Massachusetts sibling duo, Jocelyn and Chris Arndt, have been playing music since they were in grade school. Since then they’ve been performing and writing music as a team for over a decade and have gained the experience of groups well beyond their years.
Now, as they enter their twenties, Jocelyn and Chris have supported groups like Delta Rae, the Gin Blossoms, and Vertical Horizon and have recently released their sophomore album, Go. On a recent trek to New York City, Jocelyn and Chris were kind enough to sit down with TalkNerdyWithUs for a chat about their journey as musicians, their dream tour, and their passion for academia.
Have you guys always wanted to be musicians?
Joceyln: No, I guess, at least not professionally. We didn’t think it was an option until high school when we met our current producer, David. Before that, we started playing fourth and fifth grade and then we started writing our own stuff in middle school. We were like that little kid original rock band. It wasn’t until a little bit later that we were like, “Oh gosh this a job that people can do.” It didn’t occur to us that it could be a full time professional thing.
Did you guys always want to play together? There wasn’t a time of, “I don’t want to play with my sibling all the time.”
Chris: No, we’ve always been a team. Jocelyn started learning piano in 4th grade and I started playing guitar maybe a month after that. We’ve been playing together basically since then. It always seemed like the most natural thing. Once we started writing I think we just know each other so well. Writing is so personal and I think I’d have a really hard time opening up to the level that it takes with anyone other than Jocelyn. And I know that if I tried to write on my own it wouldn’t turn out nearly as good.
J: Likewise! We’ve never written a song without the other.
When you first got started, where did you guys gain inspiration from? Has that changed as your music has grown?
J: Well we grew up on a steady diet of classic rock and some jazz, some blues, and definitely some pop. Basically everything and we can thank our parents for that. Our influences have always been the classic rock legends: Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Pat Benatar, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. As we’ve grown up we’ve sort of taken a little more personal control in our influences. We try to keep up on modern music as well. I love big voices like Adele and Beyonce. Chris is always on the look out for the next big blues, rock guitarist.
You’ve toured with a lot of memorable acts and people, which is incredible. Who’s on your current wish list of people you’d want to tour with?
C: If Roger Waters and David Gilmore got together again. I don’t think the likelihood of that is super high but if they did.
J: I’d say on my part, I think Government Mule would be huge. Actually, Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule is on a bunch of our stuff which is incredible. We’ve gotten to meet him in the studio and everything and he’s a super cool guy so it would be awesome to play with his band. And Warren Haynes! That wouldn’t be bad.
Jocelyn, you have such a stage presence even through videos. You’ve been compared to a lot of legendary singers like Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks. How did you get so confident on stage at such a young age?
J: I think it was just exposure and practice. I tell people that’s my alter ego. I’m not the angry, powerful chick [you see] on stage in real life; I’m a little more awkward in real life. I really try to use my nervousness as energy on stage to dump it into being a lioness. As far as how that happened, kind of by accident. I started singing by accident. We were gonna do a talent show and our singer dropped out. I’d kind of caught the singing bug as something that I could do that was mine and that I could express myself in that way. Since then, it’s been a crazy roller coaster of just shows upon shows upon shows. I think having that much experience in middle school helped us build a foundation for being the performers that we are today.
I could not imagine doing that in middle school!
J: It was a good escape from… middle school.
So here at TalkNerdy we’re all about what people are passionately nerdy about. Is there anything you guys absolutely geek out over?
C: I am such a nerd. I really love cooking and we like snowboarding and skiing.
J: We also geek out about school. Chris is in his last year at Harvard right now!
C: I love math and computer science and physics.
J: I was a book worm. I studied english in college and that was kind of the two creative halves of us. We are actual nerds in real life.
C: I found an app that’s just like a fundamental explanation of quantum physics and I’ve just been reading that for the past two weeks. It is so much fun. I just love it. If that gives you any idea of how much of a nerd I am.
You can get the new album, Go, here!