Earlier this month our pals at Wake the Deaf premiered the first track from Pittsburgh's very own Arlo Aldo's House & Home, released through Future Oak Record Co. The band is set to release that album this weekend with a Record Release Extravaganza, Saturday at the Commonwealth. Anyways, before all that goes down band members David Manchester (guitar/vocals), Susanna Meyer (bass/vocals) and Brandon Forbes (percussion) were kind enough to take a Pop Quiz for us!
The Grey Estates: If Arlo Aldo was a Comic Book Story what would it be called and what would your superpower be?
Susanna: Our comic book would be called Sylvan Fleet. We'd morph into various woodland creatures to triumph over evil! I have never read a comic book!
David: I was thinking of some kind take on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, or Craig Thompson’s Blankets, but I like Susanna’s comic book.
Brandon: Maybe a magical realism-tinged graphic novel detailing a fictional life of architect Aldo Rossi (part of where our band name comes from), where his superpower is the ability to talk to the dead and design perfect homes for their loved ones left behind. I'm pretty sure HGTV would foot the bill to turn this idea into a TV series.
TGE: Which board game best represents the band or if you wanna get really creative you could come up with your own board game?
Susanna: Are we the Settlers of Catan? I feel like we might be.
David: I was thinking some kind of Monopoly game, ArloOpoly? One side you collect instruments, one side garden vegetables, one side small furry animals. I’m not sure what would be on Boardwalk, though.
Brandon: Since “Aldopoly” has already been mentioned, I'll say our rural themes would go nicely with uber-nerdy board game Agricola, which pits competing farmers against one another.
TGE: What garden vegetable or flower most matches your individual personalities?
David - hubbard squash
Ariel - bouquet dill
Brandon - leek
Jessie - sungold cherry tomatoes
Me - burgundy okra
David: Mortgage Lifter tomato, but, after looking up the Hubbard Squash, and I’d be okay with that, too.
Brandon: I've always loved zinnias, because they thrive in full sun and grow tall rapidly, but I also dig marigolds for their pest-deterrent properties. But I don't know what that says about me, other than that I like flowers.
TGE: What's a perfect day in Pittsburgh like for y'all?
Susana: Sun is a pretty great and unexpected bonus. Getting out in the woods or down to the river. Doing some sort of hard work or play outside. Delicious food with friends and family. A fire in the woodstove or porch-sitting. Listening to or playing some music.
Brandon: For the band together it would probably be a nice summer weekend afternoon practice, complete with baked goods prepared by Ariel, and a swim in our pool or walk around the farm in the woods with the band kids afterwards, of which there are three.
David: Yeah, what they said.
TGE: Which character of Star Wars do you most identify with?
Brandon: That's like asking "What's your favorite song?" - it all depends on the situation/mood. Sometimes you're angry, and you just want to choke someone out, like Vader. Sometimes you are feeling headstrong, and you never want someone to tell you the odds, like Han. And sometimes you're somber, like Mon Mothma, when you realize that many Bothans died, just to bring you this information.
TGE: Describe your dream sandwich.
Susanna: Some kind of delicious bread - brioche, a croissant, something sourdough? There's avocado and cucumber and thin salty meat - maybe prosciutto. And cheese and more crunchy vegetables, like red peppers.
David: Big, crusty bread, roasted and grilled vegetables on the inside, maybe some marinated tofu. Put that sucker in a panini maker and call it a day.
Brandon: Arby's Turkey, Ranch and Swiss Market Fresh sandwich. BECAUSE MARKET FRESH.
TGE: What are some bands you can't quit listening to right now?
Susanna: Fruit Bats. I've been into Shakey Graves and digging out old local bands like Lohio. Always Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Always, always Gillian Welch, and recently this one song by Parlour Tricks called Broken Hearts.
David: Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Andrew Bird, and Low. Always Low.
Brandon: Beach House, GEMS, Pinegrove, The Range, Porches, Savages, Day Wave, Meeting of Important People, La Sera
TGE: If you could be a cast member on any reality television show which should would it be?
Susanna: I've never actually seen this show but The Great British Bake Off sounds like a somewhat reasonable choice. Although I'm not British and wouldn't qualify on any level.
David: Some kind of HGTV Kitchen Remodel show. I love designing kitchens. Not too many people let me come in and tear down their house, though.
Brandon: I would love to be on The Profit, if only to have him take a business I started and make it even more profitable.
TGE: Describe your new album using emojis or gifs or cute animal pictures.
Susanna: 🐺 Sorry. My computer has some serious emoticon deficiencies.
David: 🐹 🐰 🐻 🍂 🍁 🌕 🌄
TGE: If you could invite any super hero to be a member of your band who would you choose?
Susanna: Had to look up the options. I think She-Hulk would be a valuable addition to our band. According to the internet, she "becomes a large powerful green-hued version of herself while still largely retaining her personality; in particular she retains her intelligence and emotional control, though like Hulk, she still becomes stronger if enraged." Sounds like a pretty decent band member.
David: Eric Draven (The Crow) or Dazzler (various Marvel comics). They are both pretty incredible guitarists and could do some epic solos when we play live.
Brandon: Because we often have to play shows without various members due to other commitments, it might be cool to have Rogue from the X-Men around so she could just absorb the absent member's abilities temporarily and play as him or her so we wouldn't miss out on a full band sound.
TGE: And finally - what's been one of your most memorable or favorite moments as a band so far?
Susanna: Hauling out to Rock Island, IL to Daytrotter's old studio was memorable. They were super down to earth and punched out a couple of really layered songs in no time. Recording (at The Wilderness Recording Studio) is always gratifying and fun.
Brandon: We've had many, but I really enjoyed our participation in Ruination Day, the Gillian Welch tribute at the Brillobox, where it seemed the entire audience was singing Everything is Free with us. We also had a memorable show at the Three Rivers Arts Festival a couple years ago when, right after we finished performing on a side stage, a thunder storm of insanely violent magnitude struck downtown and we had to scramble to get everything loaded up, getting soaked in the process. Finally, after a recording session for our first album, Ariel and I and David were driving back in separate cars on I-79 S from the studio and were the first responders to a horrific single car accident where the car flipped over into the grassy median right in front of us. The girl was ejected from her car and, miraculously, escaped fairly unscathed (Ariel was even able to talk to her before the ambulance got there!). The first song on our new record is actually based on that incident.
David: I completely agree with all of those.