The Last Arizona - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview The Last Arizona. We discussed the writing and recording process for new album, ‘your heart keeps the tempo as you sleep and i am no longer alone’, the meaning behind the album’s artwork, and more. Check it out below. 

First, thanks for the interview.

Thank you for having me!

You recently released your new album ‘your heart keeps the tempo as you sleep and i am no longer alone’. Can you tell me about writing and recording the album?

This album is the first of mine to feature songs entirely written post transition for me. The first song written for it was "I'll Be Okay", which was a song written at the beginning of my first real relationship with someone who had only ever known me as Emma. That was very important to me. So, that song was written in December of 2020 and it just kind of went from there. I've released EPs, splits, and a compilation album since then, but this is the first full length album written entirely as Emma, and that means the world to me as well. 

Recording has taken place over the last year. These songs were all recorded at home back in Marietta, Pennsylvania and then finished up in Roanoke, Virginia when I moved here last summer. I had a rush of songwriting over the last few months, so most of these songs are "Roanoke songs", in a way. A series of love songs for a city and for people who have changed my life. None of this was done in studio, so it is very raw, but that is how I like my music best.

It is an acoustic album. What made you want to go in that direction for these songs?

Part necessity, part desire, honestly. I started recording a full length, full band LP in January 2022. I caught COVID in the middle of recording, and by the time I was good to go and ready to record again, I had a new job and was relocating far away from the studio. I still have very big plans for that record, and the world will hear it someday, I just need the time to polish it to my liking. 

In the meantime, I've really fallen in love with these particular songs in their acoustic form and I am excited for people to hear them this way. They may appear in the future full band, as I did in the past with other songs of mine. I can say that the full band record is a concept LP nearing an hour in length, and while there are a ton of moving parts, I would expect at least three tracks off of this acoustic album to be expanded upon in the future. 

Did you have a song that you were most excited for people to hear? Why? 

I am most excited for folks to hear the album closer, "Unsaid". It kind of centers around the entire theme of the album, and the album art, and so much more. It's a song about loving someone and being too afraid to say so, which really relates to most of the record. My songs have always been an outlet for the feelings that I couldn't just outwardly talk about, and this one summed up the core of that idea. I'm really proud of it.

What song took the longest to write and which song was the easiest to complete? 

Eyes definitely has gotten the most work. I finished the concept years ago and have workshopped it since then. Folk Punk Love Song took me literally five minutes, but it is a cute little song I wrote for my partner and I wanted to include it before the rest of the album gets *too* sad.

The artwork features a rain cloud. Who came up with the concept for the artwork and what is the meaning behind it?

The rain cloud drawing was actually originally a tattoo design. I asked my partner to draw it for me, and got it tattooed. A week or so after I decided that I wanted it to be my album art, as well. My love of the film Once and her love of musicals really collided in the stage adaptation of the show, where the main character wants to tell her love interest that she loves him but cannot. She says it in her native language, and when he asks for a translation, she says "it looks like rain". This became the easiest way to say what couldn't be said, it is referenced multiple times throughout the album, and was absolutely an influence of mine while writing. It is a symbol of this period of my life.

You worked with Count Your Lucky Stars for your EP last year. Will you be working with them for this album?

CYLS is not involved in the release of this album, but I hope that I can work with them again in the future when I am back to recording full band releases! The whole CYLS family has been a massive support network for me, and I am endlessly thankful for the Latinen's support and all of the wonderful artists on the label. This album is being released independently, with Folk Punk Archivist (NY) handling CD distribution and Forgotten Kyle Records (UK) handling cassettes!

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

I am touring throughout April with Designated Survivor to support this release, and would love to see you at a show! Many of these shows are intimate house venues, so feel free to reach out to me via any social media @thelastarizona for details!

4/18 Roanoke, VA*

4/22 Stoopfest, Lansing, MI*

4/23 Bowling Green, OH*

*just The Last Arizona

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