CHB Interviews: Jeff Arancherry

BellaWatt1_NYC0035 Jeff Arancherry grew up in Westchester county. He started playing bass at 15 and slowly starting picking up percussion instruments as his interest in music grew. After college, he was able to purchase enough equipment to create quality demos, but found that he lacked the time to learn how to use any of it due to his new career. After switching careers and moving to Brooklyn, he joined Bella Watt, to which he contributed songwriting and arranging. He currently teaches high school math in Brooklyn and uses his free time working on various projects, including transcontinental collaboration the Death Valley Girls.

Do you live in Fort Greene or Clinton Hill and how long have you lived here? I live in Fort Greene and I've been here for about 5 years.

Where did you move here from? I moved here from Stamford, CT, where 16 year-olds drive cars that my parents can't afford.

As a musician who's played in a few different projects, how do you feel about playing music in NYC? Is it harder or easier than other places? NY pretty much has a scene for everyone. The opportunities for collaboration with musicians who have a diverse musical background are much more plentiful than, say, Stamford.  However, there is such a large quantity of music being produced here that the chances of getting decent exposure are minimal. From the perspective of one who wishes to play in front a packed room of strangers, doing music here is harder than other places because there's always some other band playing somewhere else. In the end though, the optimist in me believes that this causes the driven musician to refine and develop her or his sound to increase the chances of reaching a larger audience. The cynic in me recognizes that this also causes struggling bands to disproportionally focus on image and promotion rather than the music itself.

What are your favorite places to see live music in the city? In the neighborhood? How about your favorite places to play? For venues in the city, I really love the sound at Webster Hall Studio. I've never heard live guitars sound so full before. I try to avoid going to shows at larger venues simply because I enjoy being able to tune in to individual instruments to understand how each one contributes to the overall sound. In our hood, I've seen Mum at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. It was pretty nice to be able to walk 3 minutes to get to a show.  It's really a beautiful place, and the sound was great, especially considering how many musicians were on stage. I also like seeing music at the Paul Robeson Theatre, another gorgeous spot. As for places to places to play, Mercury Lounge, Pianos, and Ace of Clubs (formerly Acme Underground) have amazing people working the sound. Monkey Town is also a pretty unique place to play.

What are you listening to right now? I'm really into Cornelius' Sensuous right now. I feel as if every few years I come across an album that completely changes the way I think about music. Sensuous is definitely one of those, as was Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and Live/Evil, Prefuse 73's Vocal Studies, pretty much every Meshuggah album, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, and Squarepusher's Music is Rotted. Other bands I'm currently into are Irepress (Boston), 375000 Yen (Paris), Hailu Mergia and the Walias (Ethiopia), and 1980 (Paris). I spent a month in Peru this summer and came back with a bunch of Cumbia from the 60's that I've been jamming out to. I've also been revisiting Sunny Real Estate after seeing them at Terminal 5 a couple of weeks ago. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a new album from those guys.

Do you have any shows coming up? I don't have any shows schedule right now. I just started a new instrumental band with a couple of new dudes I met recently as well as a drummer I played with in an older band. We don't have a name or demos yet, but we should be playing shows by January.

Listen to Jeff's solo project here.