The Last Arizona - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Emma of The Last Arizona. We discussed how she formed the project, where the name came from, the themes and concepts she explored on new EP, ‘Forever and Always’, the writing and recording process for the EP, connecting with fans through music, what’s coming up for the band, and more. Check it out below. 

First, thanks for the interview. 

Thank you so much for having me! It means a lot to me.

Can you tell me how you formed the project for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

I've been interested in music from a young age. I was about seven years old when my dad bought me my first bass. Bass didn't stick a ton, but around age ten I started playing guitar. The rest is history for me in terms of my love for music. I had been writing my own songs since I was in high school, and in late 2015 I had an EP worth of tracks that I was ready to release. 

I had planned to release the EP under my name, but after a bulk buy of Arizona Iced Teas, I was left with about 40 cans of Arizona in my fridge. One night, my roommate and I were up late and I went to the fridge, and there was only one can left. I held it up, said "This is the last Arizona", quickly followed by "Shit, that's my project name". It stuck! The Last Arizona has been an acoustic project since 2015-16, and I finally got the opportunity last year to start recording some of my songs with a full band. I had always imagined them this way, and I am so happy to see my vision for these tracks come to life with full instrumentation. 

You released your EP, ‘Forever and Always’ on June 24th via Count Your Lucky Stars. Are there any themes or concepts that you explored on the album? Can you tell us more about them? 

"forever and always" is an EP featuring a few of my older acoustic tracks brought to life with a full band, as well as two new songs. The themes are really the struggles that have been most prevalent in my life over the past couple years; mental health struggles, relationships, and most importantly, my journey in discovering my gender identity. This is the first of my releases to full on address (both in the music and in the album art) the fact that I am a trans woman, and I am very proud to finally have art that addresses something that has lived in my head for so long. 

Can you tell us more about the writing and recording process? What came easiest in the process and what took more time? 

Writing for this EP took place over several years. The first three tracks were written as solo acoustic tracks between 2017-19. The leading track, S15E7, was written in a single night in July of 2017, and then rewritten in 2021. That song has featured a lot of growth, in particular, from the earliest version of it that I released. Recording of the entire EP took place over a three day period at AGL Sounds in Cherry Hill, NJ. Doug Gallo and Kelly Cuthbert did a fantastic job in engineering, mixing, and mastering this EP. They both also provided backing vocals, and Doug played a lot of the lead guitar parts on the EP as well. Scott Tilley provided bass and drums. I was so happy to record this record with some wonderful friends, and they knocked it out of the park. 

This EP went so far beyond my vision of what I thought it could be. I think the easiest process was the initial writing of the songs, particularly the final two. When I went into the studio, this was going to be a three track EP. I woke up at roughly 5:00am on the final day of recording, and when the rest of the crew arrived I had written two final tracks. I woke up with some sort of epiphany, and knocked out a much clearer image of what I really wanted this EP to be. I feel like knocking out those final two tracks really helped me with that. It went from "Here are some songs you've heard before, just full band" to a more cohesive project. I think that what took more time was the fine tuning of the songs. I have a tendency to write songs and then edit them over and over for YEARS after they are "done". None of these songs are the same as they were when I wrote them, and I think that is a particularly fun thing.

What do you hope fans take away from the EP? 

I hope that fans can connect with me through my music. I am a very open person, and I feel that many of my songs help me be more vulnerable than I would be in a random conversation. I hope my songs can help someone who is struggling, and I particularly hope that other LGBTQ+ folks hear it and enjoy it. It's been a long road to get to where I am at now, but I am feeling better about myself right now than I can recall ever feeling. I hope fans can see the new direction of The Last Arizona, as sonically this is a big jump from my previous releases. Finally, I hope that this EP offers a glimpse of what is to come with this project. I have been working hard writing new content and I am so excited to get the next project rolling!

What else is coming up for you in 2022?

2022 is going to feature a lot of shows, a lot of writing, and a lot of recording. My next full length LP is written and partially recorded, and I hope to finish recording that this year. I'm not sure when that will come out, 2023 at the earliest, but I am already so excited for folks to hear what is next. I embark on a mini tour starting 7/5 in Berea, OH and heading down south. There will be more tour dates announced soon for the fall and winter! I am always writing, so we might knock out a few records this year, who knows. Regardless, I am excited for it all. I have studio time booked throughout the year and I am excited to get back into the studio and start fleshing out these new tracks!

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Everyone listening to this EP should pair it with an an Arizona Green Tea tall can. It's the way the artist intended. No, this is not sponsored. I have no affiliation with the brand. But, if they see this, Hi Arizona! Please sponsor me!

Follow The Last Arizona:



Follow Sound In The Signals:



No comments: