Arcane Saints' Michael Discusses U.S. Debut and Plans for New Music and More


Grunge pop rockers Arcane Saints will be making their first U.S.A tour debut along with playing some festivals and other showcases along the way. They have released their latest single "Hard To Please" with a whole lot more music in-store with future plans already a work in progress with so much more. Frontman vocalist/guitarist Michael John discusses the single, touring, and future ahead!


1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Arcane Saints, and how long the band has been together.

Michael: Hello I'm Michael John and I sing and play guitar, mostly rhythm guitar because no one wants to hear my solos haha. Arcane Saints formed in 2008.

2. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Michael: I was born in the UK but grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and played in various bands. Auckland is a small city and only has 2 or 3 places rock bands can play. So after becoming way too acquainted with those 2 or 3 venues over a number of years I decided to move to Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne is the music mecca of the southern hemisphere. It also has excellent coffee, which along with music, I'm very passionate about! Melbourne's population is almost on a par with New ZealandÕs entire population so it was definitely a shock moving to a much bigger city. Once I moved I formed Arcane Saints. Like most bands there have been a few line up changes but I think at the moment the line up is just right.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Michael: Melbourne, Australia. People can see amazing bands any night of the week here so you really have to be good to stand out and draw an audience. Local bands I'd recommend are Shihad (who are true rock veterans,) Massive, Audemia and Verona Lights.

4. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Michael: "Arcane" means mysterious and unknowable, I liked that connotation as it applies to music I like too. I like music where you have to delve in a bit deeper to the song to try and figure out what the message is. "Saints" just kind of fit well alongside it.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Michael: The most obvious influence are the so-called grunge bands- Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden particularly, but also bands such as QOTSA, Guns n Roses, Muse, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Black Sabbath. Lately I've been getting into St Vincent who probably hasn't directly influenced our sound but she inspired me to write a whole bunch of new songs. She's amazing.

6. Are you guys signed to a label? Do you hope to get signed to a label or prefer the DIY approach with your music?

Michael: No we aren't, we have had offers but are waiting for a label that will be the right fit for us. I think you can't help but feel validated as a musician when you get signed to a label so yes we would like to be at some stage.

7. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Michael: There's a real mixture, depends on what mood I'm in I guess. As with all musicians you can feel lot of anger and frustration towards the music industry at times but also being in a rock band and travelling the world, even when you are broke is so fun and rewarding. So I draw on a lot of experiences from that.

8. What's the story behind "Hard to Please"?

Michael: People think its about a girl but its actually about being in a relationship with music. At times you question why you are doing it when you have to sacrifice so much. At present I'm working 2 day jobs, 6 days a week to save for our USA tour and I haven't had an actual holiday in 5 years. You get exhausted but you do it because you are compelled to.

9. Do you guys have any new music in the works?

Michael: Oh yeah, 2 new songs we are gonna rock on the upcoming USA tour. One is really heavy and dark. The other could be our next single and is each members favorite song to play at the moment.

10. How do you promote your band and shows?

Michael: We have a publicist in the USA who is promoting the upcoming tour with Trapt. Other than that we just tour as often as possible and try and write good music, that's the best promo a band can do.

11. Can you describe your show, visually and musically for those who have yet to see you live?

Michael: Very raw and energetic. We try and keep the music real so opt not to use backing tracks or computers. There are no gimmicks, we just get up there and give it everything we have.

12. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Michael: Well everyone should check out our album out called TURNING THE TIDE that was produced by Toby Wright (Metallica, Alice in Chains, Kiss, Korn.) We made the record in Nashville and Peter Keys from Lynyrd Skynyrd came down and played piano on it. I used a mic custom made for Layne Staley, late singer of Alice in Chains. I invite anyone who likes hard rock to check it out.

13. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Michael: People in the USA can check us out live very soon as we are touring there with Trapt in a few weeks. You can get our album in physical format and merch at our website www.arcanesaints.com and we are on iTunes too of course.

14. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Michael: After our first USA tour we will play more shows in Australia. At the moment we are talking about our 3rd China tour next year or maybe another USA tour or even a European tour so we aren't sure yet. We really want to record more music at some point too, even if its only a single.

15. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Michael: Our band name, because it takes a little while to remember, Arcane Saints Arcade Fire? No, Arcane Saints! Oh right ok got it.

16. Any final words of wisdom?

Michael: For those people into rock and metal, I can't stress enough how important it is to support the bands you like in this genre. Go the shows, buy the music, buy the merch because trust me it helps us out more than you realize. A lot of good bands are breaking up because they just can't afford to do this anymore which really sucks. So support the rock bands you love people!

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