Q&A: Stone Arch Isles

Although the Stone Arch Isles formed their indie-rock band less than a year ago—or as vocalist and rhythm guitarist Phil Levine says, “on the seventh new moon, year of the monkey”—the sextet hasn’t had any problems jiving, composing, or performing. Coming off a headlining show at Skyway Theatre’s Studio B in January and other shows at places like Norseman Distillery and the Holidazzle, the University of Minnesota-based group is getting ready to pack a punch with their new EP out this summer and, of course, a performance at The Wake’s Birthday Concert on March 23.

The stage will be full and the sound will be fuller: There’s Matt Gleason on lead guitar; Alex Chapdelaine on vocals, keys, and auxiliary percussion; Daniel Chapdelaine on vocals and ukulele; Trevor Stroschein on bass; Carlos Kelley on percussion; and Levine on vocals and rhythm guitar.

Six schedules can be pretty hectic to coordinate, but Daniel Chapdelaine, Levine, and Gleason were able to answer a few questions for us.

When did you start playing music?

Matt Gleason: We all started at different times, but the Chaps (Chapdelaine Twins) and I have been playing together since high school.

Phil Levine: I first started jamming with the dudes around a year and a half ago, but we all became official with Trevor and Carlos last June.

Who is an artist/band you look up to?

Daniel Chapdelaine: We’re all really into Young the Giant’s first couple of albums.

MG: I don’t know if it really affects the music, but we all love listening to Catfish & the Bottlemen, Glass Animals, and Turnover

How do you create your songs? Your lyrics?

PL: I think each song starts a little differently. A lot of the time, Matt will play a riff he recently wrote and I’ll match it to a verse or couplet of lyrics that I’ve written, but sometimes Alex or Daniel will come to practice with entire verses written. It’s definitely a collaborative process.

DC: I guess it usually just starts with one or two people bringing up a song to everyone else, and then we sit around jamming on acoustic instruments until we all have parts we like. 

Are you working on anything big right now?

MG: We’re doing a whole thing with recording and all that.  Get ready to be pleased.

PL: Um … yeah. We’re recording our first 5-song EP with some of our more upbeat tunes. We want our first release to be a smooth intro into our sound, but we’re constantly writing and we definitely have enough to record a few more EPs once we’re done.

What do you do outside of making music? (Any fun facts?)

DC: My fun fact is that I have a twin brother who is ALSO in this band

MG: I went rock-climbing once and can throw a Frisbee, like, super far.

PL: Today is the nine year anniversary of my Bar Mitsvah (March 15, 2008).

What do you want your future to look like?

PL: Honestly, I just wanna do whatever we have to do to keep writing and playing together.  I love these guys.  If the band turns out to be something we can do full-time, all the better.

DC: I don’t know, I just wanna be able to share our music with more and more people.

MG: I want us to keep making music for the sake of the music and have fun doing it.

Check out the Stone Arch Isles along with Early Eyes and LASKA at The Wake’s Birthday Concert. Thursday, March 23; $5 pre-sale, $10 at the door; Triple Rock Social Club; z.umn.edu/wakebirthday.

Photo: Andrew Cumming.