Arch Stanton's music is unapologetically honest and his character is undeniably endearing. He carries his history in his stride. Walking into his San Francisco home has a way of transporting even the most inexperienced musicians, into an ambiance of endless tunes.
At the age of 25, he has been playing guitar for 20 years. He claims, he couldn’t give it up even if he wanted to.
“Music is kind of like joining the mafia, I couldn’t leave it if I tried to.”
The stage is home to his performance persona, but performing live sets of his music competes heavily with his childhood love of the casual living room jam session he knew growing up.
His sound consists of hard guitar plucks, heavy strums, and soulful vocals. If you close your eyes you wouldn’t expect to see the Irish lad standing in front of you. Everything about him speaks volumes to the idea that no matter where you’re from or who you are, your passion for music will find you.
His upbringing, saturated in music, has influenced almost everything about his musicianship, love of community and is reflective of how he collaborates with others as a working musician.
Folk music lends itself to sessions that can be hard to find and keeps him searching on the streets of Los Angeles. He has sought out to write stories that people relate to and not always necessarily biographical. It’s simple he says, "If the music feels good, play it."
“You can’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
To learn more about the musician who's played the guitar since is 5th birthday, check out our full interview below.
Tiny Shed LA: How was your experience/time in the shed?
Arch Stanton: Yeah it was lovely. We tipped along through some audio issues in the beginning, but there were plenty of dogs [Kiwi and MoMo] to keep my time. We were flying once we had the levels where we liked them and everyone was super nice and courteous.
TSLA: Describe your creative process? Do you wake early to create or Stay up late to create?
AS: Hard to pinpoint an exact "creative process" if I'm being honest. I will sit down to write songs often enough and that produces some of the songs I actually perform and then other times I'll just be walking down a hallway and get all the lines and melody for a song written down quick. It's hard to say which version of that process produces better songs honestly. I use songwriting as an emotional crutch for better or for worse. I will often write out a song about something that I'm going through but those never leave my notebooks in their totality anyway. I'll maybe take a line or two and use it in another song but more often than not, I will just take the sentiment of a notebook song or even the sentiment of one line and then write an entirely new song that has less to do with me and more to do with just that idea. Or at least that's how I've done it in the past in some of my better songs, it's sort of hard to pinpoint my current process but I am kinda writing all the time, then scrapping almost all of it.
And as far as the time of day thing I wouldn't say that I'm a morning creative at all. My best writing probably gets done in the afternoon on a foggy day, watching traffic or people walking around the park.
TSLA: What are your musical goals? What do you hope to achieve through musical expression?
AS: As Richard Manuel said, "I just want to break even." I play music really because it's the one thing I really understand how to do but it can be a cruel expression and it is for sure a cruel profession. So if I could somehow break even emotionally and (ideally) financially I would absolutely chuffed. The one thing that I do know is that even as playing drains me financially and emotionally, sometimes to the bottom, I still couldn't give it up because it's the first thing I really learned how to do so doing everything else without it is horrifying.
All I hope to achieve really is to write music that resonates with people if only for a portion of time in their lives. Then if they hear a song again years later and look back on that time in their life they can at least look fondly on the music they were listening to even if everything else in their lives was on fire. Really all I want to do is perform a show that impacts people.
TSLA: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?
AS: Oh man. My immediate response is Tom Waits just because that would mean I could see him live. He's only played like 1 live show in my cognitive lifetime and I was living 3000 miles away at the time. But as far as acts that are playing currently, I would be absolutely honored to open for Britanny Howard. I think that if I had my dream band backing me, we could be a solid opener for Ms. Howard plus I really think we would get on. It is a dream to be able to sing with her, she is an unreal force to be reckoned with when you see her live.
TSLA: How do you feel the internet impacts music?
AS: The internet has given a lot of us a platform to get our music heard, that is without a doubt. I mean I have like 3 measly demos out online and the metrics tell me there are people listening in Hungary and New Zealand? That's bananas. It can saturate the market for sure and can rob a lot of artists of a living wage oftentimes. It's a balancing act for sure since you can speak directly to your audience but as independent musicians who have no fan base you have to really build it from the ground while not losing your authenticity. As someone who doesn't quite tap into internet culture, I find it pretty difficult to stay authentic online but I'm trying dammit.