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When guitarists Dan Pellarin and Ben Cramer met while attending school in Miami during the halcyon days of 2010, the idea that the two music program students would start a globetrotting rock ‘n’ roll band was nothing more than a passing joke.
But every band’s story arc needs a starting point, and Arc & Stones’ begins with Pellarin sticking around for sophomore year of his collegiate career — Cramer left Miami with his first year in the rearview mirror. A year later, Pellarin joined him to pack up a car and move up north to New York City.
If Miami was the first point charted in the alt rock group’s history, the move to New York proved to be where the band’s parabola started curving skyward. Pellarin and Cramer found a “box of an apartment” in Brooklyn, and in the space of two beds and some recording equipment, wrote 25 songs and recorded a five-track EP — Arc & Stones’ self-titled debut.
“After recording, we figured, ‘well shit, now we have to find a band,’” Pellarin remembers with a laugh.
By coincidence or stroke of luck, Eddy Bayes, a mutual friend of Pellarin and Cramer’s from their collegiate days, moved to the Big Apple in the summer of 2012, stepping in as the band’s bassist. The trio put out an ad on Craigslist, hoping to fill out the band with a drummer.
“We got a lot of creepy ones and ridiculous ones, but we found Joey [Doino],” Pellarin says. “As he warmed up in the Bushwick rehearsal studio, it was like, ‘this kid’s got it.”
With a few gigs under their collective belts, Arc & Stones rehearsed at Cramer’s grandmother’s home. Things kicked into overdrive when the band was invited back down south to Atlanta for an audition in front of Phil Ehart, drummer for iconic classic rock outfit KANSAS. Taking a liking to their bluesy rock stylings and soulful sound, Ehart’s The Entity Management Company took the role of manager for the band.
The band’s current trajectory brought them down to Nashville in the early winter months of 2014, for a change of scene and on the heels of a revelation — “We wanted to be big, and something needed to change,” Pellarin explains.
Arc & Stones’ six-song EP, As You Were, out on June 10, reflects what Pellarin could only describe as “moments of a special year.” From a “massive” July 2013 gig in Arlington, Texas to playing for a crowd of 15,000 at the Labatt Blue Music Series, Arc & Stones are poised to follow their arc straight to rock ‘n’ roll stardom.
Backed by a successful $10 thousand Kickstarter campaign to cover recording and mastering costs, and releasing a run of physical CDs, the band hit the studio on August 13 of last year to record their sophomore effort. Pellarin says Arc & Stones shot for an “old soul with a new sound” on the record, and the “explosive yet cohesive” tunes on the album capture a year in the life of the band.
The six tracks that compose As You Were shape the record with taut guitar riffs, blue-eyed soulful vocals, and some strutting rock ‘n’ roll swagger. The familiar themes — battling through tough times on driving opener “Control,” the obligatory song about a girl with the tenderly emotional “Walkin’ In,” and self-discovery on “Too Late” — stay true to genre conventions, and Arc & Stones both defy and embrace tradition.
The band’s tunes hearken back to rock ‘n’ roll’s heyday, but Arc & Stones infuses the EP with a panache that’s entirely crisp and new. Arc & Stones unabashedly admit that their end goal is to be the greatest rock band of all time, and with their trailblazing sophomore EP, it’s hard not to like their chances.