Behind Closed Doors: Russian Arms and Optics

Clockwise: Robby (drums), John (bass), Mike (organ/synth), Liz (lead singer) and Felix (guitar)

by Frank Ippolito

Every band has a different process when it comes to rehearsing, and I’m just nosy enough to ask.

For this edition of Behind Closed Doors, I stopped in for a visit with Russian Arms & Optics as they were rehearsing for their stellar show at the Rockbar in Scottsdale last week.

Walking through the hallways of Perfect Timing Studio, where the band rehearses, their unique sound – a mix of pop, rock and electronica, could be heard coming from behind the door of Studio A.

Stepping into the studio, Liz (lead singer), John (bassist), Mike (organ/synths), Robby (drums), and Felix (guitars), sounded as tight as a band could get, even though they told me they were there to get the “kinks” out.

Frank Ippolito: First, a photo, OK?

Liz: We should stand.

<The band members stood except for Robby, the drummer, and Mike, the keyboard player, who was already standing.>

Frank: OK, so who’s in charge of this shindig?

The band, except for John: John.

John: Well, no one is really in charge, uh, OK, I am. But we are all in this together.

Frank: So you’re rehearsing for a show, what does that look like?

John: Well, we mainly get together to rehearse for a show, so we go over the songs to make sure we remember them.

Felix: Because sometimes we forget.

Mike: Yeah, we do.

Frank: Do you just rehearse the songs, or do you rehearse like you’re performing?

Robby: We don’t have dance moves if that’s what you mean.

Liz: We’ve been playing the songs for a while now so just about it’s making sure they sound tight.

Frank: Do you ever rehearse solely on new material?

John: Well, we booked three hours today, and we have a 30-minute set, so we take some time to work on the new stuff.

Felix: But we’re really picky on what we release, so it’s hard to get new stuff out the door.

Frank: Any juicy studio fights you want to share?

John: No, we never fight. We’re all friends from way back, so we have a mutual respect for each other.

Frank: Who here has some rehearsal rituals?

Liz: Me. I am afraid of germs so I bring my own mike.

Felix: I have to cut my fingernails before practice.

John: I need a clean bass.

Robby: I like to snack during practice. I’m a grazer.

Mike: I don’t.

<The band laughs>


For more info on Russian Arms & Optics check out their website or Facebook page.

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