Interview: Arch Echo
Arch Echo are an American prog metal / fusion band formed in 2016. I had never heard of Arch Echo until January 2020 when I saw them support Periphery in San Francisco. I immediately became a fan. They’re razor-sharp musicians, their songs are wall-to-wall fun, and they put on a great show – they didn’t seem to stop smiling their entire set, and seemingly, neither did the crowd. They’ve been in my musical rotation ever since, so when I learned they were doing interviews for their new EP Story I, I couldn’t resist getting in touch.
You guys rip. How can I get as good at guitar as you?
Adam Bentley: Focus on your weaknesses when you practice and record yourself A LOT!
Adam Rafowitz: Thanks for the kind words, although I certainly have a great deal to improve upon! I’d say the most important factor when learning any craft is your drive to progress, and that only comes with a great deal of practice and dedication. Guitar has always been my passion, and I hope I never stop discovering new ways to use it to expand musically.
What would you say differentiates you two as guitarists? Is it as straightforward as “one plays rhythm, the other plays lead” or is it more nuanced than that?
Adam Bentley: I’d say our musical backgrounds being very different makes us approach the instrument differently, as I’m more of a hard and metal listener in my upbringing. The rhythmic aspect of guitar was always so interesting to me.
Adam Rafowitz: While I may play the bulk of the leads, Adam Bentley certainly can rip it up. I’d say one of the biggest differences between us as players is our overall playing style, driven by our different influences. I grew up listening to/playing mostly jazz fusion, funk, and jam band music, and I know Adam B was always a lover of hard rock and metal. This definitely shows in our writing/playing styles, which compliment each other very will in the context of Arch Echo.
How would you describe your musical progression from You Won’t Believe What Happens Next! to Story I?
Adam Bentley: It wasn’t extremely calculated to make a “change” but we did feel more drawn to making songs that are groovy and catchy as opposed to being all over the place. Decisions made when writing have become more refined and purposeful I’d say.
Adam Rafowitz: YWBWHN was a very natural progression from our first release. It’s more technical, faster paced, and harmonically complex, still maintaining strong melodies. Story I takes a bit of a step back technically, with a stronger emphasis on developing themes and melodies that can be perceived very clearly. The EP is a very fun listen with a great deal of accessibility, and perhaps more subtlety than our previous album.
Supporting Periphery must have been an incredible experience. What lessons have you taken away from such a high-profile tour?
Adam Bentley: It really was! as most of us (if not all) have been fans of them for many years and everyone on the tour was so pleasant to be around. All of the tours prior helped us prepare for the trials of touring in general. Always be on time, give everything you have into your set, have your technology be reliable, and stay out of people’s way because every minute of prep is crucial.
Adam Rafowitz: It was very surreal. One very valuable lesson I’ve taken away from this tour (among others) is how crucial it is to have a strong team within your band and support staff. We’ve certainly run into our share of obstacles on tour, and if we can solve those as a team, it enhances our synergy as we perform as well. I feel incredibly lucky to share these experiences with such great guys, on and off the stage. I’ve also seen first hand how the progressive music scene is truly thriving (Covid aside). It was incredible to be around so many people who are so passionate about music. We’re all there for the same reason, whether we’re performing or listening: to share the experience of music.
Can you share what plans Arch Echo have for 2021?
Adam Bentley: If everything continues as planned expect to see us on the road playing shows, and more music will be written for sure!
Adam Rafowitz: We certainly hope to tour in 2021 if possible, but everything is a bit uncertain at the moment for obvious reasons. One thing we are sure of is that we will continue to create, both individually and as a band. Arch Echo has no plans to slow down!
Many thanks to Adam and Adam for agreeing to this interview. Arch Echo’s forthcoming EP “Story I” will be released October 1st 2020. Its lead track “To the Moon” is available now.