Acwa is the alias of London-based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gus Arrowsmith. Thanks to his unique and soulful vocals he’s definitely one of the most exciting new discovery I made this week. Due to an incident where he broke his thumb, the artist decided to sit down on his Granny’s baby grand piano and wrote a powerful and captivating EP, called “BROKEN OPEN”, an attempt out of self-destruction that will become like a hypnotic lullaby made of driven melodies full of ups and downs. “BROKEN OPEN” has the power to drag you into an experience, something that you’ll feel growing into your body and that’ll make you dream about past memories. This Ep is like a slow dance under a full moon. Don’t miss it once it’ll be released on the 26th of March 2021.
YMX: Hey ACWA, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you?
ACWA: Just trying to focus on the music, mostly writing and recording, and generally trying to make the most of what little freedoms are left. Let’s hope the horizon’s clear!
YMX: How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so?
ACWA: I don’t remember a distinct moment moving from listening, to playing, to making music. My Dad played the guitar and got me a little 3/4 acoustic when I was still a nipper. I didn’t touch it for a year, but when I did, I didn’t put it down.
YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why:
ACWA: Nina Simone writes with such a dynamic sensibility, but some of her simplest songs are the most poignant. She’s a force of nature that you feel when you hear her. She reaches into your heart, grabs it, throws it around the room, and then gently kisses it.
Robbie Basho – An amazing guitar player and singer, phenomenal, but he defies boundaries in his style and played in such a fluid way. I try to soak up his genius regularly.
Mammal Hands – Here’s a more modern trio; sax, drums and piano. Just the most beautiful melodic choices. They’re a part of the fabric of my daily life so I guess you could say they influence my being.
YMX: You will release soon “BROKEN OPEN”. Can you tell us how that project came about?
ACWA: Broken Open came out of a slightly troubling period in my life, a combination of family illness and breaking my thumb pretty badly, meaning I couldn’t play the guitar for about six months. That became a unique creative limitation for me because my whole life my dominant instrument has been the guitar. After a slight drought, I scribbled some words down each morning for four days straight and then sat on them for a while before going to look for the music. I then found I could only physically make music with one hand on a keyboard. They’re quite simple songs really but are an expression of those times and what I was going through. Later I managed to take a mic down to my Granny’s and record the whole EP on her piano, while she sat writing postcards and listening on in the same room.
YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?
ACWA: Luckily over the years I’ve cultivated a home studio to do my tinkering, having done a bit of composition for film and TV in the past, and generally collecting instruments from all over. So I feel quite fortunate.
YMX: Professional Livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?
YMX: Since the pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers?
ACWA: Just do something so outlandish that the media can’t turn its mighty gaze away. (First fully electric underwater gig?)
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
ACWA: Hope to play some gigs with the rest of the world. I’ve got lots of music coming up, including a collection of songs using a tiny Spanish Timple.