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Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

Arkady Introduce Themselves Via ‘Rock Band’

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Bands generally don’t get their first real taste of success until years and years of playing together, performing shows and releasing at least an album or two. But Milwaukee rockers Arkady, who have yet to release so much as an EP or play a show under their current moniker—their first will be at Mad Planet on Nov. 19—are already on their way to getting a big taste of success, courtesy of a video game.

“[Our song] ‘Europa’ is going to be on ‘Rock Band’ in the next month or so,” says lead singer/guitarist Tom Casper, who describes the track as a spacey love song.

Casper is joined by friends Seth Dougherty on drums, Justin Harris on lead guitar and Ian Pierson on bass.

As the saying goes, it’s important who you know, and Arkady happened to be friends with a game designer who worked closely with “Rock Band.” Though the young band didn’t have a lot of material, their friend liked what he heard and asked if he could use their music for some of the beta tests for the new system.

The popular “Rock Band” game recently began offering select bands the chance to offer their songs as paid, downloadable extras.

“That’s huge, being able to put it out there as content for the gamers and hopefully pull in some to buy our album or merchandise and most importantly come out and see our show,” Casper says.

In the meantime, when they’re not sending material back and forth to their friend, Arkady is recording new material for a possible four-song EP or full album for next year. They’re also planning to get some live experience in Milwaukee and the Midwest, and possibly go as far as New York and Canada.

Most of all, they want to provide the Milwaukee music scene something different with a sound that they describe on their site as “blending hard-driven rock with an alternative, indie sound.”

While the Mad Planet show is their first as Arkady, this isn’t everyone’s first time live. Casper, Dougherty and Pierson have known each other since high school and worked together in bands such as the West Bend group Elements of Style.

When that group disbanded a few years ago, Casper and Dougherty decided they had too good of a musical vibe going to stop, so they continued playing in their free time while attending MATC. Their music attracted Harris, who eventually became a permanent part of the group. Later, after some persuasion, they convinced their old band mate Pierson to join the group.

“We had a lot of trial and error,” Casper says. “Once we got Ian [Pierson] in the band it added an element of writing different from when it was just the three of us, and then we wrote stuff with bass that sounded better.”

With each practice, and showtime at Mad Planet moving closer, the band continues to gel and feed off each other’s playing styles, even though they haven’t yet played for an audience.

“The thing about it is that we’re even high-energy in practice,” Dougherty says. “We play these songs tons of times, but it’s always fun for us. I don’t like to sit behind my drum set and just play it back straight; I get into it as much as Justin [Harris] would running around on stage.”

Arkady plays a 9 p.m. show with Skybox and Modern Skirts at Mad Planet on Thursday, Nov. 19.

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