Interview: Lewin Cantor of ARK
Being completely unaware of Ark, I caught their set at The Castle as part of the SONDER festival completely by accident and was bowled over by the mix of styles that they seem to embellish in their music. I managed to grab hold of guitarist/singer Lewin Cantor to find out a little more about the band before he had to head off home up the M6…
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
How would you describe your music?
We find it quite hard to pin down what exactly our music is. A lot of people would say we fit into an alternative rock style but we put a lot of progressive rock, math rock, post-rock elements into it but it is really a blend of all kinds of stuff. We try to keep the sound fairly accessible as far as experimental and progressive music goes.
As we all listen to such different things there is quite a lot of jazz influence, our drummer Joel has done a lot of jazz stuff and the bass player, Fergus, plays saxophone as well and has played in various jazz bands which means the musicianship is quite open and varied.
It did sound quite tight though whereas jazz tends to lend itself to a more open, freer sound…
Yeah, true, we have played together for nearly 5 years and known each other for years so we know how we all work and it's great fun to do.
What are the bands influences?
Muse and Radiohead, alternative indie rock stuff, Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson - he is probably my favourite musician at the moment – then there is Tool. I'm also into also prog-metal like Meshuggah but that doesn't come across so much in what we do. And we are all into stuff like Snarky Puppy, generally good musician type of bands.
What about releases?
We have a physical EP which we did three years ago and we have an online EP on Bandcamp (see link below) and we have some stuff in the works at the moment that we will hopefully be recording sometime next year, possibly April, but we are often recording and writing stuff.
You have other gigs coming up, you mentioned a gig at Night & Day during your set?
Yes, we are playing Night & Day on 30th November, and then in December we are playing the Ferret in Preston and we have our first gig in London on 10th December at The Good Ship which will be quite cool and we're looking forward to that.
Are you Manchester-based?
We are based in Lancaster which is about an hours drive but we do gig in Manchester quite a lot, in fact most of the gigs we have done this year have been in Manchester, we played the Dive Bar which was quite good. We've played most of the venues here on Oldham Street! We’ve played in Lancaster quite a lot too, we've done it to death, so we are now trying to play elsewhere.
Our drummer is based in Leeds during the week as he is at university there and it is easier and quicker for him to come here to Manchester than it is for us to get here from Lancaster.