMusic5 karma

Hey! I totally remember that show! Silver lining - they had some pretty good food at Tap House I think. Max, Mike and I (Nick) all still live in Hamilton.

Angelinasyan2 karma

Will you come to the uk?

ArkellsMusic3 karma

We are in London on May 12, brighton great escape festival after. arkells.ca/live

ArkellsMusic3 karma

We will be in the UK this May - arkells.ca/live has all the tour info! I (Nick) am addicted to Terry's Chocolate Oranges, so we will be back in the UK as much as we can

thoreauaway22 karma

Who exactly are you talking about in "Champagne Socialist"? And, by the way, I saw you open up for The Tragically Hip at Rexall in Edmonton and you guys were absolutely phenomenal.

ArkellsMusic8 karma

a champagne socialist is someone with socialist values but still like to drink champagne and have fancy material things. Most liberal leaning people in Canada would classify as a Champagne Socialist to some degree. Myself included The song is about a guy I really admire who had every opportunity to live this kind of life, but instead chose to commit himself to the workers, unions, and the people! He truly lives by his values, and isn't a contradiction like the rest of us.

llamaparty042 karma

Whats the nicest fan gift you've gotten?

ArkellsMusic3 karma

We've gotten a bunch of nice things...drawings, baked goods, sports jerseys.