A R I Z O N A is a band of best friends, and that’s what keeps them sane.
Frontman Zachary Charles and keyboardist David Labugen sat down with Chicago Music Guide at Lollapalooza. They shared how their friendship enhances their music.
“For us, it’s always been about the love of making music together,” says Labugen.
The three men have known each other since childhood, and have been making music together for about 12 years. However, A R I Z O N A only came into being when they decided to give up on music. They would no longer keep trying to make music for other people, and just start making music for themselves.
The result was “Let me Touch Your Fire.” The song blew up online, and the guys started making more music, and people kept asking for more.
“When we gave up and stopped trying and did what was most natural to us, that’s when we were received well. We are at liberty now to have the foundation of everything we do be just the most natural thing we do, which is just a bunch of friends hanging out, jamming, and not really thinking too much about it,” says Charles.
This level of exponential success has been stressful. A R I Z O N A released “Freaking Out” last month. “Freaking Out” is a song about feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
But the friends lean on each other to get through the hard times. And they also keep each other rooted in what is really important—the music.
“With us three best friends, you can never let anyone get a big head. So I don’t think it’ll ever be about the amount of attention as much as wanting to make sure that the music we’re putting out there is real to us,” says Labugen.
A R I Z O N A’s latest song “What She Wants” was released Saturday and is available to stream on YouTube.
Biography: For all the climates and cities that bring people together, the boys in A R I Z O N A came together as a trio in an apartment in Boston, their makeshift studio the counterweight to the lofty halls of East Coast music scholarship. In a string of infinite sessions during their time at both Berklee College of Music and Emerson College, Nate (guitar) hopped on a session with David (keys) and Zach (vocals), and all the moving pieces came together in a way that would reincarnate itself in many different fashions before eventually becoming the group now known as “A R I Z O N A”.
The three songwriter/producers from Jersey shared an obsession with the far left, sometimes even obscure side of music, but were even more romanced by the brutal honesty of pop topline and lyrics. Their music – including “I Was Wrong,” “Where I Wanna Be,” “Let Me Touch Your Fire,” and “People Crying Every Night” – creates new shapes and boundaries to span genres, time periods and styles, all focusing on the naked human tropes contained in the traditional pop narrative: love, loss, the need for raw unhinged expression.
The years and cities came and went, and it took until just last year for these old friends to point their focus finally inward. Thus, the band was formed, and they were no longer just the writers or producers; they were the performers. Over the past few months, the trio’s music has incited an exponentially upward curve of massive fan engagement and early success with tens of millions of streams across Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube and more. A R I Z O N A joined the social savvy co-conspirators at Atlantic Records and Artist Publishing Group at the close of 2015 and are currently working on their debut album.