Interview: The Poison Arrows Get Caught Doing ‘Crime and Soda’

“It was both a natural result and an intentional direction. The previous records were immediate responses and coping mechanisms due to some chaos and dark times for different members of the band at various times. This record came out of relatively content times for each of us, and seemingly being on the other side of a very tough couple of years during the pandemic,” guitarist and vocalist of Chicago’s The Poison Arrows Justin Sinkovich says.

“I personally am married and happily living in Chicago working with a lot of artists, then otherwise living in the woods of Galena surrounded by nature. I felt at peace, yet driven to make an interesting record, so I wanted that to translate into what became Crime and Soda. I also wanted to change it up a little and thought to myself, this record shouldn’t be so dramatic. I want to try to lighten up. The darkness that did translate onto the record is written in the past tense, much of which came from a lot of self-reflection from being out in the woods during COVID.”

Crime and Soda, the band’s fifth album, a June release on Solid Brass Records, is the first Poison Arrows album written while each of the members lived far away from each other. During the pandemic, Sinkovich moved to Galena, Illinois, three hours away from Chicago. Drummer Adam Reach (Pink Avalanche) moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, while bassist Patrick Morris (ex-Don Caballero) stayed in Chicago. Despite these distances, they made it work.

“It was different, and in many ways, it was positive. We talked to bands who live separately, and they offered us encouragement and advice. They said that the time we spent writing and rehearsing would be more focused and productive, and they were correct. Instead of meeting up weekly to rehearse and write, often screwing around and rehashing the same songs from the previous week, we converged on our practice space over several long weekends with a plan, a sense of urgency, and an appreciation for being together,” Sinkovich says.

In addition, Crime and Soda comes only a year after their previous record, War Regards, which had a delayed release due to the pandemic. It wasn’t their plan, but they learned how to pivot and turn a negative into a positive.

War Regards was totally done by the start of 2020 so really, so releasing Crime and Soda this year is a pretty normal three-year cycle for us and many bands; it just doesn’t seem that way to the public because War Regards was not technically available until 2022. It sucks because we had more touring lined up. We had a U.S. and Europe tour ready to go for War Regards in 2020 which, of course, were canceled.

“We had talked to some friends who had just released albums when COVID hit, and they strongly urged us to just wait it out which we did. Copies of the album were floating around for a couple of years before it was released, so it all just felt a little bit like a big misstep, which was a bummer because I think the record is solid. We wanted a do-over, I guess, so we got right to work on Crime and Soda, writing and recording the entire thing in a year, which is pretty quick, particularly for a band living separately from each other,” Sinkovich says.

You can order Crime and Soda on Bandcamp. Follow The Poison Arrows on Facebook for future updates.

Photo courtesy of David Babbitt.

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