Up-and-coming sibling duo, Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, specialize in retro-rock gems that you can’t get out of your head. Aside from crafting killer music and being wise beyond their years, they both attend Harvard University as full-time students while their new album, Edges, continues to create buzz in the blogosphere.
In an exclusive guest blog for The Daily Listening, the Arndts discuss how they balance music with term papers and touring!
Life can get pretty busy when you spend half your time touring the country and promoting your career in music and the other half at college. We’ve both pulled our fair share of all-nighters, and I think last week during finals period I might have emptied the vending machine of Red Bull.
So. Much. Red Bull.
However, the truth of it is this: I know for a fact that neither of us would change anything, even if we could. Not one thing. We love both parts of our life, and as long as we can pursue both, it doesn’t make sense to us not to.
That said, music is definitely our priority. Education is great, and Harvard is great, and we’re definitely both those nerds from school who actually liked doing homework assignments. We know that the opportunity college at Harvard has given us is a huge one, and we’re incredibly grateful for that. But let’s be real. There is no homework assignment in the whole world that is as much fun as a good rock and roll show. Writing and recording and playing music is our passion, and when it comes time to choose between the two halves of our life there isn’t really any question: we’re definitely going to pick music. It’s just fun, simple as that. It’s our dream, and we’re planning on chasing that dream for as long as we possibly can.
But for now, we live the balancing act. Calculus homework sitting next to the person on the Megabus who maybe talks just a little too much about their cats? Sign me up. It’s way better than not playing that show with the Black Keys and Robert Plant. Balancing school and work does get crazy, but when we think about how much we really love music and how lucky we are to have the opportunity to pursue both, giving it our best shot is really the only option. Besides, I don’t think I’d like my life nearly as much if I had too much time off. Neither of us would. We like to go out and do stuff. Even beyond music, we’ve always been super into doing everything possible to avoid the couch. We certainly have our pajamas-and-Netflix days, but too much lounging around makes us restless. Being busy is what makes life exciting for us, and there’s no better way to stay busy than to go out and tour as a musician. So far this year, we’ve been in 12 different states playing our music and pushing our album to radio. It’s been a non-stop whirlwind of absolute craziness, and we’ve loved every minute. Sometimes the sleep deprivation level gets a bit high, but I think it’s safe to say we’re going to regret being tired a whole lot less than we’ll regret all the stuff we go to bed late and wake up early for.
And let me tell you, it’s always worth it.
It’s worth it when someone from Butte, Montana, all the way on the other side of the country, messages us to tell us that our new album, Edges, is on constant repeat in their car stereo.
It’s worth it when we look back and realize we played over 120 shows last year alone.
It’s worth it when we find out that our music is charting nationally at #151 on AAA and #17 on the Jam Band album chart.
It’s worth it when someone comes up to us after our show and tells us that our song “Cinderella” got her through a really hard time in her life.
But most of all, it’s worth it when we look out into the crowd halfway through our Friday-night set and see smiles and dancing bodies and tapping feet.
Because we do this to share what we feel with others. We pour ourselves into these songs, and then we give those feelings back to the crowd every time we play. And if someone leaves the theater after the show is over having felt a little of that emotion, we’ve done our job. Because that’s what we do this for.
It does get pretty challenging around the last few weeks of the semester. Take the weekend before finals this past spring, when we made our way down to Orlando to play the Florida Music Festival. I think the cumulative total of sleeping hours that weekend was somewhere in the low single digits. The flight back to Cambridge arrived at around 1:15 in the afternoon, and I had a final at 2, so I hopped off the plane and onto the T and made my way back to campus as fast as I could. I don’t remember the final very much, but I do know that when I went to take a nap a few hours afterwards to refresh my mind, I woke up at around 7 the next morning. Whoops. Then I remembered that I had a final project due later that day and freaked out a little bit. Somehow, I pulled everything together just in time, and it all got in when it was supposed to. This isn’t an isolated incident; Jocelyn and I both have stories of close calls and all-nighters and weird sleep schedules. It comes with the territory. But even with all that chaos, this is a life that neither of us can give up on. It gets pretty challenging sometimes, but we do our best never to forget how blessed we are to have these opportunities.
It’s always worth it.