Over the last two years we’ve all been forced to adapt how we work. For musical artist like Roderick Smith, who performs as North Arm, they’ve not only adapted how they make music but have also been influenced in terms of the message and emotion which they impart onto their music.
Speaking with us recently Smith explained how the events of the past two years played a factor in his return to releasing music after a lengthy hiatus.
“I write music because I love to have a soundtrack to what is happening around me. Over the last couple of years I’ve lost my grandparents, who were so beautiful & special to me. I’ve struggled with mental health just like so many others… so I’ve been grappling with that.”
With all of these factors flowing around in his heart and mind Smith said his latest release, Bring The Daylight, “hugely personal.” A change to his music which he explained wasn’t necessarily intentional but certainly a change for the good.
“I don’t think I’ve ever written music that wasn’t personal but this record is less shrouded in artifice. Sometimes ou can write records and produce them to the extent that they just become expressionist paintings of feeling and thoughts. As an artist I’ve done that in the past to hide things away or obscure them slightly so that it doesn’t feel so raw but in this instance there are some really touching subjects & difficult home truths that I really wanted to showcase… In a lot of ways this is a very human record, which I love.”
Having taken almost four years away between releases due to burnout Smith said he was nervous about how this record would be received, “I had such a great feeling about the material but I wasn’t sure if I had been away too long for anyone to even take notice, but luckily the reception has been beyond my expectations!”
In regards to how the record was impacted on the technical creativity side Smith says this record was very much an exercise in “limitations” simply due to the isolating constraints of the pandemic.
“I had to pare everything back to ensure I got really true sounds into the computer… A lot of the vocals on the record are actually first takes because I had intended on resinging them down in the studio, but then the pandemic intervened.”
Thankfully the technology already existed for Smith and his producer, Melbourne based Robin Water, to continue collaborating remotely.
“Like everything during the pandemic I think it’s amazing that the technology was already there, it was just a matter of circumstance demanding its use,” explained Smith.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation to come from with the release of Bring The Daylight is Smith might finally be seeing himself as an artist.
“I’ve never really considered myself much of an artist. I’ve always looked upon those artists that I admire & see them as the real deal, whereas I’m just somebody who loves to have my go at it, but here we are three albums in.”
Follow Roderick Smith’s journey as North Arm on Instagram at @NorthArmusic