Nanaimo Bars & Sweet Chords...It's Christopher Arruda

I recently caught up with Christoper Arruda high on top of Nanaimo, we had a chance to sit down and chat about his musical life.  The first thing that really made itself obvious when chatting with the man was the fact that he wears his heart on his sleeve. The 26 year old singer/songwriter released his first solo album “God Hates a Coward” in October of ’09, and he’s been working like a dog every day since then. He’s a class act, and another example of an extremely talented modern day musician doing whatever he can to make a run at the ever-changing music industry.

“I think what I’ve really realized is, after Open Parachute ceased to exist, it was a long slow process (to realize), that it’s literally the only thing I actually know how to do. Like quite frankly I sit before you as this guy that, if I didn’t have it, I don’t know what I’d be doing, know what I mean?”

I’m not sure Arruda is giving himself enough credit. Adjusting to his solo career seems to be going to quite smoothly. With his newest E.P “Swain” on the way in September (his second album in 11 months), things are looking up for the Nanaimo talent. With a full-time job on top of his music career, and recently qualifying for the Peak FM Performance Project, Arruda has learned to make music for himself.

“It was really intimidating at first, because I didn’t really think that, quite frankly, I had a hope in hell. It was one of those things that was like, "Well this is happening". The difficulty with me is, you know I’m 26, I work a full time job, and so I don’t really have the ability to do what those other bands have done (in the contest), which is kinda throw their entire lives into it. So when I looked at it at first, I was like “I can’t really compete”. But then I looked at the materials that I assembled, you know through the music video, and the album sounds pretty good, production wise. I looked at that and I just said well the materials are pretty good, and if their basing it on the materials, you never know.
"I’m certainly thrilled to be a part of it. Definitely gonna be an awesome experience. And I think the way I’m gonna go about the Peak thing is just work as hard as I can and just try and get the most out of it as I can. Not really treat it as a competition but more just as an experience and a place where I can build some camaraderie and learn more about the business side of things, which is something that I haven’t really been that good at in the past. It should be a really positive thing so I’m super excited about it for sure.”

Fans can be super excited about the September release of Arrudas’ latest works, “Swain”. There will be 200 copies printed, and the seven song E.P. will be available on Itunes as well.

"I had all these songs, and was just like "I’m gonna take 7 of the best songs and I’m gonna record them with a 58 and a microphone". To be fair I did overdubbing, and some of them do sound pretty big, but it was all done by myself, I just wanted to do something that was so honest. And if there is mistakes, then that is better. Case and point the last one I recorded I finished, I finished tracking about a month ago.  I had a couple beers, and I wrote this song, and I recorded it in my living room with this shitty condenser microphone and then I really liked it, and I showed it to some friends.  They were like "Yeah this is really good". So I was like, “OK, now I really have to record it”. I did three separate recordings of it after that, in the end, I probably spent 12-13 hours trying to do this song, and in the end you know what I ended up doing? I ended up taking that original version and that’s the one that’s going on there. Because it’s just the best one, it’s just the best one.

“You know there is something about the first take. It was a condenser mic, me and my guitar and I added some vocal overdubs, and that’s kinda the spirit of the whole thing. It’s all about lovers, and kinda the good things that happen in relationships, but also the really fuckin heart wrenching and horrible things that happen, that’s really the theme that makes it up. The whole idea is just honesty and, you know, here it is. Its slow, it’s a slow record, there's no drums, it’s just a chill little EP.

“I’m kinda treating this as a footnote to “God Hates a Coward”.  Because “God Hates a Coward” to me was this huge triumph over you know, over myself really. And this is something that kinda came as an afterthought. I guess looking back at it now, it’s kinda natural it came after it because “God Hates a Coward” was really, really angry. This (Swain) is more like acceptance, yeah, yeah pretty much. I just had a little epiphany actually! I never really thought of that myself (until now). Maybe I should go see a councilor.”

Well Chris, we can only hope your councilor doesn’t tell you to stop playing music!

Arruda is set to release “Swain” September 5 at the Diner’s Rendevous in Nanaimo.  With all the talent in the world, and an attitude to match, it looks like the only “acceptance” Christopher Arruda will need worry about in the future, are awards.

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