Siblings Jocelyn and Chris Arndt are 21 and 19 years old, respectively. They wear their old-school influences on their sleeves and making those influences sound timeless. “Edges,” their new album, is a gutsy blend of soul and rock, with Jocelyn’s agile, robust vocals complemented by Chris’ guitar finesse. Check out their web site at http://jocelynandchrismusic.com.
I understand that you grew up in upstate New York. Could you tell me a bit about your musical beginnings?
Jocelyn Arndt: We grew up actually an hour west of Albany, pretty far up, in a little town called Fort Plain. I started taking piano lessons, and he started taking guitar. We were practicing in the same living room, so we figured we might as well go out. So we started writing music together in high school and sort fooled around and released our own CD and then met our current management, who said, “Hey, you know, you could do this for real.” So it snowballed from there.
Were you always fans of blues and rootsy music?
Chris Arndt: For sure. Our parents, when we were growing up, had this room in our house called the library, and half of it was books and the other half was CDs. And when Jocelyn and I were little we would just take turns going in and picking a random CD off the shelf. There were a couple thousand, so it was a lot of music. We would just like plug it in and listen to it. I don’t think there was we really disliked but we always gravitated towards super-organic, like blues and rock, that kind of thing, so definitely.
Were there any particular artists that really inspired you?
JA: I love super-big voices, those kinds of people that you can hear them singing for three notes and know exactly who it is. So, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, even newer artists like Beyonce and just, like, big voices.
CA: I’ve been interested in a similar thing. I’ve always really gravitated toward guitarists who you can hear for three notes and know exactly who they are, so, like Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour. There are so many guitarists, but I love ’em all.
I’m thinking of artists like the White Stripes and Fitz and the Tantrums who are very influenced by blues, soul, and r&b. Why do you think that kind of music continues to appeal to people even today?
JA: I think it’s so emotive. You’re not just singing, you’re singing a blues song, you’re sort of living it too. It’s the kind of music that really lends itself to putting yourself into it and taking from it everything you put in. It’s a really fun kind of music to perform, too, because you need to groove and rock out.
Do you have any other siblings who are musical?
CA: We have no other siblings. Just the two of us.
JA: Just us.
You’re just like Eddie and Alex Van Halen in that way!
(Chris and Jocelyn laugh)
CA: I take that as a compliment!
Growing up in the central New York area, what’s the music scene like there? Are there any local artists who really stand out?
JA: We were really lucky. It’s not like it’s the cutting edge of the music scene, but there’s a really well-established classic rock, classic country musician atmosphere. We were lucky growing up. (gestures to Chris) His guitar teacher Pat…
CA: He’s amazing.
JA: …super well-established in the music scene in our town, and he really helped us out, took us under his wing. Same thing. There were a bunch of guys that would let us jam with them. So it was sort of like this whole community thing. They recognized that we wanted to be part of it.
CA: I think, being from a small town, it’s just a supportive environment. It’s really awesome. If there was anyone who didn’t absolutely love us. . .even if they weren’t really particularly into our music, they were always like, “Yeah, you go for it.” They would go to all our shows. It was great.