When Tony Arias played a new song in front of his family, they sat in his basement and were absolutely moved. Arias had only been working on the song for about a day. He'd been at work programming the new track when his dad first came down to listen.
“I turned it up on the speakers and played it,” Arias said. “I called my mom and my sister downstairs, and everyone just sat and listened to this song. It was a very touching moment.”
The song is part of a new album called “Just You” by Arias’ band, The Arias. Despite only being together for one month, The Arias are releasing their debut album in January.
Arias, a University of Minnesota alum, was a solo artist for some time before forming The Arias. Even so, he always knew he wanted to make music with a full band sound. Arias met bassist Colby Hansen through his best friend (who happens to be Hansen's sister). The two met Ben Ehrlich, drummer for The Arias, this past summer at Bryant-Lake Bowl and finally rounded out their soulful sound.
“We're very group-oriented and we very much want our music to move the audience,” Hansen said. “Not just emotionally, but in a physical, dancing kind of way."
They fuse rock and roll, jazz and blues for a sound that resembles a happier Arctic Monkeys circa 2007.
Seeing as the band has only played three gigs with each other, one would expect to hear a lot of covers during their sets. However, The Arias are able to play almost an hour of original music.
“I’m concerned for [Arias] sometimes,” Hansen said. “The dude is literally down in his basement recording all day, every day. He hasn’t seen daylight in so long.”
The Arias do their songwriting much like other bands do — the lead singer writes the majority of the material and then the rest of the band fills in the missing parts.
“Over the last year, I've really started to understand the roles of instruments and mastering the sound,” Arias said. “I want to keep the realness and emotional honesty of the tunes, but that doesn't mean that you can't also shake your ass to them.”
The Arias are recording the entirety of their debut album in Arias’ home. They want it to sound as true to their sound as possible, which means having control over their recording process.
“We did a couple of takes where you can really hear the music coming to life,” Ehrlich said. “Hearing it in a stereo with the nice guitar amps or all the little keyboards combined with my live drums ... it felt like the music was breathing.”
They preferred home recording over a studio session because of how personal and nostalgic music is for them.
“That's the beauty of the album — it's done at home,” Hansen said. “It has that sound to it, like, it's so personal. Your family is able to listen to it while you're making it and you don't get that at the studio.”
While Arias sometimes spends 14 to 16 hours a day on writing and recording the music, the three of them are ready to have a finished, tangible, album.
“If you’ve got good mics, good takes and a lot of patience, you can get a good record put together,” Arias said. “Nobody else that I know is going to care about making this record as much as we do.”