25 July 2024
  • 25 July 2024

Arbo Falls: The Sound of Renfrewshire

on 2 March 2023 0

Known for creating immersive soundscapes that stir the emotional and cerebral aspects of our brains at once, Paisley-based producer Andrew Robinson, AKA Arbo Falls, talks us through his process and his latest EP, Arise 

Although you’re an electronic artist now, your musical origins can be traced to guitar bands. When did you realise that your current approach was the fit for you?

I started out playing the drums and what I really enjoyed about that experience in [previous band] Pacific Theatre was being involved in that creative process. My bandmates Fraz [Urie] and [John] Murphy were really open and we’d always suggest ideas for each other’s instruments.

But, we unfortunately went our own ways and while I was in other bands, I guess what I was missing was that creative freedom to write. I’d always loved electronic music so one day, I just thought, why not give it a punt?

I acquired a MIDI keyboard with software on it and started out by making some, quite frankly, awful music. A lot of the initial sounds I was making were completely accidental.

When you look at the software, it seems contradictory to the creative side of your brain, as if you’re applying something mathematical to what’s in your head.

Looking back at my first EP, I can see the stage I was at. Now, with every release, I can see gradual growth. With software like this, you’re forever learning and I love that.

Talk us through the inspirations behind your new project, Arise.

When I write my music, I tend to examine how I’m feeling at the time. It’s almost like writing a journal, but rather than putting it down on paper, I put it into the music. When I started making this project, we were coming out of lockdown and back to our normal lives. Each track is my attempt to present that.

On the opening track, Bits of Light in a Darkened Room, I was trying to recapture the feeling I had when we were tentatively coming out of the pandemic. I wanted to convey the elation of seeing your friends for the first time or even going into Morrisons without a mask on.

The EP has a very linear feel to it, which almost feels like the listener is being escorted on a journey. Was this purposeful on your part?

Yes, I wanted to have the feeling of that rollercoaster time for us all. While there was turbulence, that period concluded with me feeling very grounded after I returned to Paisley and rekindled old friendships. I always find it incredibly cathartic to be able to draw from my own feelings and that was the case here.

Your music doesn’t fit in any particular subgenre or movement that’s occurring at the moment. Is this a product of a concerted effort to find your own lane?

For a while, I was trying to write stuff that I thought other people would like, but I wasn’t really enjoying it. So, over time, I reached a point where I was simply focusing on what sounded good to me. I’ve been described as ‘the guy without genre’ and I’m alright with that, even if it does make it hard to support local bands.

I’m not planning to be different nor the same, I’m just making what I feel sounds good. I write best when I’m not overthinking it and being mindful. I’m not thinking ahead of a verse chorus, verse chorus structure. I never really write my music with a live set in mind, so to deconstruct the layers and rebuild it is quite a demanding process compared to playing the drums.

It’s something I do want to do going forward, but I don’t think I’d ever write music with the restrictions of what I can do live. Right now, I’m really just getting back to writing, while piano and guitar being two things I’ve begun to really expand upon. 

Across this project and other remixes, you’ve worked with some contemporary artists in Renfrewshire such as Bovine and Linzi Clark. Do you feel that there’s a benefit to being part of our local scene at this time?

Renfrewshire’s music scene is brilliant. Obviously it’s smaller than Glasgow’s, but there’s just so many talented people that you get to know. Working with Linzi was amazing. Her single, Balancing Act struck me immediately and I wanted to work with it, so producing a remix for her was amazing.

As for Bovine, he’s producing incredible music and videos all the time, so spending time with him in order to experience his process has been eye-opening. For me, being able to have combined output with other people from my hometown and share ideas is a great thing.

Quickfire Q&A with Arbo Falls

Favourite café? Brew, Paisley (Now Kettle Black)

Favourite Pub? The Bull Inn, Paisley 

Favourite nature spot? Gleniffer Braes 

Favourite album of last year? The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention 

Collaboration with anyone? Jonsi from Sigur Ros

The Arbo Falls Arise EP is available now across all streaming platforms. Follow Arbo Falls on Instagram.

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