Jocelyn Arndt | Interview
Meet Jocelyn & Chris, the brother and sister duo who have cultivated an authentic rock sound. Jocelyn brings that Fiona Apple x Grace Potter stage presence with her smoky, sultry, and all-around seductive charisma and Chris’ guitar technique is dynamic and intricate, well beyond his years. You can check out their latest studio album, Edges, here or by clicking the headphones above.
They’ve spent the last few years touring across the country and back, captivating audiences at festivals including CMJ, SXSW, Sundance, and more. Though she is small, Jocelyn’s voice is larger-than-life; her soulful, growling vocals command every stage she steps foot on. She carries herself with the poise of some of the greatest performers of our time, and when paired with Chris’ insane shredding these two are virtually unstoppable.
Get to know Jocelyn and her fiery spirit below. These two truly bring the best out of each other on all fronts. Watch out for their music world domination. Support!
What initially inspired you to become an artist, and more importantly a group?
It seems like it all sort of happened by accident. Even though I know that’s not true at all… we’ve been working really hard at this crazy music thing for years. I’ve loved music since I was little; my parents are both big music listeners, so my brother Chris and I grew up hearing every kind of tunes under the sun. Rock, blues, folk, pop… we loved it all. We soaked it up like a sponge. I think it was only a matter of time before we both transitioned from listening to music to playing it. And then after that, it seemed like a natural thing to start playing together as a brother-sister team. We were practicing in the same living room, after all. I don’t think it was ever the type of situation where one day Chris and I were separate musicians and the next we were like, “Oh, we should be a band now.” We’ve always been a duo, from the very beginning.
How does music affect you and the world around you?
Oh, man. Music is everywhere. It seeps through into everything, every aspect of my life. I honestly couldn’t imagine life without it. And I know that sounds totally cheesy, but it’s true, so I’m sticking with it. Music is how I express myself. I’m usually a pretty understated person, but put me on stage, and my alter ego takes over. I end up roaring and jumping up and down like a maniac, and I love every minute of it. It’s the ultimate release.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?
Everywhere! Like I said, music is everywhere. All I have to do is open my eyes, and I can find inspiration everywhere I go. Tv shows, movies, people we meet when we’re on the road. Cereal boxes. But actually… Chris and I wrote a song called “Dry Cereal” when we were in middle school, and we still play it live a lot. A lot of songwriters write music exclusively from their own personal experiences, and we do a bit of that. But honestly, I think most of our songwriting inspiration comes from putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and imagining how they might see the world. We’re releasing a new full-length record in just a couple weeks called “Go,” and you’ll hear a lot of that kind of imagination on this new album. These songs are all little stories we’re telling to all of you.
I love your bluesy rock sound! Are there certain bands/artists that influenced your sound?
Thank you! I’m glad you dig our sound. (: Chris and I each gravitate toward different musicians and music styles, which I think comes in handy when we’re songwriting and bringing our individual inspirations together. I’m really drawn to big, huge voices – you know, the divas. Those singers you can identify right off the bat after hearing them sing for like three seconds. Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Grace Potter, Freddie Mercury… I study them like it’s my job. Which I guess it kind of is. And Chris is really into those classic 70s retro-rock guitar sounds. David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix. Those awesome shredders that made the kind of blues-rock we play today possible. And of course, aside from our tried-and-true heroes, we’re also always looking for new artists and bands to be obsessed with. There’s no such thing as too much good music.
What city has been your favorite tour stop so far?
Yeesh… that’s a hard one. The cool thing about touring around all over the place is we get to discover all of these great nooks and crannies around the country. There’s something cool to find everywhere we go, that’s for sure. And we’ve found amazing support for our music in some unexpected places. If I had to pick favorites, we do love visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee. We actually just came through there on our way down to SXSW! We definitely feel the love in Chattanooga, both from live shows and from radio stations in the area that are playing our music. And we’re incredibly thankful for that kind of support.
Name one person dead or alive who you’d love to cut a record with and why?
Ahhh. Back at it again with the tough questions. Just one? I guess I’ll say Janis Joplin. She’s the queen of rock n’ roll for a reason. Her voice is and always will be legendary, and her style paved the way for singers like me who might be considered a little unconventional. I’d honestly give anything just for the opportunity to thank her for being herself… she changed the game for all of us chick-rockers in her wake. And I think we lost her before she said all she had to say to us. Sometimes I imagine what kind of music she might have made if she hadn’t died when she did, and I just feel really sad that we all missed out on that kind of musical expression.
What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion?
Energy. If I had to describe a good live show in one word, I’d say energy. We strive to be as energetic as possible during our performances. Our objective is to share the emotions we throw into our music with the audience watching us. If you come away from one of our shows having felt something, anything at all, we’ll consider that a job well done. And if you come away from it having felt a lot of things, then, well, that’s even better. As musicians and songwriters our real goal is to connect with our audience, so if we’re doing that, I’m a happy girl.
What guilty pleasure songs would we have found on your MP3 player in high school?
Lol. When I was in middle school, I was pretty obsessed with Avril Lavigne. My mom brought her “Let Go” album back home one day, and it didn’t leave the car stereo player for like three months. My apologies to my family for that. But you know what? Sorry not sorry, because that’s an amazing album, and Avril is a #girlboss, and I still listen to that regularly. Sk8r Boi rocks.
What are your future plans?
Hmm… conquer the world? We’re going for that, at least. We’re pretty stoked about this new album that’s coming out on April 10th. It’s our second full-length record, titled “Go.” And we couldn’t be prouder of this group of songs. It’s going to be crazy awesome being able to finally share them with people and hear what everybody thinks about it. It’s a little nerve-wracking, because these songs are our music babies, and releasing them on an album means that all of the sudden they’re out there in the big bad world and we can’t change them anymore. But it’s also really exciting, because we get to share a whole new chapter of our musical lives with all of you. So keep your eyes and ears peeled for that coming your way onApril 10th! Ahhhh! That’s so crazy to say. I really hope you like it. And then after the new record comes out, you can expect us on the road all throughout spring and summer, so keep an eye out for us in a city near you. You can always find out where we’ll be next on our website, jocelynandchrismusic.com, or on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages. See ya on the socials!
What’s your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
To me a Raw Femme is a girl who’s not afraid to do her thing, no matter what other people think. Sometimes when you’re under the lights and trying to stick your neck out there with your art, it can be daunting. I still get nervous before every show. Ten or fifteen minutes to showtime, I start to have all these thoughts. I’m barely five feet tall, I’m too young for this, I’m scared I’m going to mess up. How am I going to do this? But then I remember that this is my dream, and I can’t compromise that. And I pour all that nervous energy out on the stage. I try to be a Raw Femme every show. Unapologetic, confident, focused female energy for the win.