Niagara singer-songwriter Arih SK has just released “Hold It Together”, a brand new single from his upcoming album of the same name. Fittingly released on Father’s Day, “Hold It Together” features Arih’s daughter and is a playful song about family, and the passage of time. We caught up with Arih to chat about the new music, the highlight of his musical career thus far, and some of his non-musical hobbies.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Hold It Together”.
Arih SK: At the beginning of the song there is a sample of my daughter talking and singing. I think she was around two and now she’s five. Every time I hear it, I’m hit by the passage of time. Every year it hits harder. So much has changed. It feels sad and beautiful all at once. I really like that. There are also nature sounds throughout and then at the end there is a recording of a toy lullaby that used to put her to sleep. So to me, the song feels a bit like a day and a night that starts and ends with family. You hold things together for your family and then your family holds you together. And at the end of the day, you all hug and say goodnight.
The new album is named after this song, Hold It Together. Every day and over time you get pulled in many directions. Jobs, projects, family, friends, new things, old things. There’s always too much to do and too little time. People slip away, friendships fade, chores pile up, and it feels like time is somehow running out. You find things to hold on to – keepsakes, mementos, souvenirs, but more importantly you find people you like to be with. You spend time together and share memories. To really hold anything together, it takes people – family, friends, relationships.
FTS: What do you do when you have an overload of songs written – how do you choose which ones make the cut?
Arih SK: I think having an overload of songs is a good place to start. I have a lot of voice memos. Some are parts of songs, some melodies, or a chord progression, or maybe a sound that I thought was interesting (“arcade sounds”, “rain sounds”, “bird sounds under Emerson Bridge”, etc). Sometimes these pieces become a song, or sometimes the whole song comes out all in one go, but on average, I probably finish a half dozen songs per month, which I then save to a different folder (otherwise I’ll forget). Whenever I have a spare moment, I listen back to a couple and then make lists of the ones I like best. I send them to other people. I play them in the living room and see which ones my partner likes or which ones don’t bother the kids too much. They should all pass the hum test or the whistle test. Lastly, I have to cut any songs that don’t fit well together on the album.
FTS: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
Arih SK: Last year, I had an album release show for Creeping Senescence. It was on the NAC rooftop and the weather was just beautiful. It’s a really nice feeling to play your music in front of all your friends and family. And it’s even nicer when your four year old daughter joins you onstage for the encore to sing Master of Disaster.
FTS: If you could play any music venue anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Arih SK: I watched a documentary of Ron Sexsmith and his dream was to play at Massey Hall. That sounds good. I think his dream could be my dream, although I think I am happiest playing my songs on a couch or in the backyard to a handful of people who are really listening.
FTS: What are some of your non-musical hobbies?
Arih SK: We have a chore calendar at home and five out of seven days, I’m doing the dishes. Does that qualify? I’m a rec hockey player for St. Catharines Stingers and I help coach my daughters’ teams. I also love reading.
Check out “Hold It Together”, the latest single from Arih SK!