Arc Iris, the chamber pop band fronted by former Low Anthem member Jocie Adams, returned earlier this year with their second album Moon Saloon on Bella Union. They've now made a video for "Paint With The Sun" off that album, which mostly has shots of Jocie singing and tons of trippy effects. We asked Jocie about the vision behind the Arvid Tomayko-Peters-directed clip, and she told us:

We were trying to make something just a little bit more about concepts than just a professional video. The footage of the dancers was taken at the same place as our video for “Kaleidoscope” which was done in Austin, TX with people using their bodies to paint and the imagery is so beautiful in that video so we wanted to go back there again for this one.


As previously mentioned, Arc Iris are also touring with Superhuman Happiness, and that includes a NYC show on October 6 at Rough Trade (tickets). They've got a ton of other dates, including a European run with John Grant. All are listed below.

We also caught up with Jocie and her bandmates Zachary Tenorio-Miller and Ray Belli to discuss the band's recent emphasis on visuals, their fandom of the late David Bowie, curating a certain festival in Providence and their European tour that’s happening in October.

One thing that has been interesting about Arc Iris lately is the band has taken added a major visual element to its orchestral pop style. What inspired that?

Jocie Adams: I think that it was something that was coming through over time while we were trying to figure out what our stage presence is and what the visual world is that we live in. At first, we were working on figuring out what our visual presence was going to be and we started out simply using different colors of lights. That just kept growing as we were on the road, we kept finding ourselves more and more. I think that this is the closest thing that we found that helps people to come into our show and see what it looks like on stage. They can understand that what they’re about to see is not the typical flannel band show. There’s something different going on where they can use their imagination and they can open up their minds to what’s about to happen.

In 2016 the music world has been widely affected by numerous deaths of notable musicians, including the legendary David Bowie this past January. Arc Iris have done a couple of all-star tributes to Bowie with the band doing a tribute to the album Hunky Dory at the Zoetical Music & Arts Festival that took place at Aurora in Providence in April of last year and another one at the Columbus Theatre in the same city this past February in honor of Bowie’s life. For all of you, what are your earliest memories of listening to David Bowie’s music?

Jocie: I was pretty unfamiliar with David Bowie’s music until well after we had started playing in Arc Iris. When I started listening to his music I felt like he was our soul brother from way back in the day and I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t previously been more aware of or paid more attention to. That was sort of the idea of putting some time in and learning more about him and his music making.

Zachary Tenorio – Miller: For me, it also came a little bit later but as a kid I was always into the record Hunky Dory. As a young keyboardist I was very into Rick Wakeman and he plays all over that record, it really is a piano record. That was pretty much the extent, I’m ashamed to admit that I was in the minority when it came to David Bowie as a kid and it was only until later that I started listening to more of his work. Every record of his has something special.

Ray Belli: I was pretty aware of David Bowie at a young age because my aunt who grew up in the ‘70s had a great taste in music and David Bowie was in her top three. It was Todd Rundgren, David Bowie and Eric Clapton. All of those artists’ discographies were really familiar to me from a young age and my favorite as a kid was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and it probably still is my favorite today. That was the one that aside from my aunt playing it in the car and at her house it was the one that I listened to the most on my own. Yeah, that one really hit me.

Speaking of the Zoetical Music & Arts Festival, do you think that Arc Iris will be curating another event that was a monthly residency at a club like the festival was or will it only be a one time thing?

Jocie: We’re definitely interested in doing it, it’s more about finding the exact right place and time. I think we’ve decided that we don’t want to do the residency idea again like it was with this particular one being every Friday and we thought it was a pretty cool idea because people would just latch on and come. I think it did work but if we did it again we’d like to do it over a weekend somewhere. We’re definitely thinking about it and thinking about how to make it work. I would really like to get some grant money to do it again in order to bring some people from out of town and be able to pay them. It’s certainly on the mind, it’s just a question of executing.

Zachary: We’ve also recently rehearsed all of Joni Mitchell’s Blue and we thought it would be a great place to debut it in Providence. With performing all of Hunky Dory last year, keeping with tradition we’ll perform a full record again and do our version of Blue.

Later in October, you guys will be embarking on a tour of Europe. What places are the band most excited to play at? Do you plan on doing any touristy stuff?

Jocie: While we’re over there we’re going to be performing with John Grant, who’s a beautiful artist. He’s popular in the States but he’s also pretty popular in Europe and we’re going to be doing a few shows with him in Germany and we’re very excited to be over there, those shows are going to be very magical. We also really love playing in Brussels because for whatever reason in Brussels the sound and tech guys are just so on their game. When the whole show runs smoothly and professionally at a higher level it makes the show more enjoyable for the audience which makes the show more enjoyable for us. Also in Amsterdam the place we’re playing there is called the Paradiso and it’s similarly well put together, so that’s all very exciting.

Arc Iris -- 2016 Tour Dates
September 30 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Pittsburgh Winery
October 1 — Cleveland, OH @ Mechanic Street Concerts
October 3 -- Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
October 4 -- Rochester, NY @ Abilene
October 6 — Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade*
October 9 — Ashfield, MA @ Signature Sounds Presents at the Ashfield Lake House
October 12 — Portland, ME @ State Theatre Presents at Empire*
October 13 — Cambridge, MA @ Lizard Lounge*
October 14 — Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre*
October 15 — Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen*
October 16 — Ossipee, NH @ Three Pork Hill*
October 20 -- Leeds, UK @ Brudenel Social Club
October 22 -- Paris, France @ Pop Up du Label
October 24 -- Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Paradiso
October 25 -- Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique (Witloofbar)
October 28 -- Heidelberg, Germany @ Karlstorbahnohof**
October 30 -- Utrecht, The Netherlands @ Tivoli Vredenburg**
November 1 -- Frankfurt, Germany @ Mousonturm**
November 2 -- Leipzig, Germany @ Taubchenthal**
November 3 -- Berlin, Germany @ Berghain**
November 5 -- Aberfeldy, UK @ Aberfeldy Festival
November 7 -- London, UK @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
November 9 -- Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
November 10 -- Brighton, UK @ Green Door
November 17 — Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
November 18 — Dallas, TX @ Double Wide
November 19 -- Ft. Worth, TX @ Lola's Saloon
November 21 -- Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
November 22 — Albuquerque, NM @ Tortuga Gallery
November 26 — Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
November 29 -- San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
December 1 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite

* w/ Superhuman Happiness
** w/ John Grant


interview by Rob Duguay

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