New Jersey-based alt-electro band A R I Z O N A are about to embark on another amazing summer filled with touring and new music releases. The band's arena tour with Panic! At The Disco kicks f today, July 11, and they returned with two new songs on July 6, serving up a new chapter dreamy, '80s inspired-sound.
After releasing their debut album Gallery last May, A R I Z O N A set out on a U.S. tour opening for singer-songwriter Kevin Garrett and the alt-pop band COIN. They also received rave reviews throughout the summer festival circuit at events like SXSW and the Governors Ball Music Festival. Their electro-pop sound showcases their wide range talent and the catchiness their lyrics make them an instant crowd favorite.
With their tour underway and more music to come, Billboard sat down with band members Zach Hannah (lead vocals), Nate Esquite (guitar), David Labuguen (keys) to talk about their upcoming tour, the story behind their new songs, and what fans can expect in the future.
You’ve just released two new tracks, “Summer Days” and “Freaking Out.” Is this a taste your next era?
Zach Hannah: These songs are very good indicators the two sides the spectrum that we’re hitting sonically. The thing that we really wanted to do during this evolution the A R I Z O N A brand is find a cool way to evolve the sound in some way that inspired us without having to be super “try hard” about it.
What’s the story behind these songs?
Zach: “Freaking Out” is a really good example our more alt-leaning, heavier sort sound, and it’s essentially a depression anthem for us. “Summer Days” is a lighter song, with a more dance-y vibe.
David Labugen: “Summer Days” is a song about escaping the cold nights. It was literally written in a time in the winter when we were so cold, that we were trying to escape that.
“Freaking Out” feels like it comes from a particularly vulnerable place.
Zach: It’s about getting caught up in the stress. For us, that comes with being in our second year as a band] — we have double the amount work to do in half the time. All us struggle with it, whether it's depression or just basic anxiety.
“Freaking Out” is about just a very low moment. It’s when you're freaking out so hard that you feel completely unsure whether you're going to make it through or not. I think we all have those moments. Having a song like this captures that for people. And it’s a jam, which is kind cool.
You recently tweeted an “anxiety tip,” too.
Zach: I think it's a big theme for us, that art does not remove you from it. It helps you escape it momentarily. Having a good bridge between issues and real life and what art does — it shouldn't be a thing that is designed to distract you, but to help you.
You’ve done a few festivals and shows this year after a break from touring. How was it getting back into the swing it?
Zach: It's been good. We've been going so hard with the writing, but we haven't really played a show or been on tour since October last year. So it's kind cool that we're finally coming out the rabbit hole and getting out there. The feeling playing new songs is a feeling that we haven't had in a long time.
You’re about to head out with Panic! At the Disco. What are your thoughts going into this tour?
Nate Esquite: It's crazy. Back in 2005 I went to go see a show with Acceptance, Receiving End Sirens, Cartel and Augustana, and the opener was Panic! At The Disco. There were maybe five to ten people there for Panic!.
Zach: It feels pretty awesome. At least for me, it's very surreal. Especially my love for music and love for live music, to be able to be a part that show now every night is an absolutely a surreal feeling.
Have you prepared for what you're going to say to Brendon Urie when you hang out?
Nate: I'm working on it, but every time I think about it, I just get tongue tied and I start going choking noise].
David: Maybe I'll ask him, like, hey, could you take me to get pizza sometime?
Anything else in the pipeline that you want to tease?
Zach: We're gonna be doing a lot more while on the road as far as video stuff goes. We’re trying to get a good work flow to showcase our personality in a way that's outside the music. We want to live on YouTube a little bit more and other visual outlets like Instagram or anywhere that you can see us and see something that we create and that sort personality. So there will be some YouTube content throughout the summer, which is very exciting.
Watch and listen to A R I Z O N A's tracks below.
Catch A R I Z O N A on tour:
July 11 — Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
July 13 — Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Field House
July 14 — Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena
July 15 — Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena
July 17 — Chicago, IL @ United Center
July 18 — Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena
July 20 — Uniondale, NY @ NYCB Live
July 21 — Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena
July 22 — Tornoto, Canada @ Air Canada Centre
July 24 — New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
July 25 — Boston, MA @ TD Garden
July 27 — Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
July 28 — Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena
July 29 — Duluth, GA @ Infinite Energy Center
July 31 — Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center
August 01 — Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
August 03 — Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
August 04 — Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
August 05 — Montreal, Canada @ Osheaga
Auguts 07 — Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
August 08 — Salt Lake CIty, UT @ Vivint Smart House Arena
August 10 — Seattle, WA @ Keyarena
August 11 — Vancouver, Canada @ Rogers Arena
August 12 — Portland, OR @ MODA Center
August 14 — San Jose, CA @ Sap Center
August 15 — Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
August 17 — Glendale, AZ @ Gila River Arena
August 18 — Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena
September 15 — Atlanta, GA @ Music Midtown
November 17 — Mexcio City, Mexico @ Corona Capital