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Artist Spotlight: Jocelyn and Chris Arndt

By Irene A. Nicolae, Contributing Writer

Jocelyn L. Arndt ’17 and Christian S. Arndt ’18 are reminiscent of the Disney Channel heroine Hannah Montana: students by day, rockstars by night. As singer-pianist and guitarist, respectively, of their own band, the siblings juggle school and touring and even carved out the time to release their first EP, “Strangers in Fairyland,” in October. Following their recent return from the Sundance Film Festival, the indie blues rockers sat down with The Crimson to talk musical beginnings, touring, and their experience playing at the largest independent film festival in America.

The Harvard Crimson: How did you get first involved in music?

Jocelyn L. Arndt: I used to take tap dance lessons in kindergarten and I was awful.… Then I was like, “Mom, I want to take piano lessons. I’m not good at dancing.” … So I started piano in fourth grade.

Christian S. Arndt: I kept telling my parents that if she’s going to learn piano, I want to learn piano. They didn’t want us to learn the same instrument because they didn’t want any sibling competition, so Dad basically just gave me a guitar and said, “Here’s this. Learn this.” And it worked out pretty well.

JLA: [We started making music together] not very long after that. We started playing talent shows. We did a local talent show where we played “Stairway to Heaven,” and that was our first big rock song.… And then we started writing music in high school.

CSA: I think I was in 8th grade, and we were just like, “Oh, let’s write a song.” And we kind of said that for a couple months. Finally, I sat down and came up with like a rhythm pattern.… I think I tried to write some [lyrics], but they were pretty bad because I’m not really a lyricist. So Jocelyn was like, “Yeah, I’m singing. I get to choose what I sing.”

THC: What’s your daily schedule like with music and school? Do you practice every day?

CSA: Probably not as much as we should. Last semester was my first semester—I was just getting used to college last semester, which is an experience in and of itself. My time management skills have improved greatly, so this semester hopefully I’ll have more time to practice.

THC: What’s the best thing about working with your sibling?

CSA: The access. If we’re at home and one of us is up at 4 a.m. and has a brilliant idea for a song, we can write it down. And the next morning, when it’s still in our heads, we can start working on it.

JLA: My best thing is that we know each other very well, so we don’t take each other too seriously. Like when I start going off the handle diva style, Chris reins me in, and vice-versa if he’s taking 45 minutes to do his hair.

THC: What was the most exciting thing about Sundance?

JLA: We didn’t get to go to any screenings, but we saw Nicole Kidman. Well, I didn’t really see her. I saw a flurry of bodyguards around her.

CSA: Yeah, there was a flash of blonde hair and a bunch of big, burly dudes.… The artists were pretty cool too.… One of the former members of Stone Temple Pilots formed a band, and they played there. And one of the former members of Weezer formed a band, and they played there.

THC: What are your post-graduate plans?

JLA: We’ll see where the music thing goes. We’re pushing pretty hard for this. We’re looking at another album this summer and a pretty extensive tour.… We’re just going to keep playing, and it should be really fun.

CSA: That’s what we’re going to do for as long as it’s a fruit-bearing tree.

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