Stayin' Alive; An interview with Mike Law of Wild Arrows

New York City’s Wild Arrows released their latest LP, Dreamlike Dream, in May. However, the road to Dreamlike Dream was more of a nightmare; the band, led by Mike Law (formerly of New Idea Society), lost his Brooklyn studio, Translator Audio, two weeks after building was completed when it was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The band lost everything, including an album’s worth of recordings. Two albums and a lot of money, blood, sweat and tears later, the band have released two albums since the loss.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Law to discuss perseverance, cold winter nights, and vibes. This is what he told us.
Are you guys transplants to New York?
Yeah, we’re transplants who’ve been here awhile, trying to keep the body alive at this point.
When did you begin writing Dreamlike Dream? What were you hoping to accomplish that?
I guess the first songs were arriving around 2015.  There were a lot of songs.  It’s always about figuring out how to present them.
We were trying to make the best album of the decade of course but most likely it’s probably just the best of the year…
I understand that Hurricane Sandy took a toll on your work, right?
It did, yeah.  Way more than I could have ever imagined.  Just last week we had to go clean out a storage space of broken gear.  I had studio and a massive building I had just spent a year building, hanging sheetrock and doing finishing work on.  Two weeks after we were done six feet of ocean water took it all back.  I think the only album tracked there was a Beach Fossils LP.  When they left the whole place was a beach fossil for real.  But yeah, I lost the year of building it, all my money, all my gear, a different finished album that never got heard and then the time trying to save up money again. And then somehow we made two albums without a Kickstarter… I still owe money on it but the time is the part that hurts… send money!
What did you learn from that experience? How did it affect Wild Arrows and the album?
It affected the previous album more directly than this one as the last one was made in a practice space during night sessions as it was too loud during the day to track music.  Cold winter night sessions are not ideal for creativity.  I supposed it indirectly affected Dreamlike Dream because when I finally got some new gear and a place to work I was so genuinely happy that I went overboard and tracked way too many songs.  I felt happy, it was a weird feeling.  Send money!
Is your studio rebuilt now?
It is, the new version of The Civil Defense is done and functioning 100 percent!  Send money!
You guys use a lot of effect pedals to warp the guitar sound, especially on “Breathe Through” Which are your favorites?
During the chords on “Breathe Through” you’re hearing mostly a tremolo bar on the guitar.  There aren’t any pedals on the entire song actually.  When it gets to the single note stuff at the end that’s a whole different thing.  There is the guitar run through five outboard delay’s. In general the old Publison and space station we have are my favorites.  I like the Ursa stuff a lot.  That’s one thing I’m really lacking in post hurricane, cool pedals.  I have very few, send m….
You guys tracked 22 songs for the album, right? How did you decide what would make the release?  
We didn’t talk about it that much to be honest.  In this case it was up to Yasmin [Reshamwala] and I along with the producer Jeremy Scott.  Usually Yasmin and I would just say things like, “Should we do that one again?”  Sometimes if we stopped talking about them I would stop bringing it up.  It was fairly natural. I find talking about music pretty annoying.  Sometimes I would play stuff for Jeremy and he would make comments like “that ones sounds like a B-Side” or “That’s not the right vibe.”  For me and Yasmin it ended up more just which ones did we want to play in the room and practice.  I paid attention to our instincts there more than anything.

You also did some collaborating with Alan Cage, right? What did he contribute to the process?
He is such a unique personality and by far my favorite drummer of his generation, by a wide margin, he’s amazing. His drumming sounds like melody to me.  We played together for years in my last band New Idea Society.  Alan plays to the songs.  He finds ways to make everything sound better, the bass, the guitars, synths and especially the vocals.  He can sit down at a house kit that every other drummer who played that night sounded awful and somehow, inexplicably find a way to hit it just right and make it sound amazing.  Since these songs were already written he added nuance and vibe.
Is there a drummer for your live sets?
Absolutely, our energy live is a lot closer to punk than it is to pop, at least in my head.  We have Brandon Collins and musically he can kind of do it all effortlessly.  I throw my non drummer drum beat at him and he doesn’t bat an eye.
Will you be touring in support of Dreamlike Dream?
What are your loftiest future goals for the endeavor?
Keep going.
(Pick up Dreamlike Dream here: