Brother-and-sister band Jocelyn and Chris Arndt don’t have the sort of crazy stories bands typically accrue while on tour.
Their version of an after party involves alka seltzer, fuzzy slippers and homework.
Understandable, as over the past few years, Fort Plain natives Jocelyn and Chris have been juggling a full class schedule at one of the most prestigious universities in the country while writing/recording an album and performing as much as they can.
But with Jocelyn’s recent graduation from Harvard, she’s free from homework obligations.
“It was pretty crazy to realize that I’m not coming back,” Jocelyn said.
Not coming back to a place that seemed out of reach to begin with. During her senior year at Fort Plain High School Jocelyn applied to Harvard early admission because she wanted to get some of her applications out of the way.
“I applied kind of on a whim,” Jocelyn said.
She’s thankful for that impulse. Harvard was flexible with her and Chris’ band schedule: leaving campus most weekends — and sometimes during the week — to tour or record. Plus, it helped that the campus was filled with passionate creatives.
“Everyone around you [has] something that they’re doing not just because they have to but because they love it,” Jocelyn said.
Over the last four years she studied English, and although her songwriting habits have remained constant, material from some of her classes has crept into her recent songs.
“I’ve read a lot of books over these past four years that I think have ended up in our music one way or another,” Jocelyn said.
On their latest album, “Go,” influences from a class on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” found its way into some of the songs, according to Jocelyn.
“I think that the mega battle between God and satan definitely crept into the album “ Jocelyn said.
Chris still has another year of studying computer science and music ahead of him at Harvard.
He often composes the songs for the duo, and while taking music theory classes he’s honed his writing skills.
“I think studying has made us a lot more efficient with that process. We’re getting a lot better at not waiting until we get some stroke of inspiration to start writing something. We’re realizing that it’s more of a mind set you put yourself in, so we’re getting good at switching on the creativity purposefully,” Jocelyn said.
With “Go,” that creativity comes out in the form of Jocelyn’s powerful vocals in “Footprints on the Moon,” and with the guitar on “Ready Steady Go” and “Home.”
Going to Harvard also helped the duo solidify their passions to go on tour and be professional musicians.
“When you’re really busy, you make time for things that are important to you,” Jocelyn said.
Music remained a top priority throughout Harvard. Depending on the season, they would play several shows a week and work on writing or recording music when they weren’t performing.
Although Jocelyn loved going to Harvard, she’s looking forward to working on all things music related (which includes writing emails and thank you cards rather than essays). She’ll be moving into an apartment in Springfield, Massachusetts because it’s halfway between Chris and the recording studio in Albany.
“We’re setting it up so that when Chris graduates we’ll be on the road all the time,” Jocelyn said.
Over the next year, Jocelyn will be working on getting them more gigs, making more connections in the music industry and readying them for life on the road, a dream they didn’t think would be possible until a few years ago.
“We were playing with The Dependents, our high school band,” Jocelyn said. They played the talent show circuit and any local gig they could get. After one of their shows, a local producer walked up to them and said, “You know you could do this full time, right?”
They were blown away by the very idea and since then, music has become their Plan A.
“Tour until we die,” Chris said with a laugh, although it was clear he wasn’t joking.
As their most recent album “Go” hints, the two will be touring throughout the country, doing radio shows and planning out their musical careers.
“Win a Grammy. . . play at Madison Square Garden,” Chris said. At the rate they’re going, it wouldn’t be all that surprising.
The Arndts’ 5 Favorite Bands
- Pink Floyd
- Janis Joplin
- Stevie Ray Vaughan