With a surreal, cinematic quality Publisher's beautifully orchestrated scores hint at some kind of deep, dark spiritual crossroad, while his soaring vocals sculpt his own beautiful expression of inner conflict and despair. Influences range from the likes of Placebo & Radiohead to Muse & Interpol, no bad thing at all.
Here is an artist whose music long ago abandoned any pretentions to commerciality, but still seems perfectly capable of filling out the kind of venues where the likes of Radiohead & Muse would normally ply their trade.
For his first release Empty Hands on Jamendo, we pluged our headphones and pried smoothly in his weirdly magnetic universe.
- Hi Arno! Welcome to Jamendo! Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit more about your relationship with music?
Thanks! Well, my name is Arno and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. A year ago I was still living in my home town, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. But an opportunity came along to move to Edinburgh. Music had always come in second place for me and this was my chance to put it in first place. So I grabbed it and now I’m here, working with music all the time. Besides recording and producing my own stuff I also record other people in my studio, do sound in several venues and host some music nights. So it’s all music at the moment and I love it!
- When did Publisher start and why did you choose to go solo?
Publisher started as a new project when my first band split up. The aim was to mix electric guitars and acoustic drums with electronics (synths/samplers), but when I moved to Edinburgh that direction changed a little bit. The music scene over here is mainly acoustic and one of the first things I did when I moved here was buy an acoustic steel string guitar. After I rearranged my songs, so I was able to play them solo, I dived into the open mic circuit. That went very well and I met so many great musicians who have become my friends over time. Going solo hasn’t been a conscious choice, it just happened. For my first EP Empty Hands I just asked some of my music friends to play on the EP. Most of them knew the songs because they jammed along when I played live. The recording proces was very free and easy. I just let them do what they felt like and if I did not like it I would ask if they had another idea. But most of the times the first idea was great. At the moment I’m forming a band to be able to play live more often, because that’s one of the things I love most.
- Are you writing all the music and lyrics on your own? Is there anyone else part of the creative process?
I write the main parts of the songs, so main chords structure and lyrics. I always start on my spanish guitar. Can play that thing for hours. When I have something I like I record the basic structure on my computer and start adding other instruments. For Empty Hands the process was a little bit different as you can read in the previous answer: parts developed from performing live with other musicians jamming along.
- Empty Hands is your first EP on Jamendo, packed with a bunch of meaningful songs. We feel like you’re expressing deep emotions, as if your soul was singing. How would you explain the message behind your music?
Like for most artists what I make is indeed an expression of my emotions. The songs are mainly about event’s in my life that had a big impact on me. Sometimes from my perspective, but also from others’ perspectives. I try to be not to direct with the lyrics because then the song looses it’s mystery. I don’t really feel there’s a clear message behind my music. That’s the beauty in my opinion, everyone can get something different from it.
- We can’t help but think about Radiohead when listening to Publisher. Could you tell us about the influences that helped build your universe?
It’s funny because a hear this a lot. But when someone mentioned Radiohead for the first time I didn’t really listen to them. When more and more people mentioned them I started listening and I really love their music now. I think everything you listen to influences you and shapes your perspective of music. A band you don’t like the first few times you hear them can become one of your favorite bands over time. I write songs that I like but what I like is obviously influenced by what I listen to. So a few of the bands I like to listen to are: Foals, Radiohead and Interpol. But I also listen to more heavy stuff and synth based music. It depends on what mood I’m in.
- When you are playing live, we bet you are trying to establish a special connection with your public. Our readers would love to read about one of your best live stories, a unique moment you experienced on stage!
When you’re still a pretty unknown artist you play for very different kinds of audiences. It really depends what kind of event it is. But all I can do is try to play my best show possible. I try to be open and honest and if people feel that and feel the music a connection is made. For me one of the best live experiences is when people sing along to my songs. That happens more and more nowadays so I think it’s going into the right direction :)
- Last question: if you could form your dream band, who would you play with?
Sam Fogarino (Interpol) on drums. I really like his style, simple and effective. He doesn’t do anything more that is needed for the song. Walter Gervers (Foals) on bass guitar. Again, I like his style, it just feels good. Great bass melodies and grooves that fit the songs perfectly. And lastly I would love to have Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray) on synth/sampler. Don’t even know if she can play (saw her live once and she just sang). But if her timing is right she should be able to pull it off :) The Fever Ray album is one of my favorites, perfect for a cold winters night. Beautiful atmospheric textures and great analog style sounds.