Freshly born into the Welsh indie scene, Morning Arcade has already come out swinging. “Cold Shoulders”, their debut single serves as both an energetic indie pop journey and as a powerful call to action. The indie pop group based out of Cardiff, Wales boasts an electric and dense sound, showcased in all its vigorous glory on “Cold Shoulders”. Hazy, yet dynamic instrumentation combined with a passionate vocal performance by frontman Karl Griffiths guide the track’s emotional vibe. Soaring guitar leads and distant, reverby vocals give the track a dreamy feel while the song’s neon soundscapes add a shade of synthwave. But perhaps even more powerful than Morning Arcade’s lush sonic presence is the single’s hard-hitting environmental message. Lyrics referencing a world “blackened by fuel” are followed by a direct plea to the listener to make more eco-friendly choices. “Only you can save the world,” lead singer Griffiths repeats at the track’s thoughtful conclusion.
According to the band, the single comes in response to news of environmental destruction throughout the world and moves to address every person on the planet who has the power to make greener changes in their everyday lives. Overall, “Cold Shoulders” sounds like it would belong in the soundtrack to a Nicolas Winding Refn movie about the planet earth. Morning Arcade have succeeded in crafting an effective, colorful, and passionate ode to protecting Mother Nature. We had the pleasure of interviewing the band's singer and songwriter Karl, and here is what he had to say:
Q&A with Karl from Morning Arcade
The lyrics to “Cold Shoulders” are deep and powerful. What was the inspiration behind the song?
Thanks! I wanted to put a voice to this internal rant I have about those in power not doing nearly enough to protect our environment and how economic gain almost always outweighs the wellbeing of wildlife but also human life in a lot of cases.
Your sound is somewhat reminiscent of The Cranberries and has a very old-school dream pop sound. Who would you say are your biggest influences in music?
Typically our influences include The War On Drugs, Deep Sea Diver & Young The Giant. For this track I went for this Don Henley “Boys Of Summer” feel mixed with the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis.
“Cold Shoulders” is very well produced, especially as this is your debut single! What was your writing and recording process for this track?
We totally agree, Andrew Sanders at Kings Road Studio in Cardiff really knows his onions. We’ve worked with him a lot on previous projects so he kind of instinctively knows where we want to take things and also suggests techniques that might help us get the sound we want. In Autumn 2019 we had a session booked at the studio but I just wasn’t feeling one of the tracks so before we went in I booked a day off work and dedicated it to writing a new track and by the end of it Cold Shoulders was done. I think the time constraint gave me more focus and stopped me from overthinking things too much and getting in my own way.
What is the music scene like in Cardiff?
There are so many great local bands across the city that cover a wide variety of sounds so there’s pretty much something for everyone. The music venues are key to what makes the city tick and whenever one closes it’s like a death in the family. Plus the city attracts artists from further afield (or at least it did before COVID hit!) so it’s a real melting pot.
What music projects are coming up next for you?
We’re pretty much always working on new music so there’s definitely more to come from us. We have some videos in the pipeline too which is exciting. Much like a lot of bands, we’re looking forward to playing live shows again but until then we’re keeping busy behind the scenes.
Are there any parting words you’d like to say to your fans out there?
Thanks to everyone who’s listened to Cold Shoulders. We hope to be playing it live to you one day soon but until then, keep on keeping on. Wear a mask!
Written by Derek Tate
Interviewed by Andrea Desmond