Pair of Arrows
words by Kyra Bruce
Pair of Arrows is an LA based electro-indie band that I am really feeling! I almost hate calling them electro-indie because they are so much more than that, their lyrics are meaningful and their music is downright fun. The band is fronted by Swan Palermo, who I had the opportunity to speak to on the phone and let me tell you this woman is so intelligent and talented she was an absolute joy to talk to! Her talent and songwriting are fully explored in their first EP, Walls. If you are looking for something original and new I highly suggest you give them a listen!
So I saw you guys had an EP release party, it looked really fun!
Yeah, it was at the Largo which is just an old venue that used to house a ton of really amazing music acts over the years and it would get really packed Elliot Smith was one of the ones who would play there all the time just all through the 70s and stuff. It was a great music venue and then these guys took it over and they’ve got a bunch of different booths that serve food and drinks, it was a showcase of sorts, it had kind of a sit down vibe to it which is different and a little scary at first because we were trying to do it specifically for press and then all these friends came and it ended up being a celebration because RD and I have been working on Pair of Arrows for years hopping around to different cities putting out a single here and a single there and there are a lot of people in our lives who have been waiting a long time for this EP to happen who were like “FINALLY”.
That’s great! So is it mostly excitement, are you relieved that the EP is out?
Yeah mostly excitement and relieved for sure I love all the songs on the EP I love what they mean and I love what they are and we’ve been holding onto a lot of them for a while and it was a ton of work at the end here to get everything sorted so there’s a lot of relief and that feeling of *deep sigh*.
Yeah the lyrics on the EP seem to have a lot of meaning behind them, each of song seems to be about a specific story. I especially love "Step Again" and I was hoping you could tell me a little more about its lyrics.
Yeah, I think about death a lot and I think about that space between life and whatever the next realm is and at the time when I wrote this it was around the anniversary of when a dear friend had committed suicide and it was the same anniversary of another dear friend who’s brother committed suicide and he got the news while I was with him so there was a lot of that just kind of weighing on me and on my heart at that moment when I started working on these lyrics. I remember when I put the headphones on and went into the space to work on that song that was all I could really think of, that’s just right where I was, thinking of their choice to leave the world and the heaviness that they carried and the heaviness that they leave behind. So it kind of touches into these moments of grief and also touches into the weight that they carried and also the refrain of Step Again is kind of a send off of their spirit, that is kind of a prayer to say step again into whatever world is next for you and it has a kind of more lifted and elated feel to it.
Do you think writing about an experience or emotion like that helps you deal with the emotional toll it would have on you?
I think so, I have a friend who is an astrologer and he once shared with me an ancient myth that I don’t remember the details of but the basic gist of it is that creativity unexpressed turns into the embodiment of the devil. That’s kind of an extreme way of putting it but I really feel like that’s true. If we’re not transforming the intensity of feeling in some way I feel like it does fester and it does turn dark. The song didn’t come until a couple of years after she passed and I had always wanted to write something with her in mind so it does feel really good, and I can imagine her dancing to it she would have loved that song. So there’s some joy in that too.
That’s a really great way to deal with something like that, to turn it into something other people can enjoy or dance to. Your sound is something you can dance to but it is also very emotional and I love how different it is, so where does the inspiration for that come from?
We started writing a lot of this back in 2010 so I like to hear that its different than what you hear out there cause I’m kind of like “uhh is it old now?” At the time I was listening to a lot of The Knife and Fever Ray a lot of the ‘80s and late ‘70s dark wave and new wave. I’m also really inspired by the ‘90s emotional big hooks and big choruses, I just remember singing my heart out to Taylor Dayne and I don’t want to be afraid of those big choruses that a young girl might want to sing into her hairbrush. We also come from an electronic background that is built with huge bass and that’s where RD comes in with his mad scientist bass construction.
I love that, I also saw that there was an issue of the EP on a square vinyl with an x-ray on it, I thought that was so cool, what is the story behind that?
That was all the brain child of Blank City Records, they had this idea brewing of how cool it would be to bring back the practice of pressing records onto x-rays which was done in order to smuggle music behind the iron curtain because it was highly illegal at the time. I just love that concept because it speaks to how important music is and the lengths that people have gone to when there is that much censorship and that much oppression, and that people would go to these really creative lengths to make sure that they can be exposed to these other worlds, I love what that means for the importance of music.