Che Arthur (Pink Avalanche) writes post-punk songs tinged with metal and a Husker Du-inspired rough melodic bent. His frenzied emotions are held in place with taut atonal guitar riffs. But between harsh and distorted outbursts, Che’s weathered voice reveals introspective and morose expressions.
Che joins James Deia (Blasted Dipolmats), Maigin Blank (Whales) and Anthony Cozzi (Radar Eyes) for the Songwriter Showcase on Friday, October 10th, 9pm at Uncommon Ground Wrigleyville, 3800 N Clark St. Chicago, IL. Facebook Event.
Who were some of your earliest musical influences?
Che Arthur: In the early 80s when I started playing guitar as a 12 year old, I'd say my influences were probably the pop of the time - Prince, etc. My guitar teacher at the time would show me songs by Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and other classic hard rock stuff and I’d say by 13 or 14 that stuff was influential for me. Then around the same time (ages 12-14) I was discovering punk, which eventually became a bigger influence on my writing (and my life) than all of the other stuff.
How has your songwriting changed over the years?
Che Arthur: It used to be words first. I used to always carry a notebook around with me, and I’d fill it with whatever thoughts/lines/ideas crossed my mind. I'd then pick from that stuff after writing music, finding lines that fit the mood of the music i’d come up with. Now it’s very much the opposite. Now I typically come up with a bunch of music, then as that stuff takes shape I then sit with it and think of lyrics. Sometimes I’ll have a few lines floating around in a notebook somewhere and I’ll build from there, but it almost always comes after the music’s written now. With the most recent pink avalanche record, I'd say probably only a third of those songs had lyrics when we got to the studio to record them.
When working with your band, do you present complete songs to them or do you begin with some ideas and then complete the song as a group?
Che Arthur: On the solo records I've done, they’ve been complete songs. With pink avalanche it’s a mixture. Most of the songs on the newest record started as just a couple ideas and then were fleshed out in practice by either the whole band together or various combinations of the 4 of us.
Do you have a process for starting a new song or combating writer’s block?
Che Arthur: I pretty much just pick up an instrument and see what happens. I've never had a set routine. Sometimes I pick up a guitar and the whole song just comes out almost fully formed. Sometimes it’s just a verse or a chorus, and I'll often video record a part I like with my phone and save it to come back to later.
What song or songs do you want played at your funeral?
Che Arthur: I don’t want a funeral.