Houston Calling

Ten Questions for Arthur Yoria

March 23rd, 2004 · No Comments

Arthur Yoria is one of the most refreshing acts I’ve seen in Houston in a while. It’s good to see someone who seems to really enjoy playing live and making music. Last time I saw him play, he peformed a set of mostly new songs. It will probably be a while before these are committed to CD since Yoria is sure to be busy in 2004 with the success his CD, I’ll Be Here Awake, is enjoying.

Yoria’s songs have been featured on MTV’s Camp Jim and his song “Here To Stay” will be featured in the independent film, The Gleam of Dawn. One of my favorites on the album, “Permanent,” will be featured in the independent film, There Can’t Be Nothing.

Arthur will peform this Saturday night, March 26th, at Rudyard’s with Pale (one of Houston’s best bands, in my opinion) and Endochine (another great act). He also is playing in Galveston on March 27th at Whiskey Blues at 10 p.m.

I recently asked Arthur to answer some questions for Houston Calling and he was more than happy to take a few minutes of his time. Enjoy.

Ten Questions for Arthur Yoria

HC: How did you get started in the music industry?

Arthur: Very quickly. I met some guys while attending U of H that would sit outside on the campus grounds and play songs on their guitars. One of the guys taught me a couple of chords and here I am 9 years later with no degree, not much money, but very happy.

HC: Who do consider to be your musical influences? I hear a few but don’t want to influence your responses.

Arthur: My mother used to play the crap out of this record when I was growing up in Chicago by an Argentinean Nick Drake-type singer-songwriter named Piero. I’m still listening to it. The Beatles were very intriguing to me as a kid; very mysterious, but funny and touching. While the other quiet kids would use D&D to escape, I would use the Beatles, Piero, and porn.

HC: Some of your music will appear in upcoming films and TV shows. A lot of the time, musicians have to have some major label support behind them in order to get good exposure like that, yet you’re on an independent local label. What can you tell me about 12 Records?

Arthur: The film and TV opportunities have come from a solid internet presence which my very supportive girlfriend, Rai Stephens, is mostly responsible for and also my manager in L.A., Kio Novina, has done a great job of putting the word out about me.

12 Records, Inc. is a company that I started with my good friend and former Houston Rocket, Matt Maloney, basically to put this latest full-length out. If all goes well, it would be nice to give some very talented but under-the-radar acquaintances some help but for now, all we can do is make the money back that was invested in I?ll Be Here Awake. By the way, you should hear Matt’s music. He?s very modest about it but it’s very solid stuff; sort of in the New Order vein. I’d say he can sing about as well he can shoot 3s.

HC: Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How are you using the internet as a tool to market yourself?

Arthur: I’m vehemently for it. As I mentioned earlier, the internet has helped tremendously in building a buzz. I would recommend putting MP3s up on every site that promotes unsigned or independent artists. It’s free in most cases and it gives you some exposure. It’s funny, one of my favorite writers, Norman Mailer, once said that the internet was bullshit and equated it to masturbation. I think that if you’re any kind of an unknown artist (musician, writer, painter, etc.) or should I say, one that isn’t being subsidized by a big corporation, the internet is a little bit more effective than masturbation when trying to make a living from doing your thing.

HC: You’ve gotten a lot of press and local radio play in Houston. How do you feel about the Houston music scene?

Arthur: There are some genuinely talented people in this town in all of the various genres and a couple of amazing radio shows. I kind of like the Houston music scene. I became tired of bitching about the scene a couple of years ago and just buckled down, stopped going out and got to work on my own little pop/rock career.

Suddenly, I look up and there’s quality music being made within the area code. It’s a good time for Houston right now. We could probably use some more national media coverage, though.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

Arthur: Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. It’s the voice. A great band and a great artist R.I.P. but it’s my firm belief that that style of rock lacks a sense of humor. No matter how shitty things are going, that’s an element that I always want present in my stuff and if you don’t catch it, you’re not listening hard enough.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

Arthur: One that sells at least a million copies of the CD that my song’s going on. I don’t know, is Andy Williams still alive? If he were to cover any one of my songs, my pops would be damn proud.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry?

Arthur: The music industry to me entails me selling my CDs so “the state of the industry” is me getting my ass out there and playing. I don’t mean to sound flippant but the industry on the scale of the major labels is like war in the middle east; I have a lot of empathy for those suffering over there right now, but I thank God that I’m not personally involved.

HC: What’s in store for Arthur Yoria in 2004 and beyond?

Arthur: Playing locally as often as possible, a national PR campaign followed by a national tour and then hopefully, recording the follow up to I’ll Be Here Awake. In that order.

HC: What is in your CD player right now? (Rather, what are YOU listening to?)

Arthur: Bob Dylan ? Highway 61 Revisited
Granndaddy ? Sumday
Perez Prado ? Greatest Hits

Thanks to Arthur for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to go buy his latest CD and catch him live when you can.

For you Columbus readers, Arthur Yoria is playing at Andyman’s on April
22, opening for Tim Easton.

Also, tonight is MeoWcifer‘s last show (for a long time, anyway) at Silky’s with Statistics, Now It’s Overhead, and Apollo Sunshine. This is an all ages show. Doors are at 8 p.m.–MeoWcifer goes on at 9 p.m. sharp.

Now Playing in My iPOD: The Miranda Sound — Engaged in Labor

Tags: Music