Arrows of Love have been described as chaotic and musically ferocious. They are certainly a band who are as fearless with their melodies and as they are with their opinions. The child of creative partners Nima Teranchi & Nuha Ruby Ra, Arrows of Love is set to cause quite the storm with their cutting guitar rifts and introspective lyrics. I caught up with Nuha in the immediate aftermath of the release of their second album, Product.
Lets talk about the new album, Product, where did it come from?
When we started writing it, it was a new chapter for Nima and I because the band had actually been going through quite a turbulent and testing time. We went through a lot of shit and came out of it knowing that we wanted to write an album.
So it was a way to process something difficult; was it just you and Nima writing the album?
Me and Nima wrote the album together, but had really amazing people contribute. One of the songs was actually initiated by our drummer Craig.
Coming off the first album, it feels different. It feels more passionate, more forceful. Was that to do with building in confidence and finding your voice? What did you try and do differently with this album?
This album came with more intensity than the last album. The last album was made up of years of cut and paste pieces, from different sessions with different people. Whereas with Product, there was an intent, predominantly written over a specific period of time. The force probably comes from that.
Product, got to me with the title. My initial feeling was that this seems like a band that doesn’t necessarily want to just sell a product, reassure me that this is a play on words?
[Laughs] Well-Are you calling your album Product to cut to the chase? Admitting that yes, music is a product, we make it and you buy it. However, it’s our product and we made, buy it, share it. Or are you actually trying to say fuck this, the music industry is a product of capitalism, we’re gonna make it and don’t care who buys it.
I think it’s more touching on the first. Product was a title about what it is, its a product of our energies, but here is it, you can buy it and listen to it. Its brutal and honest – just how we are! It’s not a flowery title.
This word “product” strikes me as interesting because recently, so many artists, whether that be rappers or folk singers, seem to producing music now that are reacting to the currently political climate. Yet, often it feels forced, as though they have to talk about it because everyone else is, in order to sell, well, a product. Is that something you were interested in commenting on?
It wasn’t a conscious thing that we felt we needed to make a comment on politics. But it is a part of our lives. It was particularly clear on our song “Beast” because a lot of stuff, such as elections or political changes, hadn’t happened when mastering that song, but it was written in response to a feeling brewing. People have felt off-kilter for a while now. It wasn’t our intention to sit down and write a political album, more that we are politically minded people. You have to go with your natural urges and run with them.
How did you and Nima meet?
Through one of my very close friends who used to be in Arrows of Love a few years before. I used to have a studio close to where they rehearsed and I went downstairs to have a look and they needed a bassist. So we thought we should just see how it goes.
You came from a more practical art background?
I came from a fine art background. I came to music as a sound artist, so not from a traditional musical background. I dove right in and rejected so many things about musicians and musicianship. There was a lot of battles.
There can be a rigid structure that can surround musicians. Many I have spoken to have been learning classical music since they were three years old, and then taken that classical training and turned it into something more experimental. But you seem to have gone straight in with the experimental. I think it’s interesting if members of bands come from different trajectories.
It was definitely an interesting challenge, it was a different world to mine. I very intentionally didn’t want to approach any instrument that i started playing without nknowing how it works I approached it as a sound making instrument, a sound making machine. I guess that is a challenge to work with someone like.
Your bands trademark is “blistering chaos” – where does that structure come from out of the chaos to knuckle down and produce an album?
There is a lot of structure to the chaos. Even if you come from an experimental place, there is still intent to the production. The chaos that comes across in the music comes mainly from us as beings.
Your shows are quite performative, however, it doesn’t seem staged or forced, your performances seem instinctive and natural.
Its very instinctive. There is nothing I hate more than seeing people on stage and their moves seem very calculated. Its a purge, we just go with whatever comes out. I think in general, whether its do to with chaos or us as people, you ever really know whats going to come out with. However, there are methods behind the madness.
There has to be, if you are producing work of such high caliber you can’t be a total mess.
Well actually both me and Nima are very anal. It might seem that its all very crazy, but we are both perfectionists with what we do.
Its like jazz in a way; what appears sporadic has a calculated method behind each note.
Quoting Arrows of Love: “Most musicians are self-serving, flimsy, often pathetic individuals and should not be trusted.” Do you still agree?
Yeah definitely. I’m not sure I’m flimsy.
Is there an intersection with other creative disciplines?
I do a bit of cross over. I do body based performances. I paint leather jackets with a collaborative partner. Im part of Vicious Collective; its a beautiful thing started by my ex-partner and myself. We have a night every first Sunday on the night, its an open performance night.
I know this is an obvious question, but so much music is regurgitated, who were you listening to? Who were you thinking of when you were writing product?
People make comparisons, to me a really obvious comparisons, like “there is one girl and one boy, she plays bass, he plays guitar – they are Sonic Youth!” I love Sonic Youth but its not my influence, we both listen to an array of music from noise bands, to jazz, country and hip hop. There wasn’t one person comes to mind. When we were writing “Come With Me” I was listening to a lot of Serge Gainsbourg, that may have been an influence that came in, a bit of Serge’s spirit.
What is your perfect murder weapon and why?
I think electricity. I have a connection to electricity. For me I can harness my powers of electricity and zap bolts to someone. From afar, don’t get my hands dirty.
If you could steal credit for a great song what would it be?
Roland Howard “Dead Radio” There is something about that song that has a special something.
How many people do you think you have given a black eye to in a performance?
At least 5 people that I definitely know of. I have given a black eye to an ex-band member, and another time I ran into her and got both of our hair caught at the end of my bass. It was so bad, two people from the audience had to spend a good three minutes detangling our hair. It wasn’t a smooth moment. I also kneed Nima in the balls on stage. He wasn’t happy.