Closely aligned with the DIY scene of Boston and later NYC, Mike Law has released a dozen records with his bands EULCID and New Idea Society. Having received stellar reviews for their previous album, his current project, Wild Arrows, have just released a new EP, Rejection Bloom. While Loving The Void was a complicated record that needed time to be appreciated, the new songs are much more immediate with big choruses (“The Last Day of Summer”) and danceable tunes (“This Is What It Feels Like”). You can download the new EP (and other work) at their Bandcamp page.
While recording in Brooklyn at The Civil Defense, producer Gary Atturio also chipped in with some pop songwriting chops. Law says, “Gary can do most things musically very well so I listened to him on this one when I started adding weird syncopations to the melodies and he kept it reigned in.”
We caught up with Mike to talk about the new songs and how Wild Arrows has changed over the years.
Hi Mike! How’s everything going right now?
Good, I’m feeling lucky that I’m going to play the new songs live. I’ve been spending a crazy amount of time working on the set. Sometimes after I spend 11 hours programming lights I wonder if I’m taking it a bit too far seeing as I’m not playing giant venues but then I remember it’s for me ultimately. I can’t do something unless it’s as realized as I can get it.
What classic album cover art is your current mood?
Zeppelin IV because I’m carrying so much gear around Brooklyn back and forth to the practice space.
Your new EP “Rejection Bloom” is out this week. When and where did you write and record it?
Most of them were written in the last 12 months and recorded at my studio The Civil Defense and Gary Atturio’s studio Soundtown. The only exceptions are Gold Ides and Song With Flames. Those were from previous sessions. Gold Ides is from 2016 actually.
The songs are a lot more accessible and immediate than your last record (2022’s “Loving The Void”). Was that deliberate or just where the songs went as you wrote them?
I guess both. Loving the Void is a great album. I’m not shy to say that but it takes some effort to engage with. I did feel some frustration that I made it so challenging and a lot of the more satisfying songs were toward the end. I think that record will have its day though. For Rejection Bloom I wrote a few of these songs originally for other people but they didn’t get used (rejected?). I didn’t really want to give them up anyway though. There’s something weird about occupying space in my own head with a song that’s for someone else. It can be invasive. But the part where it was deliberate was not changing the words to be more obtuse or “creative.” It was cool to keep the sentiment direct and it was a challenge for me to sing them like that.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
I’d lose my mind if I could only listen to one record. I’d rather just play records in my head from memory than just have one.
What is the main difference between the 2014 version of Wild Arrows that were releasing their debut “Tell Everyone” and the 2023 version?
Wow, good question. I should think about that more if not just for myself. The first few things I did for the band were a reaction to the end of New Idea Society. I was still trying to make Wild Arrows a “band” though. I wanted to find equal partners who would push me and make the band better. I guess for now 2023 me has given up on that and am just using the band as a vehicle for basically being solo. Gary Atturio made some massive contributions in writing on this EP and Loving the Void but he’s a producer mostly and wouldn’t be able to be in the band full time. I mean, who can be in a band full time for more than a year or two? Even mid-sized bands make so little money it’s criminal.
You’ve been in a few other bands as well as Wild Arrows (EULCID, New Idea Society). Which albums should we be checking out from your back catalogue?
Speaking of challenging albums… The Wind Blew All the Fires out by EULCID is up there with Loving the Void as the most completely realized records I’ve made. I went crazy over making that record and I couldn’t be more proud of it, even still. I was really young and fully obsessed with it. We got to play those songs opening for Fugazi which was pretty cool. One of my best friends and I, Stephen Brodsky from Cave In, made the first New Idea Society album called You Are Awake Or Asleep in my Dad’s basement on a tape machine so I’m always partial to that one and to the last one, Somehow Disappearing.
You have a show scheduled in NYC on Oct 22nd. Are you planning any other shows to promote the EP?
Yes, there will be a lot of shows in 2024 playing heavily from Rejection Bloom and Loving the Void.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Controversial opinion but I almost never want pizza. I guess a lot of garlic and I’d call it the “I Couldn’t Find Anything Better than this Pizza”
What do you have planned for 2024?
I’m going to spend most of 2024 working on touring. There are a few more singles in the vein of Rejection Bloom that are written and I’d like to release. Towards the end of the year I’ll settle in and focus on the next full length for Wild Arrows. It’s going to be the last album for the band, maybe ever but definitely for a while. It will be big sounding unlike any of our other albums. I can hear hints of it in the distance of my mind from the future.
Feature Photo Credit: Joel Barhamand