Artist Spotlight: Arcadia

Senior Nick Drozdowicz and ’05 graduate Drew Thomas have been harboring a musical dream during their time at Lawrence. Writing and playing their no-holds-barred acoustic pop songs under the name Arcadia, these two philosophy majors – both from Madison – have been inspired to push their music to the next level. Here are some thoughts from Nick and Drew as they brace themselves for the next leg of their musical careers.How and when did Arcadia come to be?
DT: It started as an acoustic duo in high school when I wanted someone to play with me for “Fine Arts Week,” which was a week of student performances at our high school. Nick then became interested in writing songs and we wrote together. Later we picked up a drummer and bass player to help us compete in a battle of the bands in Madison. We ended up tying for first but were edged out by another band in the split decision.

How would you describe your music?
ND: Sometimes funky, (hopefully) intelligent, energetic singer/songwriter pop music.

How has your music developed over the years?
DT: I think over the years we have been able to develop more images in our lyrics, refine our guitar playing and part writing, and develop better melodies and harmonies.
ND: We’ve both been classically trained and studied some jazz in addition to all of the pop music we like. All of that stuff has been – and is still being – incorporated into our music. So it has evolved quite a bit, and continues to evolve.

Are there any artists or performers who have been particularly inspiring to you?
ND: Yeah, there’s plenty. John Mayer for starters. I think he’s an outstanding songwriter, and on top of it he’s a great guitar player. Jon Brion – he writes really cool tunes, plus he’s a walking dictionary of pop music. Also, I recently saw Andrew Bird live. That was a pretty inspiring experience. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a consistent performer. He even whistles with near perfect intonation.

What can one expect from an Arcadia performance?
ND: One can expect to see us doing our best to play music that we’ve worked really hard writing, arranging and rehearsing – music that we’re proud of. We also like to joke around and have a good time with the audience.

Not being music majors, how does Arcadia fit into the rest of your endeavors?
ND: It provides a nice balance so that school and work don’t become overwhelming, although during the school year I wish there was more time to dedicate to writing, rehearsing, etc. Also, I think that school has really been a helpful tool for writing solid lyrics. The more I read, the more I run across different ideas or even specific phrases that are eventually incorporated lyrically in one way or another.
DT: It is the sun and everything else revolves around it.

What kind of goals do you have for Arcadia in the near and/or distant future?
DT: We plan on moving to Boston to develop our music further with our bass player, who goes to Berklee School of Music. With luck, we will have some success.
ND: As far as the short term goes, I think we just need to keep rehearsing and tightening up our live performance. One thing I’d really like to tighten up is my ability to sing harmonies. I’ve come a long way, but it’s still something that is difficult for me.

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