Arms Bizarre surfaced in 2012, making cloudy music in sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia. Loosely organized as somewhat of a collective in the beginning years, later seeing the band form a devoted core and finding they’re place in the post punk realm. Influenced by the shoe gaze and alt rock bands of the 90’s; fuzz + reverb and a big rhythm section, support the melancholy but hopeful vocals. We sat down with the bands vocalist/guitarist Josh Bizarre to talk about his earliest musical memories and the evolution of the band.

CMM – What’s the first music you remember hearing as a child and what artist or band were the first to really make an impression on you that you still reference to this day?

Josh – I definitely grew up with music. My dad had a record player, tape decks, quality amps and speakers. He was a Beatles fan. Loved Simon and Garfunkel. My mom sang in church. After they became Christians we weren’t listening to old Beatles records anymore, but still always heard music playing. Keith Green, Petra and other christian artist. The first real show I went to was Starflyer 59 and The Prayer Chain. I was awe struck. Without a doubt, seeing them play made me want to go to shows and play music. Starflyer 59 became my favorite band. I’m still in love with Jason Martin’s music.

CMM – What instrument were you first drawn to and how did you first embrace the guitar?

Josh – I always wanted to play drums but never got a kit to play on. I would put together a kit with household items. Buckets and plastic chairs. I certainly learned rhythm and timing from it, it was good for me. I picked up the guitar around 2010 maybe? I sang in a heavy band before that but we dissolved and I really wanted to play again. I really was only playing by ear and making my own chords. I worked on songs for a while and recorded as I went. They were all room recorded and would eventually be released on Bandcamp. It was called Late Night Intervention & Early Recovery.

CMM – So Arms Bizarre started as some what of a collective with rotating members that explored a variety of sounds and styles. How did the project get started and what were those early days like?

Josh – After I recorded some songs I just started asking around. Worked with a few friends but it didn’t work out. Met Barry Bright and he played drums. My sister Rebekah played guitar and really wanted to be a part of the band. I switched to bass and we started practicing. In the spring of 2013 Micah Kaplan joined us to play bass. He added so much and I was able to go back to guitar. I think our sound progressed at that point. We definitely explored different sounds and styles but I think a lot of that was just a journey in song writing for me. I knew how to sing and write lyrics but I was really behind on my instrument.

CMM – How did the latest line up come together and what was the songwriting process like for you all’s most recent releases?

Josh – Well, the cast of characters rotated into a solid, committed group. Jared, Mike and Sean all came in as other folks moved on to other things. Jared and I had already played together. Mike and Sean were in bands we were friends with for years. It all just kind of worked itself out. The music we’ve recorded and released as of late is better and more cohesive, I believe. I’ve always written the songs and brought them to the band to hash out. I want everyone involved in the band to feel free but there’s always a balance to do what’s good for the song. As a group we understand that and it makes the process great. I couldn’t ask for a better situation. My band mates make my songs better plain and simple.

CMM – If the band could score a film for any director who would it be and what would it be about?

Josh – I think some of the movies Lars von Trier has directed have had the most impact. Antichrist and Melancholia made a big impression on me. I’m not a film aficionado but he’s the first name that comes to mind. I think our score would be much doomier and heavy musically with a story based on child battling hereditary mental illness.

CMM – Whats the band got planned for the not so distant future?

Josh – We just want to keep creating. Recording is always at the top of the to do list. We’d like to get out of town on some weekend warrior shows and share what we’re doing in some other towns.

Dave Allison

Owner/Creator At Custom Made Music