At first glance, A R I Z O N A
is just another solid indie band. Made up of Nate Esquite (guitar), David Labuguen (keys), and Zach Hannah (vocals), their debut album, GALLERY
, is full of catchy electro-pop, smooth production, and sleek visuals to match. They've got a few music videos out too, but if you scroll down to the descriptions and credits, you'll notice something unusual. Most of the videos were directed and edited by A R I Z O N A. This is just the first clue. If you check the credits on many of their visuals, you'll notice the same thing. We sat down with this band that's seemingly involved in every part of their promotion as well as their music to find out more about these jacks of all trades.
"For us, it's always about getting our creativity out and into our work. The visual is just another avenue of expression for us. Zach is really into [video] editing and has gotten very good at generating content for us. Everything you see, for the most part, we generate."
And A R I Z O N A's role doesn't stop there. A typical assumption about most artist-label relationships is that they're strained, a constant battle between the artistic intentions of a band and the corporate interests of the label that pays their bills. But with A R I Z O N A, it's different. The band loves their label, Atlantic Records. In fact, they even have their own desk.
"We have a really close relationship with the Atlantic office in New York. We show up sometimes almost 9-5 with them. We're friends with those people. We became artists almost by accident, so we really appreciate just how lucky we are - we know how much work it takes. Our idea is not to put anything on autopilot, but press on the gas hard ourselves and contribute in every possible way. We want to keep it as close to grassroots as we possibly can." Beneath the vast synths of "Oceans Away" and pulsing chords of "Cross My Mind", David, Zach, and Nate are writing, filming, calculating, editing, and creating their own future.
The unusual extent of the band's involvement in all parts of their career stems from their staunch belief in authenticity. "We find everything that comes from us ends up being more authentic. It originates from us, and people will see that." It seems to be paying off, as A R I Z O N A enjoys strong support from a passionate fan base. One of their fan's letters, from a young LGBT couple, ended up being turned into the music video for "Electric Touch". The video responds to the fan's request to have a song dedicated to her girlfriend: "Dear Hailee, we have a better idea. We dedicate this video to both of you." And yes, it's directed and edited by the band themselves.
Even as success seems all but guaranteed for this band with so much of their own time and effort put into their future, they admit that they're still figuring things out. "Then again, what do we know? It's our first year. We're just guessing, we're just doing what feels right… our boy Jake, who manages us now, found us on Reddit. He said he wanted to manage us, helped us get our stuff together, and it kind of blew up overnight online. That moment feels like yesterday, and now here we are."